Thursday, July 2, 2009

A quiet week ahead...

Turns out that your faithful HDC blogmasters will all be out of the office for the next week or so. Our backup bloggers may have a thing or two to post while we're away but The Advance will be pretty quiet until we return.
A safe and happy Fourth of July to y'all.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Capitol Visitor Center closed due to budget cuts

People visiting the Capitol will no longer be able to stop off first at the Visitor Center located at the Capitol campus entrance for information on what to see and how to get around.

The center closed today to trim $284,000 from the state's operating budget.
According to the Olympian:
Visitors will have to rely on new signs to find the Capitol information office at the Legislative Building (it’s in Room 111, next to the Capitol’s gift shop). Parking outside the Capitol’s southeast entry will be changed to let people stop in quickly, get information and go on their way, said Pattie Williams, manager of visitor services at the Legislative Building.
Today marks the first day of the new fiscal year so this is only one example of many budget reductions that go into effect following passage of the 2009-2011 budget that trimmed $4 billion worth of spending.

In effect today: More options for quality dental care

A brighter smile can come with a hefty price tag. If you don’t have insurance, you’re probably well aware of the financial nightmare of seeking routine, preventative dental care. Last session, Rep. Tami Green passed House Bill 1309, which increases access to dental hygiene services among underserved populations such as seniors and low-income children.

Effective today, this new law expands the circumstances under which a dental hygienist may practice without the direct supervision of a dentist. Previously, dental hygienists were required to have at least two years of practical experience within the last five years in order to perform routine procedures such as removing deposits and stains from the surfaces of teeth. Now dental hygienists will be able to practice while unsupervised if they’re contracted by or under a lease agreement with a health care facility or a senior center. This will open up the door to quality dental care for more people.

This new law also allows dental hygienists to continue providing services to seniors, low-income, rural, and other at-risk populations by eliminating an expiration date on a previously created pilot project.

The authorization for dental hygienists to work while unsupervised in senior centers and with community-based sealant programs was originally set to expire on July 1, 2009. This new law eliminates that expiration date and continues efforts to increase the availability of dental hygiene services for underserved populations.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Full weeks ahead for Tina Orwall

Rep. Tina Orwall keeps a busy schedule.

Last week she held a meeting with Kent Youth and Family Services, toured the new NW Kidney Center, learned about Sea-Tac Airport’s daily operations and all the work underway to become a green leader among airports, attended the ground breaking for the Environmental Science Center’s Learning Center--a hands-on place where kids can learn about science and the environment, and she also met with different agencies and organizations to talk about numerous issues from ending homelessness to creating green jobs, to restructuring Washington’s tax system.

Orwall is prepared to take on future weeks that will likely be just as packed with activity, especially since she learned that the Economic Opportunity Institute (EOI) accepted her on its board and that the Speaker of the House appointed her to the Council for Children and Families.

The EOI is an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit public policy center advancing new ideas to build an economy that works for everyone. Orwall, who is now one of four legislators serving on its board, said the institute is a great organization that is shaping a range of policies including tax reform.

The Council for Children and Families, established in 1982, was the first state agency nationwide dedicated to preventing child abuse and neglect. From the very start it has been a leader in promoting child and family development and raising awareness about abuse and neglect.

This is what the council posted on its website about its newest member:

Representative Tina Orwall (D), 33rd Legislative District As a strategic planner in health care and workforce development, affordable housing advocate, and community leader, Tina has fought for improved services and responsive government for people throughout the Puget Sound.

For more than a decade Tina has exemplified her commitment to the most vulnerable populations of Washington through her work as an advocate for the homeless, PTSA president of Marvista Elementary School, and co-Chair of the King County Legislative Action Committee. As a well-seasoned social worker and advocate, Tina knows that the government and private sector must work together to solve our state’s big problems. She created a nationally recognized public–private funding partnership with local government and foundations that has resulted in over 600 units of housing for homeless individuals, including units dedicated to homeless veterans. In recognition of her tireless efforts Tina received the Veteran Administration Community Partner Award, Democrat of the Year Award, Washington State Co-Occurring Disorder Leadership Recognition Award and Washington State Coalition for the Homeless Advocate of the Year Award.