Compelling Speech from New Rep. Tom Dent (R-13) on Mental Health

We passed our first two bills today. It’s always fun on the first day – lots of people feel moved to speak and there’s always been some minor change to the voting software that is weird to figure out. The first bill typically tries to make a statement about priorities, but is usually pretty simple because complicated bills take longer.

Joel’s Law was first passed last year by the house, but not taken up by the Senate. I wrote about it last week. It passed the House unanimously, with compelling speeches, particularly the one from Freshman Rep. Tom Dent (R-13). He spoke compellingly about his struggles with his son’s mental illness. I don’t usually pay much attention to the (lack of) eloquence on the floor, but Rep. Dent’s comments were spellbinding. It’s less than 5 minutes and well worth watching – click the clip below.

I was also super-pleased that our initial supplemental budget passed 83-15, with strong bipartisan support. Rep. Chandler and I worked closely together to get the bill done in a way that would work for both of our caucuses. The comment I made below is in addition to the press release I put out earlier this week when we introduced the proposed amendment to the bill together.

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Legislative News: Washington House Democrats – Olympia, Washington

Statement from Rep. Ross Hunter on supplemental budget passage

Statement from Rep. Ross Hunter (D-Medina) on the passage of HB 1105 – Making 2015 supplemental operating appropriations.

Sen. Andy Hill and I made a commitment to Governor Inslee last summer that we would take swift action to address problems in the mental health system. Adopting this budget will settle the state’s legal obligation in the single bed certification lawsuit. The House made good on that commitment in a strong, bipartisan fashion today. It is my hope that the Senate sends this bill to the Governor soon so that we can address immediate and urgent problems within the state’s mental health structure.


For interviews or more information: Rep. Ross Hunter, 360-786-7936 or Staff: Andy McVicar, 360-786-7215 or

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Author: Ross

I am the Director of the Department of Early Learning for Washington State. I formerly represented the 48th Legislative District in the State House of Representatives, chairing the Appropriations committee and spent many a year at Microsoft.