Dear friends and neighbors,
We officially have just over a week left in the 2023 session! Right now, we are wrapping up our business in Olympia before we sine die on Sunday, April 23. As we conclude week 14, I’m eager to share details on my bills’ progress and what still needs to be done.
Last week, we passed our 2023-25 transportation budget — a $12.9 billion proposal focused on traffic safety, workforce expansion in the state patrol and ferry system, electrification, transit and other green investments, and keeps projects on schedule throughout Washington.
A few highlights I’m excited to share for our district and state include:
- $65,548,000 — I-5/NB Marine View Dr. to SR 529 – corridor and interchange improvements
- $20,041,000 — I-5/116th St. NE, 88th St. NE and SR 528/Marine Dr. Interchange
- $17,000,000 — Continued investment for the future rebuild of the US 2 trestle
- $5 million — ADA accessibility for pedestrians and bicyclists
- $25 million — Connecting Communities Grants
- $1.1 million — Fund driver’s license and ID cards for foster youth
- $188 million — Kids Ride Free program
So far, we’ve had two additional bills signed into law since my last update!
- SB 5547 — concerning nursing pool transparency. It establishes annual reporting requirements for certain nursing pools and requires the state Department of Health to produce and annual report including the aggregated submitted information.
- SB 5604 — concerning county sales and use taxes for mental health and housing. It allows counties, like cities, to use revenue from the chemical dependency and mental health treatment program sales and use tax to make modifications to existing facilities to address health and safety needs necessary for the provision of the programs.
We also have four bills on the governor’s desk, waiting to be signed!
- SB 5236 — concerning hospital staffing standards. It requires hospitals to submit staffing plans to the state Department of Health. The expected staff-to-patient staffing standards will be developed by a hospital’s designated nurse staffing committee, composed of 50% frontline staff and 50% hospital administration. If a hospital is less than 80% compliant with its committee’s approved plan, DOH and state Department of Labor & Industries can investigate and require a corrective action plan, along with possible penalties (you can learn more here).
- SB 5286 — modifying the premium provisions of the Paid Family and Medical Leave program. Paid Family and Medical Leave has been a lifeline for many Washington families since its passage. This bill ensures the program will be fully funded and is line with the unanimous recommendations of the Paid Family and Medical Leave Task Force.
- SB 5386 — reducing administrative complexity by increasing transparency of revenue flows for activities funded by document recording fees. This is a clean-up bill that streamlines these types of fees to reduce complexity, increase transparency and make them easier to implement.
- SB 5367 — concerning the regulation of products containing THC. It removes high-potency THC products from the open market, we can better protect consumers from possible overdoses, limit access to young people and increase state revenue that can help fund substance use disorder programs in our communities.
While one other is in concurrence. This means the bill was amended in the House, so the Senate must vote whether to agree with the amendments. If the vote doesn’t pass, then parties from both chambers will come together to negotiate a unified response.
- SB 5536 — concerning controlled substances, counterfeit substances, and legend drug possession and treatment. This legislation aims to increase access to substance use treatment for people found in possession of drugs, emphasizing care over criminalization (you can learn more here).
A look ahead
Much of my remaining time in session will be spent negotiating a final operating budget, which we must finalize by April 23. Gov. Jay Inslee will then review it along with the capital and transportation budgets, decide on any vetoes and sign them into law. The new budgets take effect on July 1 and will guide the state’s spending through 2025.
Working Families Tax Credit
Stay in touch
Our office continues to be as available to you as ever. Send me an email at June.Robinson@leg.wa.gov or give me a call at 360-786-7674.
My work in Olympia is always informed by the voices of my neighbors, and I’m eager to hear yours.