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Monthly Archives: February 2017

23 02, 2017

Joint statement from the members of the LGBT caucus on Washington state’s commitment to a discrimination-free environment for all students

February 23rd, 2017|Uncategorized|

The members of the Washington State Legislature’s LGBT caucus jointly released the following statement on Washington’s commitment to ensuring all students have the right to a discrimination-free environment:

“Washington’s Superintendent of Public Instruction, Chris Reykdal, was both clear and firm in his statement this morning about the protections transgender students have under state law. In light of yesterday’s action by the Trump Administration, it is reassuring to know our state not only has strong anti-discrimination laws on the books, but that our state’s chief school administrator is firmly committed to upholding those laws and ensuring every student feels safe and welcome in our public schools. We join Supt. Reykdal in this commitment, and stand arm in arm with our transgender sisters and brothers, as well as with all who are working to end discrimination wherever it exists.”

Sen. Jamie Pedersen, D-Seattle
Sen. Marko Liias, D-Lynnwood
Rep. Laurie Jinkins, D-Tacoma
Rep. Christine Kilduff, D-University Place
Rep. Joan McBride, D-Kirkland
Rep. Beth Doglio, D-Olympia
Rep. Nicole Macri, D-Seattle

15 02, 2017

Targeting Washingtonians protected under DACA is ‘unacceptable’

February 15th, 2017|Uncategorized|

OLYMPIA –  The following is a statement from the Members of Color Caucus of the Washington State Senate 

“The Members of Color in the Washington State Senate stand firmly in support of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) and the individuals and families throughout Washington who participate in the program. The arrest of Daniel Ramirez Medina, a Washingtonian protected under DACA, is absolutely unacceptable.

“The nearly 750,000 young people across the nation who voluntarily shared their information with federal officials by signing up for DACA are our neighbors, our coworkers, our classmates, our friends and our families. They are also Washingtonians. 

“The Trump Administration said they would not go after individuals without criminal offenses. Mr. Ramirez has no criminal record, is the father of an American citizen and lives and works in one of our communities. When the Trump Administration targets DACA students, they target the best among us.

“We stand with all families in Washington, and will work with our federal elected leaders and our governor to do all we can to protect those who are unfairly targeted, and uncertain of the place they hold in their own home.”

The Members of Color Caucus for the Washington State Senate are: Sens. Bob Hasegawa, D-Beacon Hill, Rebecca Saldaña, D-Seattle, John McCoy, D-Tulalip and Steve Hobbs, D-Lake Stevens.

 

 

 

9 02, 2017

Faith leaders and Sen. Palumbo gather to support religious freedom in Washington state

February 9th, 2017|Radio|

Sen. Guy Palumbo of Maltby and faith leaders speak up for religious freedom and Senate Bill 5308. (TRT: 39) CLICK TO DOWNLOAD

SCRIPT:

Hours before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals refused to reinstate the President’s travel ban, faith leaders and dozens of supporters came together in support of religious freedom. Sen. Guy Palumbo of Maltby spoke during the press conference:

Sen. Guy Palumbo, D-Maltby: (TRT: 11) CLICK TO DOWNLOAD: “It is our job as elected officials and my job as a state senator to speak out. I am in a position of power, as are the rest of the representatives here and its our job to speak out for our Muslim brothers and sisters, and I’m going to continue to do that.”

Senate Bill 5308 will limit an agency from disclosing personal religious affiliation to the federal government for the purpose of creating a religious database. The bipartisan bill has not yet had a hearing in the Senate.

In Olympia, I’m Nicole Vukonich.

8 02, 2017

Opposition to Right to Work legislation draws potentially historic crowds

February 8th, 2017|Radio|

OLYMPIA – Right to work legislation drew more than 1,100 people to the Senate to have their voices heard in opposition to the bill. (TRT: 72) CLICK TO DOWNLOAD

SCRIPT:

On Wednesday, in a sea of neon green and fluorescent orange, laborers led by the building trades and skilled craftsmen filled the halls and hearings rooms of the Senate. Approximately 1,100 people signed in to oppose Senate Bill 5692, also known as a “Right to Work” bill. Sen. Rebecca Saldaña of Seattle is a member of the Senate Commerce, Labor & Sports Committee where the hearing took place:

Sen. Rebecca Saldaña, D-Seattle: (TRT: 30) CLICK TO DOWNLOAD: “For Washington, we believe that all work is dignified and that people should be able to make a living, and to be able to provide for their families. Right to work is really a misnomer; it’s really about right to work for less or not having the right to actually work safely. In states where right to work has been on the books for many years, we have higher rates of injuries in the workplace and we have significantly lower wages particularly whether there’s a union or not a union.”

Often, when businesses look at where to relocate, the availability of skilled labor is one of the most important factors. With more than 800 people wanting to testify in opposition to the bill, a potentially historic number, their voices and stories will be difficult to ignore.

In Olympia, I’m Nicole Vukonich.

8 02, 2017

BILL TO WATCH: Republican bill criminalizes homelessness

February 8th, 2017|Uncategorized|

The goal of ending homelessness is a noble one and must be addressed in a serious, evidenced-based way. The bill below takes a punitive approach to the problem of homelessness and does little to address the root causes of our state’s homelessness crisis.

Bill to watch: Republican bill to address homelessness

WHAT: Senate Bill 5656

STATUS:  Scheduled for a public hearing in the Senate Committee on Human Services, Mental Health and Housing on Wednesday, February 8, at 1:30 p.m.

INTENT OF BILL:

  • Attempts to end all homelessness in Washington state by 2018.

WHAT IT WOULD COST:

  • While the Senate has not yet issued a fiscal note on the cost to implement statewide, the City of Seattle estimates that it will cost them $60 million implement changes from this legislation, and $64 million in ongoing costs each subsequent year.

WHAT THE BILL DOES:

  • Criminalizes parents. Under this bill, parents would be guilty of a misdemeanor if they do not report their children as missing within 48 hours, despite national research that shows that the majority of youth return home within a week after a cooling off period.  Misdemeanors are punishable with up to 90 days in jail and $1,000 dollar fine.
  • Makes family reunification the primary goal for homeless youth. Reunification should be a goal when it’s safe and this section simplifies what are normally complex reasons for why a youth is homeless, including domestic violence and sexual assault.
  • Eliminates services for young adults, ages 18-24. The bill eliminates the category of “young adults,” slashing services for this age group, including: age-appropriate housing, high school graduation support, job training, and other resources to help them successfully launch into adulthood.
  • Criminalizes unsheltered homeless individuals. Unsheltered homeless camping would become a misdemeanor statewide. The provision does not require law enforcement officers to attempt to provide services before arrest, and would results in more people in jails, including those in need of mental health treatment.
  • Changes definition of “gravely disabled” to include substance use disorder. Under this bill, a person would automatically be categorized as “gravely disabled” if he/she is homeless for a year and actively uses heroin. This would greatly increase the number of people who would be eligible for detention beyond capacity for involuntary treatment system, and requires increased funding for detox facilities and law enforcement to treat and transport individuals.

QUOTE FROM SEN. JEANNIE DARNEILLE: “Our state’s homelessness crisis affects real people, who deserve real solutions. To criminalize homelessness, and to criminalize parents, is going to make the situation much worse. We need to give our state’s most vulnerable citizens a helping hand-up, not punish them. This dangerous bill only serves to put more homeless youth at risk, and criminalizes adults struggling with mental illness or substance abuse. We must to better.”