Monthly Archives: May 2018

2018 Session Report

May 11th, 2018|

Dear friends and neighbors,

When Democrats won the Senate Majority last November, my legislative colleagues and I immediately felt what Martin Luther King Jr. once called the “fierce urgency of now.” Hoping to embrace it, the Senate Democratic Caucus laid out an inspiring agenda to get our state back on track and moving forward.

I am proud to report that in just a short 60-day session, we were able to achieve a staggering number of progressive victories – the majority with bipartisan support – ranging from fully funding education and protecting women’s healthcare, to gun safety measures and net neutrality.

Our first order of business was to finish a few items remaining from the 2017 session. The top priority was to pass the capital construction budget, which included Washington’s largest-ever investment into school construction. Here in the 48th district, the 2017 capital budget, along with our 2018 allocations, will fund the following projects for our communities:

  • $1.5 million for Highland Village Preservation
  • $1.5 million to replace the Pacific Northwest Ballet School at the Francia Russell Center
  • $500,000 to modernize the Kirkland Performance Center
  • $200,000 to aid the Boys & Girls Club’s acquisition of the Lake Hills Clubhouse

In the 2018 supplemental operating budget, we also addressed critical needs facing our state. We invested in education, mental health, and jobs as well as completing the final piece of funding tosatisfy the McCleary decision, the state’s constitutional obligation to amply fund K-12 education. We did this all while cutting property taxes and maintaining a $2.4 billion reserve, the largest in state history.

For my part, I was the prime sponsor of six bills that reached the Governor’s desk this year. Please click here to read my full report.

I am deeply grateful for the impressive work of the many groups and individuals who helped make each of these bills a reality. I am even more grateful to know these policies are part of a much longer list of key legislation to pass this year, including those below!

However, we had hoped to get much more done this year, including stricter regulation of assault rifles and providing car tab relief. I am committed to working on these issues and many others over the interim to give us the best chance at passage next session.

It is truly an honor to serve as your Senator and my door is always open. If you have any questions about this session or any topic, please feel free reach me by email at or by phone at 360-786-7694.

Best regards,

Click Here to Read My Full 2018 Legislative Session Report

Blog: Time to Revisit I-200

May 11th, 2018|

In 1998, voters approved Initiative 200, a measure that effectively banned affirmative action on Washington’s college campuses and in state contracting.  The aim of the initiative was to level the playing field in college admissions and public employment. But it was based on a flawed premise that we all start from the same point. We don’t. And nearly 20 years later, the evidence overwhelmingly shows I-200 has had the effect of increasing, not decreasing, discrimination.

For example, during the five years before the passage of I-200, state agencies and higher education institutions spent 10% of their contracting and procurement dollars with certified minority and woman-owned businesses. In the years since, that rate has declined by an average of 3% every year.

If that rate had stayed the same, it would have meant $3.5 billion more dollars for small businesses owned by women and people of color. If it had grown, as we had hoped under I-200, it would have meant even more dollars for those communities.

Minority enrollment at the University of Washington also fell after the passage of I-200, and, despite the college stepping up efforts to recruit more students of color, minorities continue to be underrepresented compared to the population of our state. In the fall of 2014, 7% of students enrolled at UW were Latino, and only 3.5% were African American. Statewide, of the college-age population, 16% were Latino and 6.7% were African American.

I have represented people in discrimination lawsuits for most of my legal career. When I see these kinds of disparities, it is clear to me that I-200 has failed to meet its intended goal and that now is the time to truly level the playing field so we all have a fair shot at reaching our full potential.

[To all who emailed me with the subject line “Reward or punish for SB 6406”: Offering a campaign contribution to me or threatening to donate to a political opponent based on my vote on legislation repealing I-200 is illegal under Washington State law. If you sent me such a message, you did not get a response from me as I will not engage with constituents in this manner. Please also know you are welcome to discuss this and other legislation with me in my district office or over the phone anytime – to set up a meeting email Thank you!]