Monthly Archives: March 2018

Capital budget invests in Seattle area

March 28th, 2018|

OLYMPIA — A $414 million supplemental capital construction budget signed today by Gov. Jay Inslee makes significant investments in the Seattle area. This new funding enhances earlier investments made in the $4.3 billion 2017-2018 capital budget passed in January.
Sen. David Frockt, who served this year as capital budget writer, was instrumental in breaking gridlock in January, and in drafting the supplemental budget signed today.
“With the new Democratic majority in the Senate, we were finally able to complete the first phase of the capital budget in January,” said Frockt, D-Seattle. “This supplemental budget builds upon those efforts, focusing on mental health in particular. We also have significant investments in clean water projects to help Puget Sound and the endangered Orca. Additionally, the budget invests in metro Seattle, which is something I have always tried to prioritize during my eight years in Olympia.”
Frockt is particularly pleased with the $2.5 million investment in the modernization and renovation of the Lake City and Magnuson community centers in the North End, the support for Mary’s Place and families experiencing homelessness in the area, and the record investments made in Seattle public schools in both of this year’s capital budgets.
Capital budgets passed this year also make a significant investment in K-12 education. During the 2017-19 biennium, the Seattle School District will receive about $20.8 million in School Construction Assistance Program (SCAP) funding, and about $28 million in distressed school funding.
Projects in the Seattle area include:
• Mount Baker property cleanup, for the purpose of creating affordable housing in Seattle, $5.1 million
• Refugee Women’s Alliance childcare center in Seattle, $1 million
• Five Acre Woods park acquisition in Lake Forest Park, $300,000
• Lake City Community Center in Seattle, $500,000
• Rhododendron Park float and boardwalk in Kenmore, $400,000
• North Seattle Community College library building renovation, $3.4 million
• Arboretum waterfront trail renovation in Seattle, $475,000
• Town Hall historic restoration in Seattle, $1 million
• Northwest African American Museum exhibit in Seattle, $200,000
• South Seattle Community College automotive technology renovation and expansion, $260,000
• A Mary’s Place hub in Burien, which will provide emergency shelter for families, $500,000
• The Valley Cities modular housing project in Auburn, which will help people transition out of homelessness, $1.5 million
• Expansion of Evergreen Treatment Services in King County for increased behavioral health capacity, $3 million

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    New law creates partnerships between local police and mental health professionals

New law creates partnerships between local police and mental health professionals

March 22nd, 2018|

A law by Rep. John Lovick ,D-Mill Creek, and Sen. David Frockt, D-Seattle, will create partnerships to help local law enforcement officers respond to calls that involve mental health issues.
“Officers testified that behavioral health is the number one public safety issue facing our state,” Lovick said. “As a former state trooper and Snohomish County Sheriff, I understand the problem. The cost to taxpayers and in shattered lives is enormous. This legislation brings mental health professionals to work in the field alongside law enforcement officers to help people in crisis get the help they need—help they wouldn’t get in a county jail.”
House Bill 2892 passed the House and Senate on unanimous votes and was signed into law on March 22 by Gov. Jay Inslee.
“We all know that law enforcement agencies are responding to a significant number of mental health related calls,” said Sen. David Frockt, D-Seattle, who helped write the legislation and sponsored it in the Senate. “Incorporating mental health experts into these responses makes sense both for the safety of the person in crisis and the responding officers. We’ve seen successful implementation in cities like Seattle and Tacoma. It’s time to expand these programs to the rest of Washington.”
Lovick said the legislation is meant to find new, more effective and less expensive partnerships to make sure people get the help they need while reducing the chances of bad outcomes. The legislation also includes flexibility for law enforcement agencies to use different models to handle mental health issues, including multiple agencies joining together under one umbrella, which will help small towns and rural counties.
“Police officers know that if someone is suffering from a mental health issue, arresting them over and over again doesn’t end that cycle,” Lovick said. “What actually works is to make sure that person gets treatment, which is the best possible outcome for that individual, for taxpayers and for the community.”

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    ’Putting the Women of Washington First’ bills signed into law

’Putting the Women of Washington First’ bills signed into law

March 22nd, 2018|

OLYMPIA – A package of bills to improve the lives of women throughout the state were signed into law Wednesday by Gov. Jay Inslee.

The “Putting Women First” package runs the gamut from equal pay, to the Reproductive Parity Act, to sexual harassment non-disclosure agreements, to removing barriers for harassment lawsuits, to prohibiting discrimination in employment contracts, to requiring breast density screenings and three-dimensional mammograms.

Below is additional detail on these bills and a quote from each sponsor:

Equal Pay
House Bill 1506, companion legislation to Cleveland’s Senate Bill 5140: addressing workplace practices to achieve gender pay equity by instituting penalties for wage discrimination on the basis of gender and for offering lesser opportunities on the basis of gender, and by prohibiting employers from retaliating against employees who discuss their rate of pay or benefits with other employees.

Sen. Annette Cleveland, D-Vancouver:
“When I first began fighting for pay equality in 2013, people asked me, ‘Is this still a problem?’ What they didn’t realize is that while the Equal Pay Act of 1943 called for equal pay between men and women for comparable work, the reality is that society has not caught up. Today women earn an average of 79 cents on the dollar compared to men with the same experience doing the same work.”

Reproductive Parity Act
Senate Bill 6219: The Reproductive Parity Act requires almost all health plans to cover all types of reproductive health care without cost sharing. It also requires all health plans that cover maternity care to cover abortion services. The bill was first introduced in 2012.

Sen. Steve Hobbs, D-Lake Stevens: “Washington state has long strived to ensure women control their own reproductive destiny. This law guarantees that right and also helps provide a little more certainty for women in our state. At a time when access to health care and services are at risk all across our country, I’m proud that once again our state has stood up to protect these rights.”

Sexual Harassment Prevention
Senate Bill 5996: Encouraging the disclosure and discussion of sexual harassment and sexual assault in the workplace.
Senate Bill 6313: Preserving an employee’s right to publicly file a complaint or cause of action.
Senate Bill 6471: Relating to developing model policies to create workplaces that are safe from sexual harassment.

Sen. Karen Keiser, D-Des Moines: “I have been working on addressing sexual harassment for quite some time, and passing this group of bills is great news for the women of Washington. Right now, we are seeing a cultural shift when it comes to what is acceptable in the workplace. Women are demanding a change, and it is incumbent that those with power listen. The fact that these bills were passed unanimously by both Democrats and Republicans shows how seriously the Legislature is taking this issue.”

Sexual Harassment NDAs
Senate Bill 6068: Shedding light on sexual harassers by removing barriers to lawsuits created by non-disclosure agreements.

Sen. David Frockt, D-Seattle: “In recent months, we have all been struck by the sheer volume and national discussion of prominent sexual harassment incidents across the country. We have seen that powerful perpetrators and enablers on company boards and other entities have hidden behind non-disclosure agreements to prevent the truth about patterns of behavior from coming out. This bill will lead to more truth and justice for victims.”

Breast Density
Senate Bill 5084: Providing women with timely information to improve early detection of breast cancer.

Sen. Christine Rolfes, D-Bainbridge Island: “This legislation simply allows a woman access to the same breast health information as her doctor. Knowledge is power, and this legislation will give patients the tools to make smart decisions and ask better questions about their own health.”

3-D Mammograms
Senate Bill 5912: Requiring coverage of tomosynthesis, or three-dimensional mammography.

Sen. Patty Kuderer, D- Bellevue: “About one-in-eight women in the United States can expect to develop breast cancer over the course of their lives. We need to be utilizing and supporting the use of early detection technologies so that we are saving lives and sparing families the tragedy of losing their daughters, sisters, mothers and spouses. This legislation will help ensure that economic circumstance or the type of insurance you have is not a barrier to accessing this life-saving technology.”

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    New protections for renters receiving housing assistance signed into law

New protections for renters receiving housing assistance signed into law

March 16th, 2018|

OLYMPIA – Governor Jay Inslee signed House Bill 2578, which protects low-income renters against discrimination because they receive rental assistance. Before, landlords could reject prospective tenants because they receive housing subsidies, even if they have good credit, no criminal history, and full-time employment.

In response to these discriminatory practices, Rep. Marcus Riccelli (D – Spokane) introduced House Bill 2578. This act prohibits landlords from refusing to rent to someone because they receive housing assistance.

“I don’t think it’s a surprise to anyone that Washington is having a housing crisis. Part of the problem is that renters who receive help can struggle to find somewhere to call home,” said Rep. Riccelli. “These hurdles just add to what has become a serious problem. This is just one of a list of actions we’ve taken this session to tackle Washington’s housing problem.”

“Housing is the first and most critical need that must be met for individuals and families,” added Sen. David Frockt (D-Seattle) a sponsor of source-of-income discrimination legislation in the Senate. “Very little can be helped when people are not in stable housing situations. The innovative aspects of this statewide policy, forged through consensus and compromise with the landlord representatives, ushers in a new era and a model for the country. Without a doubt, we need more affordable housing supply. But we also have housing assistance vouchers in place for a reason. This law will ensure that they are actually used in the private rental market, which is critical to addressing this crisis.”

Sen. Mark Mullet (D-Issaquah), who helped usher the bill through the Senate, thanked all stakeholders for coming to the table in good faith. “I am proud that Washington was the first state to partner with private landlords to ban source-of-income discrimination in a way that works for both renters and landlords,” said Sen. Mullet.

At the signing, Gov. Inslee expressed appreciation for the legislators who worked on the bill. “I want to thank Rep. Riccelli and everybody who’s worked on this bill for some period of time. It’s really a great step,” said Inslee.

With the Governor’s signature, House Bill 2578 becomes law.

Gov. Inslee signs Engrossed Second Substitute House Bill No. 2578, March 15, 2018. Relating to ensuring housing options. Primary Sponsor: Marcus Riccelli

Frockt applauds deal on Deadly Force initiative

March 8th, 2018|

Sen. David Frockt, D-Seattle, released a statement Thursday following the Senate passage of House Bill 3003, which amends Initiative 940.

The initiative would update Washington state’s law on the use of deadly force in policing, and will appear on the November ballot.

“The agreement reached between law enforcement groups and DeEscalate Washington is one of the most profound and important agreements I have seen since my time in Olympia. For the last two years, first on the Task Force on the Use of Deadly Force and then in the 2017 legislative session, we sought common ground. We worked to remove the word ‘malice’ from this statute and find language that would create a fair, objective standard for police accountability.

The language of the legislation passed today is the result of lengthy discussions and a campaign to put I-940 before the legislature. This is a signature achievement that, unlike what we’ve seen with the Department of Justice in DC, attempts to bring law enforcement and communities together behind better training, conflict de-escalation and accountability – as well as a safer environment for police officers and the people who interact with them. This is a model for the rest of the country to follow.”

“In addition to this compromise, the Legislature made considerable investments in mental health this session, which should lessen the burden on our state’s law enforcement. The Senate passed Senate Bill 5970, which would provide funding to deploy mental health response teams with law enforcement.  This, too, is exactly the kind of innovative reform that will improve police and community relations.”