(360) 786-7604|Andy.Billig@leg.wa.gov

Monthly Archives: May 2020

Economic recovery, key resources & storytime

May 9th, 2020|

The health and economic challenges facing our state in the coming months are enormous, but we must be ready to rise to the challenge at every level of government. This week in the Washington State Senate, we created a bipartisan select committee to help guide the Legislature’s long-term economic response to the coronavirus pandemic.

While this special committee is focused on bigger, long-term recovery solutions, we continue to also work on the short-term economic reopening plan. I am glad to be part of a bipartisan group of local leaders working with the governor’s office and public health officials to create a reopening plan for Spokane that is safe for everyone and accelerated ahead of other parts of the state based on our low local case numbers. And, for now, I urge everyone to be diligent about social distancing as we work our way toward Phase 2 of the reopening plan.

Storytime from the Tower

Navigating our way through this challenging time is tough for us all. That’s why I was so happy to focus a few minutes of my time reading one of our family’s favorite books for the Spokesman Review’s ‘Storytime from the Tower’ series. “Little Blue Truck” by Alice Shertle offers a timely lesson about cooperation and teamwork that we all can learn from.

Resource newsletter sent to neighbors

You may have recently received a mailing from our Spokane legislative delegation. It offers a quick guide to some of the key resources available during this crisis. You can view an electronic version here. As we’ve seen, news about this pandemic changes rapidly and the state’s portal — coronavirus.wa.gov — is the best place to get the latest information.

Stay safe and healthy. We will get through this by working together and supporting each other.

Onward!

Andy

Economic recovery, key resources & storytime

May 8th, 2020|

The health and economic challenges facing our state in the coming months are enormous, but we must be ready to rise to the challenge at every level of government. This week in the Washington State Senate, we created a bipartisan select committee to help guide the Legislature’s long-term economic response to the coronavirus pandemic.

While this special committee is focused on bigger, long-term recovery solutions, we continue to also work on the short-term economic reopening plan. I am glad to be part of a bipartisan group of local leaders working with the governor’s office and public health officials to create a reopening plan for Spokane that is safe for everyone and accelerated ahead of other parts of the state based on our low local case numbers. And, for now, I urge everyone to be diligent about social distancing as we work our way toward Phase 2 of the reopening plan.

Storytime from the Tower

Storytime

Navigating our way through this challenging time is tough for us all. That’s why I was so happy to focus a few minutes of my time reading one of our family’s favorite books for the Spokesman Review’s ‘Storytime from the Tower’ series. “Little Blue Truck” by Alice Shertle offers a timely lesson about cooperation and teamwork that we all can learn from.

Resource newsletter sent to neighbors

Newsletter

You may have recently received a mailing from our Spokane legislative delegation. It offers a quick guide to some of the key resources available during this crisis. You can view an electronic version here. As we’ve seen, news about this pandemic changes rapidly and the state’s portal — coronavirus.wa.gov — is the best place to get the latest information.

Last newsletter until November

Due to ethics rules, no official mass communications are allowed starting May 11 in an election year. So this will be my last e-newsletter until November. Please continue to reach out with any questions or comments at Andy.Billig@leg.wa.gov.

Stay safe and healthy. We will get through this by working together and supporting each other.

Onward!

Andy

Governor announces reopening plan

May 4th, 2020|

On Friday the governor released details for a phased opening of Washington state’s economy. We enter Phase 1 tomorrow with the Stay Home, Stay Healthy order continuing but several additional business sectors are opening up, including landscaping, auto dealers, curbside retail and others along with construction and outdoor recreation. The governor said he will make a data-driven decision on when to move to Phase 2 in the coming weeks.

Along with other leaders from Spokane, I have advocated for some regional variation on the opening of the economy if it is safe to do so. I was pleased to see that the governor listened and included some regional variation options in his plan. Several smaller counties with no recent COVID-19 cases will be able to go to Phase 2 now and other counties with few COVID-19 cases may have this option sooner than the rest of the state if case numbers stay low.

Please click here to see the full plan.

Getting outside to stay healthy

Bowl and Pitcher area at Riverside State Park.

Outdoor recreation is central to our state’s identity and one of the best things we can do for our physical and mental health. Some outdoor recreation will reopen tomorrow with appropriate safety precautions. It includes day use at state parks and public lands, fishing, hunting and golf. You can read the details on rules and best practices here.

Update on unemployment assistance

If you have filed or will be filing for unemployment insurance because of COVID-19, one thing is certain: you are not alone. The Employment Security Department is seeing a historic increase in claims. Fortunately, Washington was the first state in the nation to implement all three of the major benefit provisions of the federal CARES Act, and ESD has been working around the clock to make this possible. Thanks to their tireless work, nearly $1.5 billion has been paid to impacted workers in our state since the beginning of the crisis.

Thank you to those people who have reached out to my office about delays or confusion surrounding your claims. The good news is that unemployment funds will not run out, and everyone will receive retroactive pay based on the date of their eligibility. Here are a few tips to help the process go as smoothly as possible:

  • Sign up for ESD Covid-19 email updates that will keep you informed of the department’s progress and important news alerts.
  • Make sure you have all the necessary information to apply.
  • If you are self-employed or do not qualify for the regular unemployment insurance, you may qualify for the expanded Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) from the federal government. Find more information here.

Finally, please do not hesitate to contact my office and we will do our best to help you navigate the process. It is important for me to hear from you about what issues you are facing during this time, so I can represent you effectively as I work with the governor, our state agencies, and our federal delegation to address this crisis and recovery.