Three bills from 18th Legislative District lawmakers receive Inslee’s signature


The 2022 Washington State Legislative Session is officially over, as Gov. Jay Inslee signed three bills introduced by lawmakers from the 18th Legislative District the day after the session wrapped up.

On March 11, Inslee signed the first slew of bills after lawmakers ended the 60-day session the prior day. Of the 52 bills signed, lawmakers from the 18th Legislative District had a strong showing among the North Clark County delegation.

Sen. Ann Rivers, R-La Center, had one of the six bills she introduced this year signed on Friday. Substitute Senate Bill 5821 intends to evaluate the state’s cardiac and stroke emergency response system.

The bill requires the Washington State Department of Health to contract with a “qualified independent party with demonstrated experience” for the evaluation, which will assess the state’s current care system and its data collection for cardiac and stroke care. It also requires the department to seek input from a variety of statewide entities including medical, hospital and for-profit ambulance associations, and the American Heart Association, as well as local governments that are engaged in providing emergency service response, among others.

Bill proponents who testified about the legislation said it would identify gaps in resources communities statewide experience when it comes to responding to cardiac and stroke emergencies. Though legislation was previously passed to create a framework for response to those emergencies statewide, no funding was associated with it.

The bill will “refocus efforts on this issue and give the Legislature the opportunity to assess how to make the system better,” a House bill summary stated.

The findings of the evaluation are required to be put before the Legislature by Oct. 1, 2023. SSB 5821 passed both the Senate and House in unanimous votes. 

One of the half-dozen bills Rep. Brandon Vick, R-Camas, introduced this year also received Inslee’s signature. House Bill 1874 builds off of legislation Vick introduced last year, which sought to reduce barriers for those with arrests or criminal convictions to get professional licenses.

The bill requires licensing authorities to consider the nature and seriousness of an offense, the relationship the offense has to being able to perform in a profession, the individual’s age at the time of the offense, and other evidence such as treatment. An individual cannot be disqualified on convictions that have been sealed, dismissed, expunged or pardoned, as well as juvenile adjudications.

Bill proponents testified that the bill would help reduce recidivism among those convicted with a crime.

“Successful entry into the labor force is shown to greatly increase the chances that a former prisoner will not re-offend, but government barriers to reintegrating into the labor force, including occupational licenses, can be a barrier to those with criminal records to finding a new career and getting a new start,” a summary of supporting testimony stated.

HB 1874 passed the House 96-1 and the Senate unanimously.

Rep. Larry Hoff, R-Vancouver, had a bill signed that makes a “simple” change to protect employees from bad checks. House Bill 1794 requires employers to reimburse any fees incurred by employees if a paycheck isn’t honored due to insufficient funds.

Proponents of the legislation testified HB 1794 is intended to correct what an employer is required to pay an employee back. The testimony stated the vast majority of employers pay employees correctly, but the state Department of Labor and Industries gets about 220 complaints about bounced paychecks. Any fees incurred by a bounced check constitutes a denial of wages, proponents argued.

HB 1794 passed both the House and Senate unanimously.