Monthly Archives: February 2018

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    Cleveland: Transportation budget sends clear message on I-5 bridge

Cleveland: Transportation budget sends clear message on I-5 bridge

February 23rd, 2018|

A proviso in the supplemental transportation budget passed today by the Senate signals to Oregon officials that Washington is committed to working together on a new I-5 bridge, Sen. Annette Cleveland, D-Vancouver, said today.

“The proviso makes it clear that as follow-up to the inventory of past bridge work, WSDOT is to support the work of our Legislative Action Committee this year,” Cleveland said. “In addition, our state has taken the same step as Oregon did recently by adding the new I-5 replacement bridge to a project list. I believe these additional actions will be viewed positively by our Oregon partners and positively by our community.”

Cleveland has been working for more than two years with a bipartisan, seven-member coalition of Southwest Washington lawmakers to build consensus and move forward on a new I-5 bridge project. The other lawmakers in the coalition are Sens. Ann Rivers and Lynda Wilson, and Reps. Sharon Wylie, Monica Stonier, Paul Harris and Brandon Vick.

The specific language in the bill directs WSDOT to “support the planning and work of the Joint Oregon-Washington Legislative Action Committee, and engage key agency stakeholders to develop a scope, a schedule and a budget that will reinvigorate the bi-state effort for a future replacement bridge on Interstate 5 across the Columbia River.”

This work is in preparation for the 2019 legislative budget cycle. The Senate is scheduled to vote on the budget Friday.

“This is another in a series of careful, concrete steps to continue moving forward on a new bridge,” Cleveland said. “I wish we could have a new bridge even sooner, as I am sure everyone does, but only by taking the time to build consensus and demonstrate serious commitment will we be able to successfully work with our partners in Oregon to finally replace the antiquated I-5 bridge.”

On a separate front, the transportation budget also would provide $500,000 for a Columbia River Renaissance Trail Connection as part of the Port of Vancouver USA’s new waterfront park.

“This new path would connect the City of Vancouver’s park to the west with the existing Renaissance Trail to the east,” Cleveland said. “The seven-mile-long path will support both bicycling and pedestrian access along the scenic Columbia River.”

Cleveland measure to help curb homelessness passes Senate

February 12th, 2018|

Tenants would gain an extra 10 days’ notice if a landlord terminates a residential rental agreement under bipartisan legislation passed late today by the Senate.

Senate 5408, sponsored by Sen. Annette Cleveland, D-Vancouver, would increase the length of notice of termination from 20 days to 30 days. The change also enables landlords to begin efforts to find a new tenant if a renter gives notice.

“This change will bring some relief to renters in today’s incredibly difficult housing market,” Cleveland said. “With housing as scarce as it’s become, the extra 10 days could mean the difference between facing homelessness and finding suitable housing.”

Cleveland, who sought to pass similar legislation in the 2017 legislative session, originally sought 60 days’ notice as has been adopted by the City of Vancouver for tenants who have rented a property for two years or longer. SB 5408 allows renters who are members of the military to give less than 30 days’ notice if they receive reassignment or deployment orders that do not allow for 30 days’ notice.

“Vancouver’s rental costs have risen faster than any other community in the nation in the past few years,” Cleveland said. “In tough times like these, it’s vital that we put people first and do all we can to ease the prospect of homelessness.”

SB 5408 passed on a 29-18 vote and now goes to the House for consideration there.

Cleveland stands up for unions, calls out critics

February 12th, 2018|

On Saturday, in response to comments demonizing unions, Sen. Annette Cleveland took to the Senate floor to ram home the value of unions and their members, and to call for lawmakers across the aisle to speak more respectfully of hard-working Washingtonians in communities across the state. You can hear her comments by clicking on the icon below:

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    Senate passes Cleveland bill to accelerate I-5 bridge approval process

Senate passes Cleveland bill to accelerate I-5 bridge approval process

February 10th, 2018|

The Senate passed bipartisan legislation today to simplify and speed up the process of approving a plan for a new I-5 bridge over the Columbia River once consensus can be reached on the parameters of such a bridge.

Senate Bill 6195, sponsored by Sen. Annette Cleveland, D-Vancouver, would establish a formal process of coordination to expedite the completion of transportation projects of statewide significance. They require the state Department of Transportation to develop a formal application for the designation of such projects and also the criteria they must meet.

The legislation provides an important tool to expedite infrastructure projects while signaling the state’s continued strong commitment in Southwest Washington to work together with Oregon officials to address the transportation challenges.

“While we continue to promote the development of a bridge plan, we are also taking pains to make the process move more quickly once that plan is finalized,” Cleveland said. “This legislation has the support of the full seven-member coalition of Southwest Washington legislators who have been working together to move our state forward on this essential project.”

The other legislators in the coalition are Sens. Ann Rivers and Lynda Wilson, and Reps. Sharon Wylie, Monica Stonier, Paul Harris and Brandon Vick.

“A bridge can be viewed simply as a means of moving vehicles across water, but this project means so much more than that; it’s a bridge to our future economic development and prosperity,” Cleveland said. “Just as the existing bridges were the keys to our past economic growth, a new bridge is a key to future growth. If we want healthy communities, we need meaningful jobs that pay a family wage and businesses to be able to efficiently move freight and goods. For that, we need adequate infrastructure that can support the businesses that provide good jobs.”

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    Senate passes Cleveland bill to maintain stability of health insurance

Senate passes Cleveland bill to maintain stability of health insurance

February 7th, 2018|

Legislation passed today by the Senate will enable the state to explore ways to protect Washingtonians from reductions in minimum essential health care standards by the Trump administration.

Senate Bill 6084, sponsored by Sen. Annette Cleveland, D-Vancouver, directs the Office of the Insurance Commissioner to convene a task force to explore mechanisms for enforcing an individual mandate at the state level. The Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate requirement is being effectively eliminated at the federal level, a move expected to destabilize health insurance markets in states across the country.

“We can’t stand by and let the current administration in the other Washington roll back the gains we’ve made here in our state in expanding health care coverage,” Cleveland said. “The elimination of the individual mandate poses the single biggest threat to the stability of our health insurance market.”

Since Washington state does not levy an tax income, which is how the federal mandate is enforced, an alternative enforcement mechanism must be found at the state level.

“There is nothing so essential in life as good health, and nothing so fragile these days as people’s access to essential health care,” Cleveland said. “We must not allow people outside our state to push our health care standards backwards. By taking this action now, we can make sure our health insurance market remains stable despite the loss of the federal individual mandate and, more importantly, ensure that we put people and their health first.”

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    Bill would allow low-cost veterinary services for low-income pet owners

Bill would allow low-cost veterinary services for low-income pet owners

February 1st, 2018|

Animal shelters would be able to provide a wider range of low-cost services to pet owners on limited incomes, under legislation heard today by the Senate Health & Long Term Care Committee.

Sen. Annette Cleveland, D-Vancouver said the idea for Senate Bill 6196 came from her district and has been championed by Stacey Graham, president of the Humane Society for Southwest Washington in Vancouver.

“Our purpose in life is to match animals and people, and we want them to stay together,” Graham said. “With this bill, we will be able to let more low-income families keep their animals and their animals will be healthier.”

Current law limits the low-cost services provided by veterinarians in shelters to inserting microchips, spaying or neutering, and administering vaccines. Fewer than 10 other states in the country have similar limits. Cleveland’s bill would expand the range of services shelters can perform, limiting them to clients who meet specific income criteria, and enable the center to pursue fundraising for an endowment to open a three-day a week clinic with sliding fees for low-income people.

“We surveyed about a thousand low-income people who came to shelters around the state and what we found was that 60 percent didn’t regularly see a vet and 46 percent would need to borrow money to pay for treatment,” Graham said. “And 65 percent would leave their pets untreated because they couldn’t afford treatment.”

In addition, nearly 70 percent of those surveyed said they surrendered animals to be euthanized because they couldn’t afford veterinary care for aging, sick animals.

“Affordable care can help families better care for their beloved pets, it relieves pain and suffering for animals, and it prevents economic euthanasia, which is when people bring animals in to be euthanized because they cannot afford them,” Cleveland said. “This would not increase competition between veterinary clinics, it would simply provide services to people who cannot afford them and otherwise would go without.”