Sen. Conway Newsroom

Conway hails Senate passage of capital budget

OLYMPIA – Washington’s Senate approved a $4.2 billion capital budget package yesterday, providing historic levels of funding for school construction, environmental priorities, higher education institutions and mental health facilities.

“I’m very pleased that the Senate has come together to pass this vital infrastructure package,” Sen. Steve Conway, D-South Tacoma, said. “This long-overdue measure will provide nearly $1 billion in school construction and public education investments as well as other projects that will increase the quality of life in communities in the 29th Legislative District and in every corner of our state.”

Investments in the 29th District include:

  • $33 million for the Center of Advanced Manufacturing Technologies at Clover Park;
  • $3.1 million for a new health sciences center at Bates Technical College;
  • $3 million to develop innovative affordable housing for veterans in Orting;
  • $2 million for the City of Lakewood to purchase property near Joint Base Lewis-McChord currently occupied by businesses and buildings that are incompatible with runway operations at the base in order to mitigate possible public and flight safety risks;
  • $1.5 million for the creation of the Stan and Joan Cross Park in Frederickson;
  • $250,000 for the Asia Pacific Cultural Center’s Point Ruston Building Project; and
  • $149,000 to extend dental care capacity in Tacoma.

Approval of the construction budget came less than two weeks after Senate Democrats returned to Olympia in the majority for the 2018 legislative session. Democrats had identified passing it as a priority in their legislative agenda of “putting people first.”

The bill had stalled last July, when then-majority Senate Republicans, injecting politics into what traditionally has been a bipartisan process, refused to bring it to a vote on the Senate floor over a disagreement on an unrelated water rights issue.

January 19th, 2018|Uncategorized|

Conway assumes Senate leadership position

OLYMPIA – Sen. Steve Conway, D-South Tacoma, was sworn in today as vice president pro tempore of the Washington State Senate after he was unanimously elected to the leadership post by fellow senators.

As vice president pro tem, Conway will preside over the Senate when the lieutenant governor and the president pro tem, Sen. Karen Keiser, D-Des Moines, are absent.

Conway pledged to work to ensure the smooth function of the legislative process.

“I am humbled by my selection to this office, which plays a key role in managing legislative work for the Senate,” he said. “It is an honor to be chosen by my peers for this position.”

Senators approved Keiser and Conway for the leadership posts today amid the opening of the 2018 legislative session. The posts are, respectively, second and third in line of succession to the governor.

Conway, who joined the Senate in 2010 following 18 years of service in the State House of Representatives, represents Washington’s 29th Legislative District. He is a member of the Senate Labor & Commerce, Ways & Means and Health Care committees.

January 8th, 2018|Uncategorized|
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    Defense Department honors Conway for supporting military families

Defense Department honors Conway for supporting military families

OLYMPIA – In recognition of his efforts to implement public policy changes aimed at improving the quality of life for Service members and their families residing in Washington, the U.S Defense Department has awarded Sen. Steve Conway, D-South Tacoma, with a certificate of appreciation.

“Our men and women of the military and their families sacrifice so much for our nation’s benefit,” said Conway. “As a society and a state, we must constantly be striving to ease the transition from military to civilian life to support our military families and prevent veterans from falling through the cracks and ending up on the streets.”

Conway sponsored Senate Bill 5359, which strengthens efforts to helps veterans and their spouses get credit for military experience to meet certain licensing requirements.

SB 5359 was passed by the Legislature unanimously and was signed into law by the governor in July.

 

October 19th, 2017|Uncategorized|
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    Conway: Working families will benefit from new paid family leave law

Conway: Working families will benefit from new paid family leave law

OLYMPIA – After months of tense negotiations, the Washington State Legislature passed legislation establishing a new statewide paid family and medical leave insurance program late tonight.

Senate Bill 5975 creates a paid family and medical leave insurance program that is funded by premiums paid by both employers and employees, and allows employer voluntary plans. Under this legislation, employees can take off up to 12 weeks for the birth of a child, to take care of a family member who is suffering a serious medical condition, or if the employee suffers from a non-work-related illness or injury.

“No one should ever have to choose between taking care of a loved one and keeping food on the dinner table” said Sen. Steve Conway, D-South Tacoma and co-sponsor of SB 5975. “With this bill, we establish a paid family leave law that truly delivers for working families and lets them live with a sense of security when it comes to their wellbeing.”

The culmination of more than a decade of work by legislators and advocates, Senate Bill 5975 is the most worker-friendly paid family and medical leave program in the nation.

“Paid family leave is truly the third peg of the stool when it comes to income security,” added Conway. “We’ve instituted unemployment and workplace injury protections, and now we will provide a paid family leave law so people are protected when they have to take time off work to tend to personal injuries or a sick family member.”

SB 5975 exempts businesses that employ fewer than 50 employees from having to pay the employer share of the premium but allows them to opt in if they choose.

July 1st, 2017|Uncategorized|

Conway attends ceremonial dedication of Springbrook Park

OLYMPIA – Earlier this month, Sen. Steve Conway, D-South Tacoma, attended the ceremonial ribbon cutting and dedication for the Springbrook Park expansion in Lakewood. During the 2015 legislative session, Conway played an instrumental role in securing funding for the park in the Senate capital budget.

June 26th, 2017|Uncategorized|

Conway: ‘Lucien was a one of a kind’

OLYMPIA- Dawn Lucien, a community activist who led the charge for developing and securing funding for many construction projects in downtown Tacoma, passed away at the age of 91 last week.

Sen. Steve Conway, D- South Tacoma, who worked with Lucien on the creation and development of the University of Washington -Tacoma during his time in the Legislature, said she was a highly effective activist who cared deeply about Tacoma and its people.

“Dawn Lucien was a one of a kind,” said Conway. “Her passion for Tacoma is unmatched by anyone today. With things so divided in today’s world of politics, I wish we had more people like Dawn who could get people from any political background talking in a way that led to meaningful change. I am grateful to have known her and to have worked with her on many projects that have greatly benefited the people of Tacoma. She was a special friend.”

Click here to read an article that appeared in the Tacoma News Tribune honoring Dawn Lucien and her life’s work.

June 16th, 2017|Uncategorized|

Legislative Update 5/4/2017

Dear friends and neighbors,

Late last month, the regular 2017 legislative session formally concluded. Unfortunately, this happened before the Legislature was able to reach agreement on an operating and capital budget. As a result, Gov. Inslee has initiated a 30-day special session so that we can finish our work.

Like many of you, I am disappointed at the Legislature’s failure to complete the people’s business within the established 105-day timeframe.

At the root of this failure is our state’s divided government. Republicans control the Senate and Democrats control the House and governor’s mansion. Both parties have a very different view of what our state needs and passed very different operating budgets and solutions to how we resolve our K-12 funding crisis.

Special session

Keep in mind that special sessions operate differently than regular sessions. Committees rarely meet during this time and floor action is typically once every couple of weeks. The work being done is by legislators who are assigned to formally negotiate the final budget solution. Once they come to an agreement, the rest of the Legislature returns for a final vote.

We’ve shown that we can work together on a compromise budget solution in past sessions. I’m confident that this year we will do the same.

School siting bill signed into law

After years in waiting, the Bethel School District will finally be able to build a new high school as a result of House Bill 1017, which was signed into law last week by Gov. Inslee. I sponsored the companion legislation to HB 1017 in the Senate.

Bethel, like many school districts throughout Washington, has struggled to find space to build new schools. This has been a challenge for districts in areas with rapidly increasing populations and land development restrictions established by the Growth Management Act of 1990.

This a big win for kids in Pierce County. This legislation ensures that Bethel will have the flexibility to build a new facility where students can learn and grow without being overcrowded.

Bill updates

  • Senate Bill 5359 addresses the need to strengthen our work to apply military experience to state licensing requirements and was signed by the governor today.

 

  • Senate Bill 5640 would help high school vocational students meet graduation testing requirements and was recently signed into law

 

  • Senate Bill 5677 strengthens our state’s guardianship laws. It has been sent back to the Senate from the House but I am confident that it will pass both chambers before we finish our work this session.

Keep in touch

My office is always here to answer your questions and provide you with information. Please do not hesitate to contact me at any time.

Sincerely,

Sen. Steve Conway

May 4th, 2017|E-News|
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    School siting bill signed into law; Bethel to get a new high school

School siting bill signed into law; Bethel to get a new high school

After years in waiting, the Bethel School District will finally be able to build a new high school. Bethel, like many school districts throughout Washington, has struggled to find space to build new schools. This has been a challenge for districts in areas with rapidly increasing populations and land development restrictions established by the Growth Management Act of 1990.

A portion of House Bill 1017 that allows Pierce County school districts to build outside the county’s urban growth area was signed into law on Wednesday.

“This a big win for the kids in Pierce County,” said Sen. Steve Conway, D-South Tacoma, who has been a longtime advocate for expanding building areas for schools and championed similar legislation in the Senate. “This legislation ensures that school districts have the flexibility to build new facilities so students can learn and grow without being overcrowded.

Bethel’s new high school will be built on 80 acres the district purchased about a mile outside the county’s urban growth area.

“Bethel has acquired a beautiful site with a view of Mt. Rainier,” said Conway. “This legislation will allow the school district to use that space in a meaningful way.”

April 28th, 2017|E-News|

Legislative Update 4/3/2017

Dear friends and neighbors,

We are now entering the last three weeks of the 2017 Legislative Session, which is scheduled to end on April 23.

At this point in the process, we are wrapping up our work in standing committees. The action now heads to the Senate floor where we will vote on House bills.

Both the Senate and the House have passed operating budgets and now the work will begin to reconcile the differences.

The biggest challenge over the next three weeks will be resolving our K-12 funding crisis. Stay tuned.

Capital Budget Proposal

Last week, the Senate unanimously passed its proposed capital budget that invests $1.1 billion in school construction and public education. It also would provide new funding for mental health services and invest in programs aimed at cleaning up the environment.

It also provides funds for several projects important to the 29th district and Pierce County:

  • $980,000 for the Franklin-Pierce Early Education Center.
  • $33 million for Clover Park Technical College’s Center of Advanced Manufacturing Technologies.
  • $3.1 million for Bates Technical College’s health science center.
  • $2 million for the City of Lakewood to remove a building from Join Base Lewis-McChord’s clear zone.
  • $1.5 million for Frederickson’s Cross Park project.

In the last budget cycle, I was able to secure $640,000 to provide shelter for homeless veterans and create a program that would connect retired veterans with homeless veterans to help them find services and support. This year’s proposed capital budget adds to that initial down payment by creating a new housing center in Orting for veterans. Many thanks to Larry Geringer, Maryellen Hill and the board of Panaza who helped make this dream a reality.

Tiny Houses to Help the Homeless

Last week, the Workforce Board’s Career and Technical Education (CTE) Showcase of Skills Homeless Shelter Project was held on the capitol campus. Teams of CTE students from across the state, including a team from Bates Technical College, competed to build the best tiny house — an energy efficient shelter of less than 100 square feet.

These houses will be donated to help veterans and people with mental health issues experiencing homelessness transition to permanent housing.

Similar houses will be used at the new veteran’s shelter in Orting.

Keep in Touch

My office is always here to answer your questions and provide you with information. Please do not hesitate to contact me anytime.

Sincerely,

Sen. Steve Conway

 

April 3rd, 2017|E-News|
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    Conway: Capital budget makes smart investments in the 29th Legislative District and Pierce County

Conway: Capital budget makes smart investments in the 29th Legislative District and Pierce County

OLYMPIA – The proposed capital budget passed unanimously by the Senate on Thursday would invest $1.1 billion in school construction and public education. It also would provide new funding for mental health services and invest in programs aimed at cleaning up the environment.

“Not only does this budget benefit the people of Washington, it is a budget that is great for the 29th District,” said Sen. Steve. Conway, D- South Tacoma. “This budget makes historic investments into our schools, builds beautiful parks to be enjoyed for generations to come, and develops low-cost housing for those in need.”

Investments in the 29th Legislative District include $1.5 million dollars for the creation of the Stan and Joan Cross Park in Frederickson, $3.1 million for a new health sciences center at Bates Technical College, and $33 million for the Center of Advanced Manufacturing Technologies at Clover Park.

Additionally, the budget would fund a new housing center in Orting for veterans.

“In 2015, I was able to secure funding to develop the Puget Sound Veterans Hope Center in Pierce County, which is now involved in the Orting Village project,” said Conway. “The Orting Village is a smart investment that will help carry on the mission of the Veterans Hope Center by providing our brave military veterans who have fallen on hard times with shelter and access to services that can lead to jobs and higher education opportunities.”

Conway added that he also helped secure funding for the City of Lakewood to purchase property near Joint Base Lewis-McChord. Currently, this land is occupied by businesses and buildings that are incompatible with runway operations at the base and could pose public and flight safety risks.

“By purchasing this land, Lakewood will be in federal compliance and keep everyone in the surrounding area safe,” said Conway.

March 31st, 2017|Uncategorized|