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    Cleveland: Legislation would reduce threat of exposure by 75 percent

Cleveland: Legislation would reduce threat of exposure by 75 percent

February 20th, 2019|

Sen. Annette Cleveland (D-Vancouver), chair of the Senate Health & Long Term Care Committee, released this statement following today’s hearing on Senate Bill 5841, her legislation to contain the spread of measles and other threats to public health.

“The measles outbreak in Clark County has spread to 62 confirmed cases and is an alarming reminder of the public health threat posed by once-prolific diseases that have been nearly eradicated by vaccinations.

“The outbreak threatens the health of not only unvaccinated children but those who cannot receive vaccinations, such as newborns, individuals with chronic illnesses, and adults with compromised immune systems.

“Under existing state law, parents may exempt their children from vaccinations on the basis of religion, medical necessity, or personal belief. These exemptions are so broad that they render our state more vulnerable to outbreaks than most other states. SB 5841 retains the exemptions based on religion and medical necessity but eliminates the most problematic exemption: personal belief.

“In the 2017-18 school year, the rate of kindergarten personal belief exemptions was 3.7 percent, compared to only 0.2 percent for religious reasons and 0.8 percent for medical necessity. So, removing the personal belief exemption would reduce the overall percentage of unvaccinated children by more than 75 percent, from 4.7 percent to just 1 percent.

“People throughout our communities feel they should be able to send their kids to school, and go out in public in general, without the risk of being exposed to a serious health threat. I don’t think that’s an unreasonable expectation, and I see it as our responsibility as legislators to ensure that public health is protected.”

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    Cleveland: Oregon report will help move I-5 bridge effort forward

Cleveland: Oregon report will help move I-5 bridge effort forward

February 13th, 2019|

Sen. Annette Cleveland (D-Vancouver) issued this statement in response to the I-5 bridge advisory report released today by Oregon Secretary of State Dennis Richardson:

“Secretary Richardson’s comments mark a welcome, cross-state sign of support for the efforts of our bipartisan coalition of Southwest Washington legislators who have worked for several years to revive efforts to build a new I-5 replacement bridge across the Columbia River.

“I commend Secretary Richardson for his efforts to help move this important undertaking forward on behalf of the people of both our states as well as all the individuals and businesses who rely on the I-5 corridor.

“This adds continued momentum to our efforts as we look to future meetings of the Joint Oregon-Washington Legislative Action Committee that our state created in 2017. Though Washington can determine only the participation of Washington legislators on this committee, and any formal participation by Oregon lawmakers must be determined by the Oregon Legislature, a number of Oregon lawmakers voluntarily attended our first meeting last December. This increases my optimism that Oregon will take legislative action this session to formalize their participation and we will be able to collaborate together.

“Everyone knows we need a new I-5 bridge. Secretary Richardson’s clear, forward-looking support from across the border today will help transform that need into continued action.”

Secretary Richardson’s full comments on the report can be seen in this news release.

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    Cleveland vaccination bill would improve public health safeguards

Cleveland vaccination bill would improve public health safeguards

January 31st, 2019|

Washington state residents would be better protected from the spread of diseases and deadly bacteria under legislation being drafted by Sen. Annette Cleveland (D-Vancouver), the chair of the Senate Health & Long Term Care Committee.

SB 5841 would eliminate one of the three currently allowed exemptions from the common vaccinations that immunize children from polio, measles, chicken pox, pneumococcal disease and other illnesses. While retaining religious and medical exemptions, the bill would remove the exemption that is used most often and is least substantiated: personal belief or philosophy.

“Vaccinations have proven critical in protecting children and the overall community from deadly diseases that were once very prevalent,” said Cleveland, who works in health care apart from her role as an elected official. “When people exempt their children from vaccinations, it can pose a risk to public health.”

In Clark County alone, a recent outbreak of measles has moved Gov. Jay Inslee to declare a state of emergency as exposures were tracked to multiple Vancouver locations as well as locations in Oregon and in the Seattle area.

“Vaccinations protect not just the children who receive them but others throughout the community,” Cleveland said. “First and foremost, widespread vaccinations make it difficult for a disease to gain a foothold in a community. Second, reducing the potential exposure helps protect those who are unable to receive vaccinations, such as newborns or individuals with chronic illnesses.”

Cleveland further noted that a disease like measles can cause hearing loss, pneumonia, encephalitis and death, and can increase the potential for pregnant women to give birth prematurely or to a baby with low birth weight.

“Thanks to the widespread use of vaccinations, we were able to declare the measles virus eliminated in the U.S. in 2000,” she said. “But now we’re seeing a return of this contagious disease, and statistics indicate 90 percent of those with measles either were not vaccinated or their vaccination status is unknown. That suggests the outbreaks are coming from the unvaccinated, meaning we need to take the necessary steps to protect against a resurgence of measles in the general population.

“The eradication of serious diseases that caused immense suffering in past generations was miraculous and saved untold lives. We must not risk our future by forgetting the past.”

Cleveland discusses health care priorities for 2019

January 10th, 2019|

In this podcast with Everblue State, Sen. Annette Cleveland lays out Democrats’ plans for health care legislation.

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    Cleveland: Public option plan makes big sense for Washingtonians

Cleveland: Public option plan makes big sense for Washingtonians

January 8th, 2019|

Sen. Annette Cleveland (D-Vancouver), chair of the Senate Health & Long Term Care Committee, issued this statement on a proposal announced today to provide a public option for health insurance in Washington state:

“I applaud this plan and look forward to shepherding it through the Senate and working toward its passage by the full Legislature.

“Health care is the number one concern in households across our country, and for good reason. At a time when the White House and Senate continue to work to roll back Americans’ health care coverage, it’s more important than ever that we act at the state level to ensure access to affordable, comprehensive coverage for Washingtonians.

“I have said for some time that it is critical that the state offer a health insurance plan for individuals through our state health benefit exchange. A public option can lower premiums, deductibles, and other out-of-pocket costs for households that do not have health plans through employers, and ensure that all Washingtonians in the individual market have access to an affordable healthcare plan, even if private insurers raise rates or leave the market.

“This policy will give Washingtonians more options from which to choose. It will increase competition among plan providers, leading to lower costs for consumers. It will also standardize the cost sharing and range of benefits offered in the both public and private plans available through the exchange, making it easier for consumers to find a plan that meets their needs.”

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    Cleveland: Oregon officials’ collaboration bodes well for new I-5 bridge

Cleveland: Oregon officials’ collaboration bodes well for new I-5 bridge

December 7th, 2018|

Senator Annette Cleveland (D-Vancouver) announced today that the first meeting of the Joint Oregon-Washington Legislative Action Committee, is scheduled for Tuesday afternoon at the Oregon Association of Minority Entrepreneurs in Portland. The meeting signals a new level of collaboration between the two states in the effort to build a new I-5 bridge spanning the Columbia River.

“I thank my friends in Oregon for their cooperation and support and look forward to working together for the mutual good of our region,” said Cleveland, whose legislation in 2017 established the committee. “A replacement I-5 Bridge is critical for the region for current and future generations.”

Cleveland said the progress is the result of several years of collaboration by seven Southwest Washington legislators to demonstrate a consensus that would earn the trust of their Oregon counterparts. Those lawmakers are Cleveland, Sens. Ann Rivers (R-La Center) and Lynda Wilson (R- Vancouver) and Reps. Sharon Wylie (D-Vancouver), Monica Stonier (D-Vancouver), Paul Harris (R-Vancouver) and Brandon Vick (R-Vancouver).

“We all agree on the overdue need for a new bridge and a process that maintains the public’s trust and support,” she said. “I’m not going to suggest this undertaking will be simple or easy, but we are determined to find a path that leads us to a solution in order to build the much-needed replacement bridge.”

In addition to creating a Joint Oregon-Washington Legislative Action Committee, lawmakers in Washington passed legislation that directed the Washington State Department of Transportation to inventory data from prior bridge proposals to expedite the planning process. Other proposed legislation by Cleveland would simplify and accelerate the administration of a new I-5 bridge plan once it has been agreed upon.

Washington lawmakers on the joint committee are Cleveland, Rivers, Wilson, Wylie and Vick plus Sen. Steve Hobbs (D-Lake Stevens), Rep. Jake Fey (D-Tacoma) and Rep. Ed Orcutt (R-Kalama).

Oregon lawmakers who have agreed to attend Tuesday’s meeting as guests are Sens. Lee Beyer (D-Springfield), Brian Boquist (R-Dallas) and Cliff Bentz (R-Ontario), along with Reps. Caddy McKeown (D-Coos Bay) and Susan McLain (D-Hillsboro). The Washington Legislature’s authority to appoint members to the committee is limited to Washington state legislators. Moving forward, any defined role on, or commitment to, the committee by Oregon lawmakers must be determined by the Oregon State Legislature.

“A new bridge would spur economic growth throughout the surrounding communities while also improving safety, reliability and better protecting motorists in the event of an earthquake, Cleveland said. “The current spans of the bridge, built in 1917 and 1958 respectively, have served us well, but the time for replacement in order to better serve our needs as a thriving region is now.”

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    Cleveland, Wylie, Stonier to host town hall meeting January 12

Cleveland, Wylie, Stonier to host town hall meeting January 12

December 6th, 2018|

Forty-ninth District residents are invited to attend a town hall hosted Saturday, Jan. 12, by Sen. Annette Cleveland, Rep. Sharon Wylie and Rep. Monica Stonier.

The meeting is scheduled for 10 a.m. to noon in the combined Clark, Klickitat, Pacific and Skamania Room of Educational School District (ESD) 112 at 2500 NE 65th Ave. in Vancouver.

With the 2019 legislative session set to convene Jan. 14, the three Vancouver lawmakers want to hear constituents’ concerns as they share updates on legislation that passed in the 2018 session as well as priorities likely to be addressed in the 2019 session.

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    Cleveland prioritizes access to health care in 2019 legislative session

Cleveland prioritizes access to health care in 2019 legislative session

November 29th, 2018|

Access, affordability and maintenance of health care coverage will be the three top priorities of the Senate Health & Long Term Care Committee in the 2019 legislative session, Sen. Annette Cleveland said today.

Cleveland (D-Vancouver) was selected by her colleagues to continue as chair of the health care committee when the Legislature convenes Jan. 14, tapping her considerable experience in the industry.

“For too many households today, the topic of health care is a cause for anxiety rather than peace of mind, which is the opposite of what it should be,” Cleveland said. “People deserve to be able to access health care at prices they can afford. Other countries provide this and there’s no reason we can’t do it just as well.

“My priorities are three-fold: First, to maintain existing health care coverage in the face of efforts at the federal level to roll back coverage; second, to make sure all households can access the coverage they need for themselves and their family members; and third, to contain costs so that families can afford the health care they need.”

Formerly the ranking member on the health care committee when Democrats were in the Senate minority, Cleveland ascended to the chair last year when Democrats won control of the Senate. Under her leadership, the Senate was able to pass numerous bills to improve women’s health that had stalled in recent years. Gains included laws to ensure women receive a full range of reproductive health services and to better detect early signs of breast cancer — the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women and the second most common cause of death among women — through 3-D mammograms and breast density information.

Among Cleveland’s priorities for the 2019 session is to codify existing health care standards at the federal level into state law so that Washingtonians will continue to receive the care they need even if standards are reduced at the federal level.

“Many in Congress and in the White House have made no secret of their desire to roll back key health care reforms that were passed in 2010,” Cleveland said. “By taking action at the state level, we can ensure that Washingtonians will continue to receive a full range of care.”

Cleveland will also continue to serve on the Senate Transportation Committee and the Senate Rules Committee and has been chosen to serve on the Senate Human Services, Reentry & Rehabilitation Committee.

“The decision to expand the focus of the human services committee to emphasize reentry and rehabilitation is a good one and addresses an area I look forward to working on,” Cleveland said. “The ability to recover and resume a productive role can fundamentally affect a person’s health.”

In transportation, she looks to continue to make progress toward a new I-5 bridge.

“Transportation is important in all communities but especially in my district, where the construction of a new bridge across the Columbia River will determine our ability to travel reliably and efficiently and also to spark economic growth for our region,” Cleveland said. “That continues to be a major priority for me, so I’m pleased to continue on the committee where I can voice strong support for infrastructure.”

As pages, students get to see the Legislature up close

October 2nd, 2018|

Dear friends and neighbors,
Every session, I have the pleasure of sponsoring legislative pages from our district — and now is the ideal time to apply for one of these exciting and informative five-day opportunities.
The pages’ varied responsibilities take them all around the Capitol Campus and give them access to places not normally seen by the general public. Invariably, they come away with an appreciation for the program and for the practical experience and knowledge they gain. Many arrive in Olympia feeling shy or nervous, only to discover within hours that the shared experience with their peers is as enjoyable as it is enlightening.
During their respective week working at the Capitol, pages learn about the legislative process while assisting senators and staff. They hear lectures from guest speakers and attend page school where they introduce and debate their own bills in a mock committee setting.
Meeting and working with student pages is one of the most rewarding aspects of my job as a legislator, for two reasons. First, I understand how valuable and informative these experiences are to young people, not just for their enlightenment but to help them become more engaged in our shared civic process. Second, I know firsthand that the better they understand how to participate in government, the more effectively they can work within their communities to address ongoing needs. That’s why I constantly encourage young people to get involved in the Legislature in every way I can — I know that the lessons they learn here will stay with them into adulthood and make them better, more capable citizens throughout life.
I am grateful to each of these young people for their service to the Legislature and I encourage anyone to make the most of this unique opportunity for students between ages 14 and 16.
If you would like to learn more about the page program or how your child can serve as a page in a future session, please go to http://leg.wa.gov/Senate/Administration/PageProgram/Pages/default.aspx.
Until next time,

Cleveland discusses health care priorities on Wire podcast

September 24th, 2018|

In an interview with the Washington State Wire, Sen. Annette Cleveland discusses the need to protect Washingtonians’ access to health care in the face of rollbacks at the federal level and the priorities facing the Senate Health Care Committee that she chairs in the coming legislation session. You can hear the interview here.