We are nearing three months since the end of the 2022 legislative session and while many are campaigning during this time, other Senators, myself included, are not yet up for re-election and are still hard at work meeting with community members, and stakeholders, and road-mapping the upcoming ‘23 session.
If you missed it in my last newsletter, Washington State received an AAA bond rating throughout the public health crisis, underscoring Washington State’s economic viability for businesses and solid financial management, even in the height of a global pandemic.
Through thick and thin we remain one of the best places to do business. You can read more on how we just scored #2 among America’s Top States for Business 2022, as found by CNBC.
Here’s a look at some of what I have been up to:
Washington State Women’s Commission
This July I attended the Washington State Women’s Commission’s planning retreat in Ocean Shores. As one of the proud founding sponsors of the WSWC along with Rep. Beth Doglio, I am more grateful than ever of the great work being done by the Commission.
As our nation stands in awe at SCOTUS’s gutting of Roe v. Wade, access to safe and legal reproductive healthcare is top of mind. This means new legislation that defends, codifies and underscores a pregnant person’s right to choose what happens to their body, whether they live in state or are visiting from a neighboring one.
I commend the WSWC for their great work during these first years of Commission’s existence. I was recently blown away when I found their Resources Webpage. They’ve created quite a significant set of information with links—that everyone needs to see and know is there. Click the link above or the photo below for a quick redirect.
New Video: Bridging the Digital Equity Gap
These last two years of the pandemic have taught us a valuable lesson about the digital economy and about equity in our state’s internet infrastructure.
When Schools closed their doors in Spring of 2020, kids had to navigate a new and tricky virtual classroom, as did their parents. Working from home rose to become the primary option for many workers and we saw a shift in how businesses were functioning on an everyday basis. Some families made this transition very lightly—others did not.
This showed the legislature that equitable access to internet is an issue that permeates all industries in our state now more than ever. That means better access to not only internet but increased bandwidth, better MEANS to access the internet (like functioning computers), and a base level access to reliable electricity which unfortunately many still lack.
Click into my video linked above for a full breakdown of how the Washington State Legislature is tackling this issue head-on.
A quick survey on digital equity
If you watched my video above, you already know about the Washington State Broadband Office is hard at work analyzing the digital equity issue in our state.
By completing this quick (~5min) survey you can help us better understand the problem at hand.
It’s anonymous and asks just a handful of pertinent question such as: What can the Washington state government do to help you improve your access to the internet?
The survey even boasts an ASL option on every page (big kudos to our friends at the Office of Equity)!
If you have a minute or two, please let us know!
988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline (NOW LIVE)
The new 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline is now live as of July 16! This confidential and free service built into our tax structure connects those experiencing a mental health, substance use, or suicidal crisis with trained counselors through call, text and chat. Services are available in Spanish and English, and interpretation services will be available in over 250 languages.
988 is a national program keyed to your area code—meaning the people you are contacting are based here in Washington State. When you dial in, you are promptly connected to a trained professional who lives here and works here.
Funding from #HB1477 has worked to support implementation, as Washington National Suicide Prevention Lifeline crisis centers have hired more staff in anticipation of increased call volume. It was our legislation’s way of upholding our promise to support those most in need by bringing into lockstep with the national support network.
I have to run—back to meetings where I get to listen and learn from our community here in the wonderful 41st Legislative District.
As always, it is my honor to serve,