Dear Friends and Neighbors,
The state Legislature just passed its first major hurdle this legislative session – House of Origin cutoff. This means all House bills are now being considered in the Senate and vice versa. I was honored to have five bills I prime sponsored receive support from the House, and I am committed to working in a bipartisan manner to get these bills to the governor's desk.
House Bill 1539 — Known as Erin's Law, House Bill 1539 would task the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) with establishing a coordinated program to provide age-appropriate information and training pertaining to the prevention of sexual abuse of students. It would also require the OSPI to disseminate existing information and curricula to school districts.
This bill has been a priority of mine since I was first elected to office in 2015. Olivia Holderman, who brought the idea for this legislation to me, testified in favor of the bill last month. What she said resonated with me, and illustrates why Washington needs to make a commitment this year to providing our children with the knowledge and resources necessary to escape sexual abuse.
“I loved my grandpa. We did fun things together. We played games, we had tea parties. My grandfather was also a pedophile,” she said. “He hurt me. He made me do things I would never think about doing, and I was terrified. If Erin's Law had been there, I could have told.”
Throughout this bill's journey, I have also been privileged to have the support of the bill's namesake herself, Erin Merryn. She was able to testify in front of the Senate Early Learning and K-12 Education Committee Monday, Feb. 19, and you can watch her testimony here.
Learn more about the bill here.
House Bill 2101 – One of the missions of the Sexual Assault Forensic Examination, or “SAFE,” Task Force, which I co-chair, is to develop policies that will provide a more victim-centered approach to the care and treatment of survivors. House Bill 2101 would direct the Office of Crime Victim Advocacy (OCVA) to develop best practices for local communities seeking better access to sexual assault nurse examiners (SANE). The OCVA would also be required to develop strategies to make SANE training available to nurses in all regions of the state without requiring the nurses to travel unreasonable distances or incur unreasonable expenses. Currently, the only SANE training available in Washington is at Harborview Medical Center.
SANEs play a critical role not only in providing appropriate care to survivors, but are essential to the detailed forensic investigations necessary for prosecution.
House Bill 2101 passed out of the Senate Health and Long Term Care Committee Monday, Feb. 19.
House Bill 2821 — As a business owner, it's important to me that as a state representative I support policies that will help businesses thrive. House Bill 2821 would help lower costs to some manufacturers by allowing the Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) to delegate its inspection duties related to factory built housing, recreational vehicles, and commercial structures to other qualified inspection agencies.
Currently, L&I conducts inspections at factories where the manufactured entities are produced to ensure certain standards are met. This can take inspectors across state lines, and sometimes requires international travel. Given that manufacturers bear 100 percent of the costs for the inspection, it's inevitable some of those costs will eventually trickle down to the consumer.
For example, inspectors are currently in Poland at a factory that is producing units that will be used for a hotel in Seattle. The factory portion of the inspection will take roughly four months and will require the continual presence of one inspector.
House Bill 2821 will streamline the inspection process and ultimately lower costs for both manufacturers and consumers.
House Bill 2821 passed out of the Senate Labor and Commerce Committee Monday, Feb. 19.
House Bill 2951 — This bill would help identify missing Native American women by requiring the Washington State Patrol (WSP) to work with tribal law enforcement and the Governor's Office of Indian Affairs to conduct a study to increase state resources for reporting and identifying missing Native American women throughout Washington state.
Currently, there is no comprehensive data collection system for reporting or tracking missing Native American women. It's a travesty, and it saddens me our state and nation have overlooked this issue for so long.
I was honored to have several women from Washington tribes join me last week to testify in favor of this bill in the Senate State Government, Tribal Relations and Elections Committee. You can watch their powerful testimony here.
House Bill 2951 passed out of the Senate State Government, Tribal Relations and Elections Committee and has been referred to the Senate Ways and Means Committee.
House Bill 2975 — Owners of snow bikes (motorcycles with track and ski conversion kits installed, giving them similar functionality to snowmobiles) are currently required to pay two registration fees — one to ride the motorcycle on the road, and the other to use the motorcycle as a snowmobile — to the Department of Licensing. This redundant registration requirement as well as poorly groomed trails has led some snow bike owners to recreate in other states, taking their tourism dollars with them.
Under my bill, individuals would only be required to pay one, $50 fee to register their motorcycle for both on-road use and as snow bikes. Funds collected from the fee would go toward trail grooming, as well as safety, enforcement, and education programs.
The bill is scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Transportation Committee Feb. 22.
In addition to the above legislation, my bill to help prevent opioid abuse and addiction is making progress this session. House Bill 2447, known as Jeremy's Law for a former high school wrestling champ, would require health care practitioners to discuss dependency and overdose risks, as well as provide pain management alternatives to opioids when prescribing them for the first time during the course of a patient's treatment. The provisions of this bill have been rolled into the governor's omnibus opioid legislation, House Bill 2489.
House Bill 2489 would encourage the use of medication-assisted treatment and other evidence-based treatments, and seeks to eliminate barriers to access to medications and services that may treat opioid use disorder. It will also provide resources for local jurisdictions and first responders so they may appropriately intervene and assist those struggling with addiction.
We need to make a commitment to end this public health crisis. In 2016, nearly 700 Washingtonians died from opioid abuse, and more than 1,400 people were hospitalized due to overdoses or opioid-related complications. At the national level, an average of 115 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose. These heartbreaking statistics are why I sponsored Jeremy's Law, and why I'm so thankful the bill will continue to progress this session in House Bill 2489.
The bill passed out of the Senate Health and Long Term Care Committee this week and was referred to the Senate Ways and Means Committee.
To keep track of all my legislation, visit RepresentativeGinaMcCabe.com and click on “Sponsored Bills.”
There are less than three weeks left of the 2018 session. As the clock winds down, I encourage you to stay in touch with me. Please don't hesitate to contact me by calling (360) 786-7856 or sending an email to Gina.McCabe@leg.wa.gov should you have any questions about the bills listed above or any other issue before the state Legislature.
Honored to serve you,