The Legislature has now completed the first two weeks of the 2014 session and we’re well underway debating bill proposals and negotiating with our colleagues. Since this is a short (60-day) session, the timeframe to accomplish what we need to do is reduced and everything seems to be getting done in a hurry. I wanted to share an update on the progress of some of my bills before going into detail about a few others. Continue reading
To help protect the vulnerable residents who call the Yakima Valley School their home, Sen. Jim Honeyford has proposed a bill that would allow the residential care facility to begin admitting new patients again. Senate Bill 5962, considered by the Senate Health Care Committee today, would permit the facility to reopen its doors to the community.
“After the facility began barring new patients, it continued providing temporary respite and crisis beds,” said Honeyford, who represents the 15th Legislative District, “but since that time we’ve seen a drastic need for it to return to its original purpose of providing a stable, long-term home for individuals with significant developmental or medical disabilities.”
During the state’s economic crisis in 2011, the governor signed a bill to close the Frances Haddon Morgan developmental disability facility in Bremerton and gradually reduce the number of residents at YVS. Honeyford worked with other Yakima-area lawmakers to help keep the facility’s residents and staff in place for as long as possible. The 2011 legislation closed the school to any further admissions but allowed current residents to continue residing at the facility for the rest of their natural lives. Then, when the population dropped below 16, the state would find alternate housing for the remaining occupants and close the school permanently. Continue reading
Because the 2014 session is only two months this year, there are a number of issues I’ll be addressing right from the start.
YAKIMA VALLEY SCHOOL. One bill that is very important to me would help keep the Yakima Valley School open. In 2011, the Legislature passed a measure that kept the residential facility for the developmentally disabled in Selah from closing immediately. However, as part of a last-minute deal to save the Yakima Valley School, the final measure required the facility to no longer accept new patients but allowed the then-81 residents to stay for the rest of their lives. Continue reading