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    Cleveland: Construction projects will boost jobs, infrastructure

Cleveland: Construction projects will boost jobs, infrastructure

January 23rd, 2018|

The capital construction budget passed late last week by the Legislature will create family-wage jobs and fund important infrastructure in communities across the district, Sen. Annette Cleveland, D-Vancouver, said today.

“These projects will improve our schools and make our communities better places to live and work, not just for those of us who live here today but for our children and their grandchildren,” Cleveland said. “Investing in infrastructure sets us up for economic growth and prosperity that results in healthier households and stronger communities.”

The overall construction budget will create more than 19,000 construction jobs, invest more than $1 billion in public school construction to lower class sizes, and pump $800 million into our public universities and colleges. Additionally, the capital budget will provide millions of dollars in investments to support the elderly, add new mental health beds, protect the environment and get homeless children off the streets.

Funds secured by Cleveland and her 49th District seatmates include $11.8 million for:

  • $4.8 million in Public Works Assistance Account loans for Vancouver LED Street Lights
  • $3.2 million to Repair and Maintain Clark College
  • $700,000 Building Communities Fund grant for the Bridgeview Resource Center
  • $570,000 to preserve and maintain the State School for the Blind
  • $1.2 million for community projects at the Bridgeview Resource Center
  • $500,000 to increase capacity at Special Commitment Center community facilities
  • $395,000 Building Communities Fund grant for Aging With Dignity
  • $328,000 Youth Recreational Facilities grant for the Clinton and Gloria John Club
  • $307,000 for improvements to the Center for Childhood Deafness & Hearing Loss
  • $300,000 Local and Community Projects grant for the Clark County Historical Museum
  • $180,000 Building Communities Fund grant for the Share Day Center
  • $50,000 for improvements to the Independent Living Skills Center
  • $20,000 to remedy leaking tank models at the Hansen Drilling Co.
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    Cleveland: Quartet of bills will help women live healthier lives

Cleveland: Quartet of bills will help women live healthier lives

January 22nd, 2018|

Sen. Annette Cleveland, D-Vancouver and the chair of the committee, released this statement today to commemorate the 45th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark Roe v. Wade decision:

“A year ago, I traveled across the country to join my daughter in attending the historic Women’s March on Washington, D.C. Last night I attended an event in Vancouver honoring the anniversary of that march and the anniversary of Roe v. Wade. At both events, it was impossible not to reflect on the generations of women who have courageously fought for our rights as women.

“I thought of my Grandma, who took me aside at the age of 10, when Roe v. Wade was announced, to impress upon me how hard the fight was and to ask me to promise to never yield ground on that progress. I thought of my own grown daughter, who today is working toward her graduate degree in gender policy in order to take up the mantel and continue the fight for equal rights.

“I will never forget my Grandma’s voice as she shared with me, as I got older, the anguish women would feel prior to Roe v. Wade and the development of contraceptives, at being unable to control their own reproductive health. I am so thankful those days are in our past. We must never forget.

“Today, as chair of the Senate Health & Long Term Care Committee, it was my privilege and honor to act on four pieces of legislation that will continue to improve women’s access to services critical to their health.

“It’s vital that women have access to whatever contraceptive drugs, devices, products and services we need to manage our reproductive needs and overall health. Contraception is about far more than unwanted births. Women use contraceptive products to manage a wide range of health concerns and conditions and live healthier lives because of it.

“Just as Roe V Wade moved women’s reproductive health issues out of back alleys and into hospitals and other safe venues, these bills today will make life safer yet for women across our state.”

The bills before the Health & Long Term Care Committee included:

Senate Bill 6219, the Reproductive Parity Act;

SB 5912, which expands mammography coverage to include 3-D mammography;

SB 6102, which enacts the Employee Reproductive Choice Act; and

SB 6105, which enacts the Reproductive Health Access for All Act.

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    Cleveland welcomes global perspective in Thursday health hearing

Cleveland welcomes global perspective in Thursday health hearing

January 16th, 2018|

Dr. Nata Menabde, the executive director of the World Health Organization of the United Nations, will testify Thursday before the Senate Labor & Commerce Committee on the goal of achieving worldwide sustainable healthcare and how it applies to Washington state.

“It is extremely rare that a state legislature has the opportunity to hear testimony from someone with the expertise and stature of Dr. Menabde,” said Sen. Annette Cleveland, D-Vancouver and the chair of the committee. “As someone who has led efforts to improve health care in numerous nations around the world, Dr. Menabde can offer a truly global perspective on universal health care and what steps we can take here in Washington state.”

Cleveland noted that, prior to leading the United Nation’s World Health Organization, Menabde led the Indian government’s efforts on a wide range of health care challenges, has oversaw European research into the relationship between health and wealth, and forged partnerships with nearly a dozen world organizations to elevate health issues on the political agendas of many nations.

“You could fill an entire hearing just running through Dr. Menabde’s full resume,” Cleveland said. “We are incredibly fortunate to have the benefit of her knowledge.”

Menabde holds a PhD in Clinical Pharmacology as well as diplomas in Health Management and Leadership from schools here in the states and in Health Care Economics from the United Kingdom. She also studied Public Health at the Nordic School of Public Health in Sweden.

The 10 a.m. hearing will focus on a number of bills to improve health care, including:

  • Senate Bill 5957, which would establish the Healthy Washington program to provide comprehensive universal single-payer health care coverage for all residents of the state;
  • SB 5984, which addresses access to health care for all state residents with Apple Health on the state Health Benefit Exchange;
  • SB 6047, which would ensure access to affordable health care coverage for children; and
  • SB 6304, which would ensure continued access to Medicaid services for Washingtonians.

Area legislators welcome WSDOT inventory of bridge intel

December 4th, 2017|

Efforts to replace the outmoded I-5 bridge spanning the Columbia River took a key step forward this week when the state Department of Transportation (WSDOT) released a comprehensive inventory of bridge data.

WSDOT was directed to conduct an inventory of existing data from previous efforts to replace the bridge as part of Senate Bill 5806, which establishes a process for moving forward on a new I-5 bridge that can ease traffic congestion, improve safety and resist an earthquake.

“The specific information that can be applied to a new bridge project will depend on the scope and type of bridge as a plan takes shape, but the past technical information and environmental studies are particularly likely to be useful,” said Sen. Annette Cleveland, D-Vancouver and one of seven southwest Washington lawmakers who collaborated for months to develop SB 5806. “It would make no sense to waste time and money duplicating work that’s already been done.”

The more-than-140-page inventory is the result of 20 years of project work, including 10 years of intensive project development, on a bridge plan that came up short in the final days of the 2013 legislative session.

“The existing drawbridge is a choke point that averages 400 collisions a year; by 2030, when the bridge carries increasingly more vehicles and increasingly more large pieces of equipment by truck, the number of collisions is projected to double,” said Rep. Sharon Wylie, D-Vancouver. “In addition to the need for improved safety and reliability, a new replacement I-5 bridge is critical for future economic growth.”

“We need a bridge. We know we need three or four bridges, and to get there we need a process that is open and transparent and balances competing interests every step of the way,” said Sen Lynda Wilson, R-Vancouver. “Our constituents demand and deserve no less.  Moving commerce and people is vital in our county and in a state where we are a leading exporter. Addressing congestion relief for economic growth and freight mobility has to be a top priority in this process.”

“This is the first of the many steps in developing a comprehensive solution for southwest Washington’s transportation needs, particularly as they pertain to bridges linking Washington and Oregon,” said Sen. Ann Rivers, R-La Center.

The other area lawmakers who have been working on the effort are Representatives Monica Stonier, D-Vancouver, Paul Harris, R-Vancouver, and Brandon Vick, R-Vancouver.

SB 5806 also called for the creation of a joint Oregon-Washington legislative action committee to address a variety of concerns including the process for developing a new I-5 bridge and appropriated $350,000 for the inventory that was released today to be conducted, and the committee work to begin.

The full inventory, including a summary of specific sections, can be accessed at this link.

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    Cleveland to lead Senate Health & Long Term Care Committee as chair

Cleveland to lead Senate Health & Long Term Care Committee as chair

November 14th, 2017|

Sen. Annette Cleveland, D-Vancouver, will chair the Senate Health & Long Term Care Committee when the Legislature convenes in January for the 2018 legislative session.

Having been the ranking member on the committee when Democrats were in the minority, the move to chair will put Cleveland in charge of the committee. Democrats are now the majority party in the Senate after winning a special election earlier this month in the state’s 45th Legislative District; this gives them the power to set the agendas of Senate committees and floor action, determining which bills will be heard and brought up for votes.

Cleveland will also continue to serve on the Senate Transportation Committee and the Senate Rules Committee.

“Just as I built bridges across the aisle when we were in the minority, I intend to work productively with my Republican colleagues in the House and Senate now that we’re in the majority,” Cleveland said. “What’s important isn’t who gets credit for a certain piece of legislation but that the legislation helps our families across the state prosper.”

The 2018 legislative session gets underway in Olympia on Jan. 8.

 

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For interviews:         Sen. Annette Cleveland, 360-786-7696

For information:       Rick Manugian, Senate Democratic Communications, 360-786-7569

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    Cleveland: Budget deals good for students, bad for Vancouver taxpayers

Cleveland: Budget deals good for students, bad for Vancouver taxpayers

June 30th, 2017|

Sen. Annette Cleveland, D-Vancouver, issued this statement after the Legislature approved a 2017-18 operating budget hours before state government would have had to shut down statewide.

“The citizens of this state have been waiting years for the Legislature to solve our education funding crisis. I worry every day about the kind of future we are creating for our children and grandchildren, and know providing a quality education is the single most important means of ensuring a better future for the next generation. To that end, this budget agreement meets the goal of amply funding the education of our children by investing an additional $7.3 billion over the next four years.

“That said, I am disappointed in the primary source of new funding, a property tax increase that will further increase housing costs at a time when too many in my district and across the state are struggling to keep a roof over their heads. I recognize that in this time of divided government the only way forward was through compromise and an acceptance of the fact that no one party or entity would achieve everything they wanted. In this case, Democrats basically got their way on funding education while Republicans got their way on what kinds of taxes would pay for it.

“Given the nature of competing interests in Olympia and across our state, this final agreement was the only viable solution in what was a very difficult legislative session. At the same time, unfortunately, it is a solution that is unfair and against the interests of my constituents, and for those reasons I had no choice but to vote against it.

“I remain committed to focusing my efforts on bringing back fairness and opportunity for all, by fighting to invest in and expand education, working to update our infrastructure while creating more jobs, and striving to boost social mobility for all of our citizens. We can deliver the funding our students and schools need, but we can do it in a more fair and evenhanded way, and those are my goals moving forward.”

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    Cleveland, Cody say Democrats will fight to protect people’s health care

Cleveland, Cody say Democrats will fight to protect people’s health care

May 4th, 2017|

Key lawmakers say Democrats in the state Capitol will do everything in their power to provide Washingtonians continued access to affordable health care if the U.S. Senate should advance the bill that was passed today by the U.S. House to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) with the GOP’s American Health Care Act (AHCA).

State Sen. Annette Cleveland, the ranking member of the Senate Health Care Committee, and state Rep. Eileen Cody, the chair of the House Health Care & Wellness Committee, said Democrats in both chambers will be scouring the large and fine print of the federal legislation to identify provisions that would reduce access or affordability in Washington state.

“Congress rushed to a vote before the bill could be scored by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) to determine how much it would cost and what it would do,” Cleveland said. “The CBO’s score of an earlier version of the AHCA determined that 24 million Americans would lose health care coverage over 10 years.  This is simply unacceptable. Citizens in our state need to know that we are carefully working to identify and craft state solutions to any federal changes that would affect Washingtonians, in the event the U.S. Senate passes the bill.”

Cleveland noted that the state’s public-private marketplace has been serving more than 1.8 million people, or one-in-four Washingtonians, reducing the uninsured rate by 60 percent to the point that now less than 6 percent are uninsured in our state

“Congressional Republicans have time and time again put politics above the health of Americans and today is another example of blind partisanship,” Cody said. “The AHCA takes away access to care for millions of Americans. It is clear that Trumpcare is not about patients but about cutting taxes for the ultra-wealthy. In Washington state, I will continue to fight for protecting patients, expanding access to care, and ensuring people with preexisting conditions can get health care. Our state will not be pursuing any waiver or policy that takes away healthcare from patients.”

The lawmakers said areas where Washingtonians might be undermined by the AHCA include: a reduction in federal subsidies that help cover the cost of private insurance for many Washingtonians; a reduction in Medicaid funding that provides health care to more than 600,000 Washingtonians; reversal of a reduction in average annual premium increases from 18.5 percent pre-ACA to 6.7 percent today; and a loosening of the ACA’s protections for people with pre-existing conditions.

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    Legislature passes bill to reimburse for 12-month birth control refills

Legislature passes bill to reimburse for 12-month birth control refills

April 12th, 2017|

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.

“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.”

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.

 

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    SW WA delegation bill to start effort on new I-5 bridge passes House

SW WA delegation bill to start effort on new I-5 bridge passes House

April 6th, 2017|

Legislation establishing a process to open discussion on a replacement Interstate-5 bridge spanning the Columbia River is one step closer to being sent to Gov. Jay Inslee following its passage today in the House of Representatives on a 59-37 vote. The bill had previously passed the Senate on a 45-4 vote, but since a few technical aspects were amended by the House prior to passage, the differences must now be reconciled between the two chambers before the bill can finally be sent to the governor to be signed into law.

Senate Bill 5806, sponsored by Senators Annette Cleveland, D-Vancouver, Ann Rivers, R-La Center, and Lynda Wilson, R-Vancouver, proposes the creation of a joint Oregon-Washington legislative action committee to address a variety of concerns including the process for developing a new I-5 bridge. It lays out a structure based on months of discussions between regional lawmakers of both parties.

A House companion bill sponsored by Rep. Sharon Wylie, D-Vancouver, HB 2095 takes the same approach. Wylie’s bill was also sponsored by Representatives Monica Stonier, D-Vancouver, Paul Harris, R-Vancouver, and Brandon Vick, R-Vancouver.

Key to the collaboration between the bipartisan coalition of seven southwest Washington legislators was an agreement to begin a process that starts with local legislators and stakeholders, Cleveland said.

“We all agreed that as legislators the only successful course was to take a bipartisan approach and lead on this process,” Cleveland said. “Our challenge is to develop a process that will allow for the best, most efficient and sensible solution.”

“We’ve worked together to set clear rules on how any discussion of a project should proceed,” said Wilson. “This is an important step for an open and collaborative process. We want to make sure any project is carefully and deliberately discussed before any commitment is made to a specific plan.”

“This legislation represents an opportunity to wipe off the slate and take a new look, together with Oregon, at what might be possible,” said Rivers. “What this does not do is lock anyone into a project. The joint committee this bill creates would act as a sort of ‘bridge authority,’ in my view, that is free to consider other crossings or investments to meet regional transportation needs. As someone who has long thought a third-crossing option deserves serious consideration, I wouldn’t have supported this legislation if it didn’t allow that kind of flexibility.”

Cleveland credited Wylie’s commitment to shepherding her Senate bill through the House just as Cleveland helped steer Wylie’s bill in the Senate. “Without Rep. Wylie’s strong efforts to move the legislation through her chamber, we might not have been able to take this crucial first step forward on what is likely to be a long journey to build a new I-5 bridge,” Cleveland said. “This very balanced legislation is the culmination of months and months of collaboration between colleagues in both chambers and on both sides of the aisle.”

SB 5806 also appropriates $350,000 for the Washington State Department of Transportation to conduct an inventory of existing data related to the construction of a new I-5 bridge over the Columbia River.

“We have valuable existing data that can expedite our efforts to move forward with a new bridge,” Cleveland said. “Culling this data can get us off to a running start as opposed to starting from scratch.”

Cleveland noted that the existing drawbridge is a choke point that averages 400 collisions a year; by 2030, when the bridge carries increasingly more vehicles and increasingly larger pieces of equipment by truck, the number of collisions is projected to double.  In addition to the need for improved safety and reliability, Cleveland sees a new replacement I-5 bridge as being critical for future economic growth.

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For interviews:         Sen. Annette Cleveland, 360-786-7696

Sen. Lynda Wilson, 360-786-7632

Sen. Ann Rivers, 360-786-7634

 

For information:       Rick Manugian, Senate Democratic Communications, 360-786-7569

Jess Honcoop, Senate Republican Communications, 360-786-7869

Eric Campbell, Senate Republican Communications, 360-786-7503

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    Bill to raise awareness of options for breast cancer patients passes full Legislature

Bill to raise awareness of options for breast cancer patients passes full Legislature

April 6th, 2017|

The public will be better informed of the availability of insurance coverage for breast reconstruction and prosthesis, under legislation passed 97-0 today by the House of Representatives. As Senate Bill 5481 had already passed unanimously in the Senate, it now goes to the governor to be signed into law.

“Given the choice, nearly 60 percent of breast cancer survivors opt for reconstruction while others may choose to wear external prostheses, but the important thing is for everyone to know they have those options,” said Sen. Annette Cleveland, D-Vancouver and the bill’s sponsor. “Too many patients don’t realize reconstructive surgery and prostheses are covered by their insurance, either because they aren’t informed of their options or because they process only a fraction of the information that is shared with them at the time of diagnosis, which can be a highly stressful time.”

Cleveland’s legislation directs the state Health Care Authority to work with the state Department of Health (DOH) to develop a plan for distribution of information to better educate breast cancer patients on the availability of breast reconstruction following a mastectomy and prostheses or breast forms as an alternative to breast reconstruction surgery. The bill also requires the Office of the Insurance Commissioner and DOH to provide educational materials about insurance coverage for breast reconstruction and prostheses.

“This bill will help ensure that accurate information on all options is available to patients prior to making important, life-changing decisions,” Cleveland said. “This will help many women simply by increasing awareness.”

Cleveland learned of the need for this legislation through the Pink Lemonade Project, a local advocacy group, and understood the importance of this issue due to her own mother’s diagnosis, treatment, recovery and recent recurrence of breast cancer.