Dear friends and neighbors,
As we wrap up the second to last week of the 2023 Legislative Session, I want to provide another quick update on important legislation that will make Washington a better place.
Even though Washington is one of the leaders in the nation in securing the right to a safe, legal abortion, we must not get complacent. Reproductive rights are under constant threat both in our state and outside of it, so it is our duty to find ways to protect these long-existing rights for Washingtonians living here and those seeking care from other states. I am pleased to inform you that the following bills continue to advance, bringing us one step closer to protecting reproductive freedom in our state:
- HB 1155 will make Washington the first state in the nation to protect sensitive health information and prevent predatory behavior like the sale of private reproductive care data.
- SB 5242 restricts cost-sharing for abortion. Nobody should be denied access to this critical care because of their inability to pay.
- HB 1340 ensures provider protections despite new restrictions in other states. Providers in Washington should be able to provide legal procedures in this state without fear of disciplinary action, retribution, or criminal action.
- HB 1469 protects access to reproductive health care services and gender-affirming treatment in Washington state. It restricts the ability of other states to use Washington courts and process to restrict protected health care services in Washington. After the Dobbs court decision, other states have sought to restrict abortion even outside the state’s borders. This bill allows Washington to hold true to its values and ensures that providers and those who seek these services will not face legal ramifications.
Washington state remains committed to protecting and defending a everyone’s right to choose. I will always work to protect the privacy and dignity of those who make difficult decisions regarding their health and well-being. We believe that access to reproductive health care is a fundamental right and we will continue to fight for it.
I’m happy to share some great news for Washington voters! The House just passed Senate Bill 5082 to abolish advisory votes, which means we can now focus on more meaningful and impactful measures that can truly shape our community’s future. Advisory votes are just a ballot-cluttering remnant of an unconstitutional initiative that cost the state and local governments millions each election cycle. This legislation will liberate our ballots from these nonbinding ballot measures that interrupt the act of voting, saving taxpayers millions of dollars every year in ballot design, printing, and tabulation costs. The bill replaces advisory votes with useful, accurate information about the legislature’s fiscal decisions readily available via QR code, coupled with an online database, adding a layer of accountability.
In addition to passing bills from the opposite chamber we have also started the process of reconciling the House and Senate budgets so we can arrive at final budgets that deliver for the people of Washington state and have enough support to pass both the House and Senate in the final days of session. The Senate has passed our version of all three major budgets (operating, capital, and transportation). The House also passed their budgets, and the next step is for the two chambers to negotiate a final legislative budget that we can pass before Sine Die adjournment on April 23. Below are the links where you can find some of the state-wide and local highlights in the Senate budgets.
- Operating Budget: The operating budget funds programs and services like childcare, health care, higher education, K-12 schools, and the operations of most state agencies. You can find a summary and more information, here.
- Capital Budget: The capital budget builds things, like higher education and K-12 buildings, funds clean-ups of toxic sites, and funds local community projects. You can check out other proposed highlights, here.
- Transportation budget: The transportation budget funds capital and operating projects related to roads, bike & pedestrian facilities, and transit. You can find more information, here
In other news
Last week, I had the great pleasure to meet with eighth grade students from Seattle Waldorf School from the 46th District. We talked about the important work happening in the Legislature and why it’s so important to have our young ones engaged and ready to make a difference in their community. Their visit will play a critical role in developing a positive relationship with their government.
Stay in touch
Follow me on social media for legislative session updates and to see the work I’m doing for our district.
It is always great to hear from you and I look forward to hearing more about your priorities. Send me an email at Javier.Valdez@leg.wa.gov or give me a call at 360-786-7690.