Monthly Archives: May 2020

The Domestic Violence Discussion podcast with Ariel Gliboff

May 26th, 2020|

Sen. Dhingra was interviewed about emergency protections for domestic violence survivors during the coronavirus pandemic on Ariel Gliboff’s podcast The Domestic Violence Discussion. You can listen here or wherever you get your podcasts .

E-news: Be on alert for fraudulent unemployment claims

May 20th, 2020|

Dear Neighbor,

During the pandemic, it’s important to be on alert—this crisis has led to a rash of fraudulent unemployment claims filed with the WA Employment Security Department.

Fraudsters file these claims in innocent people’s names using data they have stolen from corporate data breaches, not from the Employment Security Department. ESD paused payments for two days last week to combat this fraud.

Here’s what you can do to protect yourself:

  • Be aware of false websites. If you apply for unemployment benefits, use only ESD’s official website: esd.wa.gov.
  • Applying for unemployment benefits is free. ESD will never ask for a payment to process your claim.
  • Be wary of solicitors asking for your personal information online or by phone. ESD will only ask you for information through official correspondence and through your ESD eServices account. If we call you, you can ask the agents to identify themselves.

If you get a letter from ESD referencing an unemployment claim number, but you did not file a claim,

  • Report the fraud here.
  • You can also try calling 800-246-9763.

If you suspect you have been a victim of identity theft:

  • File a report with your local law enforcement.
  • Report the fraud to the IRS.
  • Use the resources at IdentityTheft.gov.

Request free credit reports via AnnualCreditReport.com and review them for other frauds.

Stay safe and take care.

Sincerely yours,

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    Public Officials Share Insight on the Next Steps to Reopen the State

Public Officials Share Insight on the Next Steps to Reopen the State

May 13th, 2020|

From the Woodinville Weekly

As states around the country begin to ease off COVID-19 restrictions and allow people to go back to work, experts and officials express concern about the public health infrastructure needed to prevent a second wave of infections.

During a telephone town hall Thursday, May 7, state and federal lawmakers addressed concerns about the response to the virus outbreak. 

Sen. Manka Dhingra (D-Redmond), Rep. Larry Springer (D-Kirkland) and Rep. Roger Goodman (D-Kirkland) partnered with U.S. Congresswoman Suzan DelBene and Ingrid Ulrey, policy director for Public Health, Seattle-King County, to address federal and statewide responses to the ongoing pandemic. 

“This has been a trying time for our entire community in terms of making sure that folks are safe and healthy,” DelBene said. “The economic impact has already been devastating. We know that this is also an unpredictable time, so we’ve been working hard in Washington D.C. to provide support to help families.”

She said Congress has passed four bills so far to provide aid for small businesses, unemployed Americans and the healthcare system as hospitals surge at capacity. 

Washington state, under the direction of Gov. Jay Inslee, has launched a four-phase approach to reopen businesses while taking effective precautions. Springer said Inslee’s first priority is to get the virus under control before focusing on the state’s economic recovery. 

On the day of the call, Ulrey said there were 6,740 confirmed positive COVID-19 cases and 473 deaths in King County. Community mitigation measures and social distancing are essential to fight back against this virus, especially without a vaccine or cure, she added.

“By adhering to these measures, we’ve been very successful thus far in reducing the number of cases and reducing the number of deaths,” Ulrey said. “If we loosen up too quickly on the community mitigation, we will see a significant uptick in cases and deaths across the population.”

Contact tracing, which is used to break chains of transmission and prevent future surges of cases, has been a large topic of conversation to avoid a second wind of infections. DelBene said the act of contact tracing has prompted concerns about medical privacy and the protection of individuals who catch the virus.

“We absolutely need to use information to help fight this public health threat, but we also need to make sure that we protect people’s personal information,” she said. “And we can do both, but we’ve got to make sure we have clear privacy guidelines there.”

DelBene said contact tracing cannot happen without more testing. With shortages of product across the country, she said a constant and reliable supply is needed from a coordinated federal response before considering contact tracing. The same is true for personal protective equipment, she added.

“The virus is very skilled at finding new hosts and will continue to spread unless we can understand who is positive and ensure that those individuals are isolated,” Ulrey said.

In terms of a broad national contract tracing program, DelBene said the focus will be providing resources and guidance to states. According to Dhingra, Washington state is looking to hire 1,500 people to do contact tracing.

As children continue to learn from home, the public officials are addressing hunger relief and broadband access for working families to ensure basic needs are being met. Dhingra said farmers are donating produce that would otherwise go bad to fight food insecurity. Springer added that the legislature is working hard to create a statewide broadband policy, while also looking for innovative ways to put short-term measures in place.

There has been a spike in serious domestic violence due to the stay-at-home order. Goodman said King County has seen two murders in the last week, one attempted murder and one arson linked to domestic violence. So far, the county has had a 30% increase in domestic violence at both the felony and misdemeanor levels.

Goodman said he has been monitoring detention facilities, adult jails and prisons, and juvenile detention facilities across the state. There is no evidence of the virus in the juvenile system, although one staff member at a juvenile rehabilitation facility tested positive and has been isolated.

Monroe Correctional Complex is the only adult residence with positive cases and all 18 prisoners, who were located in the same unit, have been isolated. Goodman said there has been strict screening, quarantining and isolating for the incarcerated population.

“That’s only 0.1% of the entire prison population, which is remarkable given the congregated living circumstances compared to homeless shelters or housing for migrant labor and foreign labor,” Goodman said.

He said those who are not a threat to the public are being treated in the community rather than being incarcerated, signaling a potential shift in the system of criminal accountability. 

The 45th Legislative District extends through Woodinville, Duvall, Kirkland, Redmond and Sammamish. DelBene represents the 1st Congressional District, which extends from northeastern King County to the Canadian border.

By Madeline Coats

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    Gun violence data collection agency to be established, not yet clear how it will operate

Gun violence data collection agency to be established, not yet clear how it will operate

May 10th, 2020|

From the Columbia Basin Herald

On April 2, the governor signed into law a bill that will establish the Office of Firearm Safety and Violence Prevention under the Department of Commerce, tasked with collecting and sharing gun violence data in collaboration with law enforcement agencies, prosecutors and researchers to promote strategies to reduce gun violence in Washington.

Spokesman for the Grant County Sheriff’s Office, Kyle Foreman, said it is not yet clear exactly how the office will operate in coordination with law enforcement, and said the specifics likely will not be known until the office is established in June.

Senate Bill 6288 came down to a close 25 to 24 Senate vote to seal its passage in March.

Many Republican senators expressed concerns that the office would be used as a gun-regulation advocacy agency.

The bill’s prime sponsor, Sen. Manka Dhingra, D-Redmond, said that is not what this program is about. She said the office will provide the potential to gather demographic information and other kinds of data to learn about what kinds of populations are at risk of gun violence and how they can be helped.

Dhingra said the office will also provide grant funding to community-based initiatives working to prevent gun violence, as well as programs that benefit the victims and witnesses of gun violence.

Senate minority leader, Mark Schoesler, R-Ritzville, said he felt the bill was biased and said he was concerned the newly created bureaucratic office would be filled with people advocating for gun regulation.

Schoesler said he was never lobbied by any law enforcement agencies or prosecutors in favor of this legislation, indicating to him that it was an unnecessary expenditure.

“Most of the information is already readily available,” Schoesler said about the data the agency is intended to collect.

When asked whether Grant County Sheriff’s Office needed access to certain kinds of data it does not already have, Foreman said more data will always be beneficial and that everyone could benefit from data sharing.

Foreman said departments could also be helped by the grant funding the office will offer. He said while it is not exactly clear how the office will work, it does seem to have the potential to do good things in the effort to reduce gun violence.

By Cameron Sheppard

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    Washington Republicans Block Extension of Domestic Violence Protections

Washington Republicans Block Extension of Domestic Violence Protections

May 9th, 2020|

From The Stranger

On Saturday Republican leadership in the statehouse—particularly Senate Minority Leader Mark Schoesler— blocked the extension of an emergency proclamation regarding protections for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking.

The proclamation, set to expire May 11, allows victims to file no-contact orders online. It also allows law enforcement to serve those orders electronically or telephonically, and to remove any guns “when courts have ordered firearms to be surrendered” in a given domestic violence situation.

This batshit decision from a batshit political party is particularly batshit given the surge in domestic violence reports happening locally and, more than likely, across the country.

The state’s prosecutors and sheriffs associations both requested that the legislature extend the order, citing the need to protect victims and officers forced to serve papers in-person during the middle of a global respiratory virus outbreak.

Senior deputy prosecuting attorney David Martin, who chairs the domestic violence unit King County, noted the “very real increase in domestic violence we are now experiencing” and urged legislators to sign off on the extension.

“Felony domestic violence in King County is up 20% in new cases filed,” Martin wrote in a letter to the legislature. “Seattle police and other agencies are reporting stark increases in domestic violence calls for service and arrest. Over the last two weeks in King County there have been three domestic violence homicides, a very public domestic violence attempted murder, and two officer involved shootings of domestic violence offenders.”

“This is not a partisan issue,” said Democratic Sen. Manka Dhingra, who also founded API Chaya, a nonprofit that supports DV victims, “Home is not a safe place for everybody, and we have to make sure we’re protecting the most vulnerable.”

“Given my work in domestic violence for decades, [electronic filing] is such a crucial tool for victims to be able to reach out and get help,” Dhingra added. “And it’s good for law enforcement. Being told to serve orders in-person puts them at risk.”

In a joint statement, Senate Majority Leader Andy Billig and House Speaker Laurie Jinkins called the Republican blockade “incomprehensible.”

“We urge Senate Republican leadership blocking this extension to reconsider their decision,” they said.

Republicans will likely argue that the proclamation violates due process and Second Amendment rights, despite the fact that it doesn’t, because Extreme Risk Protection Orders within the proclamation allow cops to remove guns in certain situations.

“We know that when a gun is present in a domestic violence situation, it’s extremely dangerous for the victim. This is not a rhetorical or academic discussion. We are seeing victims of DV being killed by guns,” Sen. Dhingra said. “And the reason we have an extreme risk protection order is for those times of extreme risk.”

When the legislature is not in session, all four caucus leaders have to sign off on extensions of emergency powers that the legislature has granted to the governor. So far, Republicans have blocked two other extensions; one giving officers more discretion over sending probation violators to jail, and another temporarily lifting fingerprint background checks for child care workers.

By Rich Smith

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    Dhingra criticizes Republican refusal to extend emergency domestic violence protections

Dhingra criticizes Republican refusal to extend emergency domestic violence protections

May 9th, 2020|

“These measures are not about convenience; they are about saving lives”

REDMOND — Senate Deputy Majority Leader Manka Dhingra (D-Redmond) issued the following statement after Senate Republican leadership declined to sign off on the Governor’s request to extend emergency protections for survivors of domestic violence:

“I am shocked that my Republican colleagues in the Legislature are playing politics with the lives of some of the most vulnerable people in our society.

“The Governor’s ‘Stay Home, Stay Healthy’ order has stemmed the tide of one pandemic, but if stripped of accompanying protections, it has the potential to unleash another. Domestic violence cases have been rising across the state since the beginning of the pandemic and are up 20 percent in King County.

“In the last two weeks alone, prosecutors in King County report, there have been three domestic-violence homicides, an attempted domestic-violence murder, and two officer-involved shootings because of domestic violence. When survivors are stuck inside with their abusers, home is not healthy—or safe.

“That’s why the Governor’s Proclamation 20-45 is so crucial. It allows survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking to file protection orders electronically and allows courts to legally notify respondents electronically.

“These measures are not about convenience; they are about saving lives.

“We do not want survivors caught between fear of venturing out to file an order and fear of another beating. We do not want protection orders that cannot be served because law enforcement does not have enough officers available to do the work.

“Judges, prosecutors, sheriffs, and police across Washington—including the Washington State Supreme Court, the Washington Association of Prosecuting Attorneys, and the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs—are telling us the same story: electronic service saves lives. In the short time since it has been implemented during this pandemic, Washington’s electronic service program has become a national model.

“Frankly, I cannot fathom how anyone could be so callous as to deliberately abandon domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking survivors during the greatest crisis of the last hundred years. Washington has some of the finest law enforcement professionals in the country. We ought to let them do their job: protecting the vulnerable. There is no excuse for playing politics with people’s lives.”

Related documents:

Letter from Legislative leaders on extension of proclamations

Joint letter of support from Washington Association of Prosecuting Attorneys and Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs

Letter of support from David Martin, Chair of Domestic Violence Unit, King County Prosecutor’s Office

Governor’s proclamation 20-45

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    Dhingra appointed to Senate bipartisan COVID-19 recovery committee

Dhingra appointed to Senate bipartisan COVID-19 recovery committee

May 6th, 2020|

Senate Deputy Majority Leader Manka Dhingra (D-Redmond) was appointed to a newly formed bipartisan Special Committee on Economic Recovery in the Washington State Senate to address the state’s long-term economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

The committee will hold its first meeting in June and is tasked with making recommendations on COVID-19 recovery legislation in advance of the 2021 legislative session, or before that if lawmakers are called back into a special session this year.

“The pandemic is not over by any means, but it is time to begin planning for a robust and sustained recovery for all Washingtonians,” Dhingra said. “Thanks to the hard work and ingenuity of many workers and businesses, our state is adapting at breakneck speed to the new conditions that the virus has brought, and it is imperative that we prepare legislation now to harness that innovation and adapt our systems for the long term.”

Sen. David Frockt (D-Seattle) will serve as the committee’s chair. Republican Sen. Randi Becker (R-Eatonville) will serve as vice chair. The seven-member committee will be comprised of four Democrats and three Republicans. Democratic senators on the committee include Sens. Christine Rolfes and Rebecca Saldana. In addition to Becker, Sen. Tim Sheldon and a yet-to-be-determined Republican will represent the Senate GOP.

“The purpose of this select committee is to look deeply at the ways in which the pandemic has structurally changed our state and regional economies, and to make recommendations on how we can come out stronger on the other side for workers and the businesses that employ them,” Frockt said. “The goal is to have this committee work together, without partisanship, in order to drive innovative, forward-looking ideas that can help the people in every corner of this state recover and prosper.”

The committee will hold work sessions in the coming months to hear from experts in a variety of fields, look at what other states are doing to recover from the outbreak and identify innovative ways to rejuvenate Washington’s economy and communities throughout the state.

The Senate’s Facilities and Operations Committee voted today to officially form the committee.

Filibusters Live on KXRW with Jay Inslee and Manka Dhingra

May 6th, 2020|

The hosts of Filibusters radio show on KXRW invited Sen. Dhingra and Gov. Inslee to come on to discuss the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. You can listen to the show here.

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    E-News: COVID-19 Resources & Telephone Town Hall with Congresswoman Suzan DelBene

E-News: COVID-19 Resources & Telephone Town Hall with Congresswoman Suzan DelBene

May 1st, 2020|

Dear Neighbor,

Many constituents have been asking questions about the COVID-19 pandemic and our state’s response. We are working hard to contain the pandemic, preserve public health, and get our economy back on track.

Telephone Town Hall

To hear answers to your questions, please join me, along with Reps. Roger Goodman and Larry Springer, on Wednesday, May 6, at 6 p.m., for a telephone town hall. We will be joined by Congresswoman Suzan DelBene and Ingrid Ulrey of Public Health — Seattle & King County.

Our automated system will call out to landlines in the district. All you have to do is accept the call and press *3 to ask questions. To ensure you are called, you can sign up here.

If you do not receive the call, you can still participate by dialing 877-229-8493 and using ID code 116292, or by going to this website.

A Quick Guide to Coronavirus Resources

The Washington State Coronavirus Response Page has links to resources for families, businesses, workers, and more. State webpages also provide information about help with taxes and health care. The state provides multilingual COVID-19 fact sheets and lists resources available for immigrant communities.

You can find countywide information at King County Public Health. In addition, county webpages provide information about emergency food access and equity and social justice resources. The United Way of King County and the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce have additional lists of resources for people and businesses.

Eastside resources can be found at Eastside for All and (re) Startup425Cities and local groups offer even more specific information at the following links:

45th District cities

Neighboring cities

In addition, federal information and assistance are available through U.S. Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, U.S. Reps. Suzan DelBeneAdam Smith, and Kim Schrier, and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The federal CARES Act included $17 billion for loan forgiveness for nonprofits and small businesses for certain types of loans. It also included $349 billion to create the Small Business Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which provides subsidized loans of up to $10 million to nonprofits and small businesses with fewer than 500 employees to cover payroll, rent, mortgage and utility costs.

The Small Business Disaster Loan Program provides low-interest loans of up to $2 million to small businesses and nonprofits. And the Small Business Express Bridge Loan Pilot Program allows small businesses that currently have a business relationship with an SBA Express Lender to access up to $25,000 to bridge the gap while waiting for a decision and disbursement on a direct Disaster Loan.

Finally, you can always contact my office using the information below.

Sincerely yours,

Manka Dhingra