Hello friends and neighbors,
Last Wednesday was the last day to pass bills off the debate floor in their house of origin. Time is flying by but I’m proud of what’s been accomplished so far for our community in the 32nd District and Washingtonians across the state. The last two weeks, we’ve spent a lot of our time on the Senate floor voting on bills that will have a positive impact on our communities and I am eager to share with you the progress we are making. I also want to remind you that your voice is integral in the lawmaking process and helps guide us to shape better policy. I encourage you to make your voice heard!
32nd District Telephone Town Hall
It is so important that you have a say in the decisions that affect you and our community. Your 32nd Legislative District lawmakers are hosting a telephone town hall to discuss the issues that are important to you. Please join us on Tuesday, March 21st at 6:30 p.m. to talk about what is happening this year in Olympia. Together with Representatives Cindy Ryu and Lauren Davis, we will share our legislative priorities, provide an update on where things stand halfway through session and answer your questions on the issues that matter to you, your family, and our community.
Click HERE to register for the live event.
Then, click on the 32nd LD Telephone Town Hall on March 21, 2023 @ 6:30 PM PDT.
You will be asked to enter your first and last name, phone number and email address to sign up.
Once signed up, you will be set to receive a phone call at the phone number you’ve entered at the time of the event.
Please note that you must sign up a minimum of 1 hour before the event’s start time to be included.
Bills Passed in the Senate
This session, our Senate Democratic Caucus is committed to improving lives in Washington by acting on thoughtful legislation that puts people first. Our top priorities include building healthier communities, creating a healthy planet and a stronger economy, safety for all, a home for everyone and success for all our kids. Several bills that reflect these priorities have already passed the Senate and are now under consideration in the House. I am excited to share that six of the nine bills I have introduced this session have passed the Senate. Here is an overview on some of those bills.
Safe and affordable housing for all Washingtonians is one of our priorities this session. New legislation which just passed the Senate will take us a step closer to meet our state’s housing needs by decreasing construction costs and reducing time of development. Senate Bill 5491 allows construction of a multi-story building with a single stairway and elevator core. These types of building are legal and very common in most of the world. This building model is commonly found in cities across Europe including Paris, London and Berlin. As a matter of fact, the U.S. and Canada are extreme outliers when it comes to not allowing these types of buildings. A single stairway for multi-story buildings means more affordable housing and more multigenerational and family sized housing in cities. This type of construction model offers a greater variety of architecture, as well as unit types and sizes, even on small urban lots. It will allow for visually appealing and affordable housing for families who wish to live in cities.
Another bill worthy of mention is Senate Bill 5536 sponsored by Sen. June Robinson (D-Everett). This legislation has also passed the Senate with broad bipartisan support. This bill classifies knowing possession of a controlled substance as a gross rather than a simple misdemeanor, ensures people charged with the offense have access to pretrial diversion programs and provides funding for treatment programs and services. This bill provides an opportunity for those arrested for simple possession to receive the help they need and start their path to recovery. If the person successfully completes the substance use disorder treatment the court would overturn the conviction. If the person willfully abandons or demonstrates a consistent failure to engage in treatment, however, the court would be required to impose jail time. Many of this bill’s specifics were adopted from a bill I introduced which did not make it out of committee. Having worked as a public defense attorney, I am convinced that this out-of-the-box policy that is treatment-forward but with accountability in place is a big step towards breaking the cycle of drug abuse and providing effective help to individuals in need.
Washington is one of the most beautiful states in our nation, and we need to do everything we can to protect our ecosystems. Senate Bill 5104, which has recently passed the Senate, requires that a survey of Puget Sound marine shorelines be conducted using new technology to better determine where to prioritize habitat restoration and protection actions. This data will be used to help identify restoration sites and structures in bad condition, assist with orca recovery and assess shoreline changes over time. We are running out of time in the race to save Puget Sound. This bill will give shoreline planners, nonprofits and other stakeholders the information needed to recover the marine food web — including forage fish, marine birds, salmon and the endangered Southern Resident orcas.
By now, you’ve probably already heard about Senate Bill 5263 which pertains to access to psilocybin for wellness purposes. This week, the bill passed the Senate on a 41-7 vote with broad bipartisan support. Developing a well-thought-out process for access to psilocybin is crucial to provide users a safe and effective method to alleviate symptoms of depression, addiction, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other mental health disorders. In a state where many residents live with mental illness and a large number have seen their mental health decline due to the COVID-19 pandemic, psychedelic usage — monitored by trained professionals — is a key to healing for some people. This legislation aims to provide advice and recommendations on developing a comprehensive regulatory framework for access to regulated psilocybin services for people over 21. The bill, as originally filed, would have legalized the supervised use of psilocybin and would have made it available for wellness purposes at a registered facility with appropriate supervision. Changes made to the bill in the Senate Labor and Commerce Committee have turned this legislation into an analysis bill which looks to create a task force to research the creation of a regulated psilocybin program.
To learn more about my other bills that have passed the Senate click on their links below.
- SB 5231 – adds clarity and accountability to the legal process and ensures that someone charged with domestic violence does not possess guns after the incident.
- SB 5412 – creates objective standards for design review for housing and other land use proposals, encourages more participation by all entities at the planning level and provides a full environmental review.
- SB 5425 – increases licensing fees for fire protection sprinkler system contractors to increase personnel for enforcement and enhances the supervision requirements to ensure personnel are well-trained.
Thank you to everyone who has reached out! Keep those comments coming! It is always great to hear from you and about your interests and concerns for the session. Send me an email at email@example.com or give me a call at 360-786-7662. You can also follow me on Facebook for regular updates throughout the coming months and we hope you can join me and my colleagues on March 21st for the telephone town hall!