Friends, neighbors — 

It’s been 78 days of non-stop work on behalf of our communities, with only 27 remaining until the end of the 2023 session. Scroll down for the highlights. ⬇️

#1: The Senate dropped a sweeping, $69.2 billion budget proposal for the next biennium — one that reflects our values, helps us build healthier communities, works to provide a home for everyone and success for every child, and includes a historic investment to address the climate crisis. A few highlights I’m especially excited to share:

#2: Thanks to everyone who joined our town halls, whether in person or virtual! We talked about everything from health care access, public safety and protecting our environment to transportation, housing and workforce development. 

Here were some of the questions you asked: 

  • What does workforce development involve and what are your policy priorities for this policy area? 
  • Religious hospital corps are buying secular hospitals and then restricting some reproduction care (abortion), anything we can do? 
  • Of the total transportation budget, do you know roughly how much is spent on new culverts, bikeways and highways? 
  • What is happening at the legislature that addresses climate change and environmental degradation? 

We also discussed how engaged our constituents are. Our office receives a much higher volume of email than the average office — you’ve sent us more than 30,000 emails this session alone! I shared during our town hall we use Power BI to help slice and dice the data so we can track the trends and stay on top of what neighbors like you care about. Here’s a snapshot: 

Your comments are invaluable and what informs our work in Olympia. Keep sharing your feedback without office and look out for more opportunities to connect again soon!

#3: We’ll hit another critical deadline Wednesday: opposite house policy cutoff. This is the deadline to move policy bills (that aren’t revenue related) out of committees. Bills that don’t make it out by Wednesday will come back to life next session but will be frozen in their place for the rest of this session. We’ll spend most of the next four weeks on the Senate floor voting on bills. 

 Here’s where our bills stand right now: 

👉🏽 SB 5394 passed the House and is on the governor’s desk awaiting signature. It supports physicians trained at international medical schools in providing care in Washington by helping grow practice opportunities. 

👉🏽 SB 5555 is scheduled for a vote in House Health Care & Wellness Wednesday. It helps address the behavioral health crisis by creating certified peer specialists to ensure our neighbors who are struggling find support when they need it most. 

👉🏽 SB 5534 passed House Postsecondary Education & Workforce last Friday and is headed to the House floor. It supports Washington’s nation-leading financial aid by moving staffing of the WEIA Oversight Board to the Washington Student Achievement Council — it just makes good sense! 

👉🏽 SB 5732 is waiting for a hearing in House Finance. It ensures seniors who qualify for the property tax exemption program remain eligible when they receive a nominal social security increase. 

#4: Big news, y’all. The state Supreme Court upheld the capital gains excise tax — a major step forward to fixing our upside-down tax code by asking the wealthy few (about 162 people in our district) to be part of the equitable investments in our future by paying what they owe. It does NOT apply to the sale of a home or commercial real estate, family-owned small businesses, retirement accounts, or agricultural and timber lands. 

Washington has one of the most regressive tax codes in the nation. This will inject much-needed funding into childcare support for working parents and provide relief for low- to middle-income taxpayers, while also making our system more equitable for all Washingtonians. 

#5: Want to get an inside scoop what’s happening in the Legislature? Watch our Leadership Media Availability 9:30 a.m. Thursday! I’ll join Senate Majority Leader Andy Billig and our House colleagues — Speaker Laurie Jinkins and House Majority Leader Joe Fitzgibbon — for a 30-minute overview of the session and what you can expect to see in the coming weeks. Click here to watch on TVW!