Repairing mental health system high on lawmakers minds

first_imgIn the weeks leading up to the 2019 Washington legislative session, lawmakers’ do-to lists only got longer.During the 105-day “long session” that begins Monday, legislators were already expected to perform the heavy lift of hammering out two-year operating, transportation and capital budgets that fund state government.In anticipation of the session, Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee, who is eyeing a presidential bid, laid out his own ambitious plans to address the state’s opioid crisis, promote clean energy, expand health care and overhaul the state’s troubled mental health system. He also rolled out his proposed $54.4 billion budget that included a new capital gains tax and business tax hikes that he said are needed to meet the state’s constitutional and moral obligations.After expanding their majority to 28-21 in the Senate and 57-41 in the House following the November election, legislative Democrats have also signaled their priorities on affordable housing, health care and other issues.The party’s ascendant position in the Legislature is good news for the three Democrats in Clark County’s delegation. And while this session might look like a tough environment for the GOP, local Republican lawmakers, who dominate Clark County’s delegation, said they won’t pursue any sweeping ideological legislation. Instead, they’ll work on narrowly focused, bipartisan bills while also playing defense on new taxes and regulations.“We are working for Clark County as a delegation,” said state Sen. Lynda Wilson, R-Vancouver. “And we will continue to work with (Democrats) even though we are in the minority.”last_img read more