Sen. David Frockt Newsroom

Senators propose ‘more appropriate’ reform of DWLS law

OLYMPIA — Bipartisan legislation introduced this week would reduce the state’s most commonly charged crime – driving while license suspended in the third degree – to a civil infraction.

Senators Joe Fain and David Frockt say Senate Bill 6189 would enable prosecutors to prioritize serious public-safety threats while ensuring that minor infractions do not restrict job and housing opportunities for people who cannot afford to pay traffic fines.

“Allowing prosecutors to focus on addressing the most dangerous public-safety threats like DUIs, distracted driving and aggressive motorists will make our roads and community safer,” said Fain, R-Auburn, whose previous service as a prosecutor in the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office concentrated on DUI cases.

“Civil infractions are a much more appropriate way to handle those who do not or cannot pay a ticket for whatever reason. Criminal charges reduce a person’s ability to rent an apartment or be considered for the very job they would need to pay the original fine.”

Failing to pay a traffic ticket or associated late-payment fees typically results in the suspension of a person’s driver license by the state Department of Licensing. A subsequent traffic citation then turns into two charges: the infraction itself, along with the charge known in legal parlance as DWLS III.

“The current law places a heavy burden on Washington residents who already have difficulty playing traffic fines,” said Frockt, D-Seattle. “Criminal charges severely limit a person’s economic future, trapping them in a vicious cycle of unemployment and an inability to reinstate their driver license.

“Prosecuting these people is also expensive for our taxpayers, costing the state more than $42 million in 2015 alone. It’s only right that we treat DWLS III as a civil infraction, not a criminal charge.”

Application of the criminal charge is inconsistent throughout the state, as some municipalities like Seattle and Yakima already tend to treat DWLS III as a civil infraction.

The ACLU Washington report “Driven to Fail: The High Cost of Washington’s Most Ineffective Crime” details the current law’s negative impacts on drivers and voters.

The bipartisan bill is expected to receive a public hearing later this month before the Senate Law and Justice Committee. The Legislature is currently in the third day of 2018’s 60-day legislative session.

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January 10th, 2018|Uncategorized|

Frockt to host town hall meetings with seatmates

Sen. David Frockt, Rep. Gerry Pollet and Rep. Javier Valdez will host a pair of town hall meetings in the first week of January.

The meetings offer constituents an opportunity to ask questions of their 46th District legislators prior to the 2018 legislative session that convenes on Jan. 8.

The legislators want to hear their communities’ concerns about issues facing the state and district, including the public education system, access to health care, affordable housing, protecting the environment, a fairer tax system, and protecting immigrant communities. They anticipate a meaningful dialogue on whatever is on constituents’ minds, from statewide policy issues to local community matters.

The first town hall meeting is scheduled for 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. Jan. 2 at the Lake Forest Park City Hall at 17425 Ballinger Way NE in Lake Forest Park.

The second meeting is scheduled for 7 to 8:30 p.m. Jan. 3 at the Nathan Hale High School Performing Arts Center at 10750 30th Ave. NE in Seattle.

December 20th, 2017|Uncategorized|

Frockt calls for early action on construction budget

Sen. David Frockt, D-Seattle, released this statement today following the release of Gov. Inslee’s proposed capital construction budget for 2018:

“I share the governor’s urgency in passing a long-delayed construction budget. His construction budget proposal rightly builds upon the four-corner agreement on a construction budget last July that has yet to receive a vote in the Senate.

“It’s time now for the Legislature to pass a construction budget based on the July 18th agreement and address our urgent infrastructure needs and make important investments in school construction, housing and mental health. As the Senate’s lead negotiator on this matter, I will be pushing for early action when the Legislature convenes in January.”

December 14th, 2017|Uncategorized|
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    With Democrats in majority, Frockt to serve as vice chair of Senate Ways & Means Committee

With Democrats in majority, Frockt to serve as vice chair of Senate Ways & Means Committee

In the 2017 legislative session, Sen. David Frockt, D-Seattle, fought hard for passage of a capital construction budget that was blocked in the final days of session. With the new Democratic majority, Frockt will renew that effort as vice chair of the Ways & Means Committee and as lead capital construction budget writer for the majority party.

This key change stems from Democrats gaining a one-seat majority in the Senate after winning a special election earlier this month.

“Our top priority is to get the capital construction budget passed,” Frockt said. “This construction budget contains a record $1 billion in school construction funds, including over $30 million for Seattle Public Schools, and more investments in numerous other vital projects in every community around the state. Passage of this budget is critical for job growth in every sector of Washington — rural, suburban and urban.

“In addition, I am honored that my caucus selected me to serve as the vice chair for the operating budget to the new chair of the committee, Sen. Christine Rolfes. Sen. Rolfes is a great legislator, a leader on education, and a good friend.  I am looking forward to working with her to move Washington ahead.”

Another priority for Frockt in 2018 will be public safety and mental health, areas he has focused on for several years in his role on the Senate Law and Justice Committee.  Frockt will continue to serve on this committee and on the Senate Human Services Committee.

The 2018 legislative session gets underway in Olympia on Jan. 8.

November 13th, 2017|Uncategorized|
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    Frockt: UW dental school woes highlight statewide dental care crisis

Frockt: UW dental school woes highlight statewide dental care crisis

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.”

October 26th, 2017|Uncategorized|
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    Frockt welcomes Murray’s AHEAD Act to help homeless students

Frockt welcomes Murray’s AHEAD Act to help homeless students

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.

October 13th, 2017|Uncategorized|

McCleary funding plan brings unintended consequences

The fresh analysis compiled by the Seattle Public Schools on the McCleary plan highlights problems on several fronts.

The process by which this plan was developed, under the time crush of a potential government shutdown, did not provide nearly enough time for the deep analysis required to ensure that all areas of the state benefited equally and to the level needed. Some districts in the region appear to be better off, however Seattle Public School’s detailed analysis using OSPI’s projections indicates marginal benefit in the early years of the plan and no benefit in the later years.

These projections were released 30 days after the budget was voted on and passed. This is not OSPI’s fault; the agency simply did not have the time to pursue a deep review given the looming government shutdown that was pressing all budget negotiations. This type of budget brinksmanship must stop in the future.

The unintended consequences of the plan, particularly in the realm of special education, must also be addressed.  In addition, the Legislature is going to need to revisit the local levy caps, as well as the inflation index used in the plan, to address the very real concerns of the Seattle School District and other school districts around the state. While overall there will be more money flowing from the state down to individual districts, these caps were a continued source of debate and controversy while developing the plan and must be dealt with next year before they kick in.

It was unintended consequences like these, as well as the disproportionately applied property tax increase and other concerns, that compelled me to vote against this plan when it came before us late in the legislative session.

In addition to this vote, I voted against the report to the state Supreme Court this year because it did not include district-level funding data or any mention of school construction funding. The agreed-upon capital budget, which contains an additional $35 million for Seattle school construction and approximately $1 billion across the state for school construction, is being held up over an unrelated dispute over water rights in rural areas. These rural areas, like our urban areas, are also awaiting critical school construction funds. The construction budget needs to pass as soon as possible so that these critical construction projects can continue or get underway to alleviate the overcrowded classrooms our students and teachers are facing daily.

As with any major reform bill at the state or federal level, additional legislation to fix or resolve consequences like these must be brought forward. I know that the Seattle Senate delegation will be working to bring such legislation forward. I will be working closely with the Seattle Public Schools and the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction over the next year to address these challenges faced by the Seattle district.

August 8th, 2017|Uncategorized|
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    Failure to pass capital budget will hit Seattle communities hard

Failure to pass capital budget will hit Seattle communities hard

Seattle area state senators warned today that the Senate’s failure to pass a capital budget will have dramatic effects on proposed investments for the Seattle area in K-12 education, community colleges, housing and health care, including mental health, among other critical needs.

Though capital budget projects around the state were agreed to by Democratic and Republican negotiators on Tuesday, Senate Republicans continued to insist that a separate water rights bill be resolved first before they would agree to vote on the budget and its corresponding bonds.   As a result, the Legislature adjourned from its third special session with no action on this vital budget that historically makes critical investments in Washington’s future.

The negotiated $4 billion dollar budget would have created thousands of jobs in all parts of Washington, including throughout the Seattle area.

The budget provided state matching funds for over $1 billion in school construction projects already approved at the local level, including at least $35 million for schools in Seattle, $15 million for Lake Washington School District and $8 million for Edmonds School District among others. Additionally, the budget provided for hundreds of millions of dollars in buildings for the higher education system from community colleges in this region to the University of Washington. At UW, the budget provided matching funds for the Burke Museum as well as the new Population Health Science building, leveraging the UW’s partnership with the Gates Foundation to make Seattle the world leader in global health. There was an additional $40 million to UW for advanced materials and clean energy test beds, the Evans School’s Parrington Hall, and renovation of the Medical School’s Health Sciences T-Wing.

The agreed-upon budget would have provided over $100 million for the Housing Trust Fund, including investments in local housing projects through innovative modular housing and tiny home projects to a new workforce housing development in Mt. Baker. It contained a first-of-its-kind investment in Community Health Centers to address Washington’s ongoing dental health crisis for the poor, who often lack access to dentists and wind up in local emergency rooms.

The budget would have built on the state mental health system by providing new facilities in a number of regions where the lack of treatment options is acute and where the state is under court order to find remedies. It would have invested in critical water infrastructure and flood control projects east of the mountains while also providing record investments in stormwater controls and conservation and restoration in the Puget Sound area.

“Having negotiated for the Senate Democratic Caucus and having reached across the aisle to reach an agreement on all of the proposed expenditures, I am very disappointed that this budget agreement was essentially held hostage to a resolution of a separate water rights bill,” said Sen. David Frockt, D-Seattle. “I recognized that that was an important issue, but the fact is we just ended the longest session in Washington State history without a new biennial capital budget for the first time in decades. These two issues – the budget and the water rights bill — need to be delinked for the good of the entire state. That is what we are supposed to be doing. Regrettably, they weren’t delinked, even though there were solutions on the table that would have provided immediate relief for rural property owners to dig wells.”

“The governor has indicated an openness to a continued effort to resolve this impasse so that these critical investments in Washington can be made. I will continue to work with him and with both parties to get this budget passed and funded.” Said Frockt.

“The Senate Republicans have taken it upon themselves to deprive our community of important projects and economic development investments that our most vulnerable depend on,” said Sen. Rebecca Saldaña, D-Seattle. “From critical affordable housing for seniors and the homeless, to community and arts centers and parks, my constituents will feel the impact of the GOP’s inability to govern.”

“The failure of Senate Republican leadership to pass a capital budget is both disappointing and frustrating,” said Sen. Jamie Pedersen, D-Seattle. “This reckless decision will prevent investments in schools, community healthcare, and the arts and cost thousands of jobs.”

“The Republicans’ refusal to allow the passage of this budget, approved by all but one Republican in the other chamber, is nothing less than a dereliction of their duties as public servants,” said Sen. Maralyn Chase, D-Shoreline. “They have committed to a course of action that will harm Washingtonians in every corner of our state.”

“Our infrastructure and quality of life will deteriorate, and all Washingtonians will share the pain to varying degrees,” said Sen. Bob Hasegawa, D-Beacon Hill. “It doesn’t make sense to hold a $4 billion jobs and infrastructure bill hostage for the right of developers to trump other people’s senior water rights.”

“I remain deeply committed to resolving this crisis, and finding a path forward in the weeks and months ahead,” said Sen. Reuven Carlyle, D-Seattle “I was proud to have secured funding to reduce class sizes through school construction and am devastated the deal has fallen apart. I’m not giving up and will fight to secure these vital dollars. Our Seattle delegation is 100-percent on board to support a responsible capital investment budget.”

Had it passed, the budget would have funded these projects in in Saldaña’s 37th District:

  • $3 million for Othello Homesight;
  • $3 million for Aging in PACE;
  • $2 million for Valley City Recovery Place;
  • $1.5 million for the Amara Building;
  • $1.3 million for the Multicultural Community Center in Seattle;
  • $1.1 million to clean up Mt. Baker Properties for new housing;
  • $750,000 for the Georgetown Steam Plant Historic Steam Plant;
  • $737,000 for El Centro e la Raza;
  • $600,000 for the Filipino Community Innovation Center;
  • $520,000 to expand Pratt’s Campus
  • $400,000 for Washington Care Services;
  • $400,000 for Ethiopian Community Affordable Senior Housing;
  • $360,000 for the Cherry Street Fellowship;
  • $315,000 for Children’s Playgarden;
  • $250,000 to increase dental clinic capacity via the Seattle Indian Health Board;
  • $200,000 for the Seattle Indian Health Board; and
  • $141,000 for the Mount Baker Community Club.

 

In Pedersen’s 43rd District, the budget would have funded:

  • $1.855 million for the Country Doctor Community Health Centers;
  • $1.5 million in renovations to the Asian Art Museum;
  • $1.5 million for the Campaign for Town Hall;
  • $1.5 million in improvements to Hugo House;
  • $1.3 million for Neighborcare;
  • $1.1 million to the University YMCA;
  • $750,000 for upgrades to the 5th Avenue Theater;
  • $643,000 for preservation of the historic University Heights Center;
  • $600,000 for University YMCA;
  • $500,000 to purchase the Lambert House;
  • $491,000 for upgrades to the Paramount Theatre;
  • $475,000 for redevelopment of the Arboretum Waterfront Trail;
  • $354,000 for the Cornish Playhouse;
  • $257,000 for Lighthouse No. 83;
  • $257,000 for Phase Three rehabilitation of the Stimson-Green Mansion Building;
  • $75,000 for NW Choirs;
  • $29,000 to replace the deck of the MV Lotus; and
  • $21,000 for Nikkei Herigate.

 

In Chase’s 32nd District, the budget would have funded:

  • $50 million for the Dept. of Ecology for leaking tank model remedies at the Strickland Chevron in Lynnwood;
  • $37.7 million for the Edmonds Community College’s Science, Engineering, Technology Building;
  • $3.5 million for Allied Health, Science & Manufacturing in Shoreline;
  • $2.8 million for an addition to the Public Health Lab South Laboratory;
  • $2.5 million for an addition to a Newborn Screening Wing;
  • $2.2 million for the South Snohomish County Community Resource Center in Lynnwood; and
  • $650,000 to increase dental clinic capacity at International Community Health Services in Shoreline.

 

In Hasagawa’s 11th District, the budget would have funded:

  • $7.5 million via the Department of Ecology for Floodplains by Design;
  • $3.5 million in construction loans for the Georgetown Wet Weather Treatment Station;
  • $3.05 million for Sunset Neighborhood Park in Renton;
  • $698,000 for roof repairs to the Museum of Flight;
  • $500,000 to develop the Lake to Sound Trail;
  • $500,000 for Geriatric Diversion;
  • $412,000 for the Sunset Career Center in Renton;
  • $11 million for conservation projects; and
  • $2.6 million for Community and Technical College projects.

 

In Carlyle’s 36th District, the budget would have funded:

  • $1.5 million for improvements to the Seattle Opera at the Center;
  • $900,000 for improvements to Interbay PDAC;
  • $400,000 in improvements to the Seattle Aquarium;
  • $258,000 for renovations to the PONCHO Forum;
  • $167,000 in improvements to the Millionair Club;
  • $65,000 in improvements to the Seattle Opera; and
  • $30,000 for renewal of the lower Yamasaki Courtyard.

In Frockt’s 46th District, the budget would have funded:

  • $2 million for renovations at the Magnuson Community Center;
  • $1.2 million for Lyon Creek Fish Barrier Removal at Lake Forest Park;
  • $250,000 for improvements to Moorlands Park in Kenmore;
  • $250,000 for improvement to the Kenmore Public Boathouse in Kenmore; and
  • $75,000 for improvements to the St. Edward State Park Environmental Learning Center.
July 20th, 2017|Uncategorized|
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    Capital budget deal has near-unanimous support and needs to pass in this special session

Capital budget deal has near-unanimous support and needs to pass in this special session

Sen. David Frockt, D-Seattle, released this statement today:

“I am pleased to report that late yesterday, in bipartisan four-corner negotiations, Republicans and Democrats reached a full agreement on a capital budget for the next two fiscal years.

“This $4 billion dollar budget will create thousands of jobs in all parts of our state, from rural to urban, from red to blue districts. It provides state matching funds for over $1 billion in school construction projects already approved at the local level, and hundreds of millions of dollars in buildings for our higher education system from the community college level to our four-year system.

“This incudes, for example, $67 million for an important new science building at Eastern Washington University in Cheney, where they are making great strides in turning out more STEM graduates for our growing economy. At UW, meanwhile, the budget provides matching funds for the new Population Health Science building, leveraging the UW’s partnership with the Gates Foundation to become the world leader in global health.  The agreed budget invests in local housing projects across the Puget Sound region, including areas like Shelton, through modular housing and tiny home projects to help address our homeless crisis around the state.

“In other areas, the budget builds on our mental health system by providing new facilities in a number of regions where the lack of treatment options is acute and where the state is under court order to find remedies. It invests in critical water infrastructure and flood control projects east of the mountains while also providing record investments in stormwater controls and conservation and restoration on the west side.  It provides much-needed dollars for prescribed forest thinning and burns in order to mitigate future wildfires and their economic costs.

“These are but a few of the key areas in the budget but they demonstrate the broad appeal that this legislation will have across the state, in all regions, where Washingtonians have come to us from their home communities  and called for the Legislature to work together on these investments. There is no doubt that it will have near unanimous support among legislators.

“It is time to act on this fully agreed-upon budget by the end of this special session tomorrow night and get this critical piece of legislation passed so that our fellow citizens can go to work in their home communities and building a more prosperous Washington.”

July 19th, 2017|Uncategorized|

Democrats, Republicans reach agreement on capital budget

Sen. David Frockt, D-Seattle, released this statement today following a four-corner agreement late Tuesday on a Capital Budget:

“On Tuesday afternoon, Democrats and Republicans in the House and Senate reached agreement on a full capital budget. This is great news for job creation, mental health improvements, environmental protection and investments in communities across our state.

“But perhaps most importantly, this agreement will invest more than $1 billion in school construction throughout Washington.

“We can vote on this bill tomorrow before the third special session ends. I ask that the bill be brought up for a vote.  I suspect it will have unanimous or near-unanimous support.  It is time to get to yes on all remaining issues and bring our work for 2017 to a close.”

July 19th, 2017|Uncategorized|