Monthly Archives: April 2017

21 04, 2017

Nelson: Senate Republicans – “Grow up and govern”

April 21st, 2017|Uncategorized|

Senate Democratic Leader Sharon Nelson on Friday issued the statement below following a Senate Republican move to change their own two-thirds tax rule to hold an intentionally doomed vote on two tax bills with two days left in session:

“Senate Republicans need to do their job.

“They dragged their feet on releasing a plan to fund our schools. They continue to refuse to negotiate a budget. Now with two days left in session they change their own rule to bring tax bills to the floor they have no intention of voting for.

“What a tremendous waste of time. Senate Republicans should be embarrassed and I’m embarrassed for them.

“Come to the negotiating table. Work on behalf of the people of this state. Show a sense of urgency or at the very least some interest in doing some good for Washington.

“Stop the stunts. Stop the obstruction. Start doing your jobs.

“Grow up and govern.”

17 04, 2017

As Trump holds out, Senate Democrats request AG opinion on requiring presidential candidates’ tax returns

April 17th, 2017|Uncategorized|

Senate Democrats today requested a formal opinion from Attorney General Bob Ferguson on the state’s ability to condition ballot access on whether presidential candidates release their federal tax returns.

“As millions of Americans fulfill their civic duty this week by filing tax returns, it only makes sense that they should be able to know if there is anything in their president’s tax situation that indicate he might personally benefit from decisions made by his administration,” said Sen. Marko Liias, D-Lynnwood, whose office submitted the request. “President Trump’s refusal to release his tax returns leaves the public with no way of knowing if his actions might benefit his business portfolio or foreign governments or corporations with a financial interest in his businesses.”

In his request to Ferguson, Liias also asked whether the state can enact legislation requiring the secretary of state to decline a presidential candidate’s slate of electors if the candidate or the candidate’s running mate has failed to release federal tax returns. Since November, Liias noted, legislation has been introduced in 26 states that would require any candidate for president to disclose five years of tax returns no later than 50 days prior to a general election. You can read Liias’ full request here.

“Every major party candidate for president in the past 40 years has released their tax returns, with the exception of the current president,” Liias said. “Voters have a right to know of conflicts of interest or how a particular policy change might affect the president’s personal financial holdings.”

Also signing the request were Sens. Sharon Nelson, John McCoy, Sam Hunt, Patty Kuderer, Christine Rolfes, Jamie Pedersen, Rebecca Saldaña, Guy Palumbo, Mark Mullet, Lisa Wellman, Kevin Ranker, Annette Cleveland, Karen Keiser, Maralyn Chase, Jeannie Darneille and Reuven Carlyle.

“This practice dates back to President Richard Nixon who, when he released his returns in 1973, famously said, ‘People have got to know whether or not their president is a crook,’ ” Liias said. “People have a right and a need to know whether someone they are considering for president has interests that might conflict with the best interests of the country.”

12 04, 2017

Legislature passes bill to reimburse for 12-month birth control refills

April 12th, 2017|Uncategorized|

OLYMPIA — Insurance carriers will be required to reimburse refills for birth control for 12 months at a time instead of monthly under legislation passed today by the Senate. Having already passed the House, the bill now goes to the governor to be signed into law.

Currently insurance providers do not have a uniform rate at which they dispense birth control. House Bill 1234 requires that women receive a full year’s worth of contraceptives unless they request less.

Numerous studies document the benefits to increased access to contraceptives. One in four women say they have missed pills because they could not get a new pack in time. Dispensing one-year’s worth of birth control reduces the odds of an unintended pregnancy by 30 percent.

“Equal access to health care and birth control is one of the core values of our state,” said Sen. Steve Hobbs, D-Lake Stevens and the sponsor of companion legislation, Senate Bill 5554. “We should do everything we can to make birth control easier to obtain. This bill makes a simple change but will have a potentially huge impact.”

The bill also will help women who live in areas far from a pharmacy or those who are studying or working abroad. While legislatures across the country continue to attempt to restrict reproductive health care coverage for women, Washington state continues to lead the way in access to contraceptive care.

“There are all kinds of medical conditions for which women take birth control pills in addition to reproductive health,” said Sen. Annette Cleveland, D-Vancouver and the ranking member on the Senate Health Care Committee. “By making birth control pills more accessible, we make it easier for women to manage their health and live healthier lives.”