Dear neighbors, 

We’ve just passed another major milestone in the 2024 Legislative session – what’s known as the House of Origin cutoff. That means Tuesday by 5 pm was the last chance for most bills to be voted off the floor of their original chamber (House or Senate) and keep moving along in the legislative process. Not all bills that have made it this far will make it all the way to the Governor’s desk, but we do now have a better sense of which bills will have to wait another year. You still have time to have your voice heard as the bills that are still alive have new public hearings in their opposite chamber. 

Please join us for this weekend’s town hall! 

This Saturday I will be hosting an in-person Town Hall with my seatmates. I hope you will join us – and bring your questions! 

 Parking at the venue is limited, so I recommend carpooling or taking transit (served by the 249 line). Additional parking is available a short walk south of the venue by the Northtowne Park. 

I had six bills pass out of the Senate – all with strong bipartisan support: 

  • SB 5804 expands access to opioid overdose reversal medication (NARCAN) in public schools – from high schools over a certain size to all K-12 schools. The goal is to have these life-saving tools available for cases of both intentional and accidental exposure to opioids. 
  • SB 5806 allows the Office of the Insurance Commissioner to collect critical market data without risking disclosure of sensitive federal or individual proprietary company data. 
  • SB 5842 helps protect social security numbers from unnecessary risk posed by potential large data leaks.
  • SB 5213 increases transparency and accountability for pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) in Washington for state-regulated (fully insured) plans, providing a voluntary “opt-in” for self-insured plans. It’s designed to help both patients and small, independent pharmacies.
  • SB 5722 allows law enforcement, prosecuting attorneys, and defense attorneys limited access to footage from traffic safety cameras for criminal cases. It requires there to a lawfully issued warrant or a subpoena, after a finding by a court that the footage is material to the crime being investigated. There at least a couple unsolved murder investigations where the killer likely ran a red light and was ticketed, but that footage cannot currently be used to solve the murders. 

What I’m hearing from you… 

My office diligently monitors emails from across the 48th Legislative District and the state. One pressing topic we are hearing feedback on is SB 5444 – Firearms in sensitive places. I voted for this bill to pass out of committee and on the Senate floor because it is vital for enhancing public safety by expanding the places where weapons are restricted, especially those frequented by children. It aims to tackle intimidation tactics and the alarming increase in gun-related fatalities, prioritizing safety without compromising individual rights. I understand that creating a safe and secure environment for families is of utmost importance and a top priority for all of us. SB 5444 is a proactive step towards achieving this goal, and it reinforces our commitment to preventing gun violence and safeguarding our communities. Let’s work together to create a better future for our families and communities. 

Another gun safety bill, SB 5693, didn’t make it out of committee this session. That bill would have required gun owners who live in WA, and own or possesses a firearm, to carry gun liability insurance to cover the losses or damages resulting from any accidental use of the firearm. This insurance could be a provision of existing homeowners’ or renters’ insurance, but the bill would require an insurance producer to inquire about gun ownership and safe storage creating a further incentive for safe storage and safe handling practices. This bill is not about intentional criminal behavior (which can’t be insured against), it’s about accidental shootings. 

I have also been receiving several emails on SB 5770, providing state and local property tax reform. That bill did not come to the Senate floor for a vote and will likely not be moving forward this year. I did not co-sponsor this bill, because while I recognize that our cities and counties are limited in what revenue they can seek to continue provide essential services, 5770 was a property tax increase without also providing tax relief for those who would be hardest hit by an increase. That’s why last year I introduced an alternative approach, SB 5618, that only impacted the local portion of property taxes and was tied to the passage of SB 5495 to provide property tax rebates in the form of a homestead exemption for homeowners and a credit for renters at the same time.  

I’m signing off for now, 

I’m signing off for now, but I hope to see many of you at our in-person town hall this weekend, February 17th starting at 10:00am to 11:30am (doors open at 9:30 am). We’ll be talking all things 2024 legislative session and taking as many questions as we can get to. 

Happy Year of the Dragon!