(360) 786-7692|Mona.Das@leg.wa.gov

Monthly Archives: March 2019

E-Newsletter: Less than 40 days to go!

March 20th, 2019|

This photo of Sen. Lisa Wellman (left), Sen. Patty Kuderer and myself was taken during one of our long days passing bills on the Senate floor.

Hello everyone,

We’ve officially passed the halfway mark in the 2019 Legislative Session! I’m happy to report many of my bills are still “alive” and working their way through the Legislative process.

Senate bills had to be passed by the Senate by March 13 in order for them to still be considered. Now, the bills we passed will go to the state House of Representatives for their consideration, and we will be considering House bills for the next few weeks.

In this newsletter, I’ll explain some of the important bills that are still working their way through the process.

And, we’re having a town hall! I’d love to meet you all and tell you what I’m working on. Scroll down to the bottom of this email for more information.

In gratitude,

Mona

Fifth grade students from Glenwood Elementary in Lake Stevens showed their support for SB 5323 by sending my office a series of essays and artwork. Click on the image above to see the full slideshow of the artwork

Plastic Bag Ban

Senate Bill 5323, sponsored by me, would implement a statewide ban on single-use plastic bags, and create guidelines for paper and reusable bags. You can learn more about the bill on my website.

The bill passed out of the Senate on March 5 with a 31-14 vote. The House Committee on Environment & Energy heard the bill on Monday. You can track the bill’s progress here.

Self-Help Housing

The Senate passed Senate Bill 5025, another one of my bills, on March 11 with a 46-2 vote. This bill would assist self-help housing organizations, such as Habitat for Humanity, by exempting them from the real estate excise tax. You can learn more about the bill on my website.

The bill has been referred to the House Finance Committee, but hasn’t yet been scheduled for a hearing. You can track this bill’s progress here.

Sen. Marko Liias and I explained SB 5774, which would provide student debt relief, in a video. Click on the image above to watch it!

Senate Bill 5774, sponsored by Sen. Marko Liias, would provide some relief for people who currently have student loans, enact consumer protections and explore new ways of helping people pay for college.

It passed off the Senate floor with a 40-8 vote on March 6, and is scheduled for a hearing in the House College & Workforce Development Committee on March 20. You can learn more about the bill and track its progress here.

Clean Energy Act

Senate Bill 5116, sponsored by Sen. Reuven Carlyle, would commit the state to 100 percent clean energy from renewable and zero-emission sources. You can read more about the bill here.

I’m a proud cosponsor of this bill, which passed out of the Senate with a 28-19 vote on March 1. It had a public hearing in the House Environment & Energy Committee on March 5, and is scheduled for executive session on March 19. You can track the bill’s progress here.

Other Issues

Education

This session, we’re continuing our work to improve our K-12 education system. The House and Senate are considering several school safety bills, increasing funding for special education, increasing support for homeless students and more.

Health Care

Access to affordable health care is one of the biggest issues facing Washingtonians — and we’re taking it seriously. So far, we’ve passed bills to increase transparency, create a public option on the state’s Health Benefit Exchanges, and explore the possibility of a statewide single-payer health care system.

Environment

I mentioned some bills above that would help our environment — but the Legislature is doing more than that. We’re addressing plastics pollution in a variety of ways, and taking steps to save our Southern Resident Orca population. We’ve also passed bills that would improve the health of our communities by limiting exposure to pesticides and other toxins.

Transportation

This is a very important issue in the 47th District, and throughout Washington state. We started some important conversations this year about the improvements we want to make to our infrastructure — and how we want to pay for these projects. I serve on the Senate Transportation Committee, and I’m excited to keep participating in these conversations and looking for the best solutions for our state.

Presidio Graduate School: Mona Das brings System Thinking, Sustainability and Representation to the Washington State Senate

March 18th, 2019|

A few weeks ago, I did an interview with my graduate school about my bills, my journey to the Legislature, and more. Here’s an excerpt from the piece:

Mona Das (D-Kent), is a newly elected Washington State Senator and a Bainbridge Graduate Institute (BGI – now Presidio Graduate School) alumna. Das brings systems thinking and a passion for sustainability and representation to the Washington State Senate. She has introduced 11 bills to the legislature so far.

Das enjoys meeting and learning from constituents. She is taking every opportunity to use her influence and lend her voice to advance their interests. Three bills she sponsored demonstrate her commitment to safeguarding the environment and supporting local communities.

Presidio Graduate School Blog

You can read the entire post here.

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    Senate passes Das bill to assist self-help housing organizations

Senate passes Das bill to assist self-help housing organizations

March 11th, 2019|

A bill passed today by the Senate would help limit the costs of affordable housing by exempting self-help housing organizations, such as Habitat for Humanity, from the state’s real estate excise tax. The bill passed on a vote of 46 to 2 and now heads to the House for consideration.

Senate Bill 5025, sponsored by Sen. Mona Das (D-Kent), would affect about 30 self-help housing organizations that operate throughout Washington. Annually, these organizations help produce 150 homes.

In this model, home buyers participate in the construction of their new homes.

“These organizations help Washingtonians end the cycle of generational poverty,” Das said. “We have a growing homelessness crisis in our state. And while this bill won’t solve the whole problem, it will help hard-working people own their own homes.”

“This bill is important because providers like Habitat for Humanity are struggling to develop homes that are affordable for our low-income residents due to the rising costs of materials and land,” Michone Preston, CEO of Habitat for Humanity of Washington State. “The savings this bill creates go directly to the goal of affordability. Habitat affiliates and other self-help housing providers in Washington are grateful to Senator Das for her leadership and hard work to make self-help housing possible.”

We’re hosting a town hall!

March 6th, 2019|

Join Sen. Mona Das, Rep. Pat Sullivan and Rep. Debra Entenman for a town hall on Saturday, March 23, 2019!

Time: 10:30 to 11:30 a.m.

Location: Green River Community College Main Campus

Cascade Hall (located on the first floor of the Student Affairs & Success Center)

12401 SE 320th St Auburn, WA 98092

Senate passes Das bill banning single-use plastic bags

March 5th, 2019|

A bill passed by the Senate would reduce pollution by prohibiting retailers in Washington state from handing out single-use plastic bags. The bill passed on a vote of 31 to 14 and now heads to the House for consideration.

First-year Sen. Mona Das (D-Kent) sponsored Senate Bill 5323, which is supported by retailers as well as environmentalists.

“We’ve all seen the heartbreaking photos of animals choked by plastics, and the frightening footage of garbage islands in our ocean,” Das said. “We know this bill won’t solve the whole problem, but it’s a helpful and tangible step toward protecting our environment.”

This bill would prohibit retailers — including grocers — from handing out thin, single-use plastic bags. They would be able to provide paper bags or durable, reusable plastic bags for 8 cents each. This charge would help retailers recover the costs of the paper or durable plastic bags, and create an incentive for shoppers to bring their own bags.

People using the State Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Women, Infants and Children (WIC) and/or the state Food Assistance Program (FAP) would not be subject to the 8 cent fee.

These reusable bags must meet standards for strength, durability and recycled content. Shoppers who bring their own reusable bags would not be charged.

Twenty-eight jurisdictions throughout Washington state — comprising about 26 percent of Washington’s population — have already implemented plastic bag ban measures. SB 5323 is modeled after those local laws, and applies one uniform set of regulations to the state.

“Protecting our environment is one of the most important jobs we have as legislators,” Das said, “especially since the existence of climate change is questioned by some at the national level.”