Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Although summer came and went way too quickly, as did the Washington State Fair, I hope you were able to enjoy both while they were here! It's been a busy interim for me, as I've continued to work on the many important issues you brought to me during this year's 105-day legislative session. I've also been meeting with hundreds of constituents, community leaders and small business owners, and have gone on a number of tours, including a tour of the Port of Tacoma with my seatmate, Rep. Chris Gildon.
As we make our way through interim, I look forward to continuing to engage with our communities in the 25th. If you'd like to schedule a time to sit down with me at my office or at a local coffee shop, please don't hesitate to reach out. My email address is Kelly.Chambers@leg.wa.gov, and my district phone number is (253) 840-4526.
Lawmakers convene for Committee Assembly Days
Last month, lawmakers returned to Olympia for two days (known as Committee Assembly Days) to meet in their respective committees and discuss some of the most critical issues facing our state. I serve on four House committees—Commerce and Gaming, Healthcare and Wellness, Transportation, and Rules—three of which convened, so it was a busy 48 hours for me.
In Commerce and Gaming, we received an update on the state's marijuana industry. In Health Care and Wellness, we had work sessions on health benefit managers and patient discharging practices. In Transportation, WSDOT briefed us on Amtrak Cascades, including corridor improvements and how they're working to prevent another derailment like the one we saw in 2017. We also received an update on “Target Zero” from the state agencies involved in developing the State Strategic Highway Safety Plan, which calls for zero deaths and serious injuries on Washington's roadways by 2030. You can read the plan here.
Since the Rules Committee is not a policy committee, we didn't hold a meeting.
All in all, it was a productive couple of days to help members start gearing up for the 2020 session. We'll be having two more Committee Assembly Days on November 21 and 22, and then the 60-day session will begin on Jan. 13.
A word about school safety
As a parent, I know how hard it can be to drop your children off at school after having them home all summer. Not only are you concerned about their success in the classroom and the friends they'll make, but you're also concerned about their safety. During the 2019 session, I was proud to support House Bill 1216, which is focused on making schools safer by providing resources and training surrounding mental health, suicide prevention, and community coordination efforts.
Last week, the sponsor of HB 1216 held a press conference at Columbia Junior High School in Fife to highlight the implementation of certain school safety provisions in the bill. While I wasn't able to attend due to a prior legislative commitment, I want you to know I fully support the provisions in the bill and am committed to doing everything I can as a state lawmaker to keep students, teachers, school administrators and staff safe.
There is no doubt we need more mental health and suicide prevention resources in our schools, and the Legislature should be funding these priorities. However, I firmly believe the issue of school safety requires a holistic approach. House Republicans have offered proposals to increase the number of school resource officers (SRO) in our schools. SROs are uniformed and highly trained, making them essential for responding quickly and professionally to threats. We also continue to support efforts to construct schools with secure design principles in mind.
There is much we can do to make our schools safer, and I hope we continue working together to make that happen.
Mark your calendar: Milwaukee Bridge Rehabilitation open house tomorrow
Tomorrow, an open house will be held at Puyallup City Hall for the public to ask questions and learn more about the Milwaukee Bridge (aka Veterans Bridge) Rehabilitation project. Below is some information on the project from the City of Puyallup:
The Milwaukee Bridge spans the Puyallup River at Milwaukee Ave. NE and NE 5th St.
In 2012, this cast-in-place concrete structure was projected to provide about ten more years of use. Either the bridge must be rehabilitated at this time, using existing components, or its condition will continue to deteriorate to the point of non-use (i.e. permanent closure). In order to preserve this valued access across the river, the City sought funding from the Federal Highway Administration and was awarded an 80% cost share grant up to $11,500,000.
This project is expected to go out to bid in 2019, with construction in 2019/2020.
The open house at Puyallup City Hall will be held from 4-7 p.m. For more information, click here.
Please don't hesitate to reach out to me with comments, questions or concerns. I always welcome your feedback, as it helps me to serve you more effectively. My email address is Kelly.Chambers@leg.wa.gov, and my district phone number is (253) 840-4526.
Until next time, take care.