Dear neighbors:

We are just over a week into the session, and it has already been an eventful one. As Deputy Majority Leader of the Senate, I took questions from the media on our caucus’s priorities this year. In the Law & Justice Committee, which I chair, we have heard thirteen bills and passed three out of committee. And three of the bills I’m prime sponsoring have received committee hearings.

Read on to learn more about my priorities for the session!

Three bills have been heard already

  • SB 5790, which was brought to me by students from Eastlake High School, would require all schools to make bleeding kits available and have designated employees trained how to use them. A person can bleed to death in three to four minutes if hemorrhaging is not stopped, but bystanders can help save lives with simple techniques and the right equipment. This bill was heard on Thursday.
  • SB 5853 would establish a system for behavioral health crisis relief centers for youth — so when young people in crisis need treatment immediately, they have somewhere to go that can help stabilize them and connect them to the longer-term services they need to get their lives back on track. Over the last six years we have been working on building capacity for services across the behavioral health crisis continuum: A Place to Call, Someone to Come, A Safe Place to Be. The crisis relief system is the safe place to be. This bill was also heard on Thursday.
  • SB 5937 is an omnibus bill to promote a victim-centered, trauma-informed response to sexual assault in our legal system. The bill streamlines eligibility for crime victim benefits, covers some of victims’ costs for forensic examinations, expands protections to more victims, improves state and local teams to respond to sexual assault, and ensures that children age 13 and up can consent for forensic sexual examinations and examinations for sexually transmitted infections — consistent with current law on the age of medical consent. This bill was heard on Monday.

Another bill will be heard today

  • SB 6006 strengthens our state’s laws to prevent child sex trafficking. In recent years, Washington has passed laws protecting children from trafficking, but our state recently got a C grade from Shared Hope International based on their new grading criteria. This bill would implement Shared Hope’s recommendations to improve how we identify and respond to victims, provide them with continued care, and bring justice. It also makes our state consistent with the federal Justice for Victims Trafficking Act so we can continue to receive federal funding to do this crucial work. This bill will be heard today, Tuesday, Jan. 16. Sign in here to register your support of the bill.

Several other bills will be scheduled for hearings soon

  • SB 5969 would give school districts more flexibility to use debt to finance the construction of school buildings and purchase furniture and equipment. This legislation is a priority for our Eastside school districts.
  • SB 6050 would establish a pilot program to provide temporary housing for young people finishing inpatient treatment for behavioral health.
  • SB 6146 would expand cooperation between state and tribal governments, so that fugitives from tribal courts cannot evade justice by remaining off reservation in Washington, while ensuring that defendants receive full due process protections.
  • SB 6207 would make improvements to the operations of the Office of Independent Investigations. These investigations of deadly force incidents are critical to ensuring we are building trust and confidence in our justice system.
  • SB 6227 would close a loophole in current law and enable courts to grant civil protection orders to protect victims of domestic violence when the defendant is found not guilty by reason of insanity.
  • SB 6228 would remove several of the barriers that prevent patients from receiving effective substance use disorder treatment.


How you can get involved in the legislative session

Now that session has begun, I hope you will get in touch with my office about the issues most important to you. Many of the ideas for legislation I’ve sponsored came from constituents — including some terrific high school students — and all the bills we have passed benefitted from public input. Your time and effort help me do the best job I can representing our communities in the 45th Legislative District – Kirkland, Redmond, Woodinville, Duvall, and Sammamish

Stay in touch

As always, please feel free to reach out to my office directly with any questions or concerns. Take care!

Sincerely yours,

Manka Dhingra
Senator, 45th Legislative District
Deputy Majority Leader