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    Washington Conservation Voters Selects Senator David Frockt as 2019 Legislator of the Year

Washington Conservation Voters Selects Senator David Frockt as 2019 Legislator of the Year

August 26th, 2019|

Washington Conservation Voters, Washington’s political voice for the environment, is proud to announce that it has selected Senator David Frockt (D-46), as its 2019 Legislator of the Year. Sen. Frockt’s steadfast leadership earned him WCV’s highest honor. In the 2019 legislative session, he successfully led efforts to hold the state’s largest polluters accountable, invest in projects that restore habitat and promote clean air and clean water, and reduce dangerous toxic pollution in communities across the state. Sen. Frockt was first elected to the House of Representatives in 2010 and appointed to the Senate in 2011, where he is now serving his third term.

“Sen. Frockt came to the Legislature with a deep commitment to clean energy, tackling climate change, and protecting our public lands,” said Shannon Murphy, President of Washington Conservation Voters. “From his first day in Olympia, Sen. Frockt has worked tirelessly to ensure Washington is investing in environmental protection across the state. So many of this year’s environmental wins could not have happened without his leadership.”

“In what was one of the Legislature’s most successful sessions for the environment, Sen. Frockt is responsible for a remarkable accomplishment — holding big polluters responsible to pay for cleaning up toxic sites, protecting Washingtonians’ health, and putting the state on a path toward a cleaner future,” said Darcy Nonemacher, Government Affairs Director for Washington Conservation Voters. 

Since he took office, Senator Frockt’s achievements include:

  • Reforming the landmark “polluter pay” law to reduce toxic pollution, the Model Toxics Control Act (2019)
  • Helping shepherd through passage of Washington’s landmark 100% Clean Electricity Standard (2019)
  • Securing new funding to protect working forests that support local economies and provide benefits like clean water
  • Passing a groundbreaking law to ban toxic coal tar sealants
  • Raising investments in Puget Sound and orca recovery projects 

“As Washingtonians, we are so lucky to have access to some of the most beautiful mountains, forests, rivers, and waters in the country,” said Sen. David Frockt (D-Seattle). “My goal since day one has been to protect these treasures for all Washingtonians. This year, we were in a position to reform and restructure Washington’s toxic cleanup law in a way that hadn’t been done since the voters first passed it in 1988. I am deeply honored to be the Washington Conservation Voters Legislator of the Year – but our success is the result of hard work by a broad statewide coalition and all my colleagues who stepped up and took the right vote in the face of intense pressure from big oil.”

Senator Frockt is vice chair of Senate Ways & Means Committee and Capital Budget chair. He represents the 46th District, covering parts of North Seattle, Kenmore, and Lake Forest Park.

Gov. Inslee signs Cascade Care bill

May 13th, 2019|

Sen. David Frockt (D-Seattle) released the following statement today after Gov. Jay Inslee signed Senate Bill 5526, which creates the Cascade Care health plan — the first public health insurance option in the nation.

“Very simply, Cascade Care is designed to lower premiums and deductibles for families and people purchasing insurance on the individual market. Washingtonians need coverage that they can use to stay healthy and to insure that they are not in financial distress if they face a serious health related event.

This important bill moves us forward in our ongoing effort to provide high quality, more affordable health insurance to every Washingtonian, and I hope it will be an example to other states on what can be done to improve their systems.”

You can learn more about Frockt’s bill here.

Interview with KIRO Radio about preventing school shootings

May 9th, 2019|

A segment about Sen. David Frockt’s SB 5027, a bill to help prevent school shootings, was featured May 8 on The Dave Ross Show. Gov. Jay Inslee signed the bill earlier this week, on the same day another tragic school shooting occurred in Colorado.

Frockt told reporter Hanna Scott that his bill could save lives.

The bill clarifies the application of extreme risk protection orders (ERPOs) to minors, and is designed to keep firearms out of the hands of minors who are at a high risk of hurting themselves or others during a behavioral health crisis or through potential violent behavior.

The bill allows for people to apply for ERPOs for people under the age of 18. If court approved, an order would prohibit the minor from accessing, controlling, purchasing, possessing or receiving a firearm. The minor’s parent or guardian would be notified of their legal obligation to safely secure any firearms.

You can hear the full segment here.

  • Permalink Gallery

    Historic ‘public option’ healthcare bill passes Legislature, heads to Inslee’s desk

Historic ‘public option’ healthcare bill passes Legislature, heads to Inslee’s desk

April 28th, 2019|

— A bill passed April 27 by the Washington State Legislature would create a public option for health care coverage, available through Washington’s Health Benefit Exchange. The plan would be known as Cascade Care, and would be the first public health insurance option in the nation.

Senate Bill 5526, sponsored by Sen. David Frockt (D-Seattle), and led in the state House of Representatives by Rep. Eileen Cody, will give Washingtonians who purchase healthcare coverage on the individual insurance market an option that would decrease the cost of premiums, copays and other out-of-pocket expenses. Gov. Jay Inslee also supported the legislation, and worked with lawmakers throughout the process.

The bill passed with a 56-41 vote in the House, and a 27-21 vote in the Senate.

“Under the current administration in Washington DC, health care policy has gone backwards,” Frockt said. “Their policies have led to dramatic increases in premiums and deductibles for our residents who don’t have employer sponsored coverage rely on coverage from our health benefit exchange.”

Cascade Care will lend predictability by establishing standard benefit packages that are easier for consumers to understand and navigate, and will lower cost sharing — which includes deductibles and copays. The plan will also make cost sharing more transparent and predictable.

“Cascade Care is the next step in affordable and accessible health care for everyone and further demonstrates the Democratic desire to ensure access to care. It is that dedication that has led to the state’s lowest uninsured rate ever and a guarantee of essential health benefits to keep Washington families healthy,” said Rep. Eileen Cody, Chair of the House Health Care & Wellness Committee.

Cascade Care will be available to all Washingtonians, regardless of income, who are not covered by employer health plans. Washingtonians who receive care through an employer, Medicare or Apple Care will not be affected.

The bill has passed both the House and the Senate, and now goes to Gov. Jay Inslee for signing

“Every Washingtonian deserves access to consistent and affordable health insurance,” Frockt said. “We need to ensure that people in every county of our state have options to buy into the individual market. Cascade Care takes imperative steps to establish lower premiums and deductibles. This new option with standardized plans will not only make insurance coverage more affordable, but will allow people to have better access to care when they need it.”

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    Senate’s capital budget proposes life-changing investments in infrastructure

Senate’s capital budget proposes life-changing investments in infrastructure

April 28th, 2019|

The Washington State Senate today approved a two-year capital budget that would invest in priority infrastructure across the state in the areas of behavioral health, affordable housing, education and the environment.

The budget passed with a unanimous vote.

“The bipartisan support of this budget highlights the investments it makes on behalf of all Washingtonians,” said Sen. David Frockt, vice chair of the Senate Ways & Means Committee and the Senate’s lead capital budget writer. “The capital budget supports our schools, improvements to our behavioral health system, the environment, and other values that are so key to the Washington way of life.”

The budget invests $120 million in community based behavioral health investments, helping patients transition to care in their own communities.

It also includes $33.2 million for predesign, planning and design of a new, 150-bed behavioral health teaching facility at the University of Washington Medical Center. This project has broad bipartisan support and is seen as a critical component of Washington’s long-term strategy to create a new paradigm for mental health treatment in Washington State. 

“Washington is transitioning to a behavioral health system that helps and protects our most vulnerable neighbors, and this budget supports that,” Frockt said. “Our investment in the Housing Trust Fund compliments that investment — particularly a $35 million investment in housing with behavioral health supports.”

The budget includes $175 million in affordable housing loans and grants through the Housing Trust Fund. Allocations within the Housing Trust Fund include:

  • $10 million for high-quality modular housing to transition people out of homelessness quickly.
  • $35 million for supportive housing and case management services for people living with behavioral health disorders.
  • $10 million for competitively awarded grants for state matches on private contributions to fund affordable housing
  • $10 million for housing preservation grants
  • $5 million for housing veterans
  • $5 million for housing to serve people with disabilities

The capital budget invests about $148.4 million in toxics cleanup, prevention and stormwater assistance to local governments.

Additional environmental investments would prevent wildfires and help the orca population. Forest hazard reduction would receive $14.2 million. The budget contains funding spread across a variety of projects that would aid orca recovery, including habitat restoration.

The $63 million invested in state parks would expand Washingtonians’ options for outdoor recreation. About $3 million of that funding would go to a new, full-service Nisqually State Park near Eatonville. About $35.4 million would fund park maintenance.

An additional $85 million would fund outdoor recreation projects though Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program grants.

The budget would invest about $1.1 billion in K-12 education, with about $1.04 billion dedicated to the School Construction Assistance Program. About $23 million would benefit distressed schools, and $20 million would fund small district modernization grants.

The state’s higher education system would receive $974 million.

  • Permalink Gallery

    Bill designed to help prevent school shootings passes Senate

Bill designed to help prevent school shootings passes Senate

March 5th, 2019|

A bill to update Washington’s Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO) statute to improve school safety passed the Washington State Senate today with a strong bipartisan 43 to 5 vote.

Senate Bill 5027 would amend an initiative passed by Washington voters in 2015, and is sponsored by Sen. David Frockt (D-Seattle). The bill came at the unanimous recommendation of the Mass Shooting Workgroup, which met during the 2018 interim.

“We are facing the emergence of a school shooting generation of children, normalizing lockdowns and active shooter response plans amongst other safety drills,” Frockt said. “This is not normal and I believe our country needs to do more to prevent these tragedies that have affected not only Parkland and Sandy Hook, but Freeman and Marysville in our own state.”

“We can lead the way in our own state with this legislation that was agreed upon by the workgroup comprised of a number of different professionals including law enforcement, educators and behavioral health.”

This new bill is designed to clarify the application of ERPOs to minors, and keep firearms out of the hands of minors who are at a high risk of hurting themselves or others during a behavioral health crisis or through potential violent behavior.

The bill would allow petitions for ERPOs to be applied to people under the age of 18. If approved, an order would prohibit the minor from accessing, controlling, purchasing, possessing or receiving a firearm. The minor’s parent or guardian would be notified of their legal obligation to safely secure any firearms.

According to a report by Everytown for Gun Safety, shooters exhibited warning signs indicating that they posed a danger to themselves or others before shooting in about half of all mass shootings.

“We know that Washington’s ERPO law has saved lives, and we know that there are typically warning signs before school shootings,” Frockt said. “To me, applying this existing, effective law to minors is the logical next step along with many other bills we are going to pass to provide many more behavioral health supports to our kids.”

Background

Frockt introduced the original ERPO statute in 2015. After the bill stalled for two years in the legislature, Washington voters enacted an ERPO initiative in 2016, with an overwhelming 69 percent of the vote. The measure had strong support in nearly every corner of the state.

Washington was the fourth state in the country to enact such a law. Nine other states have since passed similar measures. The ERPO statute allows people to petition the court to remove someone’s firearms if that person poses a significant danger to themselves or others. However, in Washington the statute currently only applies to adults.

  • Permalink Gallery

    Sen. Frockt to be lead Senate sponsor of Cascade Care, public option health plan legislation

Sen. Frockt to be lead Senate sponsor of Cascade Care, public option health plan legislation

January 8th, 2019|

Sen. David Frockt (D-Seattle) announced today that he will sponsor a Senate bill to provide a public option for health insurance in Washington state. He released the following statement:

“The Trump administration has done everything in its power to undermine the health care coverage advances we’ve made in Washington. His policies have led to dramatic increases in premiums and deductibles for our citizens obtaining insurance on the individual market. His administration is today supporting a court case to overturn, in full, the Affordable Care Act including its protections for pre-existing conditions.”

“For those Washingtonians in the individual health insurance market, including those buying coverage on our exchange, Cascade Care is designed to apply downward pressure to the increases in premiums and deductibles that his terrible policies have led to. Over the last year, I have spoken directly with families and individuals who purchase coverage on the exchange who believe aggressive steps must be taken to bring premiums and deductibles down.”

“Cascade Care will lend predictability by establishing standard benefit designs that will be easier for consumers to understand and navigate by providing transparent and predictable cost sharing. Cascade Care will be available to all Washingtonians as it will have no income qualifier, but will not have any direct effect on the majority of Washingtonians who get their health care through their employers, Medicare or Apple Health (Medicaid).”

”I support and continue to support a universal health care system in this country. For the time being, the Trump Administration has put both a national and state based system out of reach. Cascade Care is an important step that can be done here in Washington that, in the long run, will lay the foundation for the universal system many of us are seeking.”

For additional information on Cascade Care, visit Gov. Jay Inslee’s Medium page.

Senate votes to extend financial aid access for DREAMers

January 25th, 2018|

Jan. 24, 2018

OLYMPIA— The state Senate voted Wednesday to expand financial aid opportunities for DREAMers in Washington’s higher education system.

“This bill fulfills a promise we made to DREAMers in 2014. Four years ago, we made the statement that all Washington kids ought to have the full range of educational opportunity that we offer in this state,” said Sen. David Frockt, D-Seattle, the bill’s prime sponsor. “But that bill left some gaps and this legislation is designed to fill them.”

“I cannot think of a more appropriate statement for this Senate to make at a time when the futures of thousands of young people in our state and across the country are up in the air. In Washington, we recognize their value as students and as leaders in the only country they have ever known. They deserve the full promise that our state and this country have to offer.”

These students currently have access to the State Need Grant and are able to pay in-state tuition at Washington’s colleges and universities. Senate Bill 5074 simply extends that standard, allowing DREAMers to apply for the College Bound Scholarship and the Higher Education Loan Program.

Senate Bill 5074 passed on a 38 to 11 vote and now goes to the House for consideration.

“Every student in our state should have the opportunity to pursue their college dreams, regardless of their immigration status,” said Sen. Rebecca Saldaña, D-Seattle, a bill cosponsor. “By expanding eligibility of this last-dollar scholarship, this bill finally fulfills the state’s promise to Washington’s dreamers. At a time when dreamers and their families face uncertainty from the federal government, we will keep working to ensure that they are supported here in Washington state— in our communities, schools, and institutions.”

  • Permalink Gallery

    Frockt: UW dental school woes highlight statewide dental care crisis

Frockt: UW dental school woes highlight statewide dental care crisis

October 26th, 2017|

The recent financial problems within the University of Washington’s school of dentistry is a symptom of a larger statewide dental care crisis, state Sen. David Frockt, D-Seattle, said this week.

“The financial problems in the UW school of dentistry underscore one of the main health care issues facing the state. Numerous studies and reports have shown we simply do not have enough different avenues for people with dental needs to obtain the care that they need. The UW’s efforts at the Center for Pediatric Dentistry, while laudable, highlight the fact that the reimbursement rates for children and adults served by Apple Health is simply inadequate. The state moved to restore some adult Medicaid dental coverage in recent years, but not at nearly the reimbursement rates required for private practices to open and take these patients broadly. That is one part of the problem, but not the only part.

“Additionally, the state has failed to act on expanding the number of dental health providers that could work in community health centers by training and placing dental therapists as other states have done. Finally, the hold up on the capital budget is a serious problem. We have included in that budget funding for millions of dollars for buildouts of dental capacity for community health centers around the state as well as two major expansions of emergency dental clinics and residencies in both Olympia and Spokane in conjunction with local hospitals. These investments were made precisely so those lacking in dental care do not let their conditions fester and lead them to the most expensive emergency room care.

“This week there are thousands of people from our state seeking out dental care at the annual free health clinic at Key Arena. This is just emblematic of the overall problem we are facing in Washington. We have much work to do to address these needs. This upcoming session many of us, including myself, will be working with all parties to address these needs more comprehensively.”

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    Frockt welcomes Murray’s AHEAD Act to help homeless students

Frockt welcomes Murray’s AHEAD Act to help homeless students

October 13th, 2017|

Sen. David Frockt, D-Seattle, speaks today during the rollout of a federal plan to aid homeless students that builds on legislation Frockt championed in the state Senate.

OLYMPIA — State-level programs to help the growing number of homeless students in public schools will be boosted by a federal-level program proposed by U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, state Sen. David Frockt, D-Seattle, said this week. Frockt and numerous other stakeholders and guests participated in a roundtable discussion on Wednesday led by Murray at the Educare Early Learning Center in White Center.

“Sen. Murray’s efforts are very important for homeless students in Washington who face incredible hurdles that come without stable housing,” Frockt said. “The AHEAD Act will dovetail effectively with bills we passed in Olympia in 2014 and 2016 (the Homeless Education Outcomes Act and the Homeless Student Stability Act (HSSA)) to provide more in-school services for homeless students and actual housing stability grants to for high homeless districts to support struggling families. Everett School District today told us today that they have helped dozens of homeless students into stable housing due to the grant they received under the HSSA.”

Murray’s Affordable Housing for Educational Achievement (AHEAD) Act will boost and integrate federal support with community efforts around the country, including those now underway in Washington.
“Sen. Murray’s legislation will create an innovative but community based federal program to support school-housing partnerships similar to those supported by the Homeless Student Stability Act,” said Frockt, who championed the HSSA over three years in the Legislature.

At Wednesday’s roundtable, working but formerly homeless mothers spoke poignantly of their struggles in navigating uncoordinated services while trying to find stable housing. Problems ranged from long waiting lists, to excessive tenant application fees and moving from place to place, pushing their school-aged children to the limit. They emphasized what is well known: housing stability is critical to enabling children to succeed in school.

HSSA funding was maintained and funded in the most recent State Budget at $4 million over the next two years. The AHEAD Act is pending before the U.S. Senate’s Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs.