Home | About Gina | News & Media | Email Updates | The Ledger | Contact
Dear Friends and Neighbors,
As we begin Week Five, Day 30 of the scheduled 105-day session, it's a significant and busy week in the House Community Safety, Justice and Reentry Committee, where I serve as ranking Republican.
Public safety bills considered
This afternoon at 4 p.m., Feb. 7, two of my bills will receive public hearings in the committee. They include:
- House Bill 1512, also known as the “Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Persons and Lucian Act.” The bill is recommended by the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and People (MMIWP) Task Force and the Office of the Attorney General. It would provide resources for immediate actions that need to take place when a person vanishes. The bill recognizes missing and murdered indigenous people, an issue I first brought to the forefront in 2018 legislation. It is also named after four-year-old Lucian Munguia, who was reported missing on Sept. 10 from Sarg Hubbard Park, and drowned in the Yakima River. Learn more from my news release.
- House Bill 1564 would prohibit over-the-counter, at home, and/or self-collected sexual assault evidence kits from being sold or provided to the public, including college students who have been targeted for marketing of DYI kits. These kits provide false hope to sexual assault survivors because they are not admissible in any Washington court due to potential of cross-contamination, spoliation, and validity. Attorney General Bob Ferguson issued a cease and desist notification to one of the companies marketing their kits to university students. He joins other numerous attorneys general from states across the nation that have also sent similar letters to these companies. This bill would stop companies from profiting at the expense of rape victims. Read more about this in my news release. Watch the KING 5 story. Listen to my interview on KIT Radio, Yakima.
On Thursday morning at 8 a.m., the committee will consider two police vehicle pursuit bills.
- House Bill 1363, a bipartisan measure I cosponsored, would restore a “reasonable suspicion” standard to pursuit policies. The law was changed to “probable cause” in 2021. This change made it much harder for police to engage in a pursuit of a suspected criminal. Criminals also knew about the change in the law, so they took advantage of it, frequently taking off when stopped by law enforcement.
- House Bill 1586 would have the state's Criminal Justice Training Commission establish a committee to study a statewide pursuit policy.
I believe we must restore the ability for police to do their jobs, including pursuing, stopping and questioning suspects and arresting criminals. I also think we must pass this legislation THIS session and not wait for the completion of a study to act. Too many lives are at stake NOW!
I encourage you to follow these important bills. You can watch the public hearings on TVW.
- Watch today's committee hearing live at 4 p.m.
- Watch the Thursday, Feb. 9 committee hearing live at 8 a.m.
The links to the videos will also work after the hearing if you wish to watch later.
2023 session – Where we are in the process
The 2023 session began Jan. 9. To date, 788 bills have been introduced in the House, 729 in the Senate. Only 34 House bills have passed the House and 19 Senate bills have passed the Senate. We are now in the process of hearing bills in their respective committees and passing those that the committee chair will allow to be brought forth for executive session.
Our next big deadline will be Friday, Feb. 17. That's the last day for committees to take action on non-fiscal bills in their house of origin. Between now and Feb. 17, our days will be primarily involved in our committees and some floor action. You can get more information about our schedule from the 2023 Session Cutoff Calendar.
Legislative updates and redistricting
Some of you may be receiving this legislative update for the first time. Part of that is because of the redistricting that took place last year. Washington state's 14th District has changed. Formerly the district included Skamania and Klickitat counties, and the east part of Clark County and the west part of Yakima county. Under the new boundaries, all of Klickitat County remains in the 14th District, including White Salmon, Bingen and Goldendale. A larger portion of Yakima County is in the 14th District, including all of the Yakama Reservation, the west side of Yakima, Selah, White Swan, and the southeastern portion of the Yakima Valley, including Wapato, Toppenish, Mabton and Grandview.
Click here to view a map of the new 14th Legislative District.
If you are not sure which legislative district you live in, you can find out by entering your address into the Legislature's District Finder tool here.
I will be sending updates throughout the session and interim. Please feel free to share with others who may be interested in following the Legislature and staying informed about our state government. If you do not want to receive legislative updates, you can use the unsubscribe link at the bottom of this page.
Watch my Legislative Video Update to learn more about my key legislation
I invite you to discover more about legislation I have sponsored, much of it at the request of constituents like you, by watching my video. Click here.
Other legislation I'm working on. . . (not covered in the video)
- House Bill 1114 – Sentencing Guidelines Commission: This bipartisan-sponsored bill addresses membership of the state's Sentencing Guidelines Commission, including adding four voting members to give more representative voices. I am honored to be among the members of this commission. This bill passed the House Community Safety, Justice, and Reentry Committee and is in the Rules Committee, awaiting to be pulled to the House floor for a vote.
- House Bill 1116 – Juveniles and controlled substances: This seeks to help juveniles who have drug addiction issues. This bill has been referred to the Human Services, Youth, and Early Learning Committee.
- House Bill 1118 – School bus safety: This continues my work to address school bus safety issues, including seat belts. We require our children to buckle up when they get in a car, but then we let them ride unbuckled in a school bus. That makes no sense. The National Transportation Safety Board has recommended all new school buses be equipped with lap and shoulder seat belts. This bill is self-funding and would use the paddle-stop penalties (those motorists who illegally pass school buses when the stop sign is pulled out) to fund seat belts and safety equipment on school buses to ensure our children are always safe. The House Education Committee is scheduled to act on this bill on Thursday, Feb. 9.
- House Bill 1137 – Return to work opportunities: This provides a pathway for an injured worker with a workers' compensation claim to allow them to do light duty at a local community charity. This bill has been referred to the Labor and Workplace Standards Committee.
- House Bill 1171 – Motorcycle Safety Board: This measure would add a certified motorcycle rider to our state's Motorcycle Safety Board. This bill passed the House Transportation Committee and is in the Rules Committee awaiting to be pulled to the House floor for a vote.
- House Bill 1520 – Fentanyl: Overdose from fentanyl is now the leading cause of death of Americans between the ages of 18 and 45. This bill would make it a Class C felony for anyone to knowingly possess fentanyl unless it has been lawfully prescribed by a medical practitioner.
- House Bill 1635 – Fentanyl police dogs: Provides for the training and certification of canine teams to detect fentanyl. Limits liability arising from the use of trained police dogs. This bill is in the Community Safety, Justice and Reentry Committee. A public hearing was held yesterday (Monday), Feb. 6 at 1:30 p.m.
- House Bill 1748 – Small rural hospital payment: The closure of the Toppenish maternity center last month is impacting our communities in that local area. This bill simply seeks to provide additional medical financial assistance to preserve rural hospital care. The measure has been referred to the House Health Care and Wellness Committee.
- House Bill 1779 – Reducing toxic air pollution: Also known as “Mary's Law,” this bill seeks to convene a state interagency carbon monoxide work group to investigate what can be done to prevent carbon monoxide poisonings, including leaks from motor vehicles. This bill is the result of a former law enforcement officer who suffered long-term health problems as a result of carbon monoxide leaking into the cab of her patrol car.
Get informed! Stay involved!
Most of the legislation I sponsor comes from ideas constituents like you bring to me. I am here to serve you and solve issues that face our families, businesses and citizens across our district. Your input and feedback are helpful to me and other legislators as we represent you in Olympia. Below are some helpful websites.
- My legislative website: You will find my contact information, bio, news releases, email updates, opinion pieces, bills, and other information.
- How you can be involved in the legislative process: This includes a citizen's guide to effective legislative participation.
- How to comment on a bill: You can send legislators comments on legislation.
- Committee Sign-In – Remote Testimony: Testify on legislation during public hearings.
- TVW: The state's own version of C-SPAN, TVW broadcasts floor and committee action live online.
- Capitol Buzz: Sent out each weekday, featuring stories from media outlets throughout the state, including newspaper, radio, and television.
Thank you for allowing me to represent you in Olympia. I'm very grateful.
Honored to serve you,
431 John L. O'Brien Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
(360) 786-7856 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000