Greetings from Olympia! This week was filled with long committee meetings and late-night votes on the floor of the Senate as we reached the fiscal deadline for committees to act on legislation. Lawmakers still have lots of work to do, putting the finishing touches on bills and negotiating new operating, transportation and capital budgets, before the 2019 legislative session comes to an end on April 28.
Senate page: Ryan Thien
I recently had the pleasure of sponsoring Ryan Thien, a tenth-grader at Southridge High School, through the Senate Page Program. Ryan got to spend a week in Olympia working at the Legislature and learning more about state government. Some of his duties included delivering documents, distributing messages and mail to offices and members in the Senate chamber. Ryan also attended “page school” to learn about parliamentary procedure and the legislative process. He did an excellent job serving as a page and I wish him well in his future endeavors.
Supporting sexual-assault survivors
Lawmakers are working hard to do more to help victims of sexual assault. Two bills making their way through the Legislature this session are intended to make our college campuses safer and would establish requirements for sexual assault kits.
House Bill 1998 would create a task force to work on policies related to sexual violence on our college and university campuses. This legislation would be a tool in establishing the groundwork to ensure student safety on and off campuses of higher education.
House Bill 1166 would establish storage requirements for unreported sexual-assault kits (kits that have been collected from people who have not formally reported a crime), and temporarily halt the destruction of untested sexual assault kits. It would extend the one-year statute of limitations for identifying suspects from DNA testing to two years. This bill would also address the backlog of sexual-assault kits and provide funding to guarantee more kits are tested.