Dear Friends and Neighbors,
We are now more than halfway through the 2016 legislative session, and the pace hasn't slowed down. We have been voting on dozens of bills on the House floor, including a couple of my own that I'm proud to say were recently approved.
House Bill 2681 was approved by the House last Thursday in a 67-30 vote. The bill would increase options for women to obtain birth control directly from a pharmacist by:
- Utilizing existing Collaborative Drug Therapy Agreements (CDTAs) to give prescription authority to pharmacists.
- Expanding options for pharmacists to enter into CDTAs to prescribe birth control to women.
- Adding a provision to increase awareness for women about which local pharmacies actively prescribe contraception.
Statistics show women who have easy access to birth control have higher education levels, career achievement, and wages throughout their lives. That's why it is important to further expand partnerships between providers and pharmacists, as well as increase awareness for women about the role pharmacies can play in their health care decisions. This bill is currently scheduled for a public hearing in the Senate Health Care Committee on Thursday, Feb. 18.
House Bill 2906 passed off the House floor yesterday in an 85-12 vote. This bill is known as the SOAR Act – Strengthening Opportunities for Rehabilitation for Juveniles. The inspiration for this policy is based on the premise that young people who commit offenses are responsive to rehabilitation and have the potential to lead productive and law-abiding lives. This bill would add rehabilitation and reintegration as a goal of our state Juvenile Justice Act, eliminate mandatory fines for juveniles who commit motor vehicle-related offenses, and make additional changes that focus on expanding the opportunities for our young people to turn their lives around. This bill now heads to the Senate for further consideration.
Two other bills of mine have not yet received a vote in the House, but still may before Wednesday night — the deadline for all House bills to pass.
House Bill 2680 passed unanimously out of the House Higher Education Committee. This bill would help reduce the cost of textbooks for students enrolled in our state's four-year universities by creating the Open Education Resources Pilot Program. Faculty would have the opportunity to apply for competitive grants to provide resources to create and assemble free course curriculum for students.
House Bill 2885 passed unanimously out of the House Health Care and Wellness Committee. This bill would establish a maternal mortality review commission. The goal of the commission would be to identify causes of pregnancy-related deaths, and then develop intervention directives and improvements for maternity care here in Washington state. There is currently a large disparity in maternal-deaths based on ethnicity and age. In California, the state found a 68 percent increase in maternal deaths for women over the age of 40. My bill would encourage quick action by the review panel to summarize contributing factors to pregnancy-related deaths. It would also allow the panel to identify quality improvement opportunities and come back to the Legislature with recommendations. As a legislative body, we could then make the needed policy or programmatic changes to help save the lives of many women.
Rep. Zeiger and I featured in the Puyallup Herald
Puyallup Herald reporter Heather DeRosa recently came down to Olympia to interview Rep. Hans Zeiger and I about what we've been working on for the 25th. Her piece ran last week, which you can read here.
Seattle Seahawk Jermaine Kearse comes to Olympia
Yesterday, Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Jermaine Kearse visited the Legislature with a group of kids from his 15 to 1 Foundation. The mission of the foundation is to support and inspire youth in military families to work hard, persevere and find success through positive choices and overcoming adversity. Each of the kids recognized on the House Floor had lost their father in combat. I am thankful to Kearse and his foundation for their commitment to inspiring and supporting military children and families.
Selected to serve in Governing Institute's 'Women in Government Leadership Program'
It is a great honor to have been selected to the 2016 class of the Governing Institute's 'Women in Government Leadership Program'. The program was established in 2014 to create a bipartisan, national network of women policy-leaders. The 2016 class is comprised of 25 women currently serving in state and local offices around the country.
I have had the opportunity to meet the 2016 class, and am excited to continue connecting with these dynamic women, learning from their experiences, and finding shared passions as we work on policies that benefit our communities.
You can click here to read the Governing Institute's profile of me.
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.