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Dear friends and neighbors,

I stand with you and your families as we all endure this unprecedented public health crisis together. Even in the midst of uncertainty, worry, and grief for those who have been affected by the coronavirus, I have seen such heartening examples of community and connectedness from Washingtonians and it has given me so much hope!

I want this newsletter to be a helpful update about what local and state resources are available to you during this time, and give you a brief overview of what we accomplished during the 2020 legislative session that has best prepared our state to weather this emergency together.

My thoughts are with you! I hope you’re able to stay home and stay healthy. And if you’re not staying home because you’re an essential worker on the front lines of this fight against the virus, helping keep our supply chains humming, maintaining our buildings, or providing health care and other critical services for our communities – thank you, thank you, thank you!

In gratitude,

Mona

Das on Senate floor

News from the local and state level

I’ve been so proud of the strong show of support and care that our local governments have demonstrated as we respond to this crisis together. You can find resources from the city of Auburn, the city of Kent, the city of Covington, the city of Renton, and King County on their respective websites.

At the state level, my House and Senate colleagues and I worked hard and worked fast to pass HB 2965, appropriating funding to address the coronavirus crisis. Our mission was to ensure that immediate and future needs can be met and that our state and local health departments have the full resources they need to respond to the pandemic.

We provided $200 million to:

  • support monitoring, testing and local public health response;
  • expand unemployment insurance for people who are quarantined;
  • increase access to health care coverage by opening enrollment for anyone who does not currently have health insurance;
  • mitigate catastrophic losses at local businesses, for employees as well as employers.

We also took action to:

  • ensure that people receiving unemployment insurance can continue to do so even if they cannot meet the work search requirements due to quarantine;
  • support businesses that rehire employees who had to go on unemployment insurance because of the coronavirus emergency;
  • reimburse nursing homes that aid in the coronavirus response; and
  • allow school employees to maintain health insurance eligibility for the rest of the school year even if they come up short of required work hours due to this emergency.

For a full, comprehensive list of all the available resources from state agencies that have announced measures to help people and businesses, head to the governor’s central list of resources here.

Other actions:

  • I’ve heard from many local businesses in our district worried about eligibility for Small Business Association loans related to coronavirus. Fortunately, the SBA has revised their criteria, so more folks should be eligible! This link spells out the process for disaster assistance through the SBA.
  • If an employer temporarily shuts down operations because of coronavirus, workers may be eligible for unemployment benefits and the employer may receive relief of benefit costs.
  • If workers are exposed to coronavirus and asked to isolate or quarantine by a doctor or health official, they may receive unemployment benefits while they are temporarily away from work. A bill passed recently by the Legislature waives the requirement that people in this situation must be actively searching for work.
  • In response to the spread of coronavirus, the Washington Health Benefit Exchange has opened a special enrollment period for health insurance through April 8. You can call 1-855-923-4633 between 7:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
  • The Insurance Commissioner has required all insurance plans to cover coronavirus tests with no cost-sharing and no prior authorization requirement for people who meet the CDC criteria for testing.
  • He has also required insurance plans to allow enrollees to refill their prescriptions early one time in order to maintain an adequate supply.
  • You can find more updates from the Insurance Commissioner at this link.
  • Many public and private schools have been ordered closed for the duration. You can find more detailed information from the Washington Superintendent of Public Instruction here.
  • If you have symptoms and do not have a doctor to call, you can call the state Department of Health call center at 800-525-0127.

Sen Das and Gov Inslee

Other 2020 legislative accomplishments

One of the reasons I focus on the key issues our community cares about – like housing access and affordability, economic fairness, and environmental sustainability to name a few – is so that every single Washington family is as well-equipped as possible for unexpected emergencies just like the one we’re in.

That’s why I’m so proud to say that some of my priority policies passed this session, and several have already been signed by the governor! These included:

  • My Natural Disaster Mitigation bill, creating a work group to study and make recommendations on
    natural disaster mitigation and resiliency activities
  • The Reusable Bag Act, helping us reduce our single-use plastic consumption and keep our marine habitats and recycling systems clean
  • My affordable housing financing bill, expanding the use ability of local jurisdictions to use their “affordable housing property tax levy” to help low-income families access homeownership and support through foreclosure prevention programs
  • The “companion bill” to my greenhouse gas emissions bill, updating our state’s greenhouse gas emission limits for consistency with the most recent assessment of climate change science
  • Rep. Fitzgibbon’s bill to help cities increase their capacity to build housing, in which I worked hard to include development of “missing middle” housing (like duplexes, triplexes, and sixplexes) so that more affordable housing becomes more widely available

These are just a few highlights from a successful short session! I’m looking forward to continuing to build upon this good work in the months to come.

A few more COVID-19 resources:

The following websites and social media channels are great sources of information about the coronavirus as things unfold. I encourage you to check these out, and to share these with friends and neighbors. Let’s spread kindness and caring and factual information, and if you can, #StayHome! If you can’t, stay six feet away from other people and wash your hands well and often!

July 16, 2019

Contact Us

Olympia Office:

(360) 786-7692

Kent Office:

(253) 395-0867

Email:

Mona.Das@leg.wa.gov

Mailing Address:

Sen. Mona Das
PO Box 40447
Olympia, WA 98504-0403

Facebook

Go to

Facebook.com/SenatorMonaDas

to get frequent updates about the work I’m doing for Washington.

My Committees

Housing Stability & Affordability
(vice chair)

Financial Institutions, Economic Development & Trade

Environment, Energy & Technology

Transportation


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