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    Sen. Conway: Defeat of transportation revenue package shows lack of MCC leadership

Sen. Conway: Defeat of transportation revenue package shows lack of MCC leadership

June 30th, 2013|

OLYMPIA – Sen. Steve Conway, D-South Tacoma, today released the following statement on the failure of the Majority Coalition Caucus to support the transportation revenue package:

"I am deeply disappointed by the failure of the Majority Coalition Caucus to recognize the importance of the transportation revenue package and its failure to allow the measure open and transparent debate on the Senate floor.

“This transportation package has been discussed for months. Yet the Majority Coalition chose not to discuss the package until the final hours of the 2013 second special legislative session. This shows a lack of leadership within the Majority Coalition.

“For months, we have heard the majority talk about jobs: their importance to our state, their importance to our economy, their importance to our recovery. Yet at the very moment they had the chance to stand for jobs and to stand up for our economy, they chose to retreat behind the veil of their anti-tax mantra.

“No one likes to ask for more revenue, but the revenue raised for this transportation package would have provided an economic return to our state in the form of maintenance and improvements to our transportation infrastructure and 100,000 construction jobs.

“Without transportation improvements, our economy suffers. Without transportation improvements, our state suffers. Without transportation improvements, jobs slip away.

“For an example, look no further than the Port of Tacoma. The revenue package meant improvements to the roadways approaching this vital economic driver, including SR 167. Inaction by the Majority Coalition means jobs and business for our city, county and state may slip away to Canada and California.

“This was an opportunity for the Senate to come together and pass the first significant transportation improvement package since 2005. Instead, it struck an ideological road block, that threatens the transportation system that is the lifeblood of our state and its economy.”

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For more information: Ian Cope, Senate Democratic Caucus, 360-786-7535

For interviews: Sen. Steve Conway, 360-786-7656

  • Permalink Gallery

    Sen. Conway statement on the passage of 2013-15 operating budget

Sen. Conway statement on the passage of 2013-15 operating budget

June 28th, 2013|

OLYMPIA – Sen. Steve Conway, D-South Tacoma, today released the following statement on the passage of the 2013-15 biennial operating budget:

"This has been a long, hard process, but I commend my colleagues for finally coming together to pass a budget that sets our state on solid ground entering the next biennium and prevents a shutdown of essential services.

“From the beginning, we have set our children and their education at the top of our priority list. That we were able to invest $1 billion in our education system and assist some of the most needy schools in our state is a testament to how seriously we take that responsibility. By expanding all-day kindergarten and reducing class size for kindergarten and first-grade classes in high-poverty areas, we are ensuring that our youngest learners get the best possible start to the schooling. By investing in teacher and principal evaluation training, we help make sure that the men and women standing at the head of the classroom are the best and brightest.

“In addition to strengthening our educational foundation, this budget also maintains the safety net that assists the most vulnerable men and women in our state. Housing and assistance programs for the poor and elderly are no longer subject to devastating cuts.

“The budget also recognizes the importance of our middle class and supports these families by fully implementing the Affordable Care Act. Three-hundred thousand residents of our state will have access to health care through Medicaid expansion

“I do have two major concerns with this budget. First, it does not provide a formula for truly meeting our paramount duty to fund K-12 and higher education. It is a band-aid. Second, to use money from our capital budget funds to balance our operating budget is short-sighted.

“I have always believed that budgets should be job creators and, with that in mind, I look forward to continuing the growth in our state and driving the economic recovery forward. This means supporting a capital budget and transportation package that will put men and women back to work and build the infrastructure and economy that will attract and reward new and existing businesses in Washington.”

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For more information: Ian Cope, Senate Democratic Caucus, 360-786-7535

For interviews: Sen. Steve Conway, 360-786-7656

VIDEO: Sen. Conway remembers Sen. Mike Carrell

June 4th, 2013|

Conway’s mental competency bill signed into law

May 17th, 2013|

OLYMPIA – Jails in Pierce County face a backlog of inmates waiting for mental competency evaluations, creating additional pressure on already thin resources and in some cases threatening public safety. A bill signed by Gov. Jay Inslee is designed to cut into that backlog.

Governor Inslee signs Senate Bill No. 5551
Relating to competency to stand trial evaluations.

Previously, the state evaluators had seven days to perform their examination on suspects held in jail or the state mental hospital and 21 days for those released pending a review. Heavy caseloads and a limited number of professional evaluators often cause those deadlines to be missed, which means the men and women have been left to sit in jail or to wander the streets without treatment. Under Senate Bill 5551, county courts will be permitted to appoint an expert evaluator to help review the backlog of cases.

“In Pierce County, we have seen more than 80 inmates getting medication because of a lack of resources to deal with their ailment. It doesn’t do any good for someone with a mental illness to sit in jail without treatment,” said Sen. Steve Conway, D-South Tacoma, who sponsored the bill. “Getting a bill passed that reduces that backlog and gets people the help they need was one of my biggest priorities this session and I was very pleased to see Gov. Inslee sign it into law.”

Pierce County Executive Pat McCarthy said leaders of local public safety and health systems appreciate the help.

“We stepped up and offered this solution to help the state, which fell behind in providing timely competency evaluations and caused a backlog of cases that slowed the judicial system and increased costs in the county jail,” McCarthy said. “This new law addresses a critical need in our community and many others. With the state and county working together, we can get these important evaluations done faster.”

Under SB 5551, county courts will be allowed to contract with expert evaluators if the state does not meet its evaluation deadline in 50 percent of its cases in any six-month period. Those experts would be approved by the county prosecutors’ offices and be paid a set rate.

“These backlogs are dangerous for jail personnel and unfair to the men and women who should be getting treatment rather than a long wait in a cell,” said Conway. “This bill creates the mechanism to help us catch up and serve both public safety and needs of the mentally ill.”

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For more information: Ian Cope, Senate Democratic Caucus, 360-786-7535

For interviews: Sen. Steve Conway, 360-786-7656

Sen. Conway attends Political Leaders Forum on Poverty Wage Jobs

May 2nd, 2013|

On Tuesday, Sen. Steve Conway attended a political forum on poverty wage jobs, attended by workers, community supporters and members of the SEIU and Teamsters unions. 

workers and allies 04302013 

Attendees thanked the senator for his leadership and willingness to work with airline leadership and for supporting the Seat-Tac living wage initiative.

Governor signs Conway anti-stalking legislation into law

April 27th, 2013|

OLYMPIA – In 2010, Tacoma school teacher Jennifer Paulson was shot and killed by a man who had been harassing and stalking her for several years. In the years following her death, her family sought a change in state law to create a court order required stalkers to stay away from their victims. On Saturday, their long efforts paid off.

At Tacoma’s Birney Elementary School, where Paulson worked and where she was shot and killed by Jed Waits as she arrived at work on Feb. 26, 2010, Gov. Jay Inslee signed the Jennifer Paulson Stalking Protection Order Act into law.

“This has been a three-year journey for Jennifer’s family and friends,” said Sen. Steve Conway, D-South Tacoma, who sponsored the Senate version of the bill. “Today we give the victims of stalkers and law enforcement a new tool. Today we take a step forward in our efforts to protect women from stalkers who would torment and intimidate them. Today we create a new order that may save a life by sending these perpetrators an unmistakable message: keep away.”

Until now, court orders only addressed cases of domestic violence and harassment, ordering perpetrators in those cases to stay away from their victims. House Bill 1383 applies the stalking court order to both physical and online cases of stalking in which the suspect makes repeated attempts to contact, monitor, track or follow someone in a manner that causes that person to feel threatened or frightened.

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For more information: Ian Cope, Senate Democratic Communications, 360-786-7535

For interviews: Sen. Steve Conway, 360-786-7656

Senate passes Jennifer Paulson anti-stalking bill

April 16th, 2013|

OLYMPIA – Washington issues court orders that require perpetrators in domestic violence and harassment cases to stay away from their victims. However it does not issue orders that require stalkers to stay away from their victims. That changed on Tuesday with the passage of the Jennifer Paulson Stalking Protection Order Act.

House Bill 1383 creates a court order which will apply to both physical and online cases of stalking in which the suspect makes repeated attempts to contact, monitor, track or follow the victim in a manner that causes the person to feel threatened or frightened.

Sen. Steve Conway, D-South Tacoma, proposed an amendment to name the bill after Jennifer Paulson, a Tacoma elementary schoolteacher who was shot and killed by a stalker as she arrived at work in February of 2010.

“Her tragic death sparked what has been almost a three-year journey here to get this bill before us,” said Conway, who sponsored the Senate companion bill. “I believe today we are taking a step toward protecting women from stalkers and from the occurrence at Birney Elementary School.”

The bill passed the House and Senate unanimously and now goes to the governor for his signature.

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For more information: Ian Cope, Senate Democratic Caucus, 360-786-7535

For interviews: Sen. Steve Conway, 360-786-7656

AUDIO: Senate approves anti-stalking bill

April 16th, 2013|

The Washington State Senate has taken action to provide victims and law enforcement with a new tool to fight the crime of stalking.

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD

VIDEO: A budget update from Sen. Steve Conway

April 15th, 2013|

Conway: ‘Budget falls short in job creation’

April 12th, 2013|

OLYMPIA – While education, public safety and healthcare are vital pieces of any state budget, Sen. Steve Conway says job creation must be at the heart of any state spending plan. The Democrat from South Tacoma says the budget passed by the Senate last week lacks that heart.

"It is of critical importance that a state budget drive job creation," said Conway, D-South Tacoma. "The budget proposed by Senate Republicans makes a down payment in education and moves the state forward in healthcare, but it falls short of its responsibility to create the opportunity for men and women in Washington to find family wage jobs."

From work on construction sites to work in engineering firms, Conway says the Legislature must take every possible opportunity to drive down the state’s unemployment rate. He says in 2013, those opportunities are being missed.

“Budgets are job drivers and we must not lose sight of that fact in spite of our desire to fund K-12 education,” said Conway. “There must be room in this budget for both.”

Conway referred to two budget sweeps that impact jobs: a diversion of money from the Public Works Trust Fund and the sweeping of accounts that fund aerospace training centers. Conway also proposed a budget amendment that would have added $20 million to the 2013-15 budget to promote Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Education (STEM) in Washington’s public two-and four-year universities. Conway says an increase in college graduates in those areas would help fill the 25,000 jobs that go unfilled in Washington as a result of the jobs skills gap.

“Washington has many great jobs available but lacks the skilled workers needed to fill them,” said Conway. “If that job gap persists, companies could move jobs out of state or use under-skilled workers who would undermine productivity.”

Conway added that by creating more skilled workers, Washington would reduce its unemployment rate and could generate several million dollars in tax revenue.

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