OLYMPIA— Sen. T’wina Nobles (D-Fircrest) reflects on wins from her first year in office, as well as the impact that this work will have on communities across our state. The fifth of five bills sponsored by Nobles and passed by the legislature was signed into law early last month.  

“I am honored to serve and represent the 28th legislative district and I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished together during my first session. We’ve taken some of our community’s most pressing issues and addressed them with new laws,” said Nobles. 

Senate Bill 5184, Senator Nobles’ first bill to pass the legislature, requires each public school in Washington to designate an on-site contact for students experiencing foster care to better coordinate services and resources. 

My points of contact ensured my success as I moved through the foster care system. Students, especially those experiencing foster care, need caring adults who pay attention to their needs,” Nobles said. “Assigning one staff member at each school allows for a closer relationship with students and helps to fill some of the gaps. I’m so proud to have sponsored a bill that prioritizes student success.” 

Senate Bill 5293 allows a sentencing court discretion on whether a mental health sentencing alternative may be enacted. This bill promotes public safety by addressing some of the root causes of crime and supporting the long-term mental health of individuals who are convicted of an offense. It is based on recommendations from the Criminal Sentencing Task Force, which the Legislature established in 2019. 

“A mental health sentencing alternative provides treatment as opposed to criminalizing people for having a mental illness, thus making our communities safer by addressing underlying causes – rather than symptoms – of crime,” said Nobles. 

Senate Bill 5321 eliminates a pledge requirement for the College Bound scholarship and auto-enrolls eligible students. The pledge requirement previously kept almost 10,000 students from accessing the scholarship, so this bill significantly increases access to higher education for students from lower income households.  

“We’ve strategically removed barriers for more students to have the opportunity to attend college using the College Bound scholarship. This bill strikes the balance between upholding the state’s promise to students and increasing access.” 

Senate Bill 5183 provides survivors of domestic violence assaults involving strangulation the medical assistance and justice they need. 

“When survivors are ready to seek medical assistance, we need trained professionals who can assist them,” said Nobles. “This bill shifts the burden of cost away from survivors so that when they are ready, they can seek not only treatment, but also justice.” 

Senate Bill 5259 allows for data collection on police uses of forceThat data will lead to more effective policies to ensure accountability in policingBy providing public access to information about law enforcement uses of force, this legislation creates the opportunity to build trust with community. 

The way police interact with the community is a deeply personal issue to me as a Black woman, mother, and legislator,” said Nobles. “We now have the opportunity to begin building trust through transparency. Having access to a centralized database will enable us to make more informed decisions as policy makers. To make effective decisions about accountability, we need data.” 

The remaining two bills sponsored by Nobles were turned into budget provisos. These provisos were included in the budgets that were signed into law. 

Senate Bill 5448 would have created a payment plan for annual vehicle registration. The transportation budget passed this year has allocated funds for a workgroup that will convene over the next year to consider this issue 

“Community members are struggling with the annual car tab fee, and I feel strongly about finding relief for them,” said Nobles. “This work group will give us the time and expertise needed to find the best possible solution for our community.” 

Senate Bill 5292 offered legislation to evaluate the use of parks and recreation spaces, trails, and facilities in the design of a parks Rx, or parks prescription, pilot program. The program has been funded through the operating budget.  

The pandemic has shown us that now more than ever, folks need the opportunity to get outside,” said Nobles. “This pilot program, created in collaboration with the health care and insurance sectors, will offer community members a wellness program that connects more folks to the healing benefits of the outdoors. 

As I return to my day job, I am celebrating all we accomplished in the 2021 legislative session. From listening sessions with constituents to meeting with community stakeholders, many ideas for legislation we passed this session came right from the communityI look forward to the continued partnership, and encourage 28th District constituents to reach out with ideas on how we can make our community a better place to live.”  

Nobles can be reached at T’