Dear neighbors:

This session, we had headline accomplishments for the people of Washington — increasing support for public education, strengthening protections in the workplace, banning child marriage, addressing the fentanyl epidemic, and more — as well as many significant policies that flew below the radar but are just as important to making sure our government works to put people first.

Read on for a report on some of those headlines and below-the-radar accomplishments that came in bills I prime sponsored this session.

Legislative Update

Seven bills I sponsored this session have gone to the governor and have been or soon will be signed into law, and six have made it to his desk in the form of House companion legislation. Those bills will strengthen consumer protections, increase funding for paraeducators in schools, ban child marriage, improve the guardrails around employer-imposed noncompetition agreements, and more.

Below are a few highlights.

Protecting consumers

SB 6025 protects consumers from predatory loans by making it harder for unscrupulous lenders to evade existing legal protections. Our state’s Consumer Loan Act does a good job of safeguarding consumers and laying out clear standards for lenders and borrowers. But some companies are partnering with out-of-state banks and using structures that allow them to get around the act. This bill ensures our regulators can stop that and protect consumers in Washington from these predatory lenders.

HB 2156/SB 6256 provides added consumer protections for people planning on installing solar panels at their homes or businesses. It prevents deceptive sales tactics, ensures that contracts are clear and contain all necessary provisions, requires work be done by licensed electricians, and provides for enforcement under the state Consumer Protection Act. The solar industry is one of the cornerstones of a greener future in Washington state. As solar installations continue to grow, we need to ensure that consumers can be confident that the information they’re receiving is accurate and that the work they’re paying for is high quality.

Empowering workers

SB 5935 increases workers’ protections against employer-imposed noncompetition agreements in response to real-life situations that have arisen since the passage of landmark 2019 legislation. Consumers benefit too, as they will be able to follow their favorite car mechanic, doctor, or other service provider who moves to a new location. Noncompete clauses in contracts hurt workers and stifle competition. Workers should have the freedom to seek or accept a new job without undue interference. We have learned a lot since we originally passed these protections in 2019, and this bill updates them so they work better for all.

Banning child marriage

HB 1455/SB 5695 will end child marriage in Washington. In the past two decades, 5,000 children as young as 13 have been married in our state. But married minors do not have access to services to protect themselves in abusive situations – and the current system has far too often been used for exploitation and abuse. I have talked to survivors of child marriages who are struggling with the lifelong consequences. That’s why I have worked on this legislation since 2018 and sponsored the Senate version of this bill.

Increasing funding for education

SB 5882 changes the funding formula for schools to increase support for paraprofessionals. Paraeducators are crucial in our public education system. They help students overcome barriers to education — whether from learning gaps, pandemic learning loss, or special needs. They provide important one-on-one and small group instruction that tailors education to each student. I want all our students to have more of this support to help them succeed and excel. Many school districts are currently facing cuts, and this bill provides funding to help solve problems while focusing on student needs, as recommended by the Staffing Enrichment Work Group.

Stay in touch

As always, please feel free to reach out to my office directly via my contact information below or by clicking on the banner above. 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