Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Another week of the 2016 legislative session is in the books. Friday, Feb. 5, marks policy committee cutoff, meaning policy bills that have not passed out of their respective committees will likely not move further through the process this session. This cutoff only applies to policy bills, not fiscal or budget-related legislation, and is a good tool for keeping lawmakers on track to adjourn on time. There are exceptions to the rule, though, so it's wise to not rule any bill out until the final gavel falls March 11.
Click here to watch my latest video update about some of the most recent action in Olympia.
Here's a brief update on some of my legislation:
My “Erin's Law” legislation passed out of the House Education Committee this week. House Bill 2183 would establish a task force to provide recommendations for implementing an age-appropriate, prevention-oriented child sex-abuse- and awareness program in K-12 schools. Schools already teach kids about the dangers of drugs, and how to stay safe in fires and natural disasters. I believe we should add sexual assault prevention to that list of curriculum so children can stay and feel safe in their neighborhoods.
I was honored to having three 14th District residents with me to testify in support of this legislation. They were gracious enough to join me for a quick video update, which you can watch by clicking here.
Similar legislation is already enacted in 26 states and pending in others. You can read my latest press release on the bill here.
School bus safety
House Bill 2639, which also passed out of the House Education Committee, would commission a STUDY to analyze the costs and benefits of requiring school buses to be equipped with seat belts. The study would be conducted by the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI).
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration as well as OSPI fully support the use of seat belts on school buses. In addition, there are currently funding solutions that would not require school-levy dollars or use state general fund monies.
We should be doing everything we can to ensure our students are safe, on and off school campuses.
Travis Alert Act
I'm pleased to report my Travis Alert Act legislation passed out of the House Judiciary Committee this week. I was honored to have Travis King, the bill's namesake, and his parents with me in Olympia to testify in support of the bill earlier this session.
I'm hopeful we can get this critical legislation signed into law this year. This bill is an important step in ensuring families are well cared for in emergencies.
Drinking water supply projects
The White Salmon drought prompted me to sponsor House Bill 2863. This would direct the Department of Ecology to consider additional factors when adopting rules especially as they relate for permitting for drinking water supply projects.
I had the pleasure of having White Salmon Mayor David Poucher with me to testify in support of the bill this week. He did a wonderful job of explaining the challenges White Salmon faced as a result of the drought, and you can listen to his testimony here.
As always, please continue to contact me with your ideas and questions. It is an honor serving you.
Honored to serve you,