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

News

  • Permalink Gallery

    Governor signs bill updating Washington Trust Institutions Act

Governor signs bill updating Washington Trust Institutions Act

Gov. Jay Inslee signed a bill yesterday that updates the Washington Trust Institutions Act.

“It’s so important to provide trust beneficiaries with the protections they deserve. Senate bill sponsor Sen. Mona Das (D-Kent) of the 47th Legislative District said, “It’s also critical to have a modern regulatory environment if we are going to continue attracting new business to our state.”

“I am pleased with the passing of this legislation,” DFI Director of Banks Roberta Hollinshead said. “It introduces important protections for consumers who rely on trust companies operating in Washington State. It gives DFI the ability to intervene if other companies doing business with a trust institution act in a manner that may pose a threat to its consumers, and provides a clear process for liquidating a trust should that become necessary. It also provides clear, concise and comprehensive laws for existing and future trust company businesses providing services to consumers in Washington State. It is another step in the process of ensuring the laws governing financial service providers are modern and up to date.”

The following is a summary of changes the legislation puts in place:

  • Modernizes the definition for “doing business in Washington state,” which recognizes the increasing prominence of online and global business;
  • Clarifies who can obtain a trust company charter and the activities they can perform;
  • Defines third-party service providers as they relate to trust businesses and provides authority to the DFI to examine them under certain conditions;
  • Clearly defines prudential standards and corporate governance requirements for trust companies by which they will be examined for safety and soundness;
  • Incorporates a comprehensive approach to corrective action measures including supervisory direction, corrective action orders, and conservatorship; and
  • Amends and clarifies the procedures pertaining to life cycle events of a company including the chartering of a new business, voluntary and involuntary liquidation and changes in control of a trust company.

“This policy change is good for both consumers and businesses – a true win-win,” House bill sponsor Rep. Amy Walen (D-Olympia) of the 48th Legislative District added. “It is a recognition that doing business in Washington means something totally different today as so much business activity is done online without physical branches or locations.”

May 14th, 2019|Uncategorized|
  • Permalink Gallery

    Governor signs Das bill to help organizations provide affordable housing

Governor signs Das bill to help organizations provide affordable housing

A bill signed today by Gov. Jay Inslee will 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.

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.

“We’ve all seen examples of these wonderful self-help programs making a difference in our communities, and we want that excellent work to continue,” 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 and end the cycle of generational poverty.”

In this model, home buyers participate in the construction of their new homes. But in recent years, with the rising cost of land, materials and labor, these organizations have struggled to provide affordable housing for people in need.

“This is one of the most significant wins for affordable home ownership in the state of Washington in the last 20 years,” said Michone Preston, director of Habitat for Humanity of Washington State. “We look forward to putting this legislation to work and making the dream of affordable home ownership a reality for more members of our community.”

“We had a unique opportunity to empower non-profits who are helping working families realize their dream of home ownership this year and lawmakers acted,” said Rep. Mari Leavitt, who sponsored a similar bill in the state House of Representatives. “Exempting materials and third-party labor is an important tool to give more families the chance to own a home and I am grateful to Senator Das and the Legislature for passing this important measure.”

May 13th, 2019|Uncategorized|
  • Permalink Gallery

    Bill prepping Washington for natural disasters signed by governor

Bill prepping Washington for natural disasters signed by governor

Gov. Jay Inslee signed a bill today that will help Washington prepare for the inevitable: natural disasters.

Senate Bill 5106, sponsored by Sen. Mona Das (D-Kent), creates a work group to study and make recommendations regarding natural disaster resiliency activities. This work group would review how other states and the federal government prepare for natural disasters — in particular, the California Earthquake Authority.

“We’ve all heard that our next big earthquake, or ‘The Big One,’ is on the horizon,” said Das. “We must do everything we can to prepare, and make sure our state is resilient.”

The work group will consist of 24 members, from various state agencies, local public utility districts, tribes and stakeholders. A preliminary report from this group is due in November of 2019, and the final report is due in December of 2020.

The bill passed both the House and Senate unanimously.

“Washington state is prone to natural disasters including earthquakes, floods, landslides, and wildfires,” Das said. “We’ve seen an increase in these events because of climate change. We need to act now to ensure we’re fully prepared.”

May 13th, 2019|Uncategorized|

Sen. Das featured in NW Asian Weekly

Sen. Mona Das was featured on May 3 in Northwest Asian Weekly. She told the publication about her dream of holding elected office, and how she made that dream a reality.

“We have those crazy dreams that come to us and sometimes we put those dreams on a shelf and sometimes we bring them down, dust them off, and take a look at them again. That was one of those dreams for me.”

Sen. Mona Das, Northwest Asian Weekly

You can find the whole article here.

May 6th, 2019|Uncategorized|

E-Newsletter: What we accomplished in 2019!

The bill signing for HB 1543, a recycling bill I worked on with Rep. Jared Mead.

Hello everyone,

I’m so proud to have wrapped up a successful, progressive 2019 Legislative Session! This was my first year serving as the senator for the 47th District, and I could not be more proud of the progress we made this year.

We made amazing progress this year for equity, the environment and more. We ended on time, which is significant because the last time the Legislature ended on time during a budget year was 2009.

I had a lot of success this year with my legislation, including bills to help alleviate homelessness, improve the environment and consumer protections.

In this newsletter, I’ll tell you about these wins from the incredibly successful 2019 legislative session.

In gratitude,

Mona

My bills that passed in 2019

  • SB 5025: Washington is facing a homelessness crisis. This bill helps self-help housing organizations (for example, Habitat for Humanity) house folks efficiently by exempting them from real estate excise taxes taxes. With the creation of the Housing Stability & Affordability Committee this session, the Senate is working hard to find solutions to our statewide homelessness crisis. This is just one of the ways we can help.
  • HB 1543/SB 5545: We’ve all read the headlines about China no longer taking many of our recyclable materials. Rep. Jared Mead, the state Department of Ecology and I worked hard on a bill to help solve that problem bring Washington state to the forefront of recycling policy. 
  • SR 8639: In the United States, about 500,000 people identify as Sikh. About 20,000 of those people live in the greater Seattle area. Our Sikh neighbors haven’t always been treated fairly in Washington state, so I introduced a resolution to honor this community’s achievements, and the benefits they bring to Washington state and our nation.
  • SB 5124: This bill protect consumers from inflated home values by increasing transparency in Washington’s appraisal management companies, and ensuring that the state’s appraisal management program remains in compliance with federal regulations.
  • SB 5106: This bill will help make Washington a safer, more resilient place by creating a work group to study disaster mitigation and resiliency activities. Washington is prone to natural disasters such as floods, earthquakes, wildfires, etc. We must take these events seriously and come up with strategies to recover should they occur.
  • SB 5107: This bill clarifies the definition of trust business to accommodate new business practices. Our goal was to make sure that financial service businesses can innovate and operate in Washington, while making sure consumers are protected.
  • SB 5503: Washington has many rural areas that depend on on-site sewage systems (otherwise known as septic systems). For those areas, residents’ health and safety depends on those systems being properly inspected and maintained. A healthy environment depends on that maintenance, too. This bill helps establish best practices for septic system maintenance and inspection.
We hosted Washington’s Sikh community at the Capitol when we passed our Sikh resolution.

Budget Wins

  • Warehousing and Manufacturing: A proviso in the 2019-20 operating budget will help the areas of Washington that were negatively impacted by end of the streamlined sales tax mitigation program. Kent was one of the areas hardest hit by this change. The Legislature allocated $16.4 million over the next two years to mitigate sales tax losses.
  • Seattle Education Access: The budget allocates $500,000 over two years for Seattle Education Access, which provides assistance to students who face profound barriers — such as homelessness. This program doesn’t just serve Seattle and King County. Its impacts stretch into Snohomish and Pierce counties, too. Fittingly, the name of this program will change to Northwest Education Access.
  • Deterring street racing: Many of you know that Kent has a significant problem with street racing. Thanks to the transportation budget, the Washington Traffic Safety Commission will oversee a pilot project implementing noise enforcement cameras in areas that have been designated by ordinance as “stay out of areas of racing.”
  • Washington Main Street Program: This program has been helping downtown communities revitalize their appearance and economy since 1984. New funding ($120,000) in the operating budget will allow the program to add a new full-time staff member. This budget proviso is supported by the Kent Downtown Partnership.
  • 2020 census: The operating budget allocates $15 million to help the state prep for the 2020 census. The goal of this funding is to help the census reach populations that are traditionally hard to count through outreach, use of multiple languages, etc. This proviso is supported by the Senate’s Members of Color Caucus.
  • 224th Street Project: The transportation budget includes $1.5 million for phase two of improvements to 224th
47th District. Soos Creek Hatchery. Auburn, WA.

Capital Budget

The two-year capital budget makes great investments in the 47th District, and the rest of Washington state. Here are the investments for our district:

  • Aquatic and Recreation Center: $1.05 million
  • Auburn Arts & Culture Center: $500,000
  • Health Point Behavioral Health Expansion: $1.03 million
  • Mixed Use Psychiatric Care Facility (Auburn): $20 million
  • Green River Park property development: $500,000
  • Service Club Park drainage: $350,000
  • Soos Creek Hatchery: $1.17 million
May 1st, 2019|E-News|
  • Permalink Gallery

    Governor signs Das bill to protect consumers from inflated home values

Governor signs Das bill to protect consumers from inflated home values

Gov. Jay Inslee today signed a bill into law that will increase transparency in Washington’s appraisal management companies and ensure the state’s appraisal management program remains in compliance with federal regulations.

Senate Bill 5124 was first-year Sen. Mona Das’ first bill to be passed by the Senate on Jan. 30. The House of Representatives passed the bill April 11.

The measure draws upon Das’ experience in the mortgage industry, where appraisal management companies provide a buffer between lenders and appraisers, with the goal of preventing lenders from basing mortgages on inflated appraisal values.

“This bill is truly about protecting homebuyers,” Das said. “Inflated appraisal values are one of the causes of the housing bubble and the recession that sent our economy into freefall a decade ago. We must act now to prevent that from happening again.”

This bill specifically changes the license period for appraisal management companies from two years to one year, allowing the collection of a new federal fee in the year 2020. There are no increases to state fees as part of this process.

The bill also raises the standards for people who can have an ownership interest in appraisal management companies. No one who has had an appraiser license denied, cancelled or revoked in any jurisdiction may have an ownership interest in one of these companies.

“For the health of our economy, we must ensure that this industry receives proper oversight,” Das said. “The steps we take today will determine what our economy will look like in the years to come.”

April 20th, 2019|Uncategorized|

Senate passes resolution honoring Sikh community

The Washington State Senate honored Washington’s Sikh communities Wednesday with a resolution sponsored by Sen. Mona Das (D-Kent).

In the United States, about 500,000 people identify as Sikh — and about 20,000 of those people live in the greater Seattle area. In a speech on the Senate floor, Das said she sponsored the resolution to promote “diversity, inclusion and kindness in Washington state.”

“Despite a long history of hate, fear and intolerance toward them, Sikhs have played a large and unforgettable role in shaping our state and our country,” Das said. “Our Sikh neighbors haven’t always been treated fairly in Washington state. In fact, 300 Sikhs were run out of Bellingham in 1907.”

As recently as 2017, a Sikh man was shot in his Kent driveway and told to go back to his own country.

The resolution also honored notable Sikhs in Washington state — including Kent Councilmember Satwinder Kaur and resolution cosponsor Sen. Manka Dhingra. Whatcom County Councilman Satpal Sidhu also attended the event.

“Sikh-Americans have made significant contributions to every aspect of American life, and I am proud that the Senate took the time to honor our community this week,” said Sen. Manka Dhingra. “There is more that brings us together than tears us apart — we must continue to uplift the voices of all the diverse populations in our state.”

“I would ask members of the Senate and all Washingtonians to use this resolution as a reminder to stop and reflect on the ways we can promote inclusion, diversity and kindness in our modern society — for Sikhs, certainly, but also for others,” Das said.

April 12th, 2019|Uncategorized|

Abbygail Mena serves as page in Washington State Senate

Abbygail Mena, 14, served as a page in the Washington State Senate during the week of April 1.

Pages are sponsored by the senator from their legislative district. Senator Mona Das (D-Kent) sponsored Mena’s week at the Legislature.

“It was so great to host Abbygail at the Capitol this week,” Das said. “I hope that she enjoyed her time with the Legislature, and learned a lot about the Legislative Branch.”

The page program offers a hands-on opportunity for students to find out how state government works. The educational experience is furthered by guest speakers. It also includes classes with topics such as budget writing and how a bill becomes a law — which culminates in pages creating their own bills in a mock committee setting.

Mena and her partners worked on a bill that would allow later school start times. This bill would allow high school start times to be pushed back so that children could get more time to rest before the day starts. Mena and her partners found that this would increase productivity in teenagers and allow them to have more time to study.

“I enjoyed listening to the many guest speakers,” Mena said. “They had a lot of great information and taught me about the many different jobs that you could have in state government.”

Pages also have the opportunity to work on the Senate floor. Their maroon coats and credentials allow them access to all parts of the Capitol Campus. Mena is in the 9th grade at Auburn High School. In her free time her she loves playing basketball for her high school team. She is excited to see what the rest of high school holds for her.

April 6th, 2019|Uncategorized|

E-Newsletter: Less than 25 days to go!

Hello everyone,

I can’t believe we’re already 82 days into the 2019 Legislative Session — and that we only have 23 days left!

The next few weeks will be busy. Both the House and the Senate will spend a lot of time on the floor passing bills, and we’ll be finalizing our transportation, capital and operating budgets.

I’m pleased to say that many of my bills — including the plastic bag ban and the self-help housing bill — are still working their way through the process.

In this newsletter, I’ll tell you about some of the other things we’ve been up to.

In gratitude,

Mona

We met so many amazing members of our community at the town hall meeting!

Town Hall

As many of you already know, members of the 47th Legislative District delegation hosted a town hall meeting on March 23. We enjoyed meeting so many engaged constituents.

A lot of you had questions about transportation, homelessness, health care and behavioral health. I can assure you that I’m doing my best to ensure that our community’s needs are met through our budgets and the bills we pass of the Senate floor.

Thank you to everyone who attended. And to those who couldn’t make it, I look forward to meeting you next time!

Washington Environmental Council

I had the great honor of speaking at the Washington Environmental Council gala last weekend — an event attended by more than 500 people.

It warmed my heart to meet so many people who are invested in preserving and protecting Washington’s environment. The success we’ve had so far this year with environmental legislation is the result of advocacy and partnerships.

If you’re passionate about the environment, as I am, I urge you to get out and participate! You never know who you might inspire.

LEAP Students

Last week, I met with some of my most inspiring visitors of the 2019 Legislative Session: representatives from LEAP.

LEAP is a program by SeaMar Community Health Centers, designed to promote civic engagement, community involvement, advocacy and educational opportunities for youth. Their one-year leadership program prepares young people to be agents of change.

On March 29, more than 40 students representing four high schools (Kentlake, Kent-Meridian, Kentwood and Kent Phoenix Academy) visited the Capitol Campus. I’m so proud to have such bright young people in my district!

To watch the full work session, click on the image above.

Homelessness, Substance Abuse Disorder and Behavioral Health

This session, I’m serving as the vice chair of the Senate Housing Stability & Affordability Committee with the goal of helping Washington state end our homelessness crisis.

Last week, my committee and the Senate Health & Long Term Care Committee held a joint work session exploring the connection between homelessness, substance abuse disorders, and behavioral health. We also discussed efforts state and local governments are making to alleviate homelessness.

We heard a lot of compelling testimony from six knowledgeable speakers. I urge you to listen for yourself by clicking on the image above.

Which Bills are Still Alive?

I have several bills that are still making their way through the Legislature. Here’s a list of the bills I’m still working on:

April 5th, 2019|E-News|

E-Newsletter: Less than 40 days to go!

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.

March 20th, 2019|E-News|