Legislative Update Ė Supporting Foster Kids and Childrenís Rights


March 5, 2008



While asking one of the members of Senate Rules Committee to help bring these bills to a vote, she said something interesting to me.Have a constituent make the request.She likes the bills, she supports foster kids, but she wants the request to come from a constituent.Thatís you.Just one person making a request could be the difference between getting voted out and dying in committee.


Well, there Iím stumped.I donít know where you all live.So itís up to you.


The last day is FRIDAY.If bills from the opposite house donít get voted on by Friday, itís all over.†† Contact your Senators and Representatives and ask them to bring these bills to a vote.Iím not even going to tell you which one said that because I want you to contact them all.We are very close to the end of the session.After next week I promise to stop filling your inbox with so much mail (until next year).Weíve just got one last push to get these bills passed in both houses.Here are the action items Ė the details of each bill are written below.



SENATE ACTION ITEMS Ė Ask your Senators to bring these bills to a vote:


HOUSE ACTION ITEM Ė Ask your Representatives to bring to a vote:


Contact the Senate Rules Committee:

Rosa Franklin - Vice Chair (D)


District 29

(360) 786-7656

Mike Hewitt - Ranking Min. Member (R)


District 16

(360) 786-7630

Lisa Brown (D)


District 3

(360) 786-7604

Tracey Eide (D)


District 30

(360) 786-7658

Karen Fraser (D)


District 22

(360) 786-7642

Mary Margaret Haugen (D)


District 10

(360) 786-7618

Karen Keiser (D)


District 33

(360) 786-7664

Adam Kline (D)


District 37

(360) 786-7688

Jeanne Kohl-Welles (D)


District 36

(360) 786-7670

Rosemary McAuliffe (D)


District 1

(360) 786-7600

Ed Murray (D)


District 43

(360) 786-7628

Linda Evans Parlette (R)


District 12

(360) 786-7622

Cheryl Pflug (R)


District 5

(360) 786-7608

Debbie Regala (D)


District 27

(360) 786-7652

Mark Schoesler (R)


District 9

(360) 786-7620

Harriet Spanel (D)


District 40

(360) 786-7678

Val Stevens (R)


District 39

(360) 786-7676

Joseph Zarelli (R)


District 18

(360) 786-7634





There is no time to waste.Call or e-mail your representatives now to support foster kids.


Donít know who your representatives are? Click here: http://apps.leg.wa.gov/DistrictFinder

All e-mail addresses: http://apps.leg.wa.gov/memberemail


Toll Free Legislative Hotline: 1.800.562.6000

Even if you donít know your district, the operators will find it for you.

When they ask to which representative, say ďAll of them!Ē





HB 3205 Promoting the long-term well-being of children

Status: Pulled from Rules, but not yet put on the Senate Calendar




This bill requires the department to file a termination of parental rights petition if a child has been in out-of-home care for 15 of the last 22 months.The Attorney Generalís office has filed a $1.5 million fiscal note to this bill, which is interesting Ė this means the AG is saying this bill will cost them more money to follow what has already been federal law for nine years under the Adoption Safe Families Act (ASFA) í97.


Senate Ways & Means amended 3205 to remove the provision that allows voluntary out-of-home placement agreements for adopted foster children in crisis.Voluntary placement is now a battle for next year, but the remainder, which is actually the original bill, is still critical and worth fighting for now.





HB 2822 Ė Concerning the family and juvenile court improvement program.

Status: On the Senate Calendar.Needs to be brought for a vote.




HB 2822 encourages reform of the family courts by creating a fund that is available to courts that:





HB 2679 Ė Improve educational outcomes for students in foster care

Status: In Rules Committee.Needs to be pulled from Senate Rules ASAP.




Directs the school districts to report to the legislature on the educational progress of foster children, and gives schools grant money to create programs to improve their educational outcomes. Grant money may be used for tutoring, counseling, extracurricular activities, school pictures, and yearbooks.Moms and Dads usually pay for this stuff Ė but if you donít have a mom or a dad, you just have to watch other kids get cool things.This bill helps kids in foster care have a normal childhood.





SB 5010 Ė Creating a State Park Foster Home Pass

Status: On the House Calendar.Needs to be brought for a vote.




This bill allows foster families and relative caregivers to camp for free in state parks.


As a child some of the great experiences of my life were spent camping.As a foster father, I believe that it can be therapeutic for children that have been abused or neglected.And it is one of the few bills where you can say the cost is equal to the benefit received by the child.


We spend millions of dollars on therapy every year.While Iím not suggesting camping can replace that, still, itís something that is both fun and relatively cheap therapy.

I believe this bill can have a ripple effect in the private sector, by setting a good example.After final passage we can take this message to private vendors Ė the Seahawks, the Mariners, the City of Seattle's Seattle Center, the Woodland Park Zoo, etc., and ask them to honor the state park pass card to give a discount to foster families in the same way they do to military ID holders.

This is not an earthshaking bill.It won't get much press.But I do believe it is important in its own quiet way.




Toll Free Legislative Hotline: 1.800.562.6000

Find out who are your legislators: http://apps.leg.wa.gov/DistrictFinder

E-mail addresses for all lawmakers: http://apps.leg.wa.gov/memberemail