Last year, we successfully passed the Healthy Environment for All (HEAL) Act, and Governor Inslee signed it into law. This created the first statewide law in our great state that coordinates efforts across state agencies to promote environmental justice for Washingtonians.
The law covers seven state agencies: the Washington State Department of Health (DOH); the state departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Ecology, Natural Resources, and Transportation; and Puget Sound Partnership. It allows other agencies to opt in. The HEAL Act builds on and implements some of the key recommendations from the Environmental Justice Task Force.
In addition to coordinating efforts between state agencies and promoting environmental justice, the HEAL Act also created an Environmental Justice Council who are tasked with advising state agencies as they incorporate environmental justice into their practices.
Just recently, the final members of the council were appointed and they held their first meeting in April – learn more about the Environmental Justice Council here.
This is a vital law that came about through intense collaboration with many communities of color, and this will go a long way towards supporting all Washingtonians moving forward. Representation matters, and the HEAL Act is an example of the good we can do when everyone has a seat at the table.
It was an incredible effort getting this bill drafted, passed, and signed into law, and I’m grateful to all those who worked alongside me to make this a reality. Our work today must focus on impacting our tomorrow, and working to promote a healthy and vibrant environment will always be a priority as we strive to leave a better world for our grandchildren’s grandchildren.
Keep reading for more on this Fantastic Friday.
“Stay Safe, Stay Healthy”
Rep. Debra Lekanoff
Campaign Kickoff Event!
Serving as your voice in Olympia these past four years has truly been the honor of my lifetime, and I am proud to wake up each day and go to work on your behalf. Together we have accomplished so much, and there is no place I would rather be than by your side, working to help the 40th LD that we all call home.
Now, I am excited to invite you to my Campaign Kickoff! We’re officially launching this campaign on Monday, June 6th at Twin Sisters in Bellingham.
Join me for great food, drinks and to celebrate the beginning of the campaign season!
Rep. Debra Lekanoff’s Campaign Kickoff
Monday, June 6th
5:30pm – 7:00pm
Twin Sisters Brewing Company
500 Carolina Street, Bellingham
Thanks so much – I hope to see you then!
Happy Pride Month!
This week marks the official start of Pride Month 2022!
While our work to protect and support our LGBTQ+ and two-spirit friends and family is an ongoing effort year-round, this month we take time aside to celebrate those members of our community and appreciate all the sacrifices that have been made to secure their rights and acceptance.
I will always stand beside the LGBTQ+ and two-spirit communities in the ongoing fight to be seen, heard, and accepted, and this month I am want to express my deep gratitude to the generations that have come before us and those who continue to do the difficult work on this front.
Right here in Washington State, the Washington State Stonewall Democrats have worked incredibly hard in training candidates and advocating for policies that positively impact the LGBTQ+ community across the state. They are an inspiring organization, and I am so grateful for the work they have done and their continued support.
Washington is home to so many, and here in the 40th we understand the importance of creating a community that all can be proud to call home. Together we have already come so far, and together we will reach even greater heights. Happy Pride Month!
Protecting Our Students
Last week, we took a moment to talk about steps that Washington has taken to promote sensibile gun regulations and cut down on the unnecessary, heartbreaking loss of life that we have seen across the country.
This included limiting where you are able to bring firearms, capacity on magazines, and other common sense regulations that we have been working on in the People’s House in Olympia.
Now, I want to take a second to talk to you specifically about a bill we have worked on to protect our schools and our students.
HB 1216 – Concerning nonfirearm measures to increase school safety and student well-being.
During the interim between the 2018 and 2019 legislative sessions, much research took place concerning nonfirearm measures to increase school safety and student well-being.
Out of our research, HB 1216 was born and became law. During the 2022 legislative session, when the prototypical model was increased to add more school counselors, school psychologists, nurses and socio-emotional supports, we took another step forward to help our children continue to be safe and well in a very troubled world.
Many mass shooters are motivated by an angry suicidal approach to dealing with problems. We are doing a better job than ever in teaching school personnel suicide prevention skills. There is no way to promise that threat assessment will always work, but school employees in Washington State now are being trained on both “school safety” and “student well-being.”
We must ask ourselves about our priorities, and who we want to protect when a child is killed by gun violence. It is unacceptable to continue to allow the killing of our children. As a mother, a community member, and your lawmaker, I am committed to working with my colleagues to enact sensible gun laws here in Washington.
Supporting Key Races
As we’ve discussed, a draft of an upcoming decision from the Supreme Court that would overturn Roe v. Wade leaked to Politico, and while this is not the final decision or the official decision of the court, it is a scary and heartbreaking development for our country.
For nearly fifty years Roe v. Wade has protected a woman’s right to choose at a federal level, and what this draft decision would do is delegate that authority to the states instead – where we have already seen a concerted attack on reproductive rights and many states are poised to act the moment Roe is overturned.
Now, as we come up on an incredibly important election, it’s more important than ever that we support candidates that are ready to fight for reproductive rights. I want to take a moment and highlight a few of the key races coming up in our elections this November – races that need your support to maintain our majority in Olympia.
If you are able, please consider donating to these campaigns and lending them your support – I’m proud to stand by them, and will always defend the reproductive rights of all Washingtonians.
Thanking the NW Straits Commission!
During my time in Olympia, I have always worked to ensure that our beautiful waterways here in the Pacific Northwest are protected and supported. Together we always have to think on behalf of future generations, and our work today will impact the next seven generations to come.
It was with that in mind that I advocated strongly for state funding to support the Northwest Straits Commission, who work tirelessly to support local groups and protect Washington’s Straits and waters. The Northwest Straits Commission works to conserve the marine ecosystem of the Pacific Northwest and protect it for the future. Both scientists and volunteers alike work together to protect our marine species and habitats.
The Northwest Straits Commission provides funding, training and support to seven county-based Marine Resources Committees (MRCs). It facilitates regional coordination among the MRCs and connects the MRC work to regional planning processes such as the Puget Sound Partnership Action Agenda and Puget Sound Nearshore Estuary Restoration Program. The Northwest Straits Commission also takes on and manages regional projects that are of interest to all MRCs such as training volunteers to identify forage fish spawning sites.
To learn more about the Northwest Straits Commission, click here.
We all owe our thanks to those who work for the Northwest Straits Commission, and I want to express my deep gratitude for all the incredible things they have accomplished. The work we are doing today will leave a world that future generations can be proud to call home.
Law Enforcement Legislation
Friends, as we’ve discussed in the past, we have taken your calls to increase accountability of our law enforcement. Recently, there has been some confusion around several bills designed with community advocates, local governments, and law enforcement representatives at the table.
I want to be perfectly clear and transparent with all of you: nothing in this legislation changes what calls officers are allowed to show up for, nor do they require officers to leave the area if a crime is not being committed.
The People’s House has listened to the voters and set clear expectations for officers’ behavior, set a baseline for acceptable use of force, tactics, and equipment, and ensured accountability and transparency. Last year, police killings of Washington residents were down 60 percent, the largest improvement in the country.
Some law enforcement departments have strictly interpreted the laws and believe they do not have the necessary tools to do their job. Democrats have passed legislation clarifying how officers can act when investigating crime, striking the right balance to keep communities safe without jeopardizing the voter-approved reforms to de-escalate and reduce the use of force.
We believe these bills strike the right balance to keep everyone in our community as safe as possible. It was important that we act to help rebuild that trust between law enforcement and communities, and we will always work with your best interests at heart. Please reach out if you have any additional concerns or questions!
Working on your behalf in Olympia has been the pleasure of a lifetime these past four years, and it’s been an honor to work alongside so many great individuals and organizations as I’ve worked to represent you and the interests of the 40th LD.
Now I’m pleased to thank a number of great organizations who have endorsed my second re-election campaign!
Thank you so much to the Whatcom Democrats, Lummi Nation, and SEIU 925 for endorsing my campaign!
Excited to run to continue as your voice in Olympia!
Representing you in Olympia these past four years has been such an incredible honor. I have loved getting to know each and every one of you, and it is always my goal to listen to each of you as we continue working to create a place our grandchildren’s grandchildren will be proud to call home.
It’s with that in mind that I ask you to stand with my campaign – I would love to include your name on my list of endorsements as I run for re-election this year. If you’d like to endorse my campaign, click here – it will only take a minute!
The 40th LD is an incredible place, and I am proud to have you behind me as I run for re-election to continue as your voice in Olympia.