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Dear Friends and Neighbors,
As we close out the third week of session in the state Legislature, I'd like to give you an update on some of the work we've been doing. And of course, I'd be remiss if I didn't say “Go Hawks!”
National Guard Day in the Legislature
Today the state House honored the men and women who serve in the Washington State National Guard.
Like you, I am so very grateful to the guardsmen and guardswomen who serve our state and country. I am also thankful for their families, who serve in spirit alongside them.
More data, more help for students from military families
This week the House Education Committee heard testimony on one of my bills, relating to students from military families.
The bill authorizes school districts to provide to the state Superintendent of Public Instruction data on how many military family students they serve.
With this data, military-connected school districts will be able to access grants from the Department of Defense to enhance STEM (science, technology, engineering and math), foreign language learning and special education programs.
The Veterans Legislative Coalition supports the bill. It passed the House last year, but not the Senate, so I'll be working hard to get it all the way through the legislative process and to the governor's desk. I think it will be of great benefit to our military families.
“Joel's Law” passes; more help for the mentally ill
On Thursday the House passed legislation known as “Joel's Law,” which allows family members of those who are mentally ill and who pose a threat to themselves and/or others to petition the courts for involuntary commitment.
The bill is named after Joel Reuter, who had worked in the tech industry in Seattle and also suffered from bipolar disorder. When he went off his medications his mental health declined severely and his parents tried to get him committed to a mental health facility for treatment, but state law didn't allow them to. Eventually Joel gained possession of a gun and was involved in a standoff with police, who were forced to shoot him when he fired at them. Joel died of his wounds.
It is my hope this legislation will offer meaningful help to those who suffer from mental illness, as well as their families.
Stay in touch
If you have any questions or comments, please don't hesitate to contact me. I also welcome visitors! Simply call or email my office and we'll make an appointment. My contact information is at the bottom of this email.
424 John L. O'Brien Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
(360) 786-7890 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000