Friday, February 03, 2023

'A lot going on this year'

Staff Writer | January 25, 2023 4:38 PM

OLYMPIA - District 13 State Representative Tom Dent (R–Moses Lake) has nine bills for which he is the primary sponsor as well as two dozen others where he is the secondary sponsor for the 2023 legislative session.

“I have a lot going on this year,” said Dent.

He explained that while he has a lot of bills proposed this year, he is also always working on bills he plans to introduce in future sessions as well.

Dent’s committee assignments for the 2023 legislative session include the Transportation Committee, Human Services, Youth and Early Learning Committee and being the ranking member on the Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee.

One of the bills Dent has proposed is HB 1243 which changes some requirements for municipal airport commissions.

The bill was also sponsored by Representatives Marcus Riccelli (D-Spokane), Leonard Christian (R-Spokane Valley) and Carolyn Eslick (R-Sultan).

HB 1243 adds that in lieu of travel expenses when travel requires overnight lodging, commissioners can receive a per diem payment of not more than the United States general services administration's per diem rates; which is $157 according to the U.S. General Services Administration website.

Another part of the bill changes the residency requirement for commissioners if the municipality is smaller than 35,000. Moses Lake, which has a population smaller than 35,000, would qualify for this subsection and would expand the pool of possible commissioners.

“It actually gives communities like Moses Lake another tool in their toolbox,” Dent said.

HB 1243 passed late last week and was referred to Rules 2 Review on Tuesday.

Another bill, HB 1040, would maintain an aviation and aerospace advisory committee to generally advise the director and the secretary of the department of transportation on matters related to aviation and aerospace in Washington state. This includes, but is not limited to, developing recommendations regarding capital budget requests related to aviation and aerospace needs and developing strategies to enhance the safe and effective use of public use airports and aerospace facilities in Washington state.

“The Aviation Aerospace Committee has already been established, we established it by proviso last year, this bill will put it into statute,” Dent said.

This bill would take effect July 1, 2023.

Another bill that Dent proposed last session and proposed again this year is HB 1242. The bill creates a behavioral health work group to study the root causes of rising behavioral health issues in Washington communities.

The bill is also sponsored by Representatives Lauren Davis (D-Shoreline), Lillian Ortiz-Self (D-Mukilteo), Beth Doglio (D-Olympia), Carolyn Eslick (R-Sultan) and Debra Lekanoff (D-Anacortes).

“(It is a) very important, very important deal to me,” said Dent. “I really think this is something that puts together a group of folks; a task force of providers, people actually doing the work in the industry. Not bureaucrats, not agencies. We take a look at what we're doing for mental health treatment. What our treatments have been, and what's working, what isn't working, how can we improve on our treatments, things like that. Take a look because we have such a huge shortage of workforce and there's such a big need.”

Rebecca Pettingill may be reached at

Bills Dent is the primary sponsor on:

HB 1019 - Pesticide advisory board

HB 1032 - Wildfires/electric utilities

HB 1040 - Aviation and aerospace committee

HB 1242 - behavioral health work group

HB 1243 - Municipal airport commissions

HB 1395 - Aircraft fuel tax distribution

HB 1494 - Irrigation and rehab districts

HB 1531 - Aerospace industry development

HB 1590 - Oversight board for DCYF

For more information on these bills visit:

Contact your legislator:

Tom Dent

437 John L. O'Brien Building

P.O. Box 40600

Olympia, WA 98504-0600

Toll Free: 800-562-6000

Direct Line: (360) 786-7932

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