Several years ago, a law was passed in the State of Washington mandating that the State purchase products and services from non-profit organizations employing people who are blind. This piece of legislation was buried in pages of procurement law, and as a result, this law went unnoticed. In the fall of 2014, Government Relations staff from the Lighthouse met with state legislators from Spokane to explore ways to get the state to begin purchasing Lighthouse products and services.
This past August, Jeremy Stanton and Nick Shively, production employees from our Spokane facility, and Lighthouse Government Relations staff met with legislators in Spokane. Our representatives agreed to pursue a legislative amendment that would make the purchasing mandate more visible to state procurement staff. House Bill 2398 was introduced in the House of Representatives at the beginning of this year’s legislative session by Rep. Jeff Holy with support from Rep. Marcus Riccelli and others. Paula Hoffman, Vice President of Government Relations, and Shawn Dobbs, Development and Public Relations Director, traveled to Olympia to testify before House and Senate Committees in January.
House Bill 2398 unanimously passed both the House and Senate and was signed into law by Governor Jay Inslee on March 29, 2016.