Dear Friends and Neighbors,
We are almost a third of the way through the 2015 legislative session. The first part of the session we have been busy in committees listening to public hearings on proposed legislation.
I recently introduced two bills and both are up for public hearings next week. The first is a “One Business, One Vet” plan to increase veteran employment in Washington state. I am very passionate about assisting those who have provided the ultimate sacrifice for our country and freedoms. I want to pay it forward.
My goal is to ask businesses to hire at least one veteran – I am hoping to start with my own small family businesses. It isn't a mandate on business, simply a goal using existing state agency resources.
The proposed measure, House Bill 2040, would direct the Department of Veterans' Affairs, Employment Security, and Department of Commerce to consult with local chambers of commerce, associate developments organizations and businesses to initiate an increase in veteran employment in Washington.
Washington state is home to about 600,000 veterans. The unemployment rate for veterans between the age of 18-25 is about 21 percent. The public hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 17 at 1:30 p.m. in the House Community Development, Housing and Tribal Affairs Committee.
The second bill is House Bill 2042, which would expand the crime of voyeurism. Currently, to charge someone with a crime of voyeurism it has to be proven photos or films are being used for sexual gratification. Unfortunately, under current law it is very difficult to catch voyeurs and prove they were engaged in voyeurism for the purpose of arousing or gratifying the sexual desire of any person.
Many times those committing voyeurism are not using the explicit images for gratification but motivation based solely for purposes of making money, exacting revenge, or causing humiliation. Regardless, the victims are violated and humiliated.
As a varsity high school coach, my athletes actually brought this issue to my attention. They are opposed to wearing dresses on game days due to “up-skirting,” which is when someone uses a cellphone camera or video feature to record under the skirts of unknowing victims, then viewing or posting on social media. This has been going on in middle and high schools, as well as colleges throughout our state and needs to stop.
Finally, voyeurism is often a precursor to more serious sex offenses and this will allow us to catch this behavior earlier, before it escalates. This measure will be heard in the House Public Safety Committee on Wednesday, Feb. 18 at 1:30 p.m.
Telephone Town Hall
I want to invite you to join myself and Rep. Norm Johnson for a telephone town hall meeting. We hope you will be able to join the conversation from the convenience of your home on Wednesday, Feb. 25 from 6 – 7 p.m. Just call (509) 724-2954 to participate. To ask us a question live, press * (star) on your telephone. We are looking forward to talking to you as often as possible back home while we are here in Olympia.
It is always great to see the friendly faces from home while we are working in Olympia. This week I met with members of the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), fire chiefs, nursing students, optometrists, wheat growers and the Washington Federation of Republican Women organization. I had the opportunity to speak to them about my first few weeks in the Legislature and the issues I have been working on.
Please let me know if you plan to be in Olympia. I love meeting with constituents. It is truly an honor to serve you.
Honored to serve you,