Dear neighbors,

Now that the 2023 legislative session has concluded, I would like to update you on the what the Legislature did to put people first this year.

We passed significant legislation to strengthen an economy that works for all, support education, grow affordable housing, protect the environment, defend reproductive freedom, and much more. Below are a few highlights.

The Washington State Senate convenes for Floor Session - Apr. 19, 2023

Economic Opportunity and Consumer Protection

In the Business, Financial Services, Gaming & Trade Committee, which I chair, we focused on consumer protection and responsible economic development.

In the realm of consumer protection, we established a regulated system for pet insurance for the first time in our state, took action to cut down scam telephone calls, protected whistleblowers in the securities industry, and improved credit repair services, among other actions. To encourage economic development, we enhanced our state’s tourism marketing program, increased funding for rural infrastructure, and supported green manufacturing. And we also improved services for the prevention and treatment of problem gambling. You can find more information about those bills and others that were considered or passed out of our committee here.

Funding for Education, Affordable Housing, and More

We passed a $69.3 billion two-year operating budget that will fund critical services across our state. It makes particularly significant investments in behavioral health care, public schools, and affordable housing. A few highlights include:

  • $2.9 billion in new funding for education, the biggest increase in years. That includes:
    • $521 million for salary and healthcare increases for K-12 educators
    • $417 million for special education students
    • $85 million to expand access to free meals for students
  • $270 million to increase pay for behavioral health providers
  • $122 million for additional behavioral health bed capacity
  • $21 million for behavioral health crisis, outreach, and diversion programs
  • $28 million for youth behavioral health
  • $140 million for emergency housing and rental assistance
  • $150 million for the covenant homeownership program

Investing in the 1st District

Our state’s two-year capital construction budget invests $8.9 billion for construction and infrastructure across the state. That includes a record $400 million for the Housing Trust Fund, which builds affordable housing.

The budget also funds projects here in our communities. I fought for projects brought to me by constituents in our district, and I’m glad to say that several important ones were funded. These include:

  • $5.9 million for renovations at UW Bothell
  • $1.8 million to replace Lyon Creek Culvert at SR 104
  • $1.7 million for Saint Edward State Park
  • $5 million for supportive housing in Kenmore
  • $181,000 to upgrade housing for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in Bothell and Woodinville

Protecting Reproductive Freedom

Shortly after session ended, the governor signed five important bills into law that will protect reproductive freedom for everyone in Washington, and for the many people who are forced to come here for reproductive health care. Those bills will preserve access to abortion medication, protect patients and providers from lawsuits and professional disciplinary action, enhance health data privacy, and eliminate cost-sharing for abortion care. In addition, our budget provides more than $15 million for clinics seeing an increase in patients from other states. You can read more here.

And Much More

We also passed significant legislation to keep our communities safe, improve working conditions for nurses so that patients can get the care they deserve, cap the cost of insulin at $35 per month, invest in transportation infrastructure, and more. If you’d like to dive in deeper, you can find further details here, here, and here.

Stay in Touch

If you’d like to follow my efforts on your behalf in Olympia, you can find my official legislative Facebook page here.

Please don’t hesitate to be in touch. Stay safe and take care.

Sincerely yours,

Derek Stanford

Senator, 1st Legislative District
Leadership Liaison to Tribal Communities
Chair, Business, Financial Services, Gaming & Trade Committee
Labor & Commerce Committee
Agriculture, Water, Natural Resources & Parks Committee