As we near the midpoint of the 2018 legislative session, I have been busily reviewing bills as a member of the Senate Labor & Commerce Committee, the Senate Health & Long Term Care Committee and the Senate Ways & Means Committee, which controls the state budget.
The Senate is considering a number of issues, including bills that I introduced to:
- Prohibit employers from forcing hourly workers into noncompetition agreements (Senate Bill 6526).
- Extend workers’ comp to law enforcement officers and firefighters dealing with posttraumatic stress disorders (Senate Bill 6214).
- Protect military installations from incompatible development (Senate Bill 6456).
- Help problem gamblers fight gambling addiction (Senate Bill 6331).
Other priorities include addressing the worsening opioid crisis, increasing transparency in prescription drug costs and ensuring that insurers are not allowed to come between patients and their doctors. We are also focusing on protecting pensions and helping people with retirement.
The Senate has already passed important bills to keep Washington students from having to begin the school day hungry, and to help energy workers obtain health care coverage for diseases linked to exposure to dangerous conditions at the Hanford nuclear site.
We also sent several bills to the House to expand voter participation and strengthen our democracy. They include the Washington Voting Rights Act, which would allow minority communities to help shape more-representative municipal governments, as well as bills extending the period for voter registration and increasing transparency on hidden money in political campaigns.
Finally, it remains a top priority to adjust laws addressing the Supreme Court’s McCleary decision on K-12 education funding to make sure that the school districts in the 29th District – Tacoma, Bethel, Franklin Pierce and Clover Park – adequately educate our children. We also must pass supplemental operating, construction and transportation budgets, each of which profoundly affects our district.
Democrats’ return to the majority in the Senate has given us a unique opportunity to drive the agenda and pursue common-sense policies. I am confident that despite the challenges in accomplishing such a robust agenda during the shorter, 60-day legislative session, we will succeed in improving the quality of life across our state through legislation that puts people first.
If you have any questions or need any information, I encourage you to contact me and my legislative staff, who will be happy to assist you.
All the best,