There are a number of issues important to the Colville Tribes in the Washington State Legislature. We see some very positive movement on proposals the Colville Business Council and our State lobbyist Mike Moran have been working on, testifying in committee hearings, meeting with individual lawmakers, and making our case for support through letters from our Chairman to legislative committee chairs.
We now have a budget proposal in the Senate Ways and Means Committee and the House Capital Budget Committee to help pay for a critically-needed Substance Abuse Treatment Center. This would provide Tribal members with in-patient services on the Reservation I want to thank Representatives Joel Kretz and Jacquelin Maycumber, Senators Shelly Short and Jeff Holy, and others for meeting with me recently in Olympia and committing to support a funding request for this important project. We should have a decision on funding for the Center by late April.
Other bills of importance to the Tribes are making their way out of state legislative committees, thanks to the hard work of a number of other Colville Business Council Members. Rodney Cawston, Andy Joseph Jr., Janet Nicholson, Joel Boyd, Margie Hutchinson, and Susie Allen have all been in Olympia testifying on bills this session that will advance Fish passage, Indian Health care, Elder care, Education, Transportation, Indian voting rights, and Tribal Broadband. We anticipate the passage of a new law which will provide an increased “encounter rate” for the Medicaid patients served by our clinics. A Native Voting rights bill, championed by Margie Hutchinson, looks like it will pass as well. All in all, our issues and initiatives feel things are moving along in Olympia at a productive pace.
This progress shows how by working collaboratively and cooperatively the CBC can move important projects and issues forward and get things done for our membership. The legislature will adjourn on April 28th, 2019 and we hope to see a number of the bills and budget requests we’ve advocated for approved and signed into law. While these are all good signs, there is plenty more to do. We welcome your suggestions for more ways to improve the future for all Tribal members.