Sen. David Frockt Newsroom

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    Frockt ‘disappointed’ by Republicans’ refusal to vote for capital budget funding

Frockt ‘disappointed’ by Republicans’ refusal to vote for capital budget funding

Senate Republicans on Monday blocked funding for the 2019-21 Capital construction budget by voting against SHB 1101, which had received unanimous, bipartisan support in the House on Wednesday.

The bill failed because a 60 percent supermajority is required to approve a bond bill.

The move is reminiscent of the 2017 Legislative session, when then-majority Senate Republicans blocked funding for the 2017-19 Capital Budget. Senate Republicans ultimately failed to pass the budget at all that session, which marked the first time in recent history the Legislature failed to pass a construction budget.

“I am extremely disappointed,” said Sen. David Frockt, the Senate’s chief capital budget writer. “This is a good budget for every part of the state. These projects were negotiated in good faith in a bipartisan fashion. There is no good reason to withhold votes for the bond bill today.”

The capital budget invests in infrastructure projects throughout Washington. Below is a list of just a few of those projects and policy areas funded in the budget:

  • $1 billion for school construction statewide
  • $200 million for behavioral health projects statewide
  • $3.5 million: Housing in Airway Heights near Spokane
  • $2.5 million: Veterans housing in Yakima
  • $2 million: Sewer project in Wenatchee
  • $2 million: Business park in Ridgefield
  • $2 million: Food bank in Moses Lake

 For a complete list of projects, please click here.

April 8th, 2019|Uncategorized|
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    Bill designed to help prevent school shootings passes Senate

Bill designed to help prevent school shootings passes Senate

A bill to update Washington’s Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO) statute to improve school safety passed the Washington State Senate today with a strong bipartisan 43 to 5 vote.

Senate Bill 5027 would amend an initiative passed by Washington voters in 2015, and is sponsored by Sen. David Frockt (D-Seattle). The bill came at the unanimous recommendation of the Mass Shooting Workgroup, which met during the 2018 interim.

“We are facing the emergence of a school shooting generation of children, normalizing lockdowns and active shooter response plans amongst other safety drills,” Frockt said. “This is not normal and I believe our country needs to do more to prevent these tragedies that have affected not only Parkland and Sandy Hook, but Freeman and Marysville in our own state.”

“We can lead the way in our own state with this legislation that was agreed upon by the workgroup comprised of a number of different professionals including law enforcement, educators and behavioral health.”

This new bill is designed to clarify the application of ERPOs to minors, and keep firearms out of the hands of minors who are at a high risk of hurting themselves or others during a behavioral health crisis or through potential violent behavior.

The bill would allow petitions for ERPOs to be applied to people under the age of 18. If approved, an order would prohibit the minor from accessing, controlling, purchasing, possessing or receiving a firearm. The minor’s parent or guardian would be notified of their legal obligation to safely secure any firearms.

According to a report by Everytown for Gun Safety, shooters exhibited warning signs indicating that they posed a danger to themselves or others before shooting in about half of all mass shootings.

“We know that Washington’s ERPO law has saved lives, and we know that there are typically warning signs before school shootings,” Frockt said. “To me, applying this existing, effective law to minors is the logical next step along with many other bills we are going to pass to provide many more behavioral health supports to our kids.”

Background

Frockt introduced the original ERPO statute in 2015. After the bill stalled for two years in the legislature, Washington voters enacted an ERPO initiative in 2016, with an overwhelming 69 percent of the vote. The measure had strong support in nearly every corner of the state.

Washington was the fourth state in the country to enact such a law. Nine other states have since passed similar measures. The ERPO statute allows people to petition the court to remove someone’s firearms if that person poses a significant danger to themselves or others. However, in Washington the statute currently only applies to adults.

March 5th, 2019|Uncategorized|

Legislature Tackles Harms of Medical Debt

Rep. Laurie Jinkins (D-Tacoma) and Sen. David Frockt (D-Seattle) have introduced companion bills – House Bill 1531 and Senate Bill 5530, respectively – to protect Washingtonians from mounting medical bills by regulating medical debt collection practices.

“Medical debt can send someone into a spiral of debt they had no idea they were accumulating,” said Representative Jinkins. “Medical debt is the number one cause of bankruptcy in the United States. When people can’t pay for medical services, they’re forced to make drastic, often harmful, decisions, like increasing their credit card debt or cutting back on needed doctor visits and prescriptions. My hope is that we can alleviate this burden that so many face.”

On Wednesday, February 6, 2019 the Washington State House Civil Rights & Judiciary Committee will hold a public hearing on the bill. The bill proposes several solutions to address the problem of mounting medical debt and the practices used to collect outstanding medical debt. Among its elements, the bill places restrictions on the collection of pre-judgment interest, requires debt collectors to provide people with more information about their bill and information about charity care when attempting to collect on an outstanding debt, prohibits bench warrants for medical debt, reduces the interest rate on judgments stemming from medical debt, and places restrictions on wage and bank account garnishments.

“Nearly every Washingtonian has an experience with medical bills that aren’t transparent or difficult to understand,” Senator Frockt said. “People shouldn’t become homeless, jobless, or bankrupt as a result of seeking critical medical care. We need to address this growing problem.”

Medical debt is a widespread and growing problem, both in Washington State and throughout the nation. Approximately nine percent of Washingtonians have outstanding medical debt, totaling more than $700 million. Medical services often arise out of unexpected, unplanned events — such as a car accident or sudden illness. For many, critical medical care leads to extraordinary medical bills, devastating a household’s financial security and stability.

“Medical expenses drive millions of people in the United States into poverty,” said Antonio Ginatta, policy director at Columbia Legal Services. “HB 1531 and SB 5530 provide fair relief to people burdened by sudden and debilitating medical debt.” 

February 5th, 2019|Uncategorized|

Frockt applauds passage of I-940 update

The Washington State Senate today unanimously passed legislation that would update Initiative 940, a voter initiative that updated Washington’s deadly force statute.

House Bill 1064 applies a set of consensus revisions to the initiative, which was enacted by voters in the November election.

Sen. David Frockt (D-Seattle) has long been a leader in Washington’s efforts to update the state’s deadly force statute.  He sponsored the Senate companion legislation to HB 1064 and served on the Task Force on the Use of Deadly Force.

“The agreement reached between law enforcement groups and DeEscalate Washington is one of the most profound and important agreements I have seen since my time in Olympia,” Frockt said. “For years, we worked to find common ground and to find a solution that will prioritize the safety of all Washingtonians.”

“No one is above the law, and no one is beneath the protection of the law. This bill acknowledges both these realities.”

Having passed the state House of Representatives on Jan. 24, the bill now heads to Gov. Jay Inslee to be signed into law.

January 30th, 2019|Uncategorized|
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    Sen. Frockt to be lead Senate sponsor of Cascade Care, public option health plan legislation

Sen. Frockt to be lead Senate sponsor of Cascade Care, public option health plan legislation

Sen. David Frockt (D-Seattle) announced today that he will sponsor a Senate bill to provide a public option for health insurance in Washington state. He released the following statement:

“The Trump administration has done everything in its power to undermine the health care coverage advances we’ve made in Washington. His policies have led to dramatic increases in premiums and deductibles for our citizens obtaining insurance on the individual market. His administration is today supporting a court case to overturn, in full, the Affordable Care Act including its protections for pre-existing conditions.”

“For those Washingtonians in the individual health insurance market, including those buying coverage on our exchange, Cascade Care is designed to apply downward pressure to the increases in premiums and deductibles that his terrible policies have led to. Over the last year, I have spoken directly with families and individuals who purchase coverage on the exchange who believe aggressive steps must be taken to bring premiums and deductibles down.”

“Cascade Care will lend predictability by establishing standard benefit designs that will be easier for consumers to understand and navigate by providing transparent and predictable cost sharing. Cascade Care will be available to all Washingtonians as it will have no income qualifier, but will not have any direct effect on the majority of Washingtonians who get their health care through their employers, Medicare or Apple Health (Medicaid).”

”I support and continue to support a universal health care system in this country. For the time being, the Trump Administration has put both a national and state based system out of reach. Cascade Care is an important step that can be done here in Washington that, in the long run, will lay the foundation for the universal system many of us are seeking.”

For additional information on Cascade Care, visit Gov. Jay Inslee’s Medium page.

January 8th, 2019|Uncategorized|
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    Frockt announces bill to help prevent school shootings on 6th anniversary of Sandy Hook

Frockt announces bill to help prevent school shootings on 6th anniversary of Sandy Hook

OLYMPIA — Sen. David Frockt, D-Seattle, pre-filed a bill Friday designed to update Washington’s Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO) law to help prevent school shootings. This bill, which would amend Washington’s ERPO statute, will likely be one of several school safety measures considered during the 2019 legislative session designed to protect children in schools.

The new bill reflects the unanimous recommendation of the Mass Shooting Workgroup to update the ERPO statute to insure that it can be applied to minors.

“Today marks the sixth anniversary of the devastating school shooting at Sandy Hook,” Frockt said. “On this solemn day, we must acknowledge that we must do more to try to prevent these incidents. This bill will be one of those tools.”

“Since Columbine, thousands of school age children in America have been subjected to school shooting incidents. In cases where the source of the gun could be determined, more than 85 percent of shooters brought them from their own homes or obtained them from friends or relatives. Washington has not been immune to these types of incidents from Marysville to Freeman. Just this week, schools in suburban Seattle were placed on lockdown to school shooting threats.”

Frockt’s bill also has the support of the Alliance for Gun Responsibility.

“We know that Extreme Risk Protection Orders have already saved lives in our state in the short time they have been in place,” said Renee Hopkins, CEO of the Alliance for Gun Responsibility. “Clarifying the law’s application to minors is a crucial step that will help keep guns out of the hands of young people who are at risk to harm themselves or others. It will help keep our schools and communities safer from gun violence.”

Background

Frockt introduced the original ERPO statute in 2015. After the bill stalled for two years in the legislature, Washington voters enacted an ERPO initiative in 2016, with an overwhelming 69 percent of the vote. The measure had strong support in nearly every corner of the state.

Washington was the fourth state in the country to enact such a law. Nine other states have since passed similar measures. The ERPO statute allows people to petition the court to remove someone’s firearms if that person poses a significant danger to themselves or others. However, in Washington the statute currently only applies to adults.

Frockt’s Bill

This new bill is designed to clarify the application of ERPOs to minors, and keep firearms out of the hands of minors who are at a high risk of hurting themselves or others during a behavioral health crisis or through potential violent behavior.

The bill would allow petitions for ERPOs to be applied to people under the age of 18. If approved, an order would prohibit the minor from accessing, controlling, purchasing, possessing or receiving a firearm. The minor’s parent or guardian would be notified of their legal obligation to safely secure any firearms.

This update to the ERPO statute comes at the recommendation of the Mass Shootings Work Group, which met throughout the 2018 interim. The group heard from the King County Prosecutors Firearms Enforcement Unit and the Seattle Police Department’s Crisis Response Unit who have effectively utilized the ERPO tool to obtain court orders to remove firearms in cases of individual exhibiting threats to themselves or others.

But these experts acknowledged ongoing questions about whether the statute could be applied to minors when needed. Members of the task force, composed of law enforcement, school safety officials, behavioral health leaders and civil liberties advocates unanimously included this proposed update in their recommendations to the legislature.

“This legislation is only one element of these comprehensive recommendations which include counseling, behavioral health supports and better threat assessments,” Frockt said. “But it is an important recommendation that will compliment these other steps that are continuing to be developed in anticipation of the coming session.”

For information: Amelia Dickson, Senate Democratic Communications, 360-786-7535

photo: Alliance for Gun Responsibility press conference with Gov. Inslee and legislators, Jan. 15, 2018.

December 14th, 2018|Uncategorized|

Frockt to focus on expanding, improving behavioral health

OLYMPIA — Sen. David Frockt (D-Seattle) released the following statement today following Gov. Jay Inslee’s mental health plan announcement. Frockt will serve on the newly formed Behavioral Health Subcommittee during the upcoming legislative session, and plans to prioritize behavioral health projects in his role as the Senate’s Capital Budget chair and Ways & Means vice chair.

“There’s much to like in the governor’s proposal for behavioral health improvements. It meets the challenge of maintaining the support level of the current system while laying the groundwork for holistic, overarching changes.

“I particularly like the proposal to employ the University of Washington to expand our state’s field of providers. I also wholeheartedly support the proposed investment in permanent supportive housing as a proven way to provide people with both housing and services.

“I look forward to working with Gov. Inslee and my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to implement compassionate and workable solutions to our state’s behavioral health crisis.”

For information: Amelia Dickson, Senate Democratic Communications, 360-786-7535

December 12th, 2018|Uncategorized|

Capital budget invests in Seattle area

OLYMPIA — A $414 million supplemental capital construction budget signed today by Gov. Jay Inslee makes significant investments in the Seattle area. This new funding enhances earlier investments made in the $4.3 billion 2017-2018 capital budget passed in January.
Sen. David Frockt, who served this year as capital budget writer, was instrumental in breaking gridlock in January, and in drafting the supplemental budget signed today.
“With the new Democratic majority in the Senate, we were finally able to complete the first phase of the capital budget in January,” said Frockt, D-Seattle. “This supplemental budget builds upon those efforts, focusing on mental health in particular. We also have significant investments in clean water projects to help Puget Sound and the endangered Orca. Additionally, the budget invests in metro Seattle, which is something I have always tried to prioritize during my eight years in Olympia.”
Frockt is particularly pleased with the $2.5 million investment in the modernization and renovation of the Lake City and Magnuson community centers in the North End, the support for Mary’s Place and families experiencing homelessness in the area, and the record investments made in Seattle public schools in both of this year’s capital budgets.
Capital budgets passed this year also make a significant investment in K-12 education. During the 2017-19 biennium, the Seattle School District will receive about $20.8 million in School Construction Assistance Program (SCAP) funding, and about $28 million in distressed school funding.
Projects in the Seattle area include:
• Mount Baker property cleanup, for the purpose of creating affordable housing in Seattle, $5.1 million
• Refugee Women’s Alliance childcare center in Seattle, $1 million
• Five Acre Woods park acquisition in Lake Forest Park, $300,000
• Lake City Community Center in Seattle, $500,000
• Rhododendron Park float and boardwalk in Kenmore, $400,000
• North Seattle Community College library building renovation, $3.4 million
• Arboretum waterfront trail renovation in Seattle, $475,000
• Town Hall historic restoration in Seattle, $1 million
• Northwest African American Museum exhibit in Seattle, $200,000
• South Seattle Community College automotive technology renovation and expansion, $260,000
• A Mary’s Place hub in Burien, which will provide emergency shelter for families, $500,000
• The Valley Cities modular housing project in Auburn, which will help people transition out of homelessness, $1.5 million
• Expansion of Evergreen Treatment Services in King County for increased behavioral health capacity, $3 million

March 28th, 2018|Uncategorized|
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    New law creates partnerships between local police and mental health professionals

New law creates partnerships between local police and mental health professionals

A law by Rep. John Lovick ,D-Mill Creek, and Sen. David Frockt, D-Seattle, will create partnerships to help local law enforcement officers respond to calls that involve mental health issues.
“Officers testified that behavioral health is the number one public safety issue facing our state,” Lovick said. “As a former state trooper and Snohomish County Sheriff, I understand the problem. The cost to taxpayers and in shattered lives is enormous. This legislation brings mental health professionals to work in the field alongside law enforcement officers to help people in crisis get the help they need—help they wouldn’t get in a county jail.”
House Bill 2892 passed the House and Senate on unanimous votes and was signed into law on March 22 by Gov. Jay Inslee.
“We all know that law enforcement agencies are responding to a significant number of mental health related calls,” said Sen. David Frockt, D-Seattle, who helped write the legislation and sponsored it in the Senate. “Incorporating mental health experts into these responses makes sense both for the safety of the person in crisis and the responding officers. We’ve seen successful implementation in cities like Seattle and Tacoma. It’s time to expand these programs to the rest of Washington.”
Lovick said the legislation is meant to find new, more effective and less expensive partnerships to make sure people get the help they need while reducing the chances of bad outcomes. The legislation also includes flexibility for law enforcement agencies to use different models to handle mental health issues, including multiple agencies joining together under one umbrella, which will help small towns and rural counties.
“Police officers know that if someone is suffering from a mental health issue, arresting them over and over again doesn’t end that cycle,” Lovick said. “What actually works is to make sure that person gets treatment, which is the best possible outcome for that individual, for taxpayers and for the community.”

March 22nd, 2018|Uncategorized|
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    ’Putting the Women of Washington First’ bills signed into law

’Putting the Women of Washington First’ bills signed into law

OLYMPIA – A package of bills to improve the lives of women throughout the state were signed into law Wednesday by Gov. Jay Inslee.

The “Putting Women First” package runs the gamut from equal pay, to the Reproductive Parity Act, to sexual harassment non-disclosure agreements, to removing barriers for harassment lawsuits, to prohibiting discrimination in employment contracts, to requiring breast density screenings and three-dimensional mammograms.

Below is additional detail on these bills and a quote from each sponsor:

Equal Pay
House Bill 1506, companion legislation to Cleveland’s Senate Bill 5140: addressing workplace practices to achieve gender pay equity by instituting penalties for wage discrimination on the basis of gender and for offering lesser opportunities on the basis of gender, and by prohibiting employers from retaliating against employees who discuss their rate of pay or benefits with other employees.

Sen. Annette Cleveland, D-Vancouver:
“When I first began fighting for pay equality in 2013, people asked me, ‘Is this still a problem?’ What they didn’t realize is that while the Equal Pay Act of 1943 called for equal pay between men and women for comparable work, the reality is that society has not caught up. Today women earn an average of 79 cents on the dollar compared to men with the same experience doing the same work.”

Reproductive Parity Act
Senate Bill 6219: The Reproductive Parity Act requires almost all health plans to cover all types of reproductive health care without cost sharing. It also requires all health plans that cover maternity care to cover abortion services. The bill was first introduced in 2012.

Sen. Steve Hobbs, D-Lake Stevens: “Washington state has long strived to ensure women control their own reproductive destiny. This law guarantees that right and also helps provide a little more certainty for women in our state. At a time when access to health care and services are at risk all across our country, I’m proud that once again our state has stood up to protect these rights.”

Sexual Harassment Prevention
Senate Bill 5996: Encouraging the disclosure and discussion of sexual harassment and sexual assault in the workplace.
Senate Bill 6313: Preserving an employee’s right to publicly file a complaint or cause of action.
Senate Bill 6471: Relating to developing model policies to create workplaces that are safe from sexual harassment.

Sen. Karen Keiser, D-Des Moines: “I have been working on addressing sexual harassment for quite some time, and passing this group of bills is great news for the women of Washington. Right now, we are seeing a cultural shift when it comes to what is acceptable in the workplace. Women are demanding a change, and it is incumbent that those with power listen. The fact that these bills were passed unanimously by both Democrats and Republicans shows how seriously the Legislature is taking this issue.”

Sexual Harassment NDAs
Senate Bill 6068: Shedding light on sexual harassers by removing barriers to lawsuits created by non-disclosure agreements.

Sen. David Frockt, D-Seattle: “In recent months, we have all been struck by the sheer volume and national discussion of prominent sexual harassment incidents across the country. We have seen that powerful perpetrators and enablers on company boards and other entities have hidden behind non-disclosure agreements to prevent the truth about patterns of behavior from coming out. This bill will lead to more truth and justice for victims.”

Breast Density
Senate Bill 5084: Providing women with timely information to improve early detection of breast cancer.

Sen. Christine Rolfes, D-Bainbridge Island: “This legislation simply allows a woman access to the same breast health information as her doctor. Knowledge is power, and this legislation will give patients the tools to make smart decisions and ask better questions about their own health.”

3-D Mammograms
Senate Bill 5912: Requiring coverage of tomosynthesis, or three-dimensional mammography.

Sen. Patty Kuderer, D- Bellevue: “About one-in-eight women in the United States can expect to develop breast cancer over the course of their lives. We need to be utilizing and supporting the use of early detection technologies so that we are saving lives and sparing families the tragedy of losing their daughters, sisters, mothers and spouses. This legislation will help ensure that economic circumstance or the type of insurance you have is not a barrier to accessing this life-saving technology.”

March 22nd, 2018|Uncategorized|