27 01, 2020

Week 3 – Private prisons, sports betting and Block the Box

January 27th, 2020|This Week in the Senate|

We’re a quarter of the way through the 2020 Legislative Session and less than two weeks away from the session’s first cutoff. There’s a packed week of committee hearings ahead. Highlights are below.

Labor & Commerce
Monday, Jan. 27 @ 10 a.m.

The committee will consider Sen. Rebecca Saldaña’s SB 6247, which will create employment standards for Washington’s domestic workers. Domestic workers — people such as nannies, house cleaners, home care workers, gardeners, cooks and others — would be granted minimum wage, rest breaks and meal break rights and other workplace standards under this bill.

Early Learning & K-12 Education
Monday, Jan. 27 @ 1:30 p.m.

Teachers and concerned parents of students who have experienced bullying will join the committee for a work session to talk about ways to address the issue in Washington schools.

Tuesday, Jan. 28 @ 11 a.m.
Senate Majority Caucus Room

Join Senate and House leaders as they take questions from the media about the 2020 legislative session.

Tuesday, Jan. 28 @ 3:30 p.m.

The committee will hear SB 5789, which would allow local governments to use traffic cameras to ensure motorists aren’t obstructing crosswalks, using transit-only lanes and other traffic violations.

Human Services, Reentry & Rehabilitation
Wednesday, Jan. 29 @ 8 a.m.

The committee will hear SB 6442, which would ban private prisons from operation in Washington state.

Labor & Commerce
Thursday, Jan. 30 @ 8 a.m.

The committee will hold public hearings on several bills including SB 5717, which will require employers to provide employees with 14 days notice of work schedules. The committee will also hear SBs 6394 and 6277, both dealing with establishing sports betting in Washington.

Human Services, Reentry & Rehabilitation
Thursday, Jan. 30 @ 1:30 p.m.

Senate Bill 6490, The Housing Justice Act, sponsored by Sen. Jeannie Darneille, will receive a public hearing. The bill would address challenges faced by people who have served their debt to society through the criminal justice system but are prevented from finding housing.

Health & Long Term Care
Friday, Jan. 31 @ 8 a.m.

A public hearing will be held on SB 6303, a bill aimed at improving prevention methods and treatment of sexually transmitted infections.

For a look at the entire committee calendar for Week 3 of the legislature, click here.

22 01, 2020

Senate passes Wilson’s comprehensive sexual health education bill

January 22nd, 2020|News Release|

The teaching of science-based, age-appropriate sexual health education would be expanded to more school districts and grade levels, under legislation passed today by the Senate.

“Some people hear the words ‘sex education’ and mistake the focus of the curriculum, which is health and safety, and is age-appropriate for each grade level,” said Sen. Claire Wilson (D-Auburn), the vice chair of the Senate Early Learning and K-12 Education Committee. “This is about making sure younger children know what kind of touching is inappropriate, whether by peers or predators. It’s about helping older students recognize and resist abusive or coercive behavior. It’s about teaching all children to respect diversity and not to bully others.”

Among other things, Wilson’s Senate Bill 5395 would:

  • Expand comprehensive sexual health education curriculum to all grade 6-12 schools across the state, phased in over several years;
  • Phase in age-appropriate curriculum for K-5 grades; and
  • Allow parents to exempt children from sexual health education classes on request.

“Students need a safe place to ask questions, to fully understand consent, and to have the information they need to make safe decisions,” Wilson said. “There are children who will be targeted for molestation in the coming year, there are young women who may face sexual coercion or assault. They need access to information and lessons that will enable them to make decisions to ensure their health and safety.”

The Senate passed SB 5395 during the 2019 legislative session, but the House failed to act on it. Outside parties have tried to stir opposition to the bill by circulating misleading and often false depictions of the sexual health curriculum.

Wilson said the curriculum does not promote sex or direct teachers to instruct students on how to have sex, one of a number of claims that have been incorrectly alleged. To the contrary, the curriculum focuses on health and safety, emphasizes the importance of consent, and is proven to reduce unintended pregnancy and STIs.

The bill has earned the support of King County prosecutors who wrote in a recent op-ed in the Seattle Times that the curriculum would help prevent sexual abuse and violence by teaching healthier behaviors.

“The overwhelming majority of Americans, including parents and young people themselves, believe students should have access to age-appropriate comprehensive sexual health education,” Wilson said. “Information is power. It’s time we do a better job of sharing it.”


21 01, 2020

Legislature honors Franklin on Senate floor, celebrates oral history

January 21st, 2020|News Release, Uncategorized|

A groundbreaking former state lawmaker has chronicled her experiences in the Legislature in a biographical oral history that will be celebrated at a book-signing reception from 6 to 9 p.m. Jan. 30 at the Asia Pacific Cultural Center in Tacoma.

All proceeds from sales of Rosa Franklin — A Life in Health Care, Public Service, and Social Justice will go into an account that funds Capitol preservation, the state library and archives, and the legislative oral history program.

“When Sen. Sam Hunt called me several months ago and said ‘the legislative oral history committee has voted for you to tell your story,’ I thought maybe he was kidding,” former Sen. Rosa Franklin (D-Tacoma) said Monday while being honored on the Senate floor. “It is indeed a deep honor to be back. It’s overwhelming, really.”

Franklin was the first black woman elected to the Senate and represented the 29th Legislative District in Tacoma for 20 years, but her long legislative career is only one aspect of her storied path.

Before Franklin won election to the Legislature, her 42-year career in health care brought her from South Carolina to Washington state and included stops in Brooklyn, Colorado, Germany, and the Madigan Army Medical Center in Tacoma, among other venues.

An inductee in the Washington State Nurses Association Hall of Fame, Franklin holds an honorary doctorate from the University of Puget Sound and earned a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Washington State Democratic Party.

“Rosa Franklin’s lifelong commitment to social justice is an inspiration in a time when many have lost faith in government,” wrote Tamiko Nimura, the book’s author.

Franklin’s legislative achievements ran the gamut from establishing the state’s housing and anti-discrimination policy in her freshman year, to eliminating redundant requirements for nursing credentials, to enabling voters to approve public financing of election campaigns. She served as Democratic Whip, as Majority Whip, and twice as President Pro Tempore.


20 01, 2020

Wilson bill would address critical needs of early learners

January 20th, 2020|Uncategorized|

Early learners would get the assistance and support they need to avoid falling behind their peers in kindergarten and throughout life, under legislation heard today by the Senate Early Learning & K-12 Education Committee.

“Not everyone is ready to learn when they enter kindergarten, and those who aren’t often fall behind early and stay behind,” said Sen. Claire Wilson (D-Auburn), the committee’s vice chair. “This is a pattern that can hinder them through grade school and high school, into their careers and even into retirement. They lag academically, they fare worse in getting jobs and promotions and saving for retirement, and even their health may suffer.”

Among other things, Wilson’s Senate Bill 6253 would:

  • Expand eligibility for Workings Connections benefits and the Early Education Assistance and Care Program;
  • Reform the state’s confusing range of services and access by creating a single entry point from which each child can be directed to the programs or assistance they need; and
  • Replace the current system in which students either qualify for a myriad of assistance and support, or qualify for none, with a system that provides students with assistance and support based on individual need.

“Under our current system, many children go overlooked and struggle in the critical early learning years,” Wilson said. “By making sure those who need assistance early on enter kindergarten ready to learn, and by redirecting our services to better match actual student needs, our students will be more successful in school and throughout life.”

Studies show that every dollar invested to address these early learning needs saves $7 in long-term educational and social costs by ensuring that early learners are ready to learn when it matters most.

“The critical early needs can mean the difference between someone who thrives through school into adulthood and throughout their life, and someone who struggles and requires assistance in multiple areas,” Wilson said. “Of all the money we can spend on education, investing in early learning can make the biggest difference and bring the largest return.”

Other components of the bill would increase access to parent education and support programs and phase in subsidy rate increases for licensed childcare providers to 75 percent of the market rate by 2023.

18 01, 2020

Week 2: Gun safety, early learning and honoring MLK

January 18th, 2020|This Week in the Senate|

Week 2 in the Senate will begin with a ceremony honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. It’s also a busy week in Senate committees with hearings on gun safety, including a possible ban on high capacity magazines, worker safety, sports betting, early learning and changes to marijuana laws.

SENATE FLOOR: Monday, Jan. 20, Noon

The Senate will observe Martin Luther King Day with a resolution, floor speeches and an invocation delivered by Rev. Troy Lynn Carr of Grace United Methodist Church in Seattle.

LAW & JUSTICE: Monday, Jan. 20, 10 a.m., SHR 4

The Law & Justice Committee will hold a public hearing on gun safety bills including Sen. Patty Kuderer’s bill to ban high capacity magazines (SB 6077) and a bill requiring firearm safety training in order to obtain a concealed pistol license (SB 6294).

LABOR & COMMERCE: Monday, Jan. 20, 10 a.m., SHR 1

The committee will hold public hearings on bills to help make Washington’s workforce more safe. Legislation includes SB 6171 concerning the safe disassembly of tower cranes, SB 6473 addressing asbestos-containing building materials and SB 6349 which ensures all union workers can access Washington’s new Paid Family Medical Leave program.

Monday, Jan. 20, 1:30 p.m., SHR 1

Kindergartners who aren’t ready to learn fall behind their peers and fall farther and farther behind as they proceed through school, through careers, and through life. On Monday, there will be a public hearing on SB 6253, Sen. Claire Wilson’s bill to expand early learning in our state and make sure kids get the support they need to start school strong.

Tuesday, Jan. 21, 8 a.m., SHR 1

A work session will be held on the components to create a legal sports gambling system in Washington.

Tuesday, Jan. 21, 11 a.m., House Majority Caucus Room

Democratic leaders from the House and Senate await your questions about the 2020 Legislative Session.

LAW & JUSTICE: Tuesday, Jan. 21, 11 a.m., SHR 4

The committee will consider SB 6288, sponsored by Sen. Manka Dhingra, which would create the Washington Office of Firearm Violence Prevention. This agency would provide statewide leadership, coordination and technical assistance to promote effective state and local efforts to reduce gun violence.

Wednesday, Jan. 22, 8 a.m., SHR 2

A bill to expand registration opportunities for young voters (SB 6313) and one to restore voting rights for people who have completed their prison sentences (SB 6228) will receive public hearings.

Wednesday, Jan. 22, 1:30 p.m., SHR 4

Senate Bill 6254, which will ban the sale of flavored vapor products in Washington state, will receive a public hearing.

Thursday, Jan. 23, 8 a.m., SHR 1

The committee will consider several bills aimed at reform and worker safety in the state’s marijuana industry. SBs 6393, 6057, 6033 and 6269 will all receive public hearings.

Follow this link for a complete look at this week’s committee schedule

13 01, 2020

Bills on consumer data privacy, facial recognition introduced

January 13th, 2020|Uncategorized|

OLYMPIA – A bipartisan group of Washington state senators and representatives today unveiled a pair of bills strengthening consumer access and control over personal data and regulating the use of facial recognition technology.

Sen. Reuven Carlyle (D-Seattle) — sponsor of one of the bills, the Washington Privacy Act — told reporters gathered at a press conference that the lawmakers had reached “95 percent agreement in principle on the core elements of the bills.”

He was joined by Sen. Joe Nguyen (D-White Center), Sen. Mona Das (D-Kent), Sen. Ann Rivers (R-La Center) and Rep. Gael Tarleton (D-Ballard).

Carlyle’s SB 6281 gives Washington residents the right to know who is using their personal data and why, the right to correct inaccurate data, the right to delete certain data, and the right to opt out of the processing of data in key areas.

The bill also requires steps companies must take to disclose data management policies in order to increase transparency and establishes limits on the commercial use of facial recognition technology.

A brief overview of the bill is available here.

Nguyen’s SB 6280 limits the ways government and law enforcement can use facial recognition technology.

A brief overview of the bill is available here.

Washington residents overwhelmingly favor efforts to defend data privacy. In a Crosscut Elway poll released last week, 84 percent of respondents said consumer protections for personal online data should be strengthened.

13 01, 2020

The Everblue State: Welcome to the 2020 Session with Sen. Andy Billig

January 13th, 2020|Podcast|

The Everblue State is back for the 2020 Legislative Session with a special episode with Senate Majority Leader Andy Billig.

Billig gives us an update on what Senate Democrats are working on this year, and the issues he hopes the Legislature will tackle in the coming decade. He also takes a retrospective look at his favorite bills in the last 10 years.

As an added bonus, he answers our question about which Senate Democrat he would draft for a minor league baseball team.

Make sure to listen and subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts.

13 01, 2020

Week 1: Welcome back!

January 13th, 2020|This Week in the Senate|

OLYMPIA — The 2020 session is underway and Senate Democrats are excited to get back to work. We’ll kickoff the short 60-day session with a jam-packed Week 1 with public hearings on data privacy, prescription drug prices, affordable housing, the environment and many other policies important to people across the state.

What to watch this week

Monday, Jan. 13 @ noon

The 2020 Session gets underway with opening ceremonies including Sens. Liz Lovelett and Derek Stanford taking their oath of office.

Monday, Jan. 13 @ 2 p.m., JAC ABC

Join Sens. Nguyen, Das, Carlyle and others as they announce details of legislation to protect Washingtonians’ online privacy.

Tuesday, Jan. 14 @ noon

Gov. Inslee will address a joint session of the legislature during his annual state of the state address.

Washington State Senator Reuven Carlyle

Wednesday, Jan. 15 @ 8 a.m., SHR 1

A public hearing is scheduled for bills that will address online privacy and facial recognition technology.

WSDOT Secretary Rogar Millar

Wednesday, Jan. 15 @ 2:30 p.m., SHR 1

Transportation Secretary Roger Millar will speak with the committee about the state of transportation in Washington.

Stock image of pregnant woman

Thursday, Jan. 16 @ 8 a.m., SHR 1

A bill to give employees a way to fight back against wage theft (SB 6053) and pregnancy discrimination (SB 6034) will have a public hearing.

Washington state Senators Mona Das and Rebecca Saldana

Thursday, Jan. 16 @ 10 a.m., SHR 1

The committee will consider policies sponsored by Sens. Rebecca Saldana and Mona Das that will set earlier limits on greenhouse gas emissions and establish clean fuel standards.

Washington state senator Claire Wilson

Thursday, Jan. 16 @ 1:30 p.m., SHR 4

The committee will consider Sen. Clare Wilson’s bill, SB 6112, which will outlaw the practice of solitary confinement at juvenile detention centers.

Washington state Senator Karen Keisier

Friday, Jan. 17 @ 8 a.m., SHR 4

Addressing the high costs of prescription drugs, including insulin, will be the focus of this public hearing. The committee will consider SB 6087, 6088, 6110, 6111 and 6113 all sponsored by Sen. Karen Keiser.

Click here to access the entire schedule of Senate hearings.

13 01, 2020

Let’s get back to work in 2020!

January 13th, 2020|Uncategorized|

When Democrats took over the Senate in 2018, we got to work putting people first.

And we did it all on time.

Now the 2020 Legislative Session is here, and we’re ready to get back to work on progressive policies and bettering the lives of Washingtonians.