Monthly Archives: February 2018

New bill would promote school safety in wake of mass shooting

February 24th, 2018|

OLYMPIA — A bill introduced Friday by Sen. David Frockt would align the age and background check requirements for the purchase of certain rifles with those already existing for handgun purchases.

Senate Bill 6620 also prioritizes school safety in the wake of a mass shooting in Parkland, Florida by creating mechanism for students to report dangerous behavior and by providing funding for emergency response systems.

“The brave students of Parkland, Florida have changed the conversation in this country regarding gun safety,” said Frockt, D-Seattle. “This shooting reminded us that there’s a lot of work to be done when it comes to school safety. It reminded Washingtonians that our own children are just as much at risk.

“This is a logical, reasonable, common-sense step toward preserving the safety of our students, teachers and school staff. I encourage other lawmakers to stand with me in support of this potentially life-saving measure.”

The bill is based on previous legislation introduced at the recommendation of Attorney General Bob Ferguson, and would do the following:

  • Requires the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction to allocate grants to school districts for the purpose of implementing emergency response systems. These systems would expedite law enforcement response.
  • Create the Students Protecting Students program within the Office of the Attorney General. Students would be able to anonymously report via telephone, text or email potentially dangerous, violent or criminal activities. Information would immediately be forwarded to local law enforcement and/or school officials.
  • Aligns the requirements for sale or transfer of a rifle with tactical features with existing requirements for the sale or transfer of a handgun. Purchasers would have to be 21 or older. The sale or transfer of these guns would require a state and federal background check.

Currently, these firearms may be purchased by anyone 18 or older, and with only a federal background check.

SB 6620 will be sent to the Senate Ways & Means Committee for consideration.

Frockt to participate in Telephone Town Hall

February 14th, 2018|

Call in to speak with Senator Frockt, Representative Pollet and Representative Valdez of the 46th legislative district for their 2018 telephone town hall!

To participate, call 877-299-8493 and use the pin “116293”

Or, wireless users can visit https://vekeo.com/whdc46/ to sign up for the call.

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    Bill would deploy mental health response teams with law enforcement

Bill would deploy mental health response teams with law enforcement

February 13th, 2018|

OLYMPIA — Legislation passed Monday by the Senate would assist law enforcement agencies in partnering with mental health professionals to respond to crisis situations in a safer, more helpful way.

“We all know that law enforcement agencies are responding to a significant number of calls,” said Sen. David Frockt, D-Seattle. “This bill will expand successful mental health field response teams already operating in Seattle, Tacoma and other areas of Washington.”

Frockt’s Senate Bill 5970 would establish a grant program to fund crisis intervention response pilot projects — partnerships between law enforcement agencies and mental health professionals. The Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs would coordinate the program.

The bill would allow agencies to build crisis intervention response programs that best fit their communities.

“We gave it a lot of flexibility because the model that works in Seattle may not be exactly what they need in Spokane, or in Orting, or in any other jurisdiction,” Frockt said. “Different areas have different needs, and the local communities and agencies know those needs better than we do.”

Frockt worked closely with the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs to develop this measure. Both that agency and the Association of Washington Cities support the bill.

The Seattle Police Department in 2014 implemented a Crisis Intervention Program. Five officers working within the unit have special crisis intervention training, and respond to calls with a civilian mental health professional. Frockt rode along with this unit last year to observe their efforts.

The department responded to 9,154 crisis incidents in a one-year period, according to a report. About 20 percent of these crisis contacts resulted in referrals to community or social services. About 31 percent resulted in emergent detention, and about 11 percent resulted in voluntary committal. Only about 8 percent resulted in arrests.

SB 5970 was approved unanimously by the Senate. The bill now proceeds to the House for consideration.

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    Senate votes to fix funding issues for behavioral rehabilitation services for children

Senate votes to fix funding issues for behavioral rehabilitation services for children

February 12th, 2018|

OLYMPIA — A bill passed today by the state Senate would address funding issues for the behavioral rehabilitation services that help Washington’s children.

“These youth are some of the most vulnerable in our state, and we’ve known for years that they’re not receiving the services they need,” said Sen. David Frockt, D-Seattle. “Many of these children are in foster care. In many instances, they have suffered neglect or abuse. We are their Washington family, and we must ensure the services they need are funded so these children can move toward a better life.”

Currently, the state reimburses behavioral rehabilitation providers at levels far less than the actual costs of helping the children in need of these services. The current cost of business for these facilities is $248 per day, per child. The actual cost of providing services is $411 per day, per child.

As a result of this funding disparity, the state has lost more than 170 behavioral rehabilitation service beds since 2009. Between 60 and 70 Washington children are being treated out of state, and another 195 children are being housed in hotels awaiting behavioral rehabilitation service beds — costing the state about $2,100 per day, according to the Children’s Administration.

Many of the children served by these programs are in foster care.

Senate Bill 6013 would require the state Department of Children, Youth and Families to facilitate a workgroup to design a rate payment methodology based on the true costs of providing behavioral rehabilitation services. It would also require that these services be forecasted and budgeted in the future.

The bill passed with a unanimous vote in the Senate.

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    Senate passes bill to eliminate a form of housing discrimination

Senate passes bill to eliminate a form of housing discrimination

February 9th, 2018|

OLYMPIA — A bill passed in the Senate today would prevent landlords from discriminating against tenants based on the source of their income. The bill is sponsored by Sen. David Frockt, and passed with the strong support of Sen. Mark Mullet, D-Issaquah, chair of the Senate Financial Institutions & Insurance Committee.

“I can think of no more urgent issue in our state than making sure that people have access to affordable housing,” Frockt said. “We want people to be able to live in their homes and not be forced into housing distress and the myriad consequences of that.”

“We’re proud to be the first state to partner with private landlords to expand access to housing for people with Section 8 vouchers,” Mullet said.

Senate Bill 5407 would prohibit landlords from discriminating against tenants whose income includes housing subsidies, veterans’ assistance, or other forms of public assistance. It would prevent landlords from refusing to rent property, expelling tenants, or discouraging rental to a tenant based on their income source.

State law already prohibits landlords from discriminating against tenants based on their sex, race, sexual orientation and other factors.

“Homelessness is a crisis in Washington state, and we have limited tools to solve this problem,” Frockt said. “One of those tools is housing assistance. But that only works if people are able to rent homes using that source of income.”

A one-night count in 2017 identified more than 11,600 people experiencing homelessness in King County alone. About 45 percent of state funding set aside for ending homelessness is intended to be used in the private, for-profit rental market.

Frockt’s bill also offers protections to landlords, in the form of a mitigation fund. The fund would provide landlords who rent to tenants with qualifying sources of income the following: up to 14 days of lost rental income, up to $1,000 for eligible repairs, and reimbursements for damages reflected in a judgement obtained against a tenant. This innovation – the first of its kind in the country – is designed to address landlord concerns and was developed in close consultation with landlord groups. As a result of this work, the measure received strong bipartisan support, passing with a 33 to 14 vote.

Twelve states already prohibit source-of-income discrimination against tenants.

SB 5407 now moves to the House for consideration.

This bill is one of three bill passed Friday intended to improve access to affordable housing and emergency shelters. Senate Bill 6371 regards the Housing Finance Commission, and Senate Bill 6294 exempts certain shelters from impact fees.