Dear friends and neighbors,
An unusual and, indeed, historic session has concluded. In January, we faced $9 billion in budget cuts due to the COVID-19 pandemic and recession, political violence and unrest in DC and at home, and spiking COVID cases. We have ended with historic investments to help those most affected by the pandemic and passed landmark legislation on issues like housing, police accountability, childcare, and more. Here are some highlights of the session, including legislation that I introduced.
A Budget That Put People First
The pandemic challenged our existing systems. It highlighted the need to equitably fund crucial social needs that exist statewide – across areas such as childcare, policing, broadband, housing, and taxes.
In January, we hit the ground running and passed:
- $2.2 billion in federal COVID relief, which funded rental assistance, vaccine distribution, aid for schools, and more.
- $1.7 billion in small business tax relief—later adding another $500 million for the hardest-hit businesses.
We also passed a $59 billion budget, Senate Bill 5092, which made critical investments for Washington families:
- The Working Families Tax Exemption will support Washingtonians who are struggling to make ends meet. One in six Washington households will be eligible, including 33,500 individual filers.
- Changes to the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program will allow more families to access this crucial program during times of high statewide unemployment.
- Equity training for educators and students was given additional funding and will provide educators the tools to rebuild a school system where all students feel welcomed and can thrive.
- The Fair Start for Kids Act makes historic investments in childcare and early learning that will address the lack of affordability and accessibility to childcare programs for families across Washington.
Funding Secured for the 22nd
Together with my seatmates in the House, Reps. Laurie Dolan and Jessica Bateman, we were able to secure $297.2 million for projects in the 22nd District. To read more about specific projects, I’d like to refer you to Rep. Bateman’s e-newsletter, if you haven’t already seen it.
Legislation I Sponsored
While not all the bills I introduced made it through the legislative process, I am proud of the legislation that strengthened our election systems, protected public employees, and simplified processes by making them compliant with federal regulations.
The legislation I sponsored made it through includes:
- Senate Bill 5013 – Establishes a local redistricting deadline in line with changes to the state Constitution and redistricting law made over the past couple of years.
- Senate Bill 5015 – Strengthens election integrity by making portraying a fake drop box a gross misdemeanor.
- Senate Bill 5021 – Protects retirement pension plans for public employees from being reduced as a result of a public employer’s expenditure reduction efforts due to the pandemic.
- Senate Bill 5225 – Simplifies the court process for the Administrative Procedures Act and the Land Use Petition Act.
- Senate Bill 5303 – Exempts the FDA from the Public Disclosure Act, which will allow state radiochemistry labs to receive $750,000 per year of federal funding.
Ways to Stay Connected
Many of you reached out this session, and I appreciate your thoughts and advocacy. As we head into interim, I hope you’ll keep in touch.
Get involved in the process
- Learn—How a bill becomes a law, from start to finish, is explained here.
- Find—Look up legislation on the issues important to you here.
- Watch—Visit TVW.org for broadcasts and archived videos of your democracy in action.
- Reach out—If you do not live in the 22nd Legislative District, you can find and contact your legislators here.
As always, please reach out to my office for any questions or comments. You can also find me on Facebook and Twitter to receive updates about the work we are doing for you.