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.

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

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.

20 12, 2019

Statement from Senate Majority Leader Andy Billig (D-Spokane) on the independent investigation of Rep. Matt Shea

December 20th, 2019|Uncategorized|

“The investigators’ report of Rep. Matt Shea’s involvement in domestic terrorism makes it clear Rep. Shea has no place in the Washington State Legislature. The report’s conclusion is unequivocal and chilling: Rep. Shea is a ‘present and growing threat of risk to others through political violence.’

“I appreciate the expedient and responsible manner in which House leadership has proceeded related to the investigation and I agree with House Republican Leader JT Wilcox that Rep. Shea should resign. I have confidence that House leadership will continue to take the appropriate steps related to Rep. Shea.”

19 12, 2019

Statement from Senate Majority Leader Andy Billig (D-Spokane) on today’s Supreme Court ruling on public records

December 19th, 2019|Uncategorized|

“We are still reviewing the court’s decision, but as I’ve said throughout this process, I believe the Legislature should continue to take steps toward greater transparency. Long before this decision came down, we started establishing an institutional infrastructure to help respond to public records requests, store documents and take other measures to increase public access.

“We will be working with Senate administration and legislators in the coming days and weeks to ensure compliance with this decision.”

12 11, 2019

We’re Hiring!

November 12th, 2019|Uncategorized|

The Senate Democratic Caucus is hiring a communications specialist. This is a full-time position with benefits, including health, retirement and leave.

A communications specialist is an experienced communications professional who coordinates media, public and stakeholder activities for Democratic state senators. Successful candidates must be excellent writers who are able to handle multiple tasks, work well under pressure, meet tight deadlines, be proactive and thrive in a team-oriented work environment. Applicants should have a bachelor’s degree in journalism, public relations, communications or a related field.

Applicants should have a passion for the legislative process, excellent political and strategic judgment, and an ability to frame complex political issues into a coherent and simple message. Familiarity with the people, politics and press in the Legislature is a plus.

Find a full job description and application details here.

Interested candidates should apply by Nov. 22, 2019.

31 07, 2019

Senate Majority Leader Andy Billig’s statement on election of Rep. Laurie Jinkins as Speaker-designate

July 31st, 2019|Uncategorized|

Senate Majority Leader Andy Billig (D-Spokane) released this statement following the election of Rep. Laurie Jinkins (D-Tacoma) as the Speaker-designate of the Washington State House of Representatives:

“I would like to extend congratulations to Laurie Jinkins on being elected the next House Speaker by her colleagues today.

“As an accomplished legislator and the first woman to hold the position, she will bring a vital perspective to leadership in the Washington State Legislature. I’ve enjoyed a productive working relationship with Laurie since we joined the House together in 2011. She has a long record of fighting for legislation that puts our state on the path of prosperity by creating opportunity for everybody.

“I look forward to continuing to work with the House leadership team to put people first and make Washington the best place to live, work and raise a family.”

1 07, 2019

Stanford appointed 1st Legislative District senator

July 1st, 2019|Uncategorized|

OLYMPIA – Derek Stanford was unanimously appointed state senator for the 1st Legislative District this morning at a joint meeting of the King and Snohomish County councils in Bothell.

“I’m excited to get to work in the Senate, and I’m grateful to the 1st District Democrats and to the Snohomish and King County councils for their support,” said Stanford (D-Bothell).

“It has been an honor to serve the people of the 1st Legislative District as state representative for the past nine years.”

Stanford was first elected to the House of Representatives in 2010 and has been re-elected four times since. In the House, he chaired the Commerce & Gaming Committee and served on the Appropriations Committee and Consumer Protection & Business Committee.

“I’m proud to have played a part in passing historic legislation during my tenure in the House, from increasing school funding and expanding voting rights to fighting climate change and protecting workers,” he said. “I believe that everyone deserves an equitable opportunity to pursue their dreams. Together, we can tackle the greatest challenges we face and leave our state in better shape for our children. I look forward to continuing this work in the Senate.”

Senate Majority Leader Andy Billig applauded Stanford’s appointment.

“It is my pleasure to welcome Sen. Stanford to our caucus. He brings with him a long, accomplished record of serving his constituents and a wealth of knowledge that will benefit the Senate and our state.”

This year, Stanford was the author of a major law that bans excessive non-compete agreements in Washington state, as well as legislation regulating the cannabis industry and preventing pets from being used as collateral for loans.

Stanford earned a PhD in Statistics at the University of Washington, following an MS in Mathematics at Claremont Graduate University and a BS in Mathematics at Harvey Mudd College.

Currently, Stanford runs a small business specializing in analytics solutions and statistical consulting. Previously, he has served as director of analytics at companies specializing in fraud detection and customer insights. He has also worked as a research scientist at a software company, where he served as principal investigator on a research project for DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency).

24 05, 2019

Sen. Billig: “I thank Sen. Palumbo for his hard work in the Senate and for Washington”

May 24th, 2019|Uncategorized|

Senate Majority Leader Andy Billig released the following statement Friday following the resignation of Sen. Guy Palumbo:

“Sen. Palumbo has informed me he intends to resign his seat in the state senate, effective today.

“Sen. Palumbo has done an excellent job representing the people of the 1st Legislative District and has been a particularly strong advocate on issues related to higher education, transportation, climate and energy.

“We will miss him in the senate but definitely understand his reasons for leaving as the job of being a legislator can be difficult to mesh with the realities of families and other professional work.

“I thank Sen. Palumbo for his hard work in the Senate and for Washington. I wish him and his family all the best in the future.”

Here’s the process for filling the seat in the 1st Legislative District: Upon a vacancy created in a legislative office, a special meeting of the district’s party organization of the same party as the former legislator (e.g. 1st Legislative District Democrats) is called to nominate three names for consideration by the county legislative authorities contained within the Legislative District – in this case the King and Snohomish County Councils. At a special meeting, those councilmembers shall then choose the person from the list of three party nominees to fill out the term. If the county legislative authorities do not agree on an appointment within 60 days, the Governor shall appoint a person from the list within the succeeding 30 days. The appointee will represent the 1st LD during the 2020 legislative session and if they choose, run for re-election in 2020 when Sen. Palumbo’s term would have expired.

7 05, 2019

Carlyle, Tarleton welcome governor’s signature on climate bills

May 7th, 2019|Uncategorized|

SEATTLE – Sen. Reuven Carlyle (D-Seattle) and Rep. Gael Tarleton (D-Ballard) today welcomed Gov. Jay Inslee’s signature on a sweeping package of legislation that takes meaningful action on climate change and will reduce Washington’s carbon footprint.

The bills commit Washington to 100-percent clean energy from renewable and zero-emission sources like wind, hydro and solar polar (Senate Bill 5116), a centerpiece of Inslee’s climate action agenda. They also aggressively electrify our transportation infrastructure (House Bill 2042), create incentives to build ultra-new efficient buildings (HB 1257), adopt new minimum appliance efficiency standards (HB 1444) and ban products containing super-pollutants, like hydrofluorocarbons (HB 1112).

“As a husband, father and citizen legislator, it is a personal and professional honor to have played a role in helping to pass the most substantive environmental agenda in a generation,” said Carlyle, who chairs the Senate Environment, Energy & Technology Committee and who sponsored SB 5116. “Our work this year goes beyond traditional political clichés and embraces a bold climate action agenda that will make a meaningful difference in our grandchildren’s grandchildren’s quality of life.

“This year we hit stand-up double after stand-up double, and moved our team around the bases by working together. Our dream of reaching Paris Accord-level carbon reductions in the years to come is no longer a fantasy, but a serious aspiration that is within our reach.”

Tarleton, who chairs the House Finance Committee and who sponsored House companion legislation to the clean energy bill, commented: “Today we are celebrating a strong ground game that brought together communities from all over this state, from utility partners, industry partners, environmental champions, labor leaders, communities of color, many of you here today. When we move beyond coal and embrace clean energy sources, we get a win not only for Washington State, not only for the western states, but for the whole country and the world.”

Carlyle and Tarleton joined Inslee and others today at a bill-signing ceremony at the Rainier Vista Neighborhood House in Seattle.