Monthly Archives: February 2018

Carlyle announces $4 million for Coe overcrowding

February 21st, 2018|

OLYMPIA – Seattle’s Frantz H. Coe Elementary School would receive $4 million for urgently needed capacity and safety upgrades under a supplemental construction budget that Senate Democrats proposed this week, according to Sen. Reuven Carlyle, D-Seattle.

“I’m proud to join my colleagues in seeking funding for Seattle Public Schools to address critical capacity needs at Coe Elementary and create better learning environments for staff and students,” Carlyle, one of six senators who requested the funding, said. “It’s a modest request, given the dire need and number of students served, but it’s an important investment in making Seattle a 21st-century city that will positively shape the future of our children.”

The funding is part of an overall budget proposing nearly $334.7 million in new funding for public schools, higher education, behavioral health and local community projects. It allocates $66.2 million statewide for K-12 school construction, including $51.3 million for the School Construction Assistance Program, $9 million for distressed schools and $6 million for rural school modernization.

Funds for Coe Elementary, which is located in Seattle’s Queen Anne Hill neighborhood, would go toward building an 11,560 square foot, three-story, six-classroom, special education and office addition, allowing class sizes to be reduced at all grade levels. Designed to house 475 students, Coe Elementary today houses 570. Class sizes exceed district targets at every grade level and overcrowding hinders teachers from meeting students’ learning and social-emotional needs.

Enrollment at Coe Elementary is not projected to decrease in the next decade, a reflection of the extraordinary recent growth of Seattle Public Schools (SPS), with 53,380 students currently enrolled. The district has grown more than any other in the state in the last 10 years and has struggled to find the physical space necessary to educate the additional students.

Five other Seattle-area senators joined Carlyle in requesting funds for Coe Elementary: Jamie Pederson, Sharon Nelson, Maralyn Chase, Rebecca Saldaña and Bob Hasegawa.

The proposed supplemental construction budget adds to investments in the $4.3 billion 2017-2018 capital budget that lawmakers approved in January. That included $20.1 million for distressed schools in Seattle, including $6.6 million to reopen Magnolia Elementary by 2019, one of Carlyle’s key priorities. It also included $6.7 million to add capacity at West Woodland Elementary School and another $1.9 million to do so at Loyal Heights Elementary.

Senate passes legislation to abolish the death penalty

February 14th, 2018|

OLYMPIA – The Senate today passed bipartisan legislation that abolishes the use of the death penalty in Washington state. Sen. Jamie Pedersen, D-Seattle, and Sen. Reuven Carlyle, D-Seattle, released the following statements following passage of Senate Bill 6052.

“For me, there are many compelling reasons why Washington should join the 19 other states that have eliminated the death penalty,” Pedersen, chair of the Senate Law & Justice Committee, said. “It is unfairly administered, expensive and unavailable in wide swaths of our state. Those convicted of aggravated first-degree murder should die in prison with no hope of parole. The taxpayers do not need to spend millions of dollars to hasten that death.”

As chair of the House Judiciary Committee, Pedersen held the first hearing on an abolition bill in the House of Representatives in 2013.

Carlyle added: “This is a difficult and serious public issue, and a personal decision for each legislator. And in this discussion, we offer no personal judgments, no moral criticism and no righteousness against those with whom we disagree. But my personal religious conviction leaves me unable to support a policy that is clearly applied inequitably across our nation and that I believe does not represent our best values of grace. For nine years as a legislator I have led efforts to eliminate the death penalty in favor of life in prison. Today’s vote represents an evolution in thinking about the death penalty and I am grateful that we are making meaningful progress toward that goal.”

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    Senate approves sweeping bill to expand rural broadband access

Senate approves sweeping bill to expand rural broadband access

February 14th, 2018|

OLYMPIA – With lightning-fast Internet and 5G service just around the corner, the Washington Senate approved a sweeping bill Wednesday that paves the way for expansion of high-speed broadband services in rural and underserved areas of the state.

Senate Bill 5935, sponsored by Sen. Tim Sheldon, D-Potlatch, establishes high-speed broadband service for all of Washington as a high-priority state concern. The measure responds to concerns that less-lucrative markets will be bypassed as commercial providers race to install high-speed broadband systems. Sheldon’s bill creates a new Office on Broadband Access under the state Department of Commerce, establishes an advisory task force, and launches a study of the ways the state can encourage deployment and remove barriers to service.

“The Legislature has come to recognize the importance of high-speed Internet service to our state’s economic competitiveness,” Sheldon said. “As senator from the state’s most-rural district, I want to make sure none of us are left out.

“Good broadband service is just as important to rural areas as it is to cities — if not more so, as we encourage work-from-home as a way to reduce traffic congestion. We need to do everything we can on the state level to ensure this coming broadband revolution benefits all the communities of Washington.”

Sen. Reuven Carlyle, D-Seattle, the chair of the Senate Energy, Environment & Technology Committee and a cosponsor of the bill, added: “The most important thing for economic growth in the rural parts of our state is high-quality, affordable access to broadband. Too many of our small communities and rural areas are still without it and changing that is a top priority for the Senate Democratic Caucus and many others across the aisle. The federal government recognizes the importance and for many years there’s been talk about it at the state level, but now we’re boldly developing a system to move forward.”

SB 5935 follows federal standards in setting a target for high-speed service of at least 25 megabits per second for download speeds, and upload speeds of at least 3 megabits per second. The Office on Broadband Access will coordinate with local governments, public and private entities and utilities to develop broadband deployment strategies. It will develop a model ordinance for local governments for permitting of new facilities, and will study the possibility of tax credits to encourage deployment in underserved areas.

The office also will develop a grant program for local governments and make recommendations for grant projects. Other provisions of the bill require cities to develop a permitting process for new telecommunications facilities and to generally prohibit conditional land-use permits except in cases of large facilities or conflicts with community design standards. Rural port districts and the Kitsap Public Utility District would be allowed to offer broadband service.

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    Senate passes bills to help youth in foster care or facing homelessness

Senate passes bills to help youth in foster care or facing homelessness

February 12th, 2018|

OLYMPIA – The Senate today overwhelmingly approved three bipartisan measures to help children and youth who are in foster care or experiencing homelessness.

Senate Bills 6222 and 6223, sponsored by Sen. Reuven Carlyle, D-Seattle, would expand extended foster care eligibility and improve educational opportunities and outcomes.

Senate Bill 6274 , sponsored by Sen. Kevin Ranker, D-Orcas Island, would create a new pathway to earn post-secondary credentials and degrees through college or apprenticeship programs in the Passport to Careers program.

“Improving the educational and overall circumstances of youth in foster care has been a key priority for me for years and it was one of the reasons that led me to elected office,” Carlyle said. “Each year, hundreds of young adults exit the foster care system and are left to make their way forward in life without the support networks that many of us take for granted. They absolutely need and deserve our support.

“Similarly, youth in foster care or experiencing homelessness deserve an equal shot at the education they need to adequately prepare for their future. We have to do better at coordinating programs and policies that affect them and to ensure accountability.”

“We need to put our children on the best path to success, whether it is in software development and clean technology or in teaching, the arts and human services,” Ranker said. “However, not everyone learns the same way or sees college as the best path forward for their success. We need to help children find the right path to success through college or apprenticeship learning.”

Senate Bill 6222 would grant young people access to the Department of Social and Health Services’ Extended Foster Care (EFC) program until the age of 21. Eligibility is currently capped at age 19. Youths would no longer need to have been in foster care at age 18 to utilize the program and they would be allowed to un-enroll and re-enroll an unlimited amount of times, subject to certain conditions, instead of only once. Senate Bill 6222 passed unanimously.

Senate Bill 6223 would require state departments and agencies to work with aligned non-governmental organizations to create a plan to facilitate educational equity between children and youth in foster care and their peers in Washington’s general student population, and to close disparities between racial and ethnic groups. The bill would require similar action with respect to children and youth experiencing homelessness. The bill passed on a 45-2 vote.

Senate Bill 6274 would expand the innovative and wildly successful Passport to College Promise program that Carlyle helped create in 2007 as a citizen activist prior to winning election to the Legislature.

The bill would create a Passport to Careers program with two pathways. The first would incorporate the Passport to College Promise program and expand it to include people who have experienced homelessness and those who have spent time in a tribal or federal foster care system. The second pathway, the Passport to Apprenticeship Opportunities, would establish a program of financial assistance to allow foster youth or youth who have experienced homelessness to pursue registered apprenticeships. That bill passed on a 35-12 vote.

“There is a huge need to expand access and opportunity for children, particularly those who do not have the ease of access and support of most families,” Ranker said. “With stronger services to guide children through junior high school and high school, these children will have the opportunity to pursue their dreams.”

All three bills now head to the House of Representatives for further consideration.

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    Video: Carlyle lauds carbon tax as strong investment in energy

Video: Carlyle lauds carbon tax as strong investment in energy

February 2nd, 2018|

Watch Sen. Reuven Carlyle’s remarks on Thursday as chair of the Senate Energy, Environment & Technology Committee ahead of its vote on Senate Bill 6203, Gov. Jay Inslee’s carbon tax proposal.

“The global trend around the world is for a modest, thoughtful carbon pricing effort that invests in energy,” Carlyle said. “How we invest matters…. The fundamental value of considering legislation in the Legislature in your representative democracy is to attempt to customize, in a thoughtful and responsible way, very complex and important policies.”

The bill would tax the sale or use of fossil fuels, and the sale or use of electricity generated from them.

The Committee passed the bill Thursday evening. It will now move to the Senate Ways & Means Committee for further consideration before it can go before the full Senate for a vote.

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    Bill to fight ticket bots by requiring licenses passed by Senate committee

Bill to fight ticket bots by requiring licenses passed by Senate committee

February 2nd, 2018|

OLYMPIA – A consumer protection bill to help prevent computer programs from sweeping up event tickets sold on the Internet and reselling them at inflated prices passed yesterday out of the Senate Committee on Energy, Environment & Technology.

“Anyone who has gone to a concert, the theater or a ball game knows that there’s a major problem with ticket bots sweeping up substantial numbers of tickets automatically and then selling them on both legitimate and less legitimate websites,” Sen. Reuven Carlyle, D-Seattle, the bill’s sponsor, said. “This is an attempt to gain meaningful and actionable regulatory control over companies taking advantage of mass purchasing and to get a handle on a serious consumer protection issue that has become a real problem for lots of people.”

Senate Bill 6488 would require anyone who resells tickets or operates a website facilitating ticket resales to obtain a license to do so. The legislation would also require ticket resellers to keep records on purchases and sales, and report that information to the state Department of Licensing (DOL).

The Office of State Attorney General Bob Ferguson said that the bill “will allow our state to better identify suspicious patterns by large ticket-bot resellers,” adding: “This will assist in targeted investigations of bad actors that take advantage of Washington consumers.”

The bill is intended to combat computer programs, or bots, that scoop up entertainment event tickets by regulating mass purchasing. Ticket resellers that fail to comply with the measure could face fines or other sanctions by the DOL. The bill would also allow the attorney general to take action to combat illegal behavior in the ticket resale market and authorize individuals who are injured by illegal behavior to sue for up to $500 per violation or the amount of damage, whichever is greater.

The annual fee for a ticket reseller license would be $5,000, but the fee would be waived for ticket resellers that charge reasonable delivery fees and do not tack on service fees or other surcharges.

The bill will now move to the Rules Committee for further consideration before going to the Senate floor.

Rural broadband bill approved by Senate committee

February 2nd, 2018|

OLYMPIA – A bill designed to expand access to broadband services in rural communities throughout the state was unanimously approved Thursday by the Senate Energy, Environment and Technology Committee.

Senate Bill 5935, sponsored by Sen. Tim Sheldon, D-Potlatch, creates a new state Office on Broadband Access, launches an advisory group and directs it to identify barriers and opportunities for superfast Internet and 5G service. The measure also provides funding for immediate action on deployment. The measure is cosponsored by the committee’s chair, Sen. Reuven Carlyle, D-Seattle.

“Superfast broadband service is just around the corner, and we need to make sure rural communities are not left behind as new technologies are deployed,” Sheldon said. “Access to high-speed service is just as important in rural areas as it is in the state’s biggest urban markets. This legislation will help ensure everyone shares in the benefits high-speed service will provide.”

Carlyle added: “Everyone is in favor of high quality, affordable broadband but we continue to have too many small communities and rural areas without quality service. Sen. Sheldon has taken strong action to kick deployment of broadband into high gear for the 15 percent of our state population without service. I’m excited to partner together to get this important bill to the governor’s desk.”

The committee’s vote Thursday sends the bill to the Senate Ways & Means Committee.

The new Office on Broadband Access, under the governor’s office, would coordinate public and private efforts for broadband access and deployment. It would develop goals for high-speed broadband service and identify underserved areas of the state. The legislation sets a target of at least 25 mbps download speed and 3 mbps upload speed, to be increased as technology advances.

The broadband office would establish a competitive grant program for local governments and tribes seeking to build broadband infrastructure in underserved areas of the state. Funding would come from existing taxes paid by telecommunications providers and federal grants. The office is directed to consider tax incentives for commercial providers deploying new technology in rural areas. The advisory group would make recommendations on a statewide rural broadband strategy.

Under the bill, the Kitsap County Public Utility District would be allowed to offer internet services where commercial services are inadequate or not available. Cities of more than 5,000 people would be required to develop ordinances setting standards for deployment of new small-cell technology, and generally would be barred from requiring land-use permits. The broadband office would develop a model ordinance for use by local governments.

Sheldon and Carlyle were recognized in December by the Association of Washington Cities for their work on the broadband issue. Sheldon noted the governor’s support for rural broadband efforts.

“All of us recognize the importance of broadband to this state’s economic development,” Sheldon said. “None of us want this state to be divided between internet ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots.’ ”