Dear Friends and Neighbors,
We're in week three of the 2016 legislative session, and several of my bills have either already received a public hearing or are scheduled to receive a hearing next week.
My legislation in the House Higher Education Committee
House Bill 2451 would require the Washington Campus Compact, a statewide coalition of public and private higher education institutions, to develop a statewide program to map, track and improve partnerships between identified postsecondary educational institutions and K-12 schools. This bill received a public hearing on Jan. 19.
House Bill 2680 would help reduce the burden of high college textbook costs by establishing the Washington open education pilot grant program at state universities, regional universities, and The Evergreen State College. My bill would encourage faculty to accelerate the adoption of lower-cost, high-quality open educational resources that would be freely available online for students to use. The bill is scheduled to receive a public hearing today.
My legislation in the House Health Care and Wellness Committee
House Bill 2681 would allow women to obtain birth control directly from a pharmacist. Under current law, most women are required to get a prescription from their primary care physician to obtain access to contraceptives, but that can be a long, arduous and expensive process. Removing unnecessary barriers in order to increase access to effective contraceptives would be a positive development for women's health in Washington state.
The News Tribune recently wrote an editorial praising my bill, saying it offers a “significant improvement to the status quo.” The editorial board also wrote, “Anything that decreases unwanted pregnancies has the side benefit of decreasing the number of abortions. That's something legislators on both sides of the aisle — or anyone who wants fewer abortions taking place — should support.” The bill received a public hearing on Jan. 27.
House Bill 2885 would establish a maternity mortality review commission, which would be responsible for conducting a comprehensive, multi-disciplinary review of maternal death. Similar legislation was passed in California, and after review and implementation of new procedures, the number of maternal deaths was reduced by two-thirds. I hope we can have a similar impact with the passage of this legislation in Washington state. This bill is scheduled to receive a public hearing on Feb. 2.
My legislation in the House Early Learning and Human Services Committee
House Bill 2906, the Strengthening Opportunities and Rehabilitation for Juvenile Offenders Act, aims to reduce youth recidivism rates by adding rehabilitation as a priority in our juvenile justice system. This bill also give judges and prosecutors added discretion in sentencing. A public hearing is scheduled for Feb. 3.
I discuss the above bills, recent work in my committees, and much more in my latest video update. Click the image below to take a look!
Coffee town hall and upcoming telephone town hall on Feb. 2
The coffee town hall Sen. Dammeier, Rep. Zeiger and I recently hosted in Fife was very well-attended. It was a great opportunity for us to sit down and hear a variety of ideas and concerns from the community.
If you weren't able to attend, Rep. Zeiger and I will be hosting a telephone town hall next Tuesday, Feb. 2 from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. If you would like to listen and/or ask a question, you can join us by calling (253) 561-0087. There will also be an opportunity to participate in a few instant polls. I hope you can join us!
I was glad to have the opportunity to join House Republican Leader Rep. Dan Kristiansen and Rep. Shelly Short at a recent joint media availability for the House Republican Caucus and Senate Majority Coalition Caucus. I discussed some of my legislative priorities, including House Bill 2681, which I mentioned above. If you would like to watch the media availability, please click here or on the image below.
Meetings in my office
Over the past week, I have had numerous individuals and groups meet with me in my office. Students from Fife High School discussed needed funding for Career and Technical Education opportunities in our high schools. Western Washington University and Pierce College Puyallup students discussed college affordability and my work to reduce textbook costs. Chief Jeter of the Puyallup Police Department shared the department's legislative goals with me. Additionally, paraeducators and retired teachers discussed opportunities to improve our education system.
As always, I encourage you to email me any time or call and make an appointment to meet with me at my office.
I want to continue to hear your thoughts and ideas for how to solve the challenges facing our district and state. Please feel free to give me a call or send an email any time. My contact information is below.
It is an honor to serve the 25th District in the state House.