Dear friends and neighbors,
We are now well into the 2023 session and have been working on legislation that will benefit our communities in the 46th district and across the state. I’m excited to share with you the progress we are making.
Recent visits from constituents
Over the last few weeks, I have had the opportunity to meet with many constituents from our communities who have shared their stories and are advocating for policies that will make our state a better place.
A group of fourth grade students from McDonald International Elementary made a visit to the legislative building to take a civic education tour. It was great meeting with them, answering their questions and sharing about the critical work that is done in the Legislature.
I met with a group of non-profit leaders to talk about the challenges cultural institutions have faced since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. We discussed how keeping our cultural businesses open and thriving enhances quality of life and brings more opportunities for social connection and creative work for our communities.
I met with a group from One America that came from all over the state to talk to their legislators and advocate for policies that will benefit our immigrant communities in Washington.
Several of my bills have been heard in committee so far, including:
SB 5427 — supporting people who have been targeted or affected by hate crimes and bias incidents. It would establish a hotline for reporting hate crimes and bias incidents. The hotline would accept reports of hate crimes and bias incidents and provide appropriate crisis intervention and information that is victim-centered, culturally competent, and trauma-informed. This bill is scheduled for public hearing in the Senate Committee on Ways & Means on Feb. 20.
SB 5152 – concerning synthetic media in campaigns for elective office. It would require a disclosure when any manipulated audio or visual media of a candidate is used in communications related to an election. This bill has passed in the Senate with bipartisan support and is now moving to the House for consideration.
SB 5723 – concerning general elections. It enables cities and towns to hold their regular elections in even-numbered years if they choose. This bill was recently heard in the Senate Committee on Labor & Commerce.
SB 5274 — expanding eligibility in certain public employment positions for lawful permanent residents. It would enable people who are qualified but have previously been excluded to apply for public positions. With current job shortages and not enough workers to fill the roles, this intends to expand the pool of candidates by expanding applications to legal residents and waiving some language requirements. This bill has passed to the Rules Committee for a second reading.
High priorities in the Senate
One of our Senate priorities this session is ‘Safety for All’. In alignment with this priority, the Senate passed SB 5231 which provides more protection and support to victims of domestic violence by adding clarity and accountability to the legal process. This bill, which received bipartisan support, will clarify the court’s authority in issuing pretrial no-contact orders and will ensure prompt action is taken to protect victims of domestic violence. The bill has passed the Senate is now moving to the House.
Remember, your voice is integral in the lawmaking process and helps guide us to shape better policy. Remote public testimony will continue to be offered — along with the return of in-person testimony for all committees — providing every Washingtonian the chance to participate no matter where they live. You can register for in-person and remote testimony here.
Thank you to everyone who has reached out! It is always great to hear from you and I look forward to learning more about your priorities for the upcoming year. Send me an email at Javier.Valdez@leg.wa.gov or give me a call at 360-786-7690. You can also follow me on Facebook or Twitter for regular updates throughout the coming months.