Rep. Roger Freeman celebrates Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and outlines his
top priorities for the year, which include helping parents with disabilities and
providing tax relief for businesses.

Rep. Roger Freeman speaks on the floor of the Washington State House of
Representatives honoring the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

11
Apr

Rep. Freeman to host Cinco de Mayo community gathering!

Rep. Freeman is hosting a community gathering to celebrate Cinco de Mayo and bring the diverse communities of the 30th legislative district together! The event is a mix of food, fun and community engagement.

There will be a wide variety of speakers:

  • Federal Way Mayor Jim Ferrell
  • State Senator Tracey Eide
  • Executive Director of One America Rich Stolz
  • SEAMAR Community Health Centers Vice President of Community Relations, Jorge Madrazo
  • Executive Director of WA State Commission on Hispanic Affairs, Uriel Iñiguez
  • There will also be representatives from University of Tacoma, Highline Community College and Greenriver Community College.

Information tables from community organizations and live music will also be on hand.  We welcome you to bring the whole family and come have a great time!

10
Apr

Law will help parents with disabilities keep their children

Early Learning & Human Services Committee hearing. HB 2616

Just before the weekend, the Senate passed HB 2616, Rep. Roger Freeman’s bill, that will give parents with disabilities the tools they need to keep their family together.

On the bill’s passage Rep. Freeman said, “This is a great day for parents with disabilities. Parenting is hard. As a father of two, I understand the difficulties. For a parent with disabilities, the challenges are even greater. This bill will give them access to the services they and their children deserve.”

The bill was strongly supported by the National Council on Disabilities. In a 2012 report, they found that child removal rates for parents who have a psychiatric disability as high as 70 to 80 percent; for parents who have an intellectual disability, 40 to 80 percent. They are the only distinct community of Americans who must struggle – solely because of their status – to retain custody of their children.

“We know the best place for children is with their parents,” Freeman said. “But some parents need a little extra help. This law recognizes that and brings a new appreciation and respect to parents with disabilities.  We still have much work to do to support all Washington’s families, but this bill is a big step in the right direction.”

If a parent with a disability is at risk of losing his or her child, this bill would require the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) to give the case an extra look and see if reasonable accommodation can be made to help parents keep their children. Then, DSHS must follow-through and help parents come up with a plan to make sure they can access these support services.

HB 2616 now heads to Governor Inslee’s desk for his signature.

02
Apr

Rep. Freeman’s statement on Governor Inslee signing his bill to help parents with disabilities into law

“This new law is a victory for us all, but especially for parents with disabilities. Parenting is hard. As a father of two, I understand the difficulties. For a parent with disabilities, the challenges are even greater. This bill will give them access to the services they and their children deserve.

Parents with disabilities are a distinct community of Americans who struggle – solely because of their status – to retain custody of their children. We know that child removal rates for parents who have a psychiatric disability are as high as 70 to 80 percent and for parents with an intellectual disability, 40 to 80 percent. This is unjust.

We know the best place for children is with their parents. But some parents need a little extra help. This law recognizes that and provides a new level of appreciation and respect to parents with disabilities.  We have a long road ahead to ensure all Washington’s families are treated equally, but this bill is a big step in the right direction.”

27
Feb

Sick and Safe Leave is a Lifeline for Workers

Last year, Rep. Freeman was diagnosed with colon cancer. Paid sick leave was a lifesaver for him and his family. He believes all Washingtonians should have the same rights. Read Rep. Freeman’s story published in The Stand here.

20
Feb

Freeman’s bill will help parents with disabilities keep their children

Public testimony at the hearing for HB 2616 was moving. Sarah, a parent with intellectual disabilities, talked of a son she had taken away from her 25 years ago. If Sarah had had a support plan in place she feels she would have been able to care for her son. ““Even though we need help, “she said, “People like me have the right to raise their children.”

In a unanimous vote, the House passed Rep. Roger Freeman’s bill that will give parents with disabilities the tools they need to keep their family together.

Rep. Freeman, on the bill’s passage said, “Parenting is hard. As a father of two, I understand the difficulty of sleepless nights, putting food on the table and never-ending homework. For a parent with disabilities, the challenges are even greater. Currently, parents with disabilities aren’t given the extra support they need. This bill will give them the help they and their children deserve.”

If a parent with a disability is at risk of losing his or her child, this bill would require the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) to give the case an extra look and see if reasonable accommodation can be made to help parents keep their children. And then for DSHS to follow-through and help parents come up with a plan to make sure they can access these support services.

“We know the best place for children is with their parents,” Freeman said. “Foster care is only a good option for a child if his or her parents or family can really not care for them. This bill will keep more children out of foster care and back with their families.”

HB 2616 now heads to the Senate for consideration.