Sen. O’Ban’s E-newsletter – March 5, 2015

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Legislative Update – March 5, 2015

Friends and Neighbors,

We are about at the halfway point in the 2015 legislative session. I have many bills that are still making their way through the process that would increase accountability and protect our state’s most vulnerable; please see the link below.

I want to thank everyone who participated in our telephone town hall last Thursday. Your input is invaluable on these important issues that face our community.


Mental Health Priorities

I recently sat down with TVW’s Austin Jenkins and state Representative Laurie Jinkins to discuss mental health priorities in our state. I serve as the chair of the Senate Human Services, Mental Health & Housing Committee. Providing effective, essential social services is a bipartisan issue.  Please click on the picture to watch this interview.

You can also click here to see more information on other mental health priority legislation


Transportation Reform

Last Friday, the Senate began to approve measures aimed at reforming our state’s transportation system. There are eight key reforms that I supported, including making sure 100% of gas taxes collected are used to pay for roads and bridges and not diverted as they have been to pay for general government.

The Senate also supported my reform to force the state Department of Transportation to report its design errors to the Legislature, such as the hundreds of millions of dollars in cost overruns on the State Route 520 bridge in Seattle. It also encourages big projects to be designed by private engineering firms so that private contractors bear the risk of design flaws, not the taxpayers.

In the Senate’s proposal, I worked to secure the necessary funding to alleviate traffic congestion along Interstate 5 through Joint Base Lewis-McChord. The Senate is leading the way on changing how we prioritize our transportation funding before asking voters to pay more at the gas pump. A key part of the proposal is protecting taxpayers from Gov. Inslee’s climate agenda that would increase the cost of gasoline without investing in transportation. Estimates vary but if the governor enacted his low-carbon fuel standard, it could increase gasoline by at least 40 cents per gallon.

Mockingbird Society

Focus on Youth

This year I have sponsored legislation addressing youth homelessness and fairness in our criminal justice system. Both bills have been approved by the Senate’s budget committee, Ways & Means, and are now waiting to be brought before the Senate.

Senate Bill 5404, the Homeless Youth Prevention and Protection Act, focuses on identifying homeless youth, reuniting them with their families and getting them help so they do not fall prey to drug pushers and human traffickers.

Another bill that I sponsored is Senate Bill 5564, known as the YEAR act. This bill gives juvenile offenders an opportunity at a second chance. This allows youth who have committed non-serious offenses the possibility of having their records sealed so they can qualify for jobs and become productive members of society.

Brenna Sclair

Local Students Page in Olympia

I was joined by Brenna Sclair (pictured at right) for the seventh week of the legislative session as a page for the Washington State Senate at the Capitol in Olympia. Brenna is an 8th grader from Charles Wright Academy.

Aiyana Parham, a freshman at Lakes High School, spent the week before as a Senate page for the sixth week of the 2015 legislative session.


Preparing for the U.S. Open

In preparation for the U.S. Open men’s golf championship coming to our community, I worked to secure funding for the removal and replacement of the old dock at Chambers Bay. Please click here to watch a short video on the project.


It is an honor to represent you as your state Senator. Please don’t hesitate to contact my office at (360)786-7654 if I can be of service to you or your family with issues pertaining to Washington State government.


Steve O’Ban

28th District Senator


Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.

– Sir Winston Churchill