Monthly Archives: January 2017

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    State bank would keep Washington dollars working for the people

State bank would keep Washington dollars working for the people

January 25th, 2017|

OLYMPIA – A bill to create the Washington Investment Trust, a publicly-owned depository for our tax revenue, was introduced to the Legislature this week by Sen. Bob Hasegawa, D-Seattle.

“The Washington Investment Trust will keep taxpayer dollars in our state working for Washingtonians instead of Wall Street,” Hasegawa said. “It will generate revenue, but also save money and provide public financing options by loaning money to ourselves rather than going through big banks and bond brokers. We could boost local economies, invest in infrastructure like clean water and sewer projects and even provide loans for students and small businesses. Currently, the state sets aside over $1 billion per year in our operating budget for debt service, much of which is profit to Wall Street. Instead of paying profits to bankers, we could be borrowing from and repaying ourselves.”

Senate Bill 5464 is modelled after the successful Bank of North Dakota (BND), which has successfully implemented it’s economic development and public support mission for almost a hundred years. The BND reported its 12th consecutive year of record profits for the state, which includes the period through the great recession and the ups and downs of the oil markets.

“In a time when we need to be fully funding education, this proposal puts state money back where it is most needed,” Hasegawa added.

Hasegawa has introduced similar measures in previous sessions but the bills have faced severe opposition from the banking lobby, which has successfully killed the bills in the legislative banking committees.

VIDEO: Hasegawa speaks to racial injustice and empathy on Martin Luther King Jr. Day

January 17th, 2017|

Sen. Hasegawa spoke on Martin Luther King Jr. Day about racial injustice, Black Lives Matter and other movements to raise awareness about racial equity and how we still look to Dr. King for guidance.

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    VIDEO: Hasegawa welcomes you to the 2017 legislative session!

VIDEO: Hasegawa welcomes you to the 2017 legislative session!

January 16th, 2017|

Hasegawa bill is nexus of good government and voting access

January 13th, 2017|

OLYMPIA – A bill to require counties to include prepaid postage on return envelopes for primary and general election ballots received a public hearing on Wednesday in Olympia (Senate Bill 5019). 

“A stamp is a small thing with a potentially big impact on our democracy,” said the bill’s prime sponsor, Sen. Bob Hasegawa, D-Seattle. “Our state is mail-in voting only, so this is really essential for voters to have unencumbered access to their basic constitutional right.”

The bill states that return envelopes for primary and general election ballots must include prepaid postage. The state will reimburse counties for the cost incurred.

Because counties only incur costs if the ballots are mailed, they have begun adding ballot drop box locations in recent years. Not all communities have local drop boxes, however, placing those residents at a disadvantage. The cost of this measure is likely to decrease over time as more voters use drop boxes. Hasegawa has introduced the bill in previous session with bipartisan support but Republicans have failed to give the bill a vote.

 

Hasegawa to Congress: ‘Our democracy is not for sale’

January 13th, 2017|

OLYMPIA – A public hearing was held on Wednesday for Senate Joint Resolution 8001, which calls on Congress to address unrestricted campaign spending under the U.S. Supreme Court decision called Citizens United. 

Citizens United effectively means those with the most money can speak the loudest in elections,” said the sponsor of the measure, Sen. Bob Hasegawa, D-Seattle. “People have rallied around this state and country to tell Congress to overturn this devastating court decision because our democracy should not be for sale. Less than two months ago, voters in Washington approved I-735, making us the 18th state to call for a constitutional amendment overturning Citizens’ United. This resolution makes us in lock-step with the people, and sends their message to Washington DC.”

The measure requests Congress to amend the constitution and give the legislative branch the authority to regulate campaign contributions, distinguish between natural persons and artificial entities – often referred to as corporate personhood – and require timely disclosure of campaign contributions. Legislatures in Vermont and California have approved similar resolutions.

Similar measures have been introduced in previous sessions but have failed to receive a vote in the Republican-controlled Senate.

 

Hasegawa bill gives equal voice to underrepresented groups

January 13th, 2017|

OLYMPIA – A bill sponsored by Sen. Bob Hasegawa, D-Seattle, aligns the missions of the state’s three ethnic commissions so they may better represent their constituencies.

 “This is a simple bill that will ensure all our diverse communities will have a strong voice in state government,” Hasegawa said. “It is critical that all communities can leverage their voices in the state lawmaking process and ensure fair and accurate representation.”

 Senate Bill 5020 would allow the Washington State Commission on African-American Affairs and the Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs to advise the Legislature on issues of concern to their communities. Currently, the two commissions report solely to the governor, while the Commission on Hispanic Affairs can take their concerns directly to the Legislature. Hasegawa’s bill would also repeal the sunset provision for the Commission on Hispanic Affairs.