When the Legislature isn't in session, work continues in district on the issues most important to you and your family. In this update, I'd like to share what I've been up to since this year's legislative session adjourned in late April. As always, I welcome you to email me or give me a call (360-786-7884) with your thoughts, questions or concerns.
Meetings and tours this interim
Below are some of the meetings and tours I have been involved with this interim. Each has served as a great opportunity to learn more and become a more effective advocate for those I serve.
- Met with constituents to discuss small business issues, mental health reform, homelessness, education and more. If you would like to sit down with me to discuss these issues or any others that are important to you, I invite you to send an email to my legislative assistant to set up a time.
- Toured the new behavioral health triage rooms in Skagit Valley Hospital's Emergency Department to see firsthand how capital budget dollars have improved life for patients and doctors. I am especially pleased to work with the hospital's administration to improve their capacity to better serve our community.
- Attended a Water Supply Joint Legislative Task Force meeting to discuss ideas and solutions to the many pressing water issues in Skagit County.
- Held a joint meeting with constituents and the director of Fish and Wildlife to discuss the impact certain fishing regulations are having on many of our local small businesses here in the 10th District.
- Continued the dialogue with higher education leaders about how the Legislature can make it easier for legal immigrants to transfer college credits from their home country when appropriate.
- Joined Rep. Paul at an event hosted by the League of Women Voters of Skagit County to discuss bipartisanship and civility in the Legislature. I remain committed to finding common ground on issues important to our district and debating policy areas respectfully where we disagree. The goal must always be sound public policy that best serves Washingtonians.
Data privacy remains a key focus of mine
As we get closer to the start of the 2020 session, one issue I remain intently focused on is data privacy. While there have been some successes in this space, there have also been a variety of roadblocks that have impeded progress. My goal this interim is to continue our bipartisan work so we can pass meaningful data privacy legislation next year. This is not a partisan issue. All of us need to be concerned about the short and long-term consequences of inaction when faced with threats to our liberty and security.
Something I believe we must have in Washington state is a data broker registration system. Data brokers are companies with whom you have no direct relationship that collect and monetize your personal information to third parties. Click here to view an infographic that lists the types of data points these companies are collecting, storing and selling.
During this year's session, I introduced House Bill 1503, which would require all data brokers who traffic in Washingtonians' data to do the following:
- Register annually with the state's Office of Privacy and Data Protection
- Pay a registration fee
- Provide information regarding how they collect, store and sell your personal information, and
- Disclose their opt-out procedures. For the first time, you would know which companies are monetizing your personhood, and for what purpose.
I also introduced House Bill 1840, which would protect Washingtonians' payment credentials in business transactions with state agencies.
In its 2018 Data Breach Report, the Office of the Attorney General revealed that data breaches, such as malicious cyberattacks, unintentional breaches and unauthorized access, compromised the personal information of 3.4 million Washingtonians. Financial information was the most commonly compromised type of data for the third straight year.
Under HB 1840, all state agencies would be prohibited from storing payment credentials on state data systems, and would be required to eliminate existing payment credentials by July 1, 2021. Third-party companies fully compliant with industry-leading security standards would store this data instead, and would be barred from transferring, selling, trading, monetizing, or otherwise sharing it unless required by law. In addition, the bill would also require the state to develop a policy for minimizing the retention of social security numbers and other sensitive, personally identifiable information by state agencies whenever not required for their day-to-day operations or by law.
While neither of these bills were brought to the floor for a vote this year, there is a great deal of interest and I'm working hard to ensure they receive a vote during the 2020 session. There are a number of other data privacy bills I'm considering introducing as well, including a bill that would require companies to provide notice when their technology either actively or passively records you.
The bottom line is there is so much more we can be doing to protect you and your loved ones from those who would seek to do you harm. It just needs to become a bigger priority for the Legislature. My goal is to make sure that happens and be on the forefront as we make meaningful reforms in this space.
I oppose the attorney general's lawsuit against the U.S. Navy
As many of you know, Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson recently filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Navy over its expanded Growler jet operations on Whidbey Island. I have heard from Whidbey Islanders who strongly support the attorney general's lawsuit, as well as from those who fervently oppose it.
While I respect the opinions of all, I believe the attorney general's lawsuit is misguided and constrains the open dialogue required to find a solution. Naval Air Station Whidbey Island plays a vital national security role, and this lawsuit could have very real consequences for the men and women who are trained here to protect and defend our country.
The vast majority of Whidbey Islanders cherish our service members and honor their service and sacrifice. Tenth District residents – and all Washingtonians for that matter – would be better served by an attorney general focused less on Naval operations and more on solving the many legal crises within state agencies that beg for increased oversight and accountability.
As we continue working our way through interim, please feel free to reach out to me any time. I always welcome your feedback. My email address and phone number are below.
It is an honor to serve you.