POHNPEI, 23 MAY 2019 (FSMIS) — The Governor of the state of Washington, Jay Inslee has signed into law a State Senate Bill that creates a dental care programme for residents of the Compact of Free Association states of the Federated States of Micronesia, Marshall Islands and Palau.

Specifically, the Washington State Senate Bill 5274 extends oral health insurance to low-income Micronesian citizens, treating the citizens of the FSM and the other Freely Associated States essentially equivalently with U.S. citizens for this purpose.

The bill was passed unanimously in Washington State’s legislature early this month.

“There continues to be growing bipartisan support for the Micronesian community, and many lawmakers have come around to better understand, and befriend, the Micronesian community,” said Joe Enlet, the FSM’s consul general in the U.S. State of Oregon.

“[However], all credit should be given to the community members themselves who have participated in advocating for these bills…. Community members have had legislators attend their community functions like weddings, birthday parties, and funerals.”

The signing of Washington State Senate Bill 5274 is one of many recent demonstrations of solidarity between the FSM and its U.S. partners, particularly in Washington State Oregon.

In Oregon, recent legislation include a driver’s license bill (which extends full-term driver’s licenses to Micronesian citizens), a resolution to recognise the Compact of Free Association (COFA), a COFA Premium Assistance Programme (which provides medical coverage for low-income Micronesians in Oregon in an equivalent manner to U.S. citizens in Oregon), and a law enforcement bill (which allows citizens of the Freely Associated States to be eligible for careers in law enforcement).

The FSM national government expresses its most sincere appreciation and gratitude to the governments and people of Washington state and Oregon, for their bipartisan and genuine support for the Micronesians who live among them. The FSM national government similarly extends its appreciation to all who advocate for fair and equal treatment. (PACNEWS)