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.”

New bill would promote school safety in wake of mass shooting

February 24th, 2018|

OLYMPIA — A bill introduced Friday by Sen. David Frockt would align the age and background check requirements for the purchase of certain rifles with those already existing for handgun purchases.

Senate Bill 6620 also prioritizes school safety in the wake of a mass shooting in Parkland, Florida by creating mechanism for students to report dangerous behavior and by providing funding for emergency response systems.

“The brave students of Parkland, Florida have changed the conversation in this country regarding gun safety,” said Frockt, D-Seattle. “This shooting reminded us that there’s a lot of work to be done when it comes to school safety. It reminded Washingtonians that our own children are just as much at risk.

“This is a logical, reasonable, common-sense step toward preserving the safety of our students, teachers and school staff. I encourage other lawmakers to stand with me in support of this potentially life-saving measure.”

The bill is based on previous legislation introduced at the recommendation of Attorney General Bob Ferguson, and would do the following:

  • Requires the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction to allocate grants to school districts for the purpose of implementing emergency response systems. These systems would expedite law enforcement response.
  • Create the Students Protecting Students program within the Office of the Attorney General. Students would be able to anonymously report via telephone, text or email potentially dangerous, violent or criminal activities. Information would immediately be forwarded to local law enforcement and/or school officials.
  • Aligns the requirements for sale or transfer of a rifle with tactical features with existing requirements for the sale or transfer of a handgun. Purchasers would have to be 21 or older. The sale or transfer of these guns would require a state and federal background check.

Currently, these firearms may be purchased by anyone 18 or older, and with only a federal background check.

SB 6620 will be sent to the Senate Ways & Means Committee for consideration.

Frockt to participate in Telephone Town Hall

February 14th, 2018|

Call in to speak with Senator Frockt, Representative Pollet and Representative Valdez of the 46th legislative district for their 2018 telephone town hall!

To participate, call 877-299-8493 and use the pin “116293”

Or, wireless users can visit https://vekeo.com/whdc46/ to sign up for the call.

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    Bill would deploy mental health response teams with law enforcement

Bill would deploy mental health response teams with law enforcement

February 13th, 2018|

OLYMPIA — Legislation passed Monday by the Senate would assist law enforcement agencies in partnering with mental health professionals to respond to crisis situations in a safer, more helpful way.

“We all know that law enforcement agencies are responding to a significant number of calls,” said Sen. David Frockt, D-Seattle. “This bill will expand successful mental health field response teams already operating in Seattle, Tacoma and other areas of Washington.”

Frockt’s Senate Bill 5970 would establish a grant program to fund crisis intervention response pilot projects — partnerships between law enforcement agencies and mental health professionals. The Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs would coordinate the program.

The bill would allow agencies to build crisis intervention response programs that best fit their communities.

“We gave it a lot of flexibility because the model that works in Seattle may not be exactly what they need in Spokane, or in Orting, or in any other jurisdiction,” Frockt said. “Different areas have different needs, and the local communities and agencies know those needs better than we do.”

Frockt worked closely with the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs to develop this measure. Both that agency and the Association of Washington Cities support the bill.

The Seattle Police Department in 2014 implemented a Crisis Intervention Program. Five officers working within the unit have special crisis intervention training, and respond to calls with a civilian mental health professional. Frockt rode along with this unit last year to observe their efforts.

The department responded to 9,154 crisis incidents in a one-year period, according to a report. About 20 percent of these crisis contacts resulted in referrals to community or social services. About 31 percent resulted in emergent detention, and about 11 percent resulted in voluntary committal. Only about 8 percent resulted in arrests.

SB 5970 was approved unanimously by the Senate. The bill now proceeds to the House for consideration.

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    Senate votes to fix funding issues for behavioral rehabilitation services for children

Senate votes to fix funding issues for behavioral rehabilitation services for children

February 12th, 2018|

OLYMPIA — A bill passed today by the state Senate would address funding issues for the behavioral rehabilitation services that help Washington’s children.

“These youth are some of the most vulnerable in our state, and we’ve known for years that they’re not receiving the services they need,” said Sen. David Frockt, D-Seattle. “Many of these children are in foster care. In many instances, they have suffered neglect or abuse. We are their Washington family, and we must ensure the services they need are funded so these children can move toward a better life.”

Currently, the state reimburses behavioral rehabilitation providers at levels far less than the actual costs of helping the children in need of these services. The current cost of business for these facilities is $248 per day, per child. The actual cost of providing services is $411 per day, per child.

As a result of this funding disparity, the state has lost more than 170 behavioral rehabilitation service beds since 2009. Between 60 and 70 Washington children are being treated out of state, and another 195 children are being housed in hotels awaiting behavioral rehabilitation service beds — costing the state about $2,100 per day, according to the Children’s Administration.

Many of the children served by these programs are in foster care.

Senate Bill 6013 would require the state Department of Children, Youth and Families to facilitate a workgroup to design a rate payment methodology based on the true costs of providing behavioral rehabilitation services. It would also require that these services be forecasted and budgeted in the future.

The bill passed with a unanimous vote in the Senate.

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    Senate passes bill to eliminate a form of housing discrimination

Senate passes bill to eliminate a form of housing discrimination

February 9th, 2018|

OLYMPIA — A bill passed in the Senate today would prevent landlords from discriminating against tenants based on the source of their income. The bill is sponsored by Sen. David Frockt, and passed with the strong support of Sen. Mark Mullet, D-Issaquah, chair of the Senate Financial Institutions & Insurance Committee.

“I can think of no more urgent issue in our state than making sure that people have access to affordable housing,” Frockt said. “We want people to be able to live in their homes and not be forced into housing distress and the myriad consequences of that.”

“We’re proud to be the first state to partner with private landlords to expand access to housing for people with Section 8 vouchers,” Mullet said.

Senate Bill 5407 would prohibit landlords from discriminating against tenants whose income includes housing subsidies, veterans’ assistance, or other forms of public assistance. It would prevent landlords from refusing to rent property, expelling tenants, or discouraging rental to a tenant based on their income source.

State law already prohibits landlords from discriminating against tenants based on their sex, race, sexual orientation and other factors.

“Homelessness is a crisis in Washington state, and we have limited tools to solve this problem,” Frockt said. “One of those tools is housing assistance. But that only works if people are able to rent homes using that source of income.”

A one-night count in 2017 identified more than 11,600 people experiencing homelessness in King County alone. About 45 percent of state funding set aside for ending homelessness is intended to be used in the private, for-profit rental market.

Frockt’s bill also offers protections to landlords, in the form of a mitigation fund. The fund would provide landlords who rent to tenants with qualifying sources of income the following: up to 14 days of lost rental income, up to $1,000 for eligible repairs, and reimbursements for damages reflected in a judgement obtained against a tenant. This innovation – the first of its kind in the country – is designed to address landlord concerns and was developed in close consultation with landlord groups. As a result of this work, the measure received strong bipartisan support, passing with a 33 to 14 vote.

Twelve states already prohibit source-of-income discrimination against tenants.

SB 5407 now moves to the House for consideration.

This bill is one of three bill passed Friday intended to improve access to affordable housing and emergency shelters. Senate Bill 6371 regards the Housing Finance Commission, and Senate Bill 6294 exempts certain shelters from impact fees.