Hello friends and neighbors,
Today is our 46th District virtual town hall! Please take advantage of this opportunity to talk to your lawmakers about your needs and concerns. Together with Representatives Gerry Pollet and Darya Farivar, we will share our legislative priorities, provide an update on where we’re at in session and answer your questions on the issues that matter to you, your family, and your community. Below are all the different ways you can participate. We really hope to see you there!
How To Watch
YouTube: The live video will start streaming on YouTube as soon as the event begins at 6:30 p.m. Click here to watch the town hall on YouTube.
Twitter: The live video will also appear on the House Democrats Twitter page as soon as the event begins at 6:30 p.m.
How to participate: You can submit questions ahead of time by scanning the QR code in the flyer above or you can click here to access the questions online. You can also submit questions during the live event by commenting on the live broadcast on Facebook or YouTube.
House Bills in the Senate
A key deadline passed last Wednesday which required bills to pass off the House or Senate floor to be heard in committee hearings in the opposite chamber. Several important bills that reflect our priorities and will impact our communities have passed the House and are now being heard in Senate committees and vice versa.
- One of the impactful bills that has passed in the House and will now be considered in the Senate is House Bill 1110 which has garnered a lot of attention and has led to a lot of productive discussions. This legislation is intended to spur construction of duplexes, triplexes and other multifamily housing units in cities as a way to boost density and housing stock. The housing shortage is creating a housing crisis. Working families are being priced out of the housing market, and the housing shortage is disproportionately impacting people of color. Homeownership for first time homebuyers is becoming less feasible in our state. It is important that legislators continue having the necessary conversations about how we can make housing more affordable in Washington.
- This session we are also prioritizing safety for all. A bill that aligns with this priority and which has been widely discussed is House Bill 1240 which would prohibit the distribution and sale of AR-style assault weapons. I am a long-time proponent of improving gun safety and have co-sponsored the Senate companion bill. The House bill includes guidelines regarding what types of rifles would be prohibited, including a list of specific models subject to the ban. While all firearms can be used to create death and tragedy, assault weapons are used in most mass shootings and are the weapon-of-choice for mass shooters. Assault weapons are 11 times more likely to be used in mass shootings and seven times more likely to be used to kill a law enforcement officer. This bill restricts sales; it will not make anyone less able to defend themselves or turn law-abiding citizens into criminals. The bill will reduce access to deadly weapons used in mass shootings and limit the continued purchase and expansion of use of assault weapons in Washington to address the rising gun violence. This bill will be heard in the Senate Committee on Law & Justice.
- House Bill 1469 addresses reproductive rights by protecting people who seek, provide or facilitate abortion in Washington from out-of-state investigations and prosecutions. The law is very clear that abortion and gender-affirming care in Washington remains legal, but prosecutors and lawmakers in other states are trying to criminalize these legal actions in Washington. By prohibiting courts from issuing subpoenas for health care information, it ensures that this private health information remains private. Other states are free make their public policy choices as to what is legal or illegal in their states, but Washington is free to not let our laws or judicial processes be used to enforce those laws in this state. This bill is scheduled for public hearing today in the Senate Committee on Law & Justice.
You can follow along and watch all the committee hearings in both the House and Senate at tvw.org.
In the News
The Seattle Times just published an article on their front page this week that covers a bill I introduced this session. Senate Bill 5427 would create a new hotline for reporting hate crimes and bias incidents.
Hate crimes in the U.S. are on the rise, and our state is no exception. Alarming data shows that hate crimes in Washington state have reached the highest level in more than two decades. One of these incidents —mentioned in the article— is the break-in of a Sikh cultural center in Federal Way where a person smashed the prayer hall and stole equipment. We know that the true number of these incidents is significantly underreported due to distrust in law enforcement, fear of retaliation, inaccurate reporting and language barriers.
Stories like these deserve to be told and should inform how we address hate in our communities. We need accurate reporting on these incidents to inform public policy and community response. This legislation, which failed to advance out of committee, would create a new hotline to take reports from victims, provide crisis intervention, information and referrals to local service providers, advocate for victims with police and collect data. Although this bill did not advance out of committee this year, momentum is building, and we will try again next year as more and more people realize the importance of providing meaningful support to the victims. If you want to read the full news article click HERE.
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Thank you to everyone who has reached out! It is always great to hear from you and I look forward to hearing more about your priorities as the session continues. Send me an email at Javier.Valdez@leg.wa.gov or give me a call at 360-786-7690.
We’ll see you today at 6:30 p.m. at our virtual town hall!