Dear neighbors:

Every year, Rep. Larry Springer, Rep. Roger Goodman, and I hold an in-person town hall during the legislative session where we give an update on our work in Olympia and answer questions from constituents.

I would like to invite you to join us for the town hall this year. It will be held at Lake Washington Tech (11605 132nd Ave NE, Kirkland, WA 98034) on Saturday, Feb. 17, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. I hope to see you there!

Support for behavioral health and for survivors

Several bills I’m sponsoring passed the Senate this past week. Here are some of the highlights — which all passed unanimously!

One bill is a major step forward in our response to human trafficking:

  • SB 6006 would improve how the state identifies and responds to child victims of human trafficking, provides them with continued care, and enables them to seek civil remedies for the wrongs done to them. It would also make Washington state law consistent with the federal Justice for Victims Trafficking Act so the state can continue to receive federal funding for anti-trafficking work.

Four bills would improve our state’s behavioral health system. Over the last six years we have been working to build capacity for services across the behavioral health crisis continuum: A Place to Call, Someone to Come, A Safe Place to Be. The 988 system is the place to call. Mobile rapid response crisis teams and community-based crisis teams are the someone to come. The crisis relief system is the safe place to be. The bills we passed unanimously this week address each of those areas of the crisis continuum.

A Place to Call

  • SB 6308 would ensure the technology and integrated data platforms our 988 call centers need deliver the information critical to providing seamless, person-centered service.

Someone to Come

  • SB 6251 would ensure we develop regionalized coordinated behavioral health crisis response plans across our state. The Behavioral Health – Administrative Services Organizations are tasked with establishing comprehensive plans for mobile rapid response crisis teams and community-based crisis teams in their respective regions.
  • SB 6228 would remove hidden barriers preventing patients from accessing the treatment they need. Currently, the average length of stay for an inpatient treatment is 11 days. This bill ensures individuals get authorization for at least 14 days of inpatient treatment and then at least seven days after the next insurance review. The bill also caps certification fees and cuts red tape so our state’s behavioral health workforce can grow more quickly.

A Safe Place to Be

  • SB 5853 would expand the state’s new system of crisis relief centers (CRCs), which currently serves adults only, to provide separate facilities for minors. A CRC is a new type of community-based facility licensed or certified by the Department of Health. CRCs are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, offering immediate mental health and substance abuse care to adults for up to 24 hours, as well as referrals to further care. A CRC must accept walk-ins, first-responder drop-offs, and referrals from the 988 system. The CRC system for adults was established in 2023 by SB 5120.

Stay in touch

As always, please feel free to reach out to my office directly at the contact information below or by clicking on the banner above. Take care!

Sincerely yours,

Manka Dhingra
Senator, 45th Legislative District
Deputy Majority Leader