Dear friends and neighbors,
Pride Month starts next week, and I’m delighted to report that this year’s legislative session produced several significant new laws to celebrate. We focused on policies to promote greater health, safety, and dignity for members of the LGBTQ+ community in our state. And our Democratic majorities successfully blocked several dangerous bills that would have curtailed fundamental rights and worsened long-term health outcomes.
Advancing LBGTQ+ rights
As the senior member of our Legislature’s LGBTQ+ Caucus, I coordinate with my colleagues well before the session starts to ensure we prioritize legislation that will improve lives and advance civil rights. In the photo above, I’m celebrating the passage of SB 5599 with fellow Senate LGBTQ+ Caucus members Marko Liias (Everett), Emily Randall (Bremerton), and Claire Wilson (Federal Way). Here are a few of the bills that we passed, and Governor Inslee signed, this year:
- SB 5599 protects transgender youth who are not supported at home and are seeking gender-affirming care or reproductive health care by providing them safe accommodations. Despite widespread misinformation about this commonsense legislation, the bill simply protects youth in crisis by making sure they have access to safe, stable shelter.
- SB 5028 is a bill I sponsored to make it easier and safer to change your name legally. The credit for this legislation goes to Maia Xiao, a UW graduate student who emailed me last summer with concerns about how Washington’s current laws left trans and nonbinary people vulnerable to harassment and viole
- HB 1469, or the “shield law”, protects people in Washington seeking or providing reproductive health care services and gender-affirming treatment from out-of-state efforts to pursue criminal or civil cases against them.
- HB 1155 protects private, personal health data with the My Health My Data Act, first-in-the-nation legislation to give Washingtonians control over who shares and sells their health data, and the freedom to demand that businesses delete their sensitive health data.
- SB 5142 increases access to HIV and AIDS prevention medications.
- SB 5114 creates a program for healing, support and transition services for adults who have been trafficked for sex.
- SB 5186 requires all contracts for public works and goods or services to contain comprehensive antidiscrimination clauses.
In addition, the 2023-25 capital budget provides $1 million for Lambert House on Capitol Hill to build a new foundation for its building and increase its usable space for programming supporting LGBTQ+ youth.
Thanks for taking the time to read my newsletter. I will continue to send updates on key legislation passed during this year’s legislative session. If you missed my previous updates on gun safety, reproductive freedom, public education, or housing they are available on my website. Please reach out with any questions at Jamie.Pedersen@leg.wa.gov.