On Thursday, Jan. 18, the Legislature sent a Hirst water well bill and the 2017-19 capital budget to the governor's desk to be signed into law. The compromise on Hirst means most private property owners will once again have access to water and can resume building on their land. While I'm grateful for that, I voted against the measure because our area got the worst of the negotiations.
In East King County, property owners with domestic wells used to be able to withdraw 5,000 gallons per day. That has now dropped to 950 gallons per day. Property owners now also have to pay a new $500 state fee on top of an existing $200 fee when they're ready to build. Owners in other parts of the state have a higher limit and a lower fee. While these provisions were necessary to get a bill passed, I don't believe the bill serves our area well.
Passing the capital budget, meanwhile, was outstanding for us. We secured more than $25 million in funding for a number of important projects in Issaquah, Maple Valley, and the Snoqualmie Valley. You can learn more about these projects in my most recent video update:
For a complete list of East King County projects, click here.
House Bill 2256 unanimously approved by House
Last week, the House passed a bill I've sponsored to make it easier for prospective foster parents to complete their pre-service training. Under House Bill 2256, all 24 hours of pre-service training would be made available online, and some, but not all, of the online training would count toward getting a foster license.
The reason for my bill is simple: we need more foster parents, and we have the technology to make it easier to get licensed. Potential foster parents still must complete an extensive application, have several interviews with a social worker, and have their home inspected to make sure it's safe for kids. But we should not make it a needless hassle for them to complete their training.
If you have ever thought about becoming a foster parent, consider taking the next step. We don't need heroes, we just need decent people willing to help kids in need.
In addition to House Bill 2256, I've been working on number of other bills this session. Here are a few:
House Bill 2254 addresses cyberstalking. Technology has advanced rapidly since the Legislature adopted a cyberstalking law in 2004, and our laws on this issue must advance with it. In addition to renaming the crime of cyberstalking “cyber harassment,” this bill would do three things: 1) provide additional protections for cyber harassment victims, 2) give prosecutors and the general public a better idea of what the law is and reduce the prospect of double jeopardy problems, and 3) reform the cyber harassment section of state law to ensure it's constitutional.
House Bill 2445 would make it easier for veterinarians and vet technicians to obtain the same medical articles available to doctors and other medical professionals. Vets and vet techs do important work when it comes taking care of our pets and addressing public health issues. I'm proud to try to help make their jobs easier. The bill passed unanimously out of the House Health Care & Wellness Committee last week, and is currently in the House Appropriations Committee.
House Bill 2446 would expand the number of assistive personnel physical therapists are allowed to supervise from two to three. Physical therapists do important work, and providing them with additional assistive personnel (licensed physical therapy assistants, massage therapists, athletic trainers, exercise physiologists, etc.) would help them provide even better patient care. This bill was voted out of the House Health Care & Wellness Committee last week.
Please continue contacting me with your thoughts, questions, or concerns about the 2018 session. Your feedback helps me to better serve you here in the Legislature. My email address is email@example.com, and my phone number is (360) 786-7876.
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It is an honor to serve you.