Dear Friends and Neighbors,
This week I had a special visitor, Miss Spokane 2013 Hannah Cvancara. I invited her to the Capitol because of her inspiring story; she is the first disabled winner of the Miss Spokane title and the first disabled entrant into the Miss America program. It's always nice to have visitors from home, and I am encouraged by the number of outstanding young people I have had visit me at the Capitol from the 6th District. I believe after meeting these young people the future is bright for political leaders from Spokane.
Medicaid Fraud legislation
Recently, I got word that a piece of legislation I sponsored last year in our state is being used as a model for similar legislation in 36 other states. Last year, my bill to curb Medicaid fraud and abuse was hailed as one of the largest pieces of reform and will save the state millions of dollars.
My bill created efficiency and cost savings through a shift from a retrospective “pay and chase” model to a prospective prepayment model. The bill directs the state to invest in the most cost-effective technologies and strategies that yield the highest return on investment.
While it is difficult to know exactly how many states are considering similar legislation, I have heard about 36 legislatures may take up the issue in the near future based on my model legislation. I am thrilled to know that the cost savings Washington has experienced could soon be captured across the nation.
Something unusual has happened in the House the past two weeks: the bill process has been very slow. The House leadership has been stripping down Senate bills in an effort to dull their effect. With power divided between the House and the Senate this year it's been an interesting time to be a legislator and it is opening up very different avenues for me to work on your behalf and work on legislation that will create jobs, improve education, and change the way state government operates. Stay tuned as this is shaping up to be a very different year for the legislature.
I recently read an article which gives me hope that even though the housing recovery is still in the early stages, we will soon see some positive movements for an improved housing market.
The article said that housing stats should get back up to about 1.5 million per year, which would be an increase of more than 60 percent from the most recent pace and it should happen before the end of 2015.
The reason why this is important is because housing recovery is a precursor to overall economic recovery. People need jobs, decent credit scores and savings to buy homes, so when we see more homes being purchased it means consumer confidence is up. As I discussed in my last e-mail update, consumer confidence is the backbone of our economy. The fact that consumers are starting to again purchase homes is a very good indication.
House Bill 1688
This week I wanted to update you on another piece of legislation I co-sponsored which has moved forward in the legislative process after being passed out of the House unanimously this week. HB 1688 establishes a requirement and system for reporting incidents of student restraint and isolation in public schools for students.
I believe parents should know when their children are put in these situations so they can better work together to ensure the best care for their child.
Notes on other bills
Last week I highlighted a bill I supported that expanded the statute of limitations for the reporting of sexual abuse crimes against children. That bill, HB 1352, was sponsored by my seatmate, Rep. Jeff Holy, and I wanted to take a moment to congratulate him on the unanimous passage of that bill-his second bill to pass the House this year. Rep. Holy has been a great asset in Olympia and I am proud to work alongside him this year.
Please let me know if I can help in any way.
421 John L. O'Brien Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
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