Thursday, January 26, 2023

Bill proposed to create Boys and Men Commission

Staff Report | January 19, 2023 4:28 PM

OLYMPIA — A statement by Rep. Mary Dye (R-Pomeroy) on Wednesday announced the introduction of a bill that would create a new Washington State Commission on Boys and Men.

"There are many issues that impact men and boys. Yet, there is no unified voice that would tackle these issues at the state level," wrote Dye, in the statement. "If adopted, this legislation would create the first-of-its-kind boys and men's commission in the nation right here in Washington state."

House Bill 1270 would direct the commission to focus on education, jobs, careers and financial health, fatherhood, family and relationships, physical and mental health, and the experiences of males in the criminal justice system and other court systems relating to boys and men’s well-being.

According to the release, the bill also proposes that the new commission be "tasked with developing strategies to encourage men and male youth to consider careers in teaching, mental health, social work, nursing, and other professions where the workforce severely lacks male participation."

Dye said in the statement that data shows Washington's male population experiences disparities in key indicators of well-being, including educational achievement, suicide, homelessness, drug and alcohol addiction and overdose and incarceration.

The commission would be made up of nine voting members, appointed by the governor and leaders of the four legislative caucuses. It would also include two members from the House and Senate from both parties.

"Washington state has been the leader in many new and innovative policies,” said Dye. “A Washington State Commission on Boys and Men would be another way we can lead the nation in areas of education, employment, family life and health for the benefit our male population.”.

The bill only six other sponsors: Amy Walen (D-Kirkland), Joel McEntire (R-Cathlamet), Chris Stearns (D-Auburn), Jenny Graham (R-Spokane), Julia Reed (D-Seattle) and Suzanne Schmidt (R-Spokane Valley). HB 1270 was introduced Jan. 12 and has been referred to the State Government and Tribal Relations Committee.

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