My primary focus as a state senator is working on legislation that benefits the residents of the 32nd Legislative District and all Washington residents. However, the work does not stop there.
One of the more interesting parts of this job is finding new opportunities to use my voice for positive change outside of Washington state.
Last month I was invited to be a panelist on for a meeting of the Washington Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. The focus of this conversation was around how police accountability is sometimes prevented because of the role of arbitration under Washington’s police labor laws. More specifically, I had the opportunity to highlight several issues within the law enforcement collective bargaining process that I believe contribute to the enablement of and lack of accountability for officer misconduct.
I had a bill this year, SB 5134, that placed several limitations on disciplinary actions negotiated through the collective bargaining process.
I introduced this bill because I believe it is critical that law enforcement have the trust of the community. The killing of George Floyd and so many others demands that the relatively few police officers who act in bad faith do not get protected by a special disciplinary review system that doesn’t exist for most employees.
While the bill did not pass this session, I’m pleased that the Biden administration is looking at this issue and that I was able to help start a conversation on this topic that will continue into next session.
Switching gears to another important issue, I authored a letter to Premier of British Columbia John Horgan calling out major Canadian-based mining operations that threaten to pollute rivers that flow from Canada into Washington State. The letter, co-signed by many of my legislative colleagues, stresses the need for lawmakers in both countries to enact policy reforms to protect transboundary watersheds, fish and wildlife, downstream communities, and tribes.
I participated in a news conference earlier today to call more attention to this issue.
Both the Senate and the House have released and approved their proposals for the operating, transportation, and capital budgets. Now budget negotiators from both chambers will work towards compromise budgets that we can approve before the Legislature adjourns on April 25.
State revenue projections are higher than we assumed going into this session. This positive revenue forecast, our state’s rainy day fund, and the one-time relief funding from President Biden’s American Rescue Plan have allowed us to not only maintain critical state services, but in many areas we are able to invest more funding to help people get back on their feet.
I’ll share more details about these budgets and what they mean for our community once the plans are formally approved.
My Bills are in the News!
In case you missed it, I’m working on several bills that have caught the attention of the news media. I’ll be working these last few weeks of to get my bills across the finish line and on to the governor’s desk for his signature.
Bellingham Herald Op-Ed
Whatcom Prosecutor: ‘We must stop using courts and laws to act as debt collectors’
Seattle Times Editorial
Steps toward police reform, but a misstep on disciplinary actions
Columbia Basin Herald
Senators approve shoreline armoring bill
How to reach me in 2021
The Legislature has gone mostly remote for the year while the public health crisis remains, so I will not be taking in-person meetings with constituents. I promise, however, to remain accessible. All of my meetings are being done over the phone or through video conference.
You can click here to contact my office to set up a phone or remote meeting.
32nd Legislative District