Friends and Neighbors—

Representatives Jessica Bateman, Beth Doglio and I invite you to a legislative town hall on March 16 at 6:30 pm at the South Puget Sound Community College Lacey Campus Event Center on 6th Avenue SE. We hope you’ll bring your questions, thoughts, and ideas. Read on for more insight into what the Legislature is working on in 2023.

Last Wednesday was the deadline for bills to pass from their house of origin—except bills that are necessary to implement the budget. In other words, to stay alive, House bills must have passed the House of Representatives and Senate bills must have passed the Senate. We have now returned to committee meetings where the Senate will consider House-passed bills and the House will consider Senate-passed bills.

On Monday, we had a first.  Sauli Niinistö, the President of Finland, became the first head of state to address the Washington state Legislature. He spoke about strengthening his country’s relationship with the state of Washington and voiced strong support for Ukraine as they continue battling Russian aggression.

During the week, we considered several bills that passed through our committees. Here are a few of my bills that passed the Senate and are awaiting action in the House.

Washington is the first state to propose a national interstate teacher mobility compact. SB 5180 would allow Washington residents with teacher certification in other states to be eligible to teach in our schools, as long as they meet Washington’s requirements. A minimum of ten states must agree to join the compact before it becomes law. We are also working on a similar compact that will allow nurses the same mobility. Compacts are especially helpful to the South Sound area with its large number of military residents.  A military spouse or partner who often moves to a new location every few years could teach without having to take duplicative courses they had previously taken in another state. It will increase the pool of available teachers and provide a path to employment for military-connected families.

A constituent reached out to me after one of their family members died of a sudden heart attack while working out in a local gym. Even through tragedy, the constituent wanted to make sure fitness centers were better equipped to respond quickly. SB 5592 would require all fitness centers in Washington state to acquire and maintain at least one semiautomatic external defibrillator. Fourteen states currently require fitness centers and health clubs to carry defibrillators. More than 400,000 Americans will experience sudden cardiac arrest each year – and many will die if early medical treatment isn’t available. If the local health club here had been required to have a defibrillator, a life may have been saved.

Aside from the bills on policy, our budgets are on the horizon. Over the next few weeks, we will see Senate proposals introduced for new two-year state budgets, funding everything from transportation and public health to environmental protection and public schools.

I hope to discuss these policy proposals and more at our legislative town hall on Thursday, March 16th at 6:30 pm at the South Puget Sound Community College Lacey campus Event Center on 6th Avenue. I value hearing from all of you and getting you accurate information with the ongoings of the legislature.