Uncategorized

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.”

 

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.

21 03, 2017

Nelson: Senate Republican budget “cold-blooded”

March 21st, 2017|Uncategorized|

OLYMPIA – Senate Democratic leader Sharon Nelson released the statement below Tuesday following the announcement of the Senate Republican budget:

“What we saw today was straight out of the Trump playbook.

“Republicans unveiled a budget that protects the wealthiest at the expense of those who already are struggling for a seat at the table.

“College students, the elderly, poor children, working families, the disabled, the hungry, the homeless – Senate Republicans raid programs aimed at increasing access to college, breaking the cycle of poverty, preparing the youngest kids for success in school and helping working people make ends meet.

“Gutting these programs while supporting the largest property tax increase in state history is unnecessary, and simply put, is cold-blooded.

“Budgets are a statement of values. The Senate Republican budget is a statement of ideology – one that has no place in our Washington.”

8 03, 2017

Nelson: “Now that we have passed the levy cliff bill, it is time to continue our work to fully and fairly fund education”

March 8th, 2017|Uncategorized|

Senate Democratic Leader Sharon Nelson released the statement below following the long-awaited passage of the levy cliff bill:

“I’d like to thank all of the students, teachers, principals, superintendents, parents, PTA members and everyone who worked tirelessly to finally convince Senate Republicans to relent and work with us to pass this bill.

“There was almost literally no student, teacher, family or school district that was immune to the potential devastation a $358 million cut would have had. Today I’m happiest for them.

“Now that we have passed the levy cliff bill, it is time to continue our work to fully and fairly fund education.

“Senate Democrats are completely dedicated to solving this issue and making sure that all 1.1 million students in our state have access to a world-class education.

“I hope Republicans will join us in this endeavor and resist the urge to reach this goal by relying entirely on billions of dollars in property taxes and devastating cuts.

“Let’s fully and fairly fund education in a way that benefits the most Washingtonians.”

 

6 03, 2017

Nelson: “There are 24 Democrats ready to pass the levy cliff. We need one Republican to join us”

March 6th, 2017|Uncategorized|

Senate Democratic Leader Sharon Nelson issued the statement below on the Senate Republican’s decision to adjourn rather than bring the levy cliff bill to the floor Monday:

“There are 24 Senate Democrats ready to vote ‘yes’ to pass this bill. We need one Republican to join us.

“One.

“Rather than let a vote happen, rather than see if there is one single Republican out there ready to pass this bill which impacts kids in every corner of our state, Republican leadership decided instead to adjourn.

“We believe there is at least one Republican willing to stand against their party and with students, teachers and families all across Washington.

“I’m calling for Senate Republican leadership to bring the levy cliff bill up for a vote. One way or another, whether it passes or fails, every Washingtonian will have the chance to see with whom you stand – with them or with your party.”

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

15 02, 2017

Targeting Washingtonians protected under DACA is ‘unacceptable’

February 15th, 2017|Uncategorized|

OLYMPIA –  The following is a statement from the Members of Color Caucus of the Washington State Senate 

“The Members of Color in the Washington State Senate stand firmly in support of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) and the individuals and families throughout Washington who participate in the program. The arrest of Daniel Ramirez Medina, a Washingtonian protected under DACA, is absolutely unacceptable.

“The nearly 750,000 young people across the nation who voluntarily shared their information with federal officials by signing up for DACA are our neighbors, our coworkers, our classmates, our friends and our families. They are also Washingtonians. 

“The Trump Administration said they would not go after individuals without criminal offenses. Mr. Ramirez has no criminal record, is the father of an American citizen and lives and works in one of our communities. When the Trump Administration targets DACA students, they target the best among us.

“We stand with all families in Washington, and will work with our federal elected leaders and our governor to do all we can to protect those who are unfairly targeted, and uncertain of the place they hold in their own home.”

The Members of Color Caucus for the Washington State Senate are: Sens. Bob Hasegawa, D-Beacon Hill, Rebecca Saldaña, D-Seattle, John McCoy, D-Tulalip and Steve Hobbs, D-Lake Stevens.

 

 

 

8 02, 2017

BILL TO WATCH: Republican bill criminalizes homelessness

February 8th, 2017|Uncategorized|

The goal of ending homelessness is a noble one and must be addressed in a serious, evidenced-based way. The bill below takes a punitive approach to the problem of homelessness and does little to address the root causes of our state’s homelessness crisis.

Bill to watch: Republican bill to address homelessness

WHAT: Senate Bill 5656

STATUS:  Scheduled for a public hearing in the Senate Committee on Human Services, Mental Health and Housing on Wednesday, February 8, at 1:30 p.m.

INTENT OF BILL:

  • Attempts to end all homelessness in Washington state by 2018.

WHAT IT WOULD COST:

  • While the Senate has not yet issued a fiscal note on the cost to implement statewide, the City of Seattle estimates that it will cost them $60 million implement changes from this legislation, and $64 million in ongoing costs each subsequent year.

WHAT THE BILL DOES:

  • Criminalizes parents. Under this bill, parents would be guilty of a misdemeanor if they do not report their children as missing within 48 hours, despite national research that shows that the majority of youth return home within a week after a cooling off period.  Misdemeanors are punishable with up to 90 days in jail and $1,000 dollar fine.
  • Makes family reunification the primary goal for homeless youth. Reunification should be a goal when it’s safe and this section simplifies what are normally complex reasons for why a youth is homeless, including domestic violence and sexual assault.
  • Eliminates services for young adults, ages 18-24. The bill eliminates the category of “young adults,” slashing services for this age group, including: age-appropriate housing, high school graduation support, job training, and other resources to help them successfully launch into adulthood.
  • Criminalizes unsheltered homeless individuals. Unsheltered homeless camping would become a misdemeanor statewide. The provision does not require law enforcement officers to attempt to provide services before arrest, and would results in more people in jails, including those in need of mental health treatment.
  • Changes definition of “gravely disabled” to include substance use disorder. Under this bill, a person would automatically be categorized as “gravely disabled” if he/she is homeless for a year and actively uses heroin. This would greatly increase the number of people who would be eligible for detention beyond capacity for involuntary treatment system, and requires increased funding for detox facilities and law enforcement to treat and transport individuals.

QUOTE FROM SEN. JEANNIE DARNEILLE: “Our state’s homelessness crisis affects real people, who deserve real solutions. To criminalize homelessness, and to criminalize parents, is going to make the situation much worse. We need to give our state’s most vulnerable citizens a helping hand-up, not punish them. This dangerous bill only serves to put more homeless youth at risk, and criminalizes adults struggling with mental illness or substance abuse. We must to better.”