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In session: Gov. Inslee’s housing referendum, fentanyl bill kickoff session

Inslee used the opening week to try and sell legislators on his $4 billion proposal to build affordable homes, apartments and help low-income first-time home buyers.

OLYMPIA, Wash. — State legislators convened in person in Olympia Monday for the first time since 2020. 

Governor Jay Inslee used the opening week to help try and sell legislators on his $4 billion proposal to build affordable homes and apartments and provide first-time, low-income home buyers with financial support. 

Inslee, D-Washington, said building more housing units will help the state deal with a growing housing and homelessness crisis. 

His plan calls for borrowing $4 billion above the state’s current debt limit, requiring legislative and voter approval. 

One of the first bills heard in the session made for emotional testimony. 

House Bill 1006 would expand access to fentanyl detection strips at health clinics and drug treatment facilities.

Rep. Tina Orwall, D-Des Moines, said the strips allow drug users to test their pills for fentanyl, a rising cause of overdoses, while potentially getting someone into a facility where they can get treatment. 

Genevieve Schofield fought back tears as she told legislators about her daughter’s accidental fentanyl overdose. 

Schofield said her 26-year-old daughter thought the fentanyl pill she took was oxycodone. 

She told House members what it was like learning her daughter had overdosed. 

“I released a guttural scream and it felt as though I had disconnected from my body, my world was collapsing, and my heart forever broken,” Schofield said.

State Senators will hear testimony on a bill on Monday to lower the state’s threshold for driving under the influence charge from a blood alcohol content of .08 to .05.

WATCH: KING 5's one-on-one interview with Gov. Inslee

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