House leaders from both parties praise bill’s approval

By: - May 16, 2023 3:53 pm

House leadership in both parties praised the bill’s passage as the first step in strengthening the state’s behavioral health system. 

The bill includes $63 million for housing, recovery initiatives, workforce programs, and support for youth. The policy builds off of programs already being set up, such as the recovery navigator program. 

The state is also required to collect data on the recovery services funded in the bill. 

For people who are suffering from substance use disorder, House Speaker Laurie Jinkins, D-Tacaoma, said, “Help is on the way.” 

Washington state House Democratic leaders speak to reporters after the passage of legislation overhauling state drug policy. (Laurel Demkovich/Washington State Standard)

House Minority Leader Drew Stokesbary, R-Auburn, said the bill gives law enforcement and prosecutors new tools, though it’s still only a step. 

“No matter how much money you throw at the problem … we can’t fix all these problems overnight,” he told reporters. “It takes time.”

Most of the Republican caucus voted for the bill on Tuesday, after none voted for the last version in April. 

Stokesbary said most of his caucus ended up voting for the bill because it got “significantly better.”

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Laurel Demkovich
Laurel Demkovich

Laurel joined States Newsroom in 2023 after almost three years as a statehouse reporter for the Spokesman-Review. She covers state government, the Legislature and all other Olympia news.