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News / Politics / Clark County Politics

Three Herrera Beutler bills advance, one signed into law

Trump signs measure allowing tribal distilleries

By Katy Sword, Columbian politics reporter
Published: December 12, 2018, 6:00am

Tuesday was a busy day for Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Battle Ground. The Southwest Washington congresswoman had two bills pass the House and move to the Senate, another bill make its way to the president’s desk and yet another receive his signature.

First, President Trump signed Herrera Beutler’s bill to repeal an 1834 law that prevented Native American tribes from owning or operating distilleries. A companion bill in the Senate was headed by Democratic Sens. Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray.

“Today, I join the Chehalis Tribe and all others across the country as we celebrate the repeal of a law that strives to bring more equality and sovereignty to Indian tribes,” Herrera Beutler said in a press release. “This is a good day for tribal members who can now expand economically in the distillery business and bring new skills training and jobs to our region.”

The bill’s approval will allow the Chehalis Tribe to move forward with a proposed brewery and distillery.

Sea lion removal

Herrera Beutler partnered with Rep. Kurt Schrader, D-Ore., to introduce the Endangered Salmon and Fisheries Predation Prevention Act. The bill passed out of Congress on Tuesday and is now headed toward Trump’s desk.

Cantwell introduced a nearly identical bill in the Senate.

The bill allows tribes to lethally remove sea lions from the Columbia River that are predating on endangered salmon runs. Approximately 20 percent of the Columbia River spring chinook run and 15 percent of the Willamette River steelhead run are lost to sea lions.

“Today’s passage of our bill to control sea lions was a hard-fought victory — it’s a personal victory for each of us who treasure our Northwest salmon runs and want to see them preserved for generations to come,” Herrera Beutler said.

Maternal deaths, health care

Herrera Beutler’s latest two bills to pass the House related to heath care.

The first is known as the Preventing Maternal Deaths Act. The bill would support maternal mortality review committees tasked with examining pregnancy-related deaths and identify opportunities for preventing said deaths.

Between 700 and 900 women in the U.S. die each year from pregnancy-related complications, the most per capita among developed nations. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found 60 percent of maternal deaths could be prevented. A companion bill has been introduced in the Senate by Sens. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., and Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va.

“Today marks an important day in addressing our country’s maternal mortality crisis, as this is the strongest step Congress has taken to date to reverse it,” Herrera Beutler and co-sponsor Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Colo., said in a press release. “By providing states with resources to investigate every maternal death, we can begin to tackle this troubling trend and take appropriate steps to prevent such tragedies in the future.”

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The second bill is called the Advancing Care for Exceptional Kids Act, which was pushed forward as part of the IMPROVE Act that seeks to improve Medicaid on a broader scale.

It would ensure that children with complicated medical conditions who rely on Medicaid for health care can access care in other states if necessary.

Medically complex cases include cancer, Down syndrome and congenital heart disease.

“I’ve been in the NICU and met families who were faced with the reality of having a sick child, and also have hit hard times economically,” said Herrera Beutler, whose daughter was born without functioning kidneys.

“I can put too many faces and names to the reality that little kiddos often can’t get the care they need. With passage of this bill, we are doing right by our kids — regardless of their ZIP codes, they’ll be able to get specialized medical treatment that can often be life-saving.”

Columbian politics reporter