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Monthly Archives: January 2018

10 01, 2018

Senate Democrats to hear higher education bills to expand access and opportunity to all Washingtonians

January 10th, 2018|Uncategorized|

OLYMPIA – Senate Democrats have introduced a package of higher education bills to ensure access and opportunity for all Washingtonians. The Senate Higher Education & Workforce Development Committee will begin work to ensure DREAMers have opportunity regardless of federal action, find solutions for students mired in massive student loan debt and make college free for low-income students facing the high cost of higher education.

The committee will hear bills at 8 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 11, in the Cherberg Building Senate Hearing Room 2.

SB 5074, Eligibility for financial aid programs for DREAMers
• Extends the standard established in 2003, when the state first allowed eligible undocumented students to pay in-state tuition at state universities and colleges to include those who were granted DACA status to ensure DREAMers are eligible for state financial aid programs.
Sen. David Frockt, D-Seattle: “Every Washingtonian deserves access to higher education, and the opportunities that will follow. Policies at the national level have placed DREAMers in jeopardy. We as a state need to make it clear that DREAMers deserve respect, and that they deserve access to the financial aid packages that Washington offers.”

SB 6029, Establishing a student loan bill of rights.
• Creates new protections for borrowers, requires loan servicers to obtain a license from the state and establishes a Student Education Loan Advocate to assist and aid borrowers.
Sen. Marko Liias, D-Lynnwood: “I’m one of the 800,000 Washingtonians still paying off my student loans, so I really understand the economic pressures people face when trying to plan for their future. The student debt crisis is going to continue to grow and we should act now to protect borrowers from predatory loan servicers.”

SB 6101, Evergreen Free College Act:
• Creates the Evergreen Free College Program to offer free college to all Washingtonians making $89,000 or less for a family of four.
Sen. Kevin Ranker, D-Orcas Island and committee chair: “There is a huge need in expanding access and opportunity for children, particularly those who do not have the ease of access and support of many families. While many of our lowest income students are eligible for our Student Need Grant and other programs, many students’ parents make just a bit more than those thresholds but can still not afford college. It is our duty to make absolutely sure that every single child has the chance to fully pursue their educational and training dreams and fully succeed in life.”

10 01, 2018

Ban on ‘conversion therapy’ to be heard in Senate

January 10th, 2018|Uncategorized|

What’s happening: The Senate Health & Long Term Care Committee will hear legislation to ban the practice of so-called “conversion therapy” for LGBTQ youth in Washington state.

When: 10 a.m. Thursday in Senate Hearing Room 2.

Where you can watch it live: https://www.tvw.org/watch/?eventID=2018011104

Brief Summary: Senate Bill 5722 would make it unprofessional conduct for a licensed health care provider to perform conversion therapy on a patient under the age of 18.

Marko Liias, D-Lynnwood: “Every major medical organization which has reviewed ‘conversion therapy’ has condemned the practice. It is barbaric to deny young people their identity and we have an obligation to protect our children from so-called ‘conversion therapy.’”

10 01, 2018

The Senate Members of Color Caucus welcomes Senator Manka Dhingra; lays out an agenda focused on inclusion

January 10th, 2018|Uncategorized|

The Senate Members of Color Caucus welcomes Senator Manka Dhingra; lays out an agenda focused on inclusion

Olympia – Democrats welcomed the newly elected senator from the 45th Legislative District, Manka Dhingra, as the Washington State Senate convened for the 2018 legislative session.

Dhingra becomes the 25th member of the Senate Democratic Caucus and the fifth member of the Senate Members of Color Caucus (MOCC). Sen. Bob Hasegawa, Chair of the MOCC, and members Sen. Rebecca Saldaña, D-Seattle, Sen. John McCoy, D-Tulalip, and Sen. Steve Hobbs, D-Lake Stevens, released the following statement:

“We are honored to celebrate the start of the 2018 legislative session by welcoming our new colleague, Sen. Manka Dhingra, to the Washington State Legislature.

“The election of Sen. Dhingra this past November not only led to a Democratic majority in the Senate but also expanded the membership of the Members of Color Caucus. As the power shifts in Olympia, the MOCC will continue to give a voice to communities of color across our great state, and ensure that they are represented in policy discussions.

“We have made significant progress in Washington, but we cannot solely rely on our past achievements. Serving you is a great privilege; one we do not take lightly. Our priority as a coalition will always be to amplify the voices of underrepresented and disenfranchised communities.

“At a time when our country appears deeply divided, Washington state will continue to be a beacon for the rest of the nation. We will continue to move forward on a unified path together. Uplifting the voices of our communities is a collective effort. That is why we stand together to support the economic and social growth of all people.

“We will stand up for immigrants, refugees, and all people of color who enrich the cultural and economic landscape of our state.

“We will stand up for voters in every community until we can all be represented in fair elections.

“We will confront racial bias in the criminal justice system and in other institutions built on the promise of equality.

“This year in Olympia, we reaffirm our shared dedication to creating equity in our state. Our caucus knows diversity is one of our strongest assets and we look forward to working on a robust agenda that matters most to the communities we serve. ”

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For more information or for interviews: Bre Weider, (360) 786-7326; Sharlett Mena, (360) 786-7013

Para más información o para entrevistas en español: Sharlett Mena, (360) 786-7013

9 01, 2018

Senate committee to hear Access to Democracy reforms

January 9th, 2018|Uncategorized|

A package of elections reform bills to reduce barriers, increase transparency and boost turnout in elections statewide will be heard Wednesday by the Senate State Government, Tribal Relations & Elections Committee.

SB 6002, Washington Voting Rights Act

  • Enables cities, counties, school boards and other local elected bodies to voluntarily adopt changes to their elections system that will improve representation in local governments.
  • Rebecca Saldaña, D-Seattle: “Ensuring that every Washingtonian has a seat at the table, and that people of color have the ability to choose their own elected leaders, is our essential duty. We’ve seen in Yakima and Pasco that when given the chance, impacted communities elect leaders who reflect their values and the diversity of their neighborhoods. The Washington Voting Rights Act will put power back into the hands of the people where it belongs, in local elections.”

SB 6021, Same Day Voter Registration

  • Authorizes in-person voter registration until 8:00 p.m. on election day and moves up the deadline for online or by mail registration to eight days before an election.
  • Patty Kuderer, D-Bellevue: “Expanding access to our democracy is the core goal of same day voter registration, but it’s also about rebuilding faith in our civic institutions. There are far too many individuals in our state who want to participate in democracy on election day, only to have their voices and their passion squandered. This legislation opens the door to all, ensuring that every eligible voter is fully welcome to engage and have their say.”

SB 5991, The DISCLOSE Act

  • Requires nonprofit organizations that are making significant campaign contributions and activities to disclose their top donors.
  • Andy Billig, D-Spokane: “We need to shine light on money spent on elections in Washington State regardless of source. This bill strengthens our democracy and levels the playing field for disclosure by applying the same transparency rules to everyone.”

Chaired by Sen. Sam Hunt, D-Olympia, the Access to Democracy package will be heard in the Senate State Government, Tribal Relations & Elections Committee at 8 a.m. Wednesday.

“This bold slate of bills would expand access to democracy and implement long-overdue updates to bring Washington elections into the 21st Century,” Hunt said.