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Hargrove's foster child security, green technology bills receive committee approval

State Rep. Mark Hargrove testifies before the House Early Learning and Human Services Committee on his foster child security bill. - Courtesy photo
State Rep. Mark Hargrove testifies before the House Early Learning and Human Services Committee on his foster child security bill.
— image credit: Courtesy photo

For the Reporter

In the short, 60-day, 2014 legislative session, 47th District state Rep. Mark Hargrove has introduced only a few pieces of legislation at the request of constituents.

House Bill 2582 would address certainty for foster children and families and House Bill 2569 would create a self-funding mechanism for local governments to reduce vehicle idle emissions without further cost to the state.

"It is always gratifying to advance ideas from the public. It is truly government by the people," said Hargrove, R-Covington. "As there is a cost to introducing each bill, I try to be very thoughtful about not introducing too many of them. But when my constituents in the 47th District have great ideas, it's my job to create and move the legislation to get them implemented."

Hargrove said his bill to give foster children home stability earlier is one example of how small changes in the law are sometimes necessary.

House Bill 2582 would set in place a structure for foster children, who have no chance of going back to their parents, to be adopted into a stable, loving home more quickly. It would require termination of parental rights paperwork in very specific situations to be filled out months earlier than in the current system.

"I'm a strong parental rights supporter and believe we should do all we can to reunite parents with their children in cases where the state has had to intervene. However, if we know the child will not go back to a parent, beginning the paperwork that allows a family to adopt the child more quickly is better for the child. Right now, the timeline for filing parental rights relinquishment paperwork may be drawn out, leaving the child and foster family in limbo. My bill is just one small corrective step that can give earlier certainty to some children and foster families," Hargrove explained.

Hargrove's green technology bill pertains to vehicle idle emissions reduction. One specific example is a small generator installed on a fire engine which allows the larger engine to be shut down, reducing emissions and noise and saving fuel/money. When Hargrove was approached for funding continuation of this project, he had the idea that the already-proven savings in certain programs meant some money could be returned to fund future projects through legislation.

House Bill 2569 would create a self-funded loan account where local governments could apply for the loans to implement this or other idle emissions reduction technology, and pay the loan back. Hargrove is working through the details of this program with the state Department of Ecology to ensure local governments can take advantage of cost savings and environmental protection this new technology provides.

"Once we create this account and get the initial funding, we will achieve less emissions, less noise, and fuel and resultant money savings, a portion of which is returned to the account to fund future projects. We can achieve all of these positive results without any further cost to the state. It is a win on all fronts!" Hargrove said.

House Bill 2582 received a public hearing on Jan. 29 in the House Early Learning and Human Services Committee and was moved out of the same committee Jan. 30. The bill is now in the House Rules Committee awaiting possible action on the House floor.

House Bill 2569 received a public hearing on Jan. 31 in the House Environment Committee and was moved out of the same committee Feb. 4. The bill is now in the House Rules Committee awaiting possible action on the House floor.

For more information about Rep. Hargrove, visit: www.representativemarkhargrove.com.

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