What are the priorities of legislators representing Renton?

Lawmakers sponsor bills spanning from educational funding to new firearm industry responsibilties.

This year is a shorter 60-day session for the Washington State Legislature to draft and pass bills to address the state’s most pressing issues.

Renton is almost entirely covered by Washington’s 11th Legislative District. The legislators representing the community include David Hackney (D) and Steve Bergquist (D) in the House of Representatives and Bob Hasegawa (D) in the Senate.

Here is a look at the legislative priorities of Renton legislators based on the bills for which they are a primary sponsor.

Sen. Bob Hasegawa (D)

• SB 5335: Developing the Washington health trust

This bill as written would establish financing and development of the Washington health trust to ensure that “all Washington residents can enroll in nonprofit health insurance coverage providing an essential set of health benefits, including medical, dental, vision, and prescription drug benefits.” According to the bill, which refers to the policy as “universal health care” the trust aims to “simplify health care financing,” eliminate administrative waste, and guarantee all residents coverage of a comprehensive set of essential health benefits without the burden of premiums, deductibles, copayments, or medical bills.

The bill is also sponsored by Sen. Sam Hunt (D), Sen. Marko Liias (D), Sen. Joe Nguyen (D), and Sen. Derek Stanford (D).

• SB 5643: Creating a charter of people’s personal data rights

This bill gives rights to consumers over age 13 to receive notice of when non-governmental companies and agencies collect their personal information and digital data. “Personal information” is described as any information that directly or indirectly identifies, relates to, describes, is capable of being associated with, or could reasonably be linked to a particular individual, household, or device. It also includes “biometric information” collected, which includes but is not limited to “fingerprints, retina and iris patterns, voiceprints, DNA sequence, facial characteristics, gait, handwriting, key stroke dynamics, and mouse movements.

The bill establishes a framework of data rights for consumers. It is also sponsored by Sen. Sam Hunt (D), Sen. Claudia Kauffman (D), Sen. Patty Kuderer (D), Sen. Liz Lovelett (D), Sen. T’wina Nobles (D), and Sen. Claire Wilson (D).

• SB 6245: Assisting refugees and immigrants

The bill, as written, would establish the “scope” of refugee and immigrant assistance administered by the office of refugee and immigrant assistance within the department of social and health services. It dictates that the department shall coordinate state, federal, and local efforts to support the economic and social integration of immigrants and refugees arriving and resettling in Washington, including refugee cash assistance, refugee medical assistance, employment services, English language instruction, and case management.

The bill is also sponsored by Sen. Joe Nguyen (D), Sen. T’wina Nobles (D), Sen. Rebecca Saldaña (D), Sen. Derek Stanford (D), Sen. Yasmin Trudeau (D), Sen. Javier Valdez (D), and Sen. Claire Wilson (D).

Rep. Steve Bergquist (D)

• HB 1211: Relating to special education funding formula

This bill would restructure the formula for how special education is funded in Washington state by directing the Superintendent of Public Instruction to submit to each regular session of the Legislature during an odd-numbered year a programmed budget request for special education programs for students with disabilities.

“Funding for programs operated by local school districts shall be on an excess cost basis from appropriations provided by the legislature for special education programs for students with disabilities and shall take account of state funds,” the bill reads.

The excess cost allocation to school districts would be based on a district’s annual average headcount enrollment of students ages three and four and those five-year-olds not yet enrolled in kindergarten who are eligible for and receiving special education, multiplied by the district’s base allocation per full-time equivalent.

The bill is also sponsored by Rep. Skyler Rude (R), Rep. Michelle Caldier (R), Rep. Shelley Kloba (D), Rep. Beth Doglio (D), and Rep. Tana Senn (D).

• HB 2309: Establishing the Washington 13 free guarantee

This bill would establish the Washington 13 Guarantee. The Washington 13 free guarantee would provide up to 45 credits of tuition free community or technical college, to be earned within two academic years, for eligible students regardless of income.

The bill is co-sponsored by Rep. Alex Ybarra (R), Rep. Julia Reed (D), Rep. Kevin Waters (R), Rep. Gerry Pollet (D), Rep. Joel McEntire (R), Rep. Dave Paul (D), Rep. Vandana Slatter (D), Rep. Debra Entenman (D), Rep. Sharon Tomiko Santos (D), Rep. Alex Ramel (D), Rep. Marcus Riccelli (D), Rep. Joe Timmons (D), and Rep. Lisa Callan (D).

Rep. David Hackney (D)

• HB 1598: Concerning jury diversity

This bill, as written, directs the Administrative Office of the Courts to provide all courts with a method to collect data on a juror’s race, ethnicity, age, sex, employment status, educational attainment, and income, as well as any other data approved by order of the chief justice of the Washington State Supreme Court. Data collection must be conducted and reported in a manner that preserves juror anonymity. The administrative office of the courts would publish this demographic data in an annual report to the governor.

The bill also aims to remove barriers for jurors to serve on a jury including childcare assistance, more pay per day for jurors and electronic notification of being selected for jury duty.

It is also sponsored by Rep. Steve Bergquist (D), Rep. Tarra Simmons (D), Rep. Sharlett Mena (D), Rep. Amy Walen (D), Rep. Mia Gregerson (D), Rep. Emily Alvarado (D), Rep. Nicole Macri (D), Rep. Gerry Pollet (D), Rep. Beth Doglio (D), and Rep. Julia Reed (D).

• HB 1130: Protecting public safety by establishing duties of firearm industry members

This bill, as written, puts the onus on manufacturers and retailers in the firearm industry to “to establish and implement safe and responsible business practices, and to ensure that the attorney general and members of the public in Washington who are harmed by a firearm industry member’s violation of law may bring legal action to seek appropriate justice and fair remedies for those harms in court.”

It would establish that individuals in the firearm industry must “prevent the sale or distribution of a firearm industry product to a straw purchaser, a firearm trafficker, a person prohibited from possessing a firearm under state or federal law, or a person who the firearm industry member has reasonable cause to believe is at substantial risk of using a firearm industry product to harm themselves or unlawfully harm another, or of unlawfully possessing or using a firearm industry product.”

Among other provisions, it maintains that a firearm industry member must take “reasonable precautions” to ensure the firearm industry member does not sell or distribute a firearm industry product to a downstream distributor or retailer of firearm industry products that fails to establish and implement reasonable controls.

The bill is also sponsored by Rep. Amy Walen (D), Rep. Julia Reed (D), Rep. Strom Peterson (D), Rep. Liz Berry (D), Rep. Nicole Macri (D) and others.

For more information on bills sponsored by local legislators, visit leg.wa.gov.