Dear Friends and Neighbors,
I want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday season! This time of year gives us the opportunity to count our blessings and focus on our family. As I complete my first year in office, I feel very fortunate and blessed to represent such great people in the 14th District.
The 2016 legislative session is less than a month away. This interim I have been in the 14th District attending meetings and events, spending time with constituents and local leaders and working on legislation for the upcoming session. This email will give you a brief update on just a few of the things I have been doing and working on the last couple months.
Interim meetings and events
I had the opportunity to meet with Wapato School District Becky Imler during “Focus on Education Month.” She is a true asset to our region and education system.
Last session I passed my first law – a piece of legislation that pays it forward to those who have served our country. The goal is for businesses to increase the number of veterans employed around the state. I am working with the Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs, Employment Security Department, and many others to make that happen. The meetings have gone very well. There will be a big kickoff event later this year. Below is a preliminary design of a decal businesses will be able to obtain when they hire a veteran. What an incredible way to pay it forward and show our support for veterans!
Last session I started working on Erin's Law legislation. House Bill 2183 relates to public schools implementing a prevention-oriented child sex-abuse program. As of June 2015, 26 states had passed this law and it is pending in about 18 others. Earlier this month, in a key education bill, Congress included a provision that will allow states to use federal grant funding for Erin's Law programs. With the federal education bill, Erin's Law stands a better chance of being adopted in the remaining 24 states, including Washington as I continue my push to get this bill passed.
Travis Alert Act
During the interim I have been holding meetings on the “Travis Alert Act,” legislation. You may recall I introduced House Bill 2287 late last session. It would assist first responders in emergencies in identifying those with autism or other disabilities. The support has been overwhelming and we have received a lot of positive input. Travis' family has been fantastic through the process and first responders are in support. Below is the symbol that would alert responders that someone with autism or other disability may be present in the home.
Updating voyeurism laws
I am confident my House Bill 2042, which would crackdown on voyeurism crime, has a strong chance to get passed by the Legislature this year and signed by the governor. I introduced this bill after hearing of the voyeuristic practice of “up-skirting” – where someone takes a cell phone camera or uses a video feature to record under the skirts of unknown victims.
Under current law, it has to be proven a person was in engaged in voyeurism for the purpose of arousing or gratifying the sexual desire of any person. My bill would eliminate that provision of law and create a crime of voyeurism in the second degree.
A Gorge-ous Night in Olympia
Please mark your calendars for a special event in Olympia. On Tuesday, Feb. 9, from 6 – 8 p.m. in the Capitol Building rotunda Sen. Curtis King, Rep. Norm Johnson and I are hosting an evening of food, drink and fantastic giveaways from the Columbia River Gorge. Feast on our regional delicacies, while exploring the Gorge's unmanned aircraft, wind, agricultural, timber and outdoor recreation industries. If you can attend please RSVP to my Legislative Assistant Wanda Brosey (360) 786-7856.
I encourage you to stay in touch. Many ideas for making our state an even greater place to live come from you, the constituents.
Again, I hope you and your families have a Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday season!
Honored to serve you,