Dear Friends and Neighbors,
This Saturday, I'll be holding a town hall meeting at Pierce College Puyallup with fellow 25th District lawmakers, Rep. Joyce McDonald and Sen. Hans Zeiger. We'll be providing updates on the session, as well as taking your questions. If you would like to submit a question in advance, please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Details are as follows:
Date: Saturday, Feb. 17
Time: Doors open at 9:30 a.m., town hall from 10-11 a.m.
Venue: Pierce College Puyallup, College Center Building, MPR-A
Address: 1601 39th Ave SE, Puyallup, WA 98374
Coffee and refreshments will be provided. I hope to see you there!
In my latest video update, I discuss the supplemental budgets we'll be passing later this session, as well as K-12 and higher education priorities, transportation needs in the 25th District, and more. Click on the image below to watch!
Constituents come to the Capitol
Over the past six weeks of session, I have met with many residents from our district, and have appreciated hearing their valuable insights, concerns and ideas. In the House Transportation Committee recently, a constituent who is a snow bike enthusiast testified in support of House Bill 2975, and identified an error in the language of the bill. The constituent shared the problem with me, which led to us correcting the error.
I am grateful our community is so engaged and willing to help to shape legislation and the work of our state government. I encourage each of you to continue providing input on bills as the session continues. Your voice helps us improve legislation and better serve our community and state!
The latest on my bills
As I mentioned in my last update, both House Bill 1742 and House Bill 2087 were approved by the House and sent over to the Senate for further consideration. Both bills are now in the Senate Transportation Committee. House Bill 1742 would provide a legal way for auto repair shops to service vehicles with expired tabs, while House Bill 2087 would require drivers to yield the right-of-way to any authorized vehicle or pedestrian working in a designated construction or maintenance area.
There have also been developments on several of my other bills.
House Bill 1433
This bill would delink the annual increase in services and activity (S&A) fees from the percentage increase in student tuition fees. In recent years, budget writers have authorized S&A fee committees — comprised mostly of students — to vote on whether or not to increase their own fees. House Bill 1433 removes them from the process completely, and gives our students the autonomy to make decisions based on campus and student needs. The bill passed the House 91-7 last week, and now heads to the Senate Higher Education Committee.
House Bill 2570
On Friday, the House approved House Bill 2570, which would help Washingtonians seek and receive care at their local pharmacies.
While Washington state already allows pharmacists to prescribe contraceptives and vaccines through Collaborative Drug Therapy Agreements, not all pharmacies provide the same medication or services. My bill would require the Department of Health (DOH) to create — if one is not already established by July 2020 — a searchable, online database of pharmacies with pharmacists on staff who could legally prescribe vaccines or self-administered hormonal contraceptives. This would enable individuals to know which pharmacies are equipped to provide the health care services they need.
The Washington State Pharmacy Association is beginning to work on its own searchable database, which I hope is completed well before the deadline in this legislation. However, the deadline is still important because it adds an extra layer of accountability. House Bill 2570 was approved 86-12, and now heads to the Senate Health and Long Term Care Committee.
House Bill 2801
This bill is designed to help students at our community and technical colleges, including students in Running Start. It would require community and technical colleges to implement a tracking and early alert system designed to: 1) track students' progress, 2) notify faculty, advisors or staff when a student may need additional academic support or advising, and 3) connect the student to appropriate and available support services. House Bill 2801 was unanimously voted out of the Higher Education Committee on Jan. 31, but did not receive a hearing in the House Appropriations Committee before fiscal cutoff.
House Bill 2863
House Bill 2863 would make feminine hygiene products available in restrooms at community and technical colleges across the state. The concern over the lack of availability of hygiene products on our community college campuses was brought to me by a student at Pierce College Puyallup. Our state provides hygiene products such as toilet paper, water, paper towels, seat covers and hand sanitizer on college campuses, so why not also provide essential feminine hygiene products? This bill was approved unanimously in the House Higher Education Committee, but also did not receive a hearing in the House Appropriations Committee before fiscal cutoff.
House of Origin Cutoff
The 60-day legislative session has several deadlines for bills moving through the legislative process. We have already passed two deadlines, House of Origin Policy Committee Cutoff and House of Origin Fiscal Committee Cutoff, and will reach our third deadline tomorrow — House of Origin Cutoff. This deadline requires all House bills to be voted off the House floor, and all Senate bills to be voted off the Senate floor, before 5 p.m. for them to continue this session.
Bills that are not voted out of their respective chamber will be considered dead for the year unless deemed necessary to implement the budget. Following Wednesday's deadline, House committees will begin considering Senate bills, and Senate committees will begin hearing House bills.
As always, I welcome your thoughts, questions and concerns on the issues before us in the Legislature this year. If you can't make it to the town hall in Puyallup this weekend, I invite you to send me an email or give my office a call.
It is an honor to serve you.