Preventing youth suicides and school shootings

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Dear Friends,

The first two weeks of the 2021 session are behind us and things are picking up in Olympia. While this session has been anything other than normal, with hearings and floor actions taking place remotely, the legislative process continues to move forward.

There were several major proposals put forth, including some head-scratches from the majority party in the Senate. There have been a number of bills aimed at raising taxes and energy costs. And the governor is back with his two favorite proposals: a new income tax on capital gains and a cap and tax carbon scheme.

I’m a little surprised at how seemingly tone-deaf some folks can be. Perhaps I shouldn't be surprised after how far the majority has gone to shut out the public. Their treatment of small business owners and workers at a hearing to reopen Washington businesses was truly deplorable and sparked universal outrage. 

My focus has been on expanding access to democracy and helping our citizens deal with the economic, emotional and psychological repercussions of the Inslee shutdown. 

Last week, I focused heavily on my measure to create a tip line to help teens confidentially report and prevent self-harm and violent crimes against students and school employees.

You can read more about all these issues below. 

Thank you for the honor of serving as your state senator. 


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Sharon Brown
State Senator
8th District

This Week's Video Update:

Making sure youth are empowered to speak-up


Click on the image above to watch this week's video!

In this week’s video, we discuss our Youth Empowered to Speak-up program. Senate Bill 5327 would create a tip line and app to allow students to confidentially report potential self-harm or criminal activities directed at schools, students or school employees. In the video, we talk with youth suicide prevention activist Connor Mertens of Kennewick and Kirk Williamson with the Benton-Franklin Community Health Alliance. After having seen my work on teen suicide prevention, Connor brought the idea of a tip line to me. Kirk Williamson has also been instrumental in advocating for the program, which has proven successful in several states. Click here or on the image above to watch this great discussion.


Radio Legislative Update


Click here to listen to Sen. Sharon Brown talk about reopening our economy and some of her bills on KONA Radio’s Bottom Line.

Legislative Update:

Bill to create confidential tip line receives Senate hearing

Sharon Brown

Click here to watch the full hearing on TVW.

On Friday the Senate Health and Long-Term Care Committee’s Behavioral Health Subcommittee held a hearing on our bill to implement the Youth Empowered to Speak-up (YES) program. Senate Bill 5327 would create a tip line and mobile app to allow students to confidentially report potential self-harm or criminal activities directed at schools, students or school employees.

This measure is providing another tool in the box to help our most vulnerable youth.

SB 5327, which also received support from the Washington State Parent Teacher Association, is scheduled to receive a vote by the subcommittee on Feb. 5.

To read more, click here.

In the News: 

Senator says bill would reopen restaurants, other businesses

By Thomas Yazwinski, KEPR TV | 

OLYMPIA -- It’s time to safely reopen Washington, says the sponsors of a bipartisan bill that will receive a public hearing on Wednesday.

“Families are suffering,” said Sen. Sharon Brown, R-Kennewick and one of the co-sponsors of the bill. “Across the Tri-Cities, and across this state, there are family-owned restaurants that have either shut their doors permanently or may soon have to close. There are gym owners and employees who are struggling with how to keep their business afloat or provide food for their children after months of being closed down by the governor’s proclamations.

“And why? The science tells us that restaurants and gyms are responsible for less than 2 percent combined of all COVID-19 transmissions.

“This bill is about giving those employers, workers and families hope again.”

Click here to read the full story.

In the News:

Those hoping to reopen WA restaurants were mistreated at failed public hearing

TC Herald

Carrie Lundgren, owner of Cedars at Pier One, was part of the record signup for Washington state Legislature Senate committee hearing on a bill to reopen restaurants, theaters and other businesses, during COVID pandemic.

If state lawmakers are going to have a public hearing, then they need to give people a chance to be heard.

...So it is extremely distressing that when over 400 people signed up to testify Wednesday on a proposal to reopen restaurants and other businesses during the COVID pandemic, only a fraction of them were allowed to speak.

And many of those who did talk ended up abruptly muted mid-sentence and cut off as soon as they hit the one-minute mark. That wasn’t right.

Over 1,600 people signed up to participate in the remote Senate hearing, which set a record. ...That tremendous amount of public interest should not have been so easily dismissed.

Remote testimony is a wonderful tool that allows Washington state residents to participate in state government without having to travel to Olympia. Sen. Sharon Brown, R-Kennewick, has been pushing for remote access to the legislature for years. Now, because of the pandemic and social distancing requirements, it’s a tool that is needed now more than ever. But if lawmakers don’t use it correctly, it won’t work.

Click here to read the full editorial.

In closing...

As always, I value hearing directly from you. I am here to be your voice, and your feedback on bills before the Senate is very important to me. If you would like to contact me please write, phone or email.

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PLEASE NOTE: Any email or documents you provide to this office may be subject to disclosure under RCW 42.56. If you would prefer to communicate by phone, please contact Sen. Brown's office at (360) 786-7614.

Feb. 1, 2021

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202 Newhouse Building
P.O. Box 40408
Olympia, WA 98504-0408