Dear Friends and Neighbors,
It's hard to believe we're one month into the 2015 legislative session! I am truly grateful for the opportunity to serve you, and want to provide you with a brief update on what I've been up to here in the Legislature.
An update on legislation
Last week, I had the opportunity to testify on my first bill before the House Judiciary Committee. House Bill 1316, which has bipartisan support, ensures vulnerable adults are protected by temporary protection orders. There is a serious oversight in current law, where those who are susceptible to abuse are not protected. My bill would require a police officer to make an arrest when the officer has probable cause to believe there has been a violation of temporary protective orders relating to vulnerable adults. This bill is a critical step in preventing abuse of the elderly, and I was happy to see it pass out of committee unanimously.
I recently introduced a bill, House Bill 1973, that establishes an open educational resources pilot program at Eastern Washington University to lower students' costs. Under the program, EWU libraries would award up to 10 grants per year to faculty members to develop or obtain open educational materials and resources. I had the pleasure of meeting with EWU President Mary Cullinan to discuss my legislation, and am delighted she has offered her support. HB 1973 is supported by members on both sides of the aisle, and I look forward to it being heard and passed out of the Higher Education Committee soon.
Another bill that addresses the high costs of textbooks for students is Rep. Zeiger's House Bill 1958, which would cap textbook costs at $100 unless there is no lower-cost comparable alternative and no available substitute through open course materials. I am a co-sponsor of the bill, and am excited that it, along with HB 1973, would allow students to see cost-savings as they attend four-year institutions.
Last week, I introduced House Bill 1974 to create a pilot program that would implement regional school safety and security centers in three educational service districts. With school personnel often being first responders to emergencies, it is vital to have proper supports and training to equip them to respond quickly to diverse situations that may arise within our schools.
I also introduced House Bill 1939, which makes congestion relief and freight mobility part of the state's transportation goals. Predictability is a current policy goal, but this does not address the efficiency of our transportation infrastructure. The inclusion of congestion relief and freight mobility enables the Legislature to make decisions that prioritize projects, like the completion of Highway 167, that will ease congestion and ensure freight is able to move to and from the Port of Tacoma.
Finally, my bill to protect the identities of children that have been victims of misconduct while enrolled in child care, early learning, parks and recreation, after-school or youth development programs, received a hearing last week. House Bill 1554 would exempt the personal information of a victim's guardians or family members from public record, thus protecting the victim's identity. This is an important privacy issue, and I hope to see the bill passed through the House State Government Committee this week.
Around the Capitol
I have had the opportunity to speak to several groups recently. Last week, the Community and Technical Colleges held a rally in the rotunda. Students from Pierce College added to the energy and enthusiasm of the rally, and students from Bellevue College met in my office afterward to share their perspective on higher education funding.
I spoke to the Associated Students of the University of Washington last Friday, and had some great conversations with students from UW Seattle and UW Tacoma about college affordability and increased access to four-year universities.
Additionally, I met with many other groups in my office last week, including firefighters, wheat growers, occupational therapists, nurses, and students from Puyallup, Sumner, Bonney Lake and Fife.
On Monday, the Capitol was swarming with women in red – the Washington Federation of Republican Women organization was visiting with their legislators, and I enjoyed getting to see my East Pierce Republican Women's Club members, who work tirelessly to support our community. I shared about my experience during the first month of session, and received great feedback and encouragement from all of the ladies in attendance.
I record video updates on a weekly basis. Take a look at my latest updates!
I have truly enjoyed being able to visit with many of you during the first month of session. I love hearing your ideas for the 25th District and the state, and want you to keep them coming as session continues. Feel free to send me an email any time, or call my office at (360) 786-7948. I am here to serve you.