Dear Friends and Neighbors,
The first major bill cutoff of the 2015 legislative session is tomorrow, Feb. 20. This means all bills referred to a policy committee not passed out of that committee are labeled “dead” for the session. However, there are a number of ways a bill can be revived throughout the process.
A couple of weeks ago, the House passed an early action supplemental budget providing funds for the eastern Washington wildfires, Oso landslide, mental health treatment capacities and other emergency services. I had concerns when it originally came up for a vote Jan. 28, but knew it had the support to make it over to the Senate. At the time, I was hopeful the Senate would be able to make some revisions to the bill so I could fully support it when it came back to the House for concurrence.
I'm happy to report I was able to support the Senate-revised version; the House concurred and it's now on the governor's desk awaiting his approval. These appropriations will help some of our devastated communities and vulnerable populations recover from recent tragedies, along with making some important investments into our mental health services.
An update on my legislation
My bill to criminalize revenge porn received a hearing in the House Public Safety Committee last Friday. HB 1272 would make a person liable for distributing intimate images of another without their consent, and when intended to cause harm. We're seeing this happen more frequently as advanced technology and mobile devices makes it easier for individuals to take and distribute intimate images intended to be private.
Many victims of revenge porn have had their lives devastated and a number of youth have even committed suicide as a result of this unacceptable behavior.
I've been working on this legislation for a couple of years now and it's important to me we make some progress on the bill this session. This bill obviously wouldn't take away a victim's emotional distress, but it would at least provide consequences for those harmfully distributing the explicit images.
I have several other bills I'm hopeful will make it out of their committees before cutoff. The following bills are scheduled for executive action before the first policy cutoff (Feb. 20):
HB 1271 – expanding rock-collecting opportunities for families and youth throughout Washington.
HB 1338 – addressing the city of Lynden's ability to get water rights credit for cow water.
HB 1270 – implementing a new fish hatchery management structure to help increase salmon populations throughout the state.
Remember, you can view all of my legislation and where it is in the process by visiting my website and clicking on “Sponsored Bills.”
Meet my intern, Yoselyn Lopez
She has been busy helping my office with research projects, casework, bill tracking and other administrative tasks. We keep our interns busy during session and they are an important component to the legislative process. I really appreciate the work she's done on our behalf!
The Legislative Internship Program is a great way for undergraduates in our state colleges and universities to gain meaningful experience in state government. For more information about the program, click here.
Likewise, if you have or know anyone between the ages of 14 and 16, the state House of Representatives offers an excellent opportunity for them to spend a week in Olympia as a page, learning about our state and legislative process. For more information on this program, click here.