Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Week four of the 2015 legislative session is coming to a close. There was no House floor action this week, but House committees were very busy. Here is a snapshot of some of the bills and topics that were considered. As you will see, state lawmakers deal with an array of diverse issues.
Supplemental operating budget
There was House floor action last week. The House passed a supplemental operating budget on a bipartisan 83-15 vote January 29. This would be an adjustment to our state’s 2013-15 spending plan, which ends June 30. The legislation would allocate funding for costs relating to natural disasters in our state last year, including the Oso landslide and wildfires. I talk about the importance of this appropriation in my recent video update.
The budget would also help pay for: new mental health treatment capacity; a homecare shared-living lawsuit; and children’s services. It’s not a perfect spending plan, but it’s an important first step. The Senate will now have an opportunity to improve on the House’s work.
The first bill that passed out of the House this year, as promised by the Speaker of the House, was House Bill 1258. Also known as Joel’s Law, the measure would allow family members to request court review under the state’s Involuntary Treatment Act. This is an issue that spans mental health and public safety, and one that has personal meaning to my family. One of my new colleagues in the House, Rep. Tom Dent, spoke on the House floor and shared an emotional story about how this legislation would impact him as a father. You can watch his remarks here.
Two students from Monroe serve as House pages
It was my honor to host two local students as House pages last week: McKenna Dahlinger (pictured left) and Morgan Sedlak (pictured right). Morgan and McKenna are students at the Sky Valley Education Center in Monroe. To learn more about these students and their experiences in Olympia, please read this news release.
The House Page Program is a tremendous opportunity for students to learn about the Legislature and state government. You can learn more about the program here.Telephone town hall roundup
A special thanks to all who participated in my telephone town hall meeting Tuesday evening. A total of 3,629 people jumped on the call at some point during the hour-long event. Rep. Elizabeth Scott and I were able to answer 13 questions, ask two poll questions and share our perspective on the first three weeks of the legislative session. Our next community conversation is scheduled for April 2. I will send you a reminder next month.
In your service,