I’ve now served through two very different sessions: one where Democrats did not have control and one where we did. I can tell you this – we got a LOT done in 2018 with control of the State Senate. As a member of the Senate’s Democratic leadership, I am so proud of what we accomplished in Olympia in 2018. Working together, we enacted a backlog of bipartisan legislation that the people of Washington wanted:
Washington Voting Rights Act (SB6002) -- empowers local communities to elect representatives who better represent them.
Breakfast After the Bell (HB1508) -- ensures our children start the school day ready to learn with breakfast in the classroom after the bell rings.
Gender Pay Equity (HB1506) -- widens the definitions of similar work that must be paid equally regardless of gender. In addition to work with similar job titles work with similar roles and responsibilities must be paid equally. It allows employees to discuss their compensation with each other. It prohibits employers from limiting access to career advancement opportunities based on gender.
Collective Bargaining at Community Colleges (HB1237) -- allows community colleges to retain qualified staff by using local resources in collective bargaining agreements to increase staff compensation.
Reproductive Parity Act (SB 6219) -- starting in 2019 health insurance plans in Washington State must cover contraception with no co-pay or deductible for all enrollees. Plans with health savings accounts (HSAs) must cover contraception with the lowest possible cost-sharing. Health insurance plans that offer maternity coverage must offer coverage for abortions.
Ban on Conversion Therapy (SB5722) -- protects our young Washingtonians by banning the provision of conversion therapy to those under the age of 18 by licensed health care workers. Conversion therapy is an attempt by a therapist to change an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity.
Ban Bump Stocks (SB5992) -- makes us safer by banning bump stocks that can convert a semi-automatic weapon into a weapon that is almost a machine gun.
Same Day Voter Registration (SB6021) -- opens up voting to more Washingtonians by allowing voters to register in-person up to Election Day. It also allows voters to register online or by mail up to eight days before an election and still vote in that election.
Additionally, I’m proud of these bills that I prime sponsored and became law this session:
Electrician Apprenticeship (SB6126) -- increases the number of electricians and improves safety for both electricians and their customers.
Civil Service Qualifications (SB6145) -- improves public safety by allowing police departments and fire departments to hire legal permanent residents as firefighters and police officers.
Pacific Islander Health Care (SB 5683) -- fulfills our responsibility to caring for Washington residents from Pacific island countries whose health has suffered from American nuclear testing in their countries.
Protecting Agricultural Workers and Community Members from Pesticides (SB 6529) -- establishes a bipartisan working group to develop recommendations to improve the safety of pesticide application.
Fair Chance Act (HB1298) -- gives those who have committed a crime and paid their debt to society a fair chance at a job. It prohibits most employers from asking about a job applicant’s criminal history before the employer evaluates if the employee meets the qualifications for the job. Law enforcement agencies and employers who work with children and vulnerable populations are exempted.
Recognizing March 31 as Cesar Chavez Day (HB 1939) -- recognizes the historic labor leader Cesar Chavez.
As State Senator, I have been - and will continue to be - a strong voice for our community and stand up for our most deeply held values: inclusion, dignity, and justice for all.
Photos on this page by Jason Hahn