Is the role of our state government pushing its limits?

Legislative update from Olympia

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Dear Neighbor,

Greetings! This week, Olympia and most of Western Washington saw snow blanket most of the region, causing the Legislature to take a “Snow Day” on Monday.  Hearings resumed on Tuesday and I have been busy reading bills, visiting with constituents and hearing from stakeholders during this 105-day session.

I am pleased that four bills I sponsored were heard in committee this week. They include:

Senate Bill 5620 would establish a pilot project for improved elk fencing. After meeting numerous times with stakeholders in the district, it is clear that the increasing number of elk on the valley floor is jeopardizing highway safety and damaging agriculture. Farmers and ranchers say the state isn’t doing enough to help fix the problem. My proposal would test a different kind of barrier called the New Zealand design that is a stronger and taller fence and in some applications will allow smaller wildlife to pass under while providing an enhanced barrier to keep the elk off farmland. If proven effective, this fencing could be utilized to improve safety along State Route 20.

Senate Bill 5763 was brought to me by a group of antique tractor-trailer and truck collectors in the district who participate in antique truck shows and events. This bill would allow them to qualify as a  truck collector and be exempt from obtaining a commercial driver’s license if the truck is more than 30 years old and is used only occasionally to and from truck conventions, auto shows, parades and vehicle club meetings. These trucks are an important part of our history and deserve to be preserved.

Senate Bills 5670 and 5671 were introduced at the request of Snohomish County Fire District 7. SB 5670 would authorize fire protection districts to maintain and repair vehicles owned and used by a county, city, town or school district. This allows neighbors to help neighbors; that is what we do in the 39th Legislative District.   SB 5671 would increase the bid limits for purchases and contract work ordinances. Like other public entities, fire districts are required to use a competitive process for bids over a certain dollar figure. This bill increases that threshold.




I was very excited to welcome my daughters Chyna and Ming to the Washignton State Senate this week.

The role of our state government

This session, concerning legislation has been introduced which pushes the traditional boundaries between state government and the rights and responsibilities of parents. I have heard the reservations of many constituents with respect to several bills which came before me in the Senate Early Learning and K-12 Education Committee.

Senate Bill 5395, concerning comprehensive sexual health education, introduced at the request of Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal is a prime example. This is a top-down, comprehensive, integrated, skills-based curriculum beginning in elementary school. The curriculum modules that I reviewed did not meet my personal criteria for age-appropriateness. 

This legislation removes local control and authority. We elect school boards at the local level for a reason and that reason is accountability to community. I am not against age-appropriate sex education in our public schools and I support a stand-alone health class that discusses abstinence, healthy lifestyles, safe relationship training, etc.  Every community is different, every family is different; if we truly respect differences, we should allow parents the right to have a meaningful voice in their children’s education. An opt-in requirement rather than an opt-out strengthens and respects parental rights. What may be appropriate for one family may not be appropriate for another -- a one size fits all approach does not work.   

Another example is Senate Bill 5683, which would establish the Welcome to Washington Baby Act. This friendly titled bill was requested by Gov. Inslee, and while on its face it seems like a great opportunity to help families access services based on need, the language of this bill should give us all pause. Under this legislation, it would be a voluntary program. However, it would establish a statewide entitlement program by July 2027 at which point -- will it still be voluntary? More importantly, I would argue some of the resources that we offer to new and expectant families can and should be made available without the requirement of an in-home visit. How would you feel about a state social worker with a checklist coming into your home? Again, an opt-in provision would better serve our state’s families.

I cannot support this bill in its current form.


February 15, 2019

Save the Date

I will be joined by Reps. Eslick and Sutherland for two town halls on March 16. Come listen to your 39th Legislative District lawmakers as we give you a legislative session update and talk about issues affecting you!

March 16 town hall locations and times:

  • Darrington Library (1005 Cascade St.) from 10 to 11:30 a.m. 

  • Concrete High School Commons (7830 S. Superior Ave.) from 2 to 3:30 p.m.


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Contact information:


Phone: (360) 786-7676