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5 09, 2017

Nelson: Decision to end DACA is un-American

September 5th, 2017|Uncategorized|

OLYMPIA – Senate Democratic Leader Sharon Nelson released the statement below following the Trump administration’s announcement Tuesday it will end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program:

“DACA kids are American kids. They are contributing members of society who had no control over the circumstances that brought them to this country – their country.

“Ending this program flies in the face of what this country stands for. Simply put, President Trump’s decision is un-American.

“We stand with the thousands of DACA kids in our state, and those who are fighting this cruel and short-sighted decision.

“We also call on Republicans in our state and those in Congress to do their jobs, stand up for what’s right and stand up for all children.”

30 06, 2017

Landmark education bill adds $7.3 billion to Washington schools

June 30th, 2017|Uncategorized|

OLYMPIA – In the final hours before a state government shutdown, the Legislature passed a landmark bill that adds billions of dollars to public schools in Washington state over the next four years. Passage of this bill addresses the chronic underfunding of schools called out in the state Supreme Court’s McCleary case.

“This budget makes the biggest investment in education in a generation and reflects the core values that Democrats have advocated for throughout this process,” said Sen. Christine Rolfes, D-Bainbridge Island, one of the education negotiators who also serves as a negotiator on the state operating budget. “It ensures more equity between low- and high-income districts and students and provides additional funds for students with individual needs. Of course no budget is perfect, and the reliance primarily on property taxes for funding was not what Democrats wanted but unfortunately was all the Republicans would consider. In the end, kids and educators will see $7.3 billion more dollars going into their schools over the next four years, and that is an enormous win for the students of our state.”

House Bill 2242 takes numerous steps toward closing the opportunity gap including increasing salaries and salary equity for educators, providing additional funding for special education and for low-income districts. The bill also increases funds for career and technical education and ensures locals may retain control of their levies while also adding common sense transparency and accountability measures to how levies are spent.

“This has been a long process but in the end we were able to come together in a bipartisan way and produce a K-12 funding solution that will meet our Constitutional obligation and help the 1.1 million schoolchildren in our state to achieve their fullest potential,” said Sen. Andy Billig, D-Spokane. “Education in general, and this plan in particular, goes well beyond just helping individual children. When we get education policy and funding right, we boost our economy, build community, and strengthen our democracy by producing well rounded, intelligent citizens.”

The bill passed with bipartisan support out of both chambers of the Legislature (67-26 out of the House of Representatives, and 32-17 out of the Senate). The bill now goes to the Governor’s desk for his signature.

To view a summary of impacts of the bill, please click here.
To review estimated school district tax impacts of the bill, please click here.

19 06, 2017

State Senate Members of Color Caucus statement on Juneteenth

June 19th, 2017|Uncategorized|

OLYMPIA — Senate Members of Color Caucus released the following statement as the Legislature celebrates Juneteenth, a holiday marking the day the slaves of Galveston, Texas finally received word of their freedom nearly two years after President Lincoln’s signing of the Emancipation Proclamation and the end of the Civil War.

“Today’s historic anniversary is an opportunity to celebrate the diversity that enriches Washington state and the nation as a whole.

“Juneteenth is traditionally a celebration, but we should also use the occasion to focus on today’s challenges that communities of color continue to face in the pursuit of equality and justice.

“As our nation struggles to find political common ground, Juneteenth is a chance to reaffirm our shared dedication to ending discrimination and senseless violence that is still perpetuated against African Americans and people in our communities of color.”

Sen. Bob Hasegawa (D-Seattle)
Sen. Steve Hobbs (D-Lake Stevens)
Sen. John McCoy (D-Tulalip)
Sen. Rebecca Saldaña (D-Seattle)

29 03, 2017

A closer look at the Senate Republican tax proposal

March 29th, 2017|Uncategorized|

Last week Senate Republicans passed their budget proposal on a straight party line vote. The Republican plan eliminates local school levies and imposes a $5.6 billion, statewide property tax. Currently, our existing local property tax funds can be spent only in the school districts of the voters who approved them and only on education. The Republicans’ statewide property tax funds, by contrast, can be used for education (or for any other use, for that matter) anywhere in the state. This isn’t an education plan so much as a property tax plan by another name.

The tax shift has expensive consequences for many of our communities. By 2021, homeowners across the state would pay hundreds more per year in property taxes while receiving extremely modest increases in education funding, or in some cases fewer resources than they currently receive. That’s not good for our students’ education and it’s not fair to homeowners.

Below are examples of tax increases throughout the state under the Senate Republican K-12 plan, Senate Bills 5607 and 5875. They reflect two options – one if taxpayers vote to approve levy capacity at the 10 percent limit and another if voters reject 10 percent levy capacity. As you will see there are tax increases associated with both choices. Click here to view the impacts for all districts and view data we used to create the maps.

28 02, 2017

Senate Democrats to hold town hall meetings in March

February 28th, 2017|Uncategorized|

Legislators will be holding town hall meetings with constituents across the state in March. Town hall meetings are chance for community members to meet with their state leaders, ask questions, and get an update on the 2017 legislative session.

SATURDAY, MARCH 11

3rd District – Sen. Andy Billig with Rep. Marcus Riccelli & Rep. Timm Ormsby
WHERE: Washington Cracker Company Building 304 W. Pacific, Spokane WHEN: 9:30 am – 11:00 am

21st District – Sen. Marco Liias with Rep. Lillian Ortiz-Self & Rep. Strom Peterson
WHERE: Meadowdale High School Great Hall, 6002 168th Street SW, Lynnwood WHEN: 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm

22nd District – Sen. Sam Hunt with Rep. Beth Doglio & Rep. Laurie Dolan
WHERE: South Puget Sound Community College, Lacey Campus WHEN: 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm

23rd District – Sen. Christine Rolfes with Rep. Sherry Appleton & Rep. Drew Hansen
WHERE: Kitsap Fairgrounds, Eagle’s Nest 1200 NW Fairgrounds Rd, Bremerton WHEN: 9:30 am – 11:00 am
WHERE: Bainbridge Island City Hall, Council Chambers 280 Madison Ave N, Bainbridge Island WHEN: 1:00 pm – 2:30 pm

27th District – Sen. Jeannie Darneille with Rep. Laurie Jinkins & Rep. Jake Fey
WHERE: The Evergreen State College Tacoma Campus, 1210 6th Ave WHEN: 10:00 a.m. – noon

29th District – Sen. Steve Conway
WHERE: Bates Technical College, South Campus Cafeteria, 2201 South 78th St., Tacoma WHEN: 10 am – noon

36th District – Sen. Reuven Carlyle with Rep. Noel Frame & Rep. Gael Tarleton
WHERE: Leif Erikson Lodge 2245 NW 57th St, Seattle WHEN: 11:00 am – 12:30 pm

43rd District – Sen. Jamie Pedersen with Rep. Frank Chopp & Rep. Nicole Macri
WHERE: Seattle First Baptist Church 1111 Harvard Ave, Seattle WHEN: 1:00 pm – 2:30 pm

48th District – Sen. Patty Kuderer
WHERE: Redmond City Council Chambers WHEN: 10:30 am – noon

SUNDAY, MARCH 12

1st District – Sen. Guy Palumbo with Rep. Derek Stanford & Rep. Shelley Kloba
WHERE: Cascadia College, Bothell WHEN: 2:30 pm

SATURDAY, MARCH 18

11th District – Sen. Bob Hasegawa
WHERE: Office of Emergency Management – Renton WHEN: 10:30 am – noon

32nd District – Sen. Maralyn Chase
WHERE: Mountlake Terrace Senior Center, 23000 Lakeview Drive WHEN: Mountlake Terrace 10:00 a.m. – noon
WHERE: Lynnwood Fire Department, 18800 44th Ave W WHEN:  Lynnwood 1:30 -3:30 p.m.

33rd District – Sen. Karen Keiser with Rep. Tina Orwall & Rep. Mia Gregerson
WHERE: Kent City Hall Council Chambers, 220 4th Ave S, Kent WHEN: 10:00 am – noon

37th District – Sen. Rebecca Saldaña
WHERE: Rainier Beach Community Center Gym WHEN: 10:00 am – noon

41st District – Sen. Lisa Wellman with Rep. Tana Senn & Rep. Judy Clibborn
WHERE: Somerset Elementary WHEN: 10:00 am – 12:30 pm

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

23 01, 2017

Democrats urge Senate Republicans to act quickly on levy cliff

January 23rd, 2017|Uncategorized|


OLYMPIA – The Senate Democratic Caucus on Monday delivered a letter to Majority Leader Mark Schoesler calling on Senate Republicans to pass legislation that would allow local school districts to continue to collect money that has been approved by district voters.

The letter, signed by all 24 members of the Senate Democratic Caucus, urges Republicans to pass House Bill 1059 or its companion measure, Senate Bill 5023. The House of Representatives passed HB 1059 Monday on a bipartisan vote of 62-35.

If the legislation fails to pass the full Legislature, school districts across the state would lose $358 million – the largest cut to basic education in our state’s history—and be forced to map out worst-case scenario budgets that would cut programs, lay off staff and increase class sizes.

 

20 01, 2017

Statement from the Washington State Senate Members of Color Caucus

January 20th, 2017|Uncategorized|

 

OLYMPIA – The Washington State Senate Members of Color Caucus, Sens. Bob Hasegawa, D-Beacon Hill, Rebecca Saldaña, D-Seattle, John McCoy, D-Tulalip, Steve Hobbs, D-Lake Stevens, released the following statement:

“Today we have never been more proud to represent Washingtonians and the inclusive values we collectively hold.

“As a new administration takes over in the nation’s Capital, we stand ready to safeguard our state’s commitment to equal rights and human dignity. From the Yakima Valley to downtown Seattle, Vancouver to Spokane, we know many of our friends and neighbors are worried about attempts to foment hate and steer the path of our country away from justice.

“From the creation of reservations at our state’s founding, to Japanese internment camps during WWII, to mass detention and deportation of Latinos in the past two decades, it is not only the threats of a new president that make Washingtonians fearful, it is the experiences we carry with us.

“Our state has made great progress, but the job is never finished. Change comes from vigilance, from engagement and from organizing at the local level on up.

“The Washington State Senate Members of Color Caucus will continue to stand up for the immigrants who enrich the cultural and economic landscape of our state.

“We will continue to stand up for voters in every community until we all have the ability to be fully represented in fair elections.

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

“We will continue to fight for environmental protections, affordable health care, and tribal sovereignty.

“We will stand up for the rights of all citizens in the state, regardless of the color of their skin, their country of origin, how they worship or who they love.”

 

4 01, 2017

Democrats release school funding recommendations

January 4th, 2017|Uncategorized|

OLYMPIA – Democratic education leaders on Wednesday released final recommendations on a K-12 school funding package to ensure competitive wages for teachers and to resolve the McCleary case before the state Supreme Court.

Senate and House Democrats unveiled their plan during one of the final the Education Funding Task Force meetings. The panel was set up seven months ago and was directed by law (SB 6195) to develop bipartisan recommendations by the start of the 2017 legislative session.

While a bipartisan agreement on recommendations could not be reached, Democratic education leaders released a detailed plan that provides an opportunity to build new schools across the state, place high-quality educators in every classroom and give 1.1 million Washington school kids opportunities to learn and achieve their dreams.

House and Senate Republicans declined to propose a plan and instead submitted a “guiding principles” document.

Click below to read more about the plan released by House and Senate Democrats on the Education Funding Task Force:

 

21 12, 2016

Senate Democrats announce committee assignments

December 21st, 2016|Uncategorized|

OLYMPIA – Senate Democrats on Wednesday announced their committee assignments for the upcoming 2017 legislative session.

“With six new members, Senate Democrats are energized heading into 2017 and we are ready to deliver on our values of fairness and opportunity for all in Washington,” said Sen. Sharon Nelson, the caucus leader. “We have a historic opportunity to fully fund quality education for our state’s 1 million kids and focus on improving the lives of working families and small business owners across the state.”

Nelson was especially proud of the diverse voices on her leadership team.

“We are a diverse state and we put together a team that reflects that,” Nelson said. “Voices from the LGBTQ community, communities of color and men and women from different areas of this state are all represented. I think our team is an accurate representation of the state in which we live.”

The 2017 legislative session officially starts on Jan. 9.

(Click here for a printable copy of the 2017 SDC committee assignments)