Monthly Archives: April 2015

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    Cleveland: “We cannot forget the need to reduce tuition for community college students”

Cleveland: “We cannot forget the need to reduce tuition for community college students”

April 29th, 2015|

During the first day of the Special Session, the Senate took up Senate Bill 5954, a bill aimed at reducing tuition at four-year universities across the state. Sen. Annette Cleveland, D-Vancouver, issued the following statement after voting in favor of the bill:

“I voted in favor of this measure today because I believe that we need to make higher education more accessible to all. This bill is a start, especially for our four year university students, but it does not evenly reduce tuition for all our students – it excludes thousands of students enrolled in our community and technical colleges.

“This bill reduces tuition for our four year state universities by nearly 30 percent. At the same time, our community and technical colleges have to wait a school year to receive a 1.8 percent reduction in tuition. I have a wonderful community college in the heart of my district and am a proud graduate of that college. The students there should have the same opportunities as students of four year universities.

“In addition to my concern that this bill does not evenly lower tuition, I am concerned about how we will fund this measure in the budget. We have now concluded our first day of the Special Session and the fate of a final budget is still uncertain. We have many demands on our budget this year and while this is a start to lowering tuition, we must fund the bill in order to have it work. We cannot place another unfunded mandate on our students.

“As a mom of a daughter who is in college, I understand the need to reduce tuition and make it more affordable without saddling another generation of students with debt. I believe that access to quality education is one of the pillars of building a healthy community. We need to make sure that we are lowering tuition for all students, not just a few.”

Oil trains, Community Projects, Equal Pay for Women – Legislative Update, April 29

April 29th, 2015|

Cleveland

Dear friends and neighbors,

The Legislature adjourned two days early as no budget solution was reached within the time frame of the regularly scheduled 105-day legislative session. The requirements we needed to fulfill in order to be finished with the session were not met.

We still do not have an adopted final plan to fully fund K-12 education in our state to satisfy the State Supreme Court’s McCleary ruling, a final balanced Operating Budget, a Transportation Budget or a Capital Budget.

Gov. Inslee called the legislature back for a Special Session today, Wednesday, April 29. Budget negotiators began their meetings on Monday in an effort to gain momentum on a final Operating Budget.

While technically we may be called back for another special session, I sincerely hope that we are able to complete what we need to get done in the next 30 days.

VIDEO UPDATE: A strong oil transportation safety must be a priority for our community and state

oil trainsIn my most recent video update, I discuss an issue of vital importance to our community – the need for a strong oil transportation safety bill to protect our communities and our environment. Despite passage of a compromise bill, I will continue to advocate for more protections for oil transport on the Columbia River, through residential areas and downtown Vancouver.

Celebrating the 25th Anniversary of UW and WSU branch campuses

In 1989 the Legislature passed a bill that established five new university campuses – UW Bothell, UW Tacoma, WSU Spokane, WSU Tri-Cities, and WSU Vancouver. These campus extensions allow more students the ability to earn bachelors and graduate degrees closer to home.

At the time, this effort was not without its controversy. Sen. Al Bauer, the 49th LD Senator at the time, was a driving force behind the efforts to expand the campuses. Our leaders kept their focus on the future and what was ultimately best for the citizens of this state.

WSU Vancouver has become a hub of research and innovation. In the 25 years since the passage of the branch campus bill, and the subsequent founding of the WSUV campus, countless students have expanded their knowledge and broadened their opportunities as a result of being able to pursue their higher education goals in our community. The campus is integral to Southwest Washington and Vancouver.

I was very pleased to stand in support of Senate Resolution 8633. You may view my speech on the Senate floor here.

Senate Capital Budget proposal includes critical projects for the 49th

There are many projects included in the Capital Budget proposal that will benefit every district in our state and I worked diligently to see that funding for projects that will have a positive impact in our district and community were included in the proposal.

Some of the highlighted projects for the 49th Legislative District include:

  • $3.5 million for the Vancouver Waterfront Development Project;
  • $29.9 million in funding for the Health and Advanced Technology Building at Clark College;
  • $1.14 million for general campus preservation and construction of an independent living cottage at the State School for the Blind; and
  • $1.2 million in new funding for a Clark County Aging Resource Center.

Making infrastructure investments in our communities is the fastest way to help spur economic development. I am especially pleased to have the Vancouver Waterfront Development Project receive full funding. This is a project that I worked hard to have included in the Capital Budget and am working to have it included in the final budget.

The project will help better ensure a vibrant Vancouver for the future, and will further define our community and region as one of opportunity. Waterfront along the Columbia River that has been inaccessible to the community for over a century will be reopened. The Vancouver Waterfront Development Project will change the face of our waterfront and further enhance the quality of life our community is known for.

The Capital Budget proposal broken out by legislative district may be viewed here.

Sponsoring Equal Pay amendments to the Operating and Capital Budgets

This session I sponsored a bill that would update the state’s 72 year old Equal Pay Act. While the bill did not move and the House-passed bill died in the Senate, I did offer two amendments on the Senate floor that were aimed at addressing this issue.

floor vote

The Equal Pay Opportunity Act had a hearing in the Senate Labor and Commerce Committee before a critical deadline, but because a hearing on the cutoff day was cancelled, the bill died in the committee.

During late night debate on amendments to the Operating Budget proposal on April 2-3, I offered an amendment that would have required state contracts to have a provision to pay women fairly. As a result of a reinstated Senate rule, the amendment needed 30 votes to pass instead of a simple majority of 25. My amendment received 29 votes – just one vote shy of passing.

I also offered a similar amendment to the Capital Budget and was pleased to receive support for the amendment from a few Republican women and the Senate Majority Leader. I am working to make sure that equal pay for equal work will be included in the final Capital Budget.

While we have come so far on advancing women’s rights we must do more.

On average, women in Washington state earn 78 cents for every dollar earned by a man in the same position. If we continue at the same rate of progress without changing our state policy, women in our state will not achieve pay equity until 2071! That is far too long to wait.

Boys & Girls Club Southwest Washington Youth of the Year – Fabiola Flores

I recently attended the Boys & Girls Club Youth of the Year recognition breakfast at the Governor’s Residence to honor students across our state who have made significant contributions to their communities and Boys & Girls Clubs across our state.

Cleveland and Flores

This year, the Boys & Girls Club of Southwest Washington named Fabiola Flores as Youth of the Year. Fabiola has been a member of the Club for four years and is a senior at Hudson’s Bay High School. Club staff describe Fabiola as one of the most humble, driven, passionate, kind and confident young women they have encountered. I was so proud to have presented her with this award for her outstanding accomplishments. Congratulations!

I am honored to serve as your representative in Olympia. As we continue our work throughout this Special Session, please continue to contact me, or my office with your questions, comments and concerns. I always look forward to hearing from you!

Until next time,

sig

Allison Bignall serves as page in the state Senate

April 24th, 2015|

OLYMPIA – During the week of April 20, Allison Bignall of Vancouver served as a page in the Washington State Senate. Sen. Annette Cleveland, D-Vancouver, sponsored Bignall’s weeklong experience in the Legislature.

“It was a privilege to sponsor Allison this week,” said Cleveland. “She was a bright and courageous young women and I am sure she has a bright future ahead of her.”

During the week pages assist senators and staff, attend lectures with guest speakers and go to page school where they create their own bills in a mock committee setting. Bignall drafted a bill that would affect teen labor laws.

“Under this bill, teens could chose to work up to 30 hours a week,” Bignall said. “It was fun working on my own bill, and seeing what senators go through when they fight for what they’re passionate about.”

When Bignall heard about the page program, she found support from her teachers and her sponsoring senator. Bignall was in foster care for three years, and said her senator offered her resources and guidance.

“Sen. Cleveland put me in touch with a legislative assistant in the House who went through foster care, and she was very concerned about the foster care system,” Bignall said.

Bignall was optimistic about her time in Olympia.

“It was a lot of errands, but there are so many monumental things to see around here. One afternoon me and the other pages went downtown to the old Capitol building,” said Bignall. “I am so thankful for this opportunity and glad to be here. It’s been an unforgettable experience.”

Bignall, 16, is a junior at Union High School and also enjoys writing.

Cleveland bill to help child abuse victims signed into law

April 24th, 2015|

OLYMPIASenate Bill 5897, a bill to help children who are suspected victims of child abuse was today signed into law by Gov. Jay Inslee.

The bill will allow reimbursements of children’s physical abuse medical evaluations through the Crime Victim’s Compensation Fund when they are performed within 75 days of the Department of Social and Health Services filing a petition for dependency.

“This bill helps remedy an injustice and unfairness to our most vulnerable children,” said Sen. Annette Cleveland, D-Vancouver, and the sponsor of the bill. “I was proud to stand alongside Gov. Inslee and all of the advocates who worked on behalf of this bill when it was signed into law. Our children should not face barriers to critical medical care.”

In 1973 the Legislature established the Crime Victim’s Compensation Fund to cover victims’ medical bills and other costs associated with the offender’s crime. State law requires the fund to pay for initial sexual assault examinations that are conducted for gathering evidence for possible prosecution.

Child sexual abuse exams are eligible for reimbursement, but child physical abuse exams are not eligible. This bill changes that provision and allows children’s physical abuse exams to be compensated when abuse is suspected.

“I appreciate Sen. Cleveland’s recognition of this important issue,” said Mary Blanchette, Executive Director of the Arthur D. Curtis Children’s Justice Center in Vancouver. “This bill is going to make a huge difference for local responders across the state and will help protect children from potentially fatal situations.”

The bill passed the Senate and the House of Representatives unanimously.

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    Cleveland bill on county electronic auctions signed into law

Cleveland bill on county electronic auctions signed into law

April 24th, 2015|

Gov. Jay Inslee signed Senate Bill 5768 into law on Friday. The bill sponsored by Sen. Annette Cleveland, D-Vancouver, allows counties to conduct a public auction sale by electronic auction via the internet to sell county or private property in real or personal property tax proceedings.

The law will go into effect on July 24, 2015.

To find out more information about this bill, click here.

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    Cleveland: “We need to take action now, on a strong bill that addresses both rail and marine crude oil shipments”

Cleveland: “We need to take action now, on a strong bill that addresses both rail and marine crude oil shipments”

April 15th, 2015|

The Washington State Senate passed House Bill 1449, which as amended, would roll-back protections concerning the safety of oil transportation in Washington. Sen. Annette Cleveland, D-Vancouver, issued the following statement:

“While this legislation is better than the Senate version of the bill that passed off this floor a few weeks ago, I believe the bill passed today continues to fall short of the measures this Legislature needs to take now – during this session – to ensure the safety of our communities and our environment as crude oil is transported across our state.

“The transport of oil is of particular concern to me and my district, as the Columbia River, Interstate 5, and railroads all pass through my community. Just a few miles to the east of my district lies the nationally protected Columbia River Gorge Scenic Area, which must be preserved. An accident and subsequent oil spill would be devastating to the health of my community and this sensitive region for years to come.

“The amount of oil transported across our state has dramatically increased over the past few years. Rail shipments have increased from zero shipments in 2011, to 17 million barrels in 2013, and have steadily increased since. Presently, nearly 20 mile-long unit oil trains a week are crossing the state, and this volume could quadruple in the coming years.

 

“Nearly each and every one of these trains moves through Vancouver, just a few feet from our downtown, the Columbia River, parks and numerous residential areas.

“A major crude oil terminal is proposed at the Port of Vancouver. This terminal would service oil trains where they would be offloaded to storage and then transferred to barges for shipment to refineries all along the West Coast — and possibly offshore if Congress lifts the export ban.

“This terminal proposes to offload up to four unit trains a day for storage and subsequent shipment by barge down the Columbia River. Each one of these unit trains has a hundred tank cars, and are half again longer than the train involved in the Quebec disaster in 2013.

“Many in my district are working hard to learn more about the crude oil moving on our rails, being handled at terminals on the river, and being barged downriver.

“While I have a number of concerns regarding the deficiencies in this bill, I want to highlight two that I believe are vital to keeping our communities safe.

“First, this bill omits important provisions requiring railroads to demonstrate they have insurance or other financial mechanisms to fully clean up a crude oil spill from one of their trains, and to pay for the natural resource damages resulting from a spill.

“The marine shipping industry has made this demonstration since the early 1990’s following the Exxon Valdez disaster. Insurers throughout the globe provide environmental liability insurance, and there is no reason that major railroad companies moving crude by rail across the country cannot demonstrate that they are adequately insured.

“Secondly, this legislation is not acceptable with respect to addressing the risks of spills from barges hauling crude oil on the Columbia River. As we heard during debate, the newer classes of “articulated” tug and barge are increasingly being used to move oil as cargo on our state waters. These tug and barge combinations may be more efficient and less costly to operate, but they are huge — approaching the capacity of oil tankers.

“For example, just downriver from Vancouver at the Clatskanie Port Westward facility, oil trains are being offloaded to barges that each carry 155,000 barrels of oil. One of these barges alone carries the equivalent of three oil trains! And yet, the legislation passed today would set up yet another “risk panel” to study the marine oil shipments on the lower Columbia River.

“Instead of more studies we should have adopted provisions, as the House proposed, which would have authorized the Pilotage Commission to take action to adopt safety standards once new or expanded terminals on the river were approved.

“The 2014 Legislature allocated funding in the last budget for a comprehensive risk assessment, which has been delivered to this Legislature with an exhaustive analysis and summary of current and projected rail and marine crude oil movements along the Columbia River and the rest of the state.

“This must not be another session when we “punt” to yet another study. We need to take action now, on a strong bill that addresses both rail and marine crude oil shipments. We have the opportunity to enact strong policy that adequately protects our environment, communities and citizens.

“While I remain hopeful that we will see that legislation before the end of this session, unfortunately this legislation passed today does not meet that criteria, and therefore I voted no.”

National Equal Pay Day recognized in Senate

April 14th, 2015|

In honor of National Equal Pay Day, April 14, Sen. Annette Cleveland spoke to the need for equal pay for equal work in the State of Washington. (TRT: 1:22) CLICK TO DOWNLOAD

Proposed State Capital Budget includes key 49th LD projects

April 8th, 2015|

The Washington State Senate released a 2015-17 Capital Budget proposal that includes funding for key projects in the 49th Legislative District.

“I would like to thank our Democratic negotiators for their work on the Capital Budget proposal,” said Sen. Annette Cleveland, D-Vancouver. “There are projects in this budget that will benefit every district in our state and I am particularly pleased to see funding for projects that will have a positive impact in my district and community.”

Some of the highlighted projects for the 49th Legislative District include:

  • $3 million for the Vancouver Waterfront Development Project;
  • $29.9 million in funding for a new Health and Advanced Technology Building at Clark College;
  • $1.14 million for general campus preservation and construction of an independent living cottage at the State School for the Blind; and
  • $1.2 million in new funding for a Clark County Aging Resource Center.

“Making infrastructure investments in our communities is the fastest way to help spur economic development,” said Cleveland. “I am especially pleased to have the Vancouver Waterfront Development Project receive full funding. This is a project that I worked hard to have included in the Capital Budget. The project will help better ensure a vibrant Vancouver for the future, and will further define our community and region as one of opportunity. Waterfront along the Columbia River that has been inaccessible to the community for over a century will be reopened. The Vancouver Waterfront Development Project will change the face of our waterfront and will offer new opportunities for dining, shopping, recreation, and living.”

The $3.9 billion proposed Capital Budget will invest in projects statewide that improve and provide community construction projects, maintenance at state facilities, land and recreational area preservation, and infrastructure investments.

“Many, if not all, of the projects included for my district will create much-needed family-wage jobs as these projects advance,” said Cleveland. “I will continue to strongly support these projects to make sure they are included in the final capital budget. Today’s announcement is an excellent beginning.”

The proposed 2015-17 Capital Budget details are available here.

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    Cleveland: “Budget fails to address critical Democratic priorities”

Cleveland: “Budget fails to address critical Democratic priorities”

April 6th, 2015|

Sen. Annette Cleveland, D-Vancouver, today issued the following statement after voting against the Senate Republican 2015-17 operating budget:

“The budget that advanced out of the Senate today passed on a party-line vote – 26 to 23. While I appreciate the budget as a beginning, I was not able to support the proposal and voted ‘no.’

“We should not rely on a budget that asks our working families to pay more while removing or cutting programs that help our most vulnerable. This budget protects those who can afford to pay more instead of those who cannot.

“I come from a working class family and understand how important it is to have living-wage jobs, access to quality education, and quality health care. These are three irreplaceable bricks to building healthy communities.

“I agree that we should prioritize education, job creation and access to medical care; I do not agree that we should do so at the expense of infrastructure investment and family-wage job creation. Too many Washingtonians, especially those in my hard-hit district, continue to struggle to find jobs.

“We should have a budget that truly reflects the values of both sides of the aisle. Today’s budget is not a result of that goal. This budget uses gimmicks, raids and one-time transfers to make ends meet.

“With less than 20 days left before the end of the legislative session, this budget should be aimed at building a more prosperous state for all of our citizens. This budget does not accomplish that aim.”

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    Amendment to require equal pay for women fails by one vote in Senate

Amendment to require equal pay for women fails by one vote in Senate

April 3rd, 2015|

In the early hours of Friday morning during debate on the 2015-17 Washington state operating budget, a majority of Senate Republicans rejected an amendment that would call for state agency contracts to require contractors to provide equal pay to their workers. Sen. Annette Cleveland, D-Vancouver, sponsored the amendment and issued the following statement:

“Our state passed the Equal Pay Act in 1943. In the 72 years since then women still have not achieved pay equity. Women make only .78 cents to every dollar that’s earned by a man. For women of color, this disparity is even more striking.

“This amendment would have continued to build on our state’s historical strengths in supporting women rights by providing pay equity.

“Equal pay for equal work is more than just a phrase. It means an increase in real wages for single mothers and to the 40 percent of American women who are the sole breadwinner in their family.

“The rule adopted earlier in the evening by the Senate Republicans prevented this amendment from passing with a simple majority and moving Washington state forward for women and all future generations of workers.

“The Senate recently honored women leaders in government and I am proud to be a part of this debate. As the Senate sponsor of the bill I am disappointed that the amendment failed to gain a 60 percent majority and failed by one vote. We had 59.2 percent of the vote!”