Dear Friends and neighbors,
Spring is in the air—cherry blossoms are finally blooming up around the capital and with just a few weeks to go in the 2023 session, budgets are in bloom too!
Boldly Balancing Budgets
With just a few weeks of the 2023 legislative session to go, we are working up until the finish line on bills and budgets that align with our values and put the people of Washington first.
We recently passed the capital, operating, and transportation budgets for the next two years off the Senate floor and sent them over to the House for their consideration. The capital budget had some exciting investments for the 28th, including:
- $258,000 for the Anderson Island Multipurpose Building
- $309,000 for cultural improvements to Fort Steilacoom Park by the Nisqually Indian Tribe and the City of Lakewood
- $460,000 for the Gravelly Lake Commons at LASA in Lakewood
- $215,000 for the Old Fort Lake Subarea remediation and public access project in DuPont
- $200,000 for the restoration of the Tribal Cultural Center and Museum in Steilacoom
- $200,000 for design work on the Day Island Bridge in University Place
- $153,000 to improve the intersection of Electron Way and Contra Costa Ave in Fircrest
- $200,000 for the 57th Ave sewer project in University Place
The operating budget funded several priorities we outlined this year, including:
- $2.9 billion in new money for our schools and an emphasis on special education services
- $424 million to transform behavioral and mental health care and for drug treatment
- $298 million towards housing and immediate shelter needs
- $457 million for enhancements to the Working Connections Child Care program
- $123 million for wildfire suppression and forest health activities
- $20 million for community and technical colleges
And the transportation budget invests in:
- Puyallup Ave. transit
- Creating safe routes to school at 31st and Parkway
- Several improvements to I-5, including the JBLM Corridor, the Nisqually Delta, and the HOV lane from 38th to JBLM
- Tacoma Narrows Bridge preservation
- Pierce County Transit improvements
- Rail improvement at 6th and S. 19th St.
- Ferry landings at Anderson Island and Steilacoom
Bills nearing the finish line
After bills pass off the floor of the Senate, they repeat the process in the House. In return, we consider House bills. Here is what I’ve sponsored that has moved or is still in the process:
The following have passed both the Senate and the House and will head to the Governor’s Desk to be signed into law!
- The Recess Act, SB 5257, would ensure adequate recess for all students – as recommended by scientists, parents, and kids. Recess isn’t just a fun break from class, it’s an essential part of a child’s development. By ensuring every child has access to high-quality play, we can set them up for success in the classroom and beyond, while building a stronger and healthier community for generations to come.
- Highly Capable Programs offer accelerated learning and enhanced instruction to advanced students, but the current process for referring students is biased and often excludes marginalized students. This exclusion can lead to misbehavior, mislabeling, poor work ethic, and disengagement from school. My bill, SB 5072, aims to remove systemic barriers and provide appropriate education for high intelligence children of all demographics.
- Transit is an integral part of connecting our neighborhoods and cities and regions. Delays in service can seriously disrupt schedules for our community members, especially those relying on transit. I sponsored SB 5317 to allow Sound Transit to directly contact a towing company to remove a vehicle from Sound Transit right-of-way, rather than the current required practice of initiating a police response first.
These bills are still being considered in the House:
- The Crime Victims Compensation Program has played a crucial role in ensuring that survivors receive appropriate treatment and that perpetrators are held responsible. To maintain access to necessary resources, I sponsored SB 5070.
- Currently, survivors and witnesses can request notification when an incarcerated person is released from prison, but this notification is not protected by the Public Records Act. That means formerly incarcerated individuals can access the names of those who requested to be notified through a public disclosure request. The Department of Corrections has requested SB 5081, which seeks to exempt the information about requesting victims and witnesses from the PRA. The primary objective of this legislation is to use effective governance to safeguard the survivors and witnesses.
- State law now allows expenses to be collected from an individual’s estate after their death if they received long-term care services, regardless of their income or assets. I sponsored SB 5318 to prevent the Health Care Authority and DSHS from filing liens against property or seeking recovery prior to the death of individuals receiving long-term care from the state. This would allow families to conduct estate planning and make decisions on property disposal after death. The bill also removes the requirement to transfer personal funds to DSHS, which would help cover incidental expenses such as funeral costs.
- Expanding access to higher education strengthens our communities. I sponsored SB 5711 to expand the Washington College Grant, our state’s largest financial aid program, from five years to six. It aligns us with the federal standard for the Pell Grant, giving students more flexibility to complete their degrees, reducing the burden on administrative college aid offices, and ensuring a better return on the state’s investment.
- Finally, I sponsored SB 5196 to create a license plate for our very own women’s soccer team: the OL Reign! Proceeds from the plate go to community programs that empower young girls to play. This plate is for the fans and the next generation of women in sports! This bill is currently in Senate Transportation while enough signatures are being collected to indicate interest in the plate. You can find more information here: https://twitter.com/OLReign/status/1637480296504328197
Ways to stay connected
I appreciate your thoughts and advocacy and 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.
Sen. T’wina Nobles