Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Many of you have expressed frustration over Kaiser Permanente’s pharmacy rule that requires refills by mail or at a Kaiser pharmacy. This has caused hardship for rural residents especially and our small, local pharmacies. After taking this issue on throughout the year and meeting with Kaiser officials to express my frustration and anger over this new rule, I’m happy to say that for most folks, this rule will be canceled on Jan. 1, 2024. You can read my op-ed on this issue here. You can read a Spokesman-Review article on the issue here, and you can read a recent article from The Lewiston Tribune here.
Thank you to those who reached out to me with your personal stories. The specific examples of the hardships this pharmacy rule imposed upon you allowed me to make a strong case for why it should be changed.
Winona Trestle repaired in record time
The Winona Trestle, which was destroyed in Winona in late August, has been repaired in record time! I was at the opening celebration yesterday with other local officials, WSDOT personnel, and representatives from the Northwest Grain Growers. The original wood bridge and trestle were replaced with concrete and steel. This should last for generations.
The Northwest Grain Growers said about 25% of their grain needs this trestle to get to export markets. You can read more about the trestle repair and watch a short video from KREM TV here.
Helping wildfire victims rebuild
I am in full support of proposed legislation that would help victims of the Gray Fire and the Oregon Road Fire rebuild. As you know, those two fires devastated many in Eastern Washington. But as folks are trying to rebuild after losing their homes, many are finding that their insurance was based on building codes and rules that were in place as of Jan. 1, 2023. However, new building codes implemented by the Washington State Building Codes Council (SBCC) this year have increased the costs of new construction. In some cases, by several tens of thousands of dollars.
My colleagues, Rep. Mike Volz (R-Spokane) and Rep. Suzanne Schmidt (R-Spokane Valley), are working on legislation that would allow wildfire victims to rebuild under building codes in effect on Jan. 1, 2023. Families and individuals that lost homes due to wildfires do not need to be further encumbered by new environmental building code rules that add thousands to the cost of rebuilding. You can read more about this in their press release here, or in a Spokesman-Review article here.
I fully support this effort and will be signing onto this legislation at the beginning of the 2024 legislative session.
I’ll be sending out another email update before the 2024 legislative session begins. In the meantime, please feel free to reach out to my office with your questions or concerns about state government. We are here to serve you!