Monthly Archives: March 2020

Stay Home, Stay Healthy

March 23rd, 2020|

Friends,

I know we are all concerned with the coronavirus outbreak and have many questions about what we can do to keep ourselves and our loved ones healthy.

First and foremost, I urge you to follow the directions of Governor Inslee and our state and local public health officials. Effective immediately, there is now a Stay Home, Stay Healthy order in Washington state, similar to recent orders issued in California and Oregon.

This requires everyone to stay home unless you are traveling for an essential activity like getting groceries, refilling prescriptions, going to a doctor’s appointment, and working at an essential business. Restaurants may continue to offer take-out and delivery service.

Previous efforts encouraging people to avoid crowds (beaches, parks, trails, etc.) have not been successful. Too many people are ignoring these requests and dismissing the seriousness of this pandemic, which means additional action is required.

This is really important as, like what’s happened in communities in Italy and China, our hospital system is expected to reach max capacity in the coming days. The chart below shows how quickly the ICU bed shortage will hit Washington with several other states not far behind.

I support Governor Inslee’s order as it is necessary to protect public health and limit the load being placed on our health care system. Walks in your neighborhood are ok. Walks in parks and on trails are not. Going outside is ok as long as you can maintain six feet of distance between others.

Please avoid the impulse of overstocking your shelves. The supply chains are still healthy and producing the everyday goods we all rely on. There is no need to buy more than you need. Please leave some for your neighbors. If everyone sticks to their normal buying habits, we’ll have enough to make sure everyone – including our health care workers, seniors and other people who are ill – have the supplies and items they need.

Yesterday President Trump issued a “major disaster” declaration for Washington, which will free up federal funding for crisis counseling and mental health training. Washington will also be receiving 1.6 million additional masks, 12 million disposable gloves, and 650,000 disposable gowns from the Strategic National Stockpile. These are the desperately needed personal protection equipment (PPE) resources that help keep our doctors, nurses, and first responders safe while caring for those who are sick.

This is completely uncharted territory, so naturally there are a lot of questions. Here are a few helpful links that will answer some of your questions.

Before the Legislature adjourned for the year, we appropriated $200 million to fund our state’s response, including monitoring, testing and support for local health departments. Lawmakers also acted to:

  • ensure people receiving unemployment insurance benefits will be able to receive them even if they can’t meet the work search requirement due to quarantine,
  • mitigate costs to businesses due to increased numbers of workers receiving unemployment insurance,
  • reimburse nursing homes that aid in the coronavirus response,
  • keep school employees eligible for health insurance for the rest of the school year even if they don’t meet the required number of work hours because of the coronavirus state of emergency.

I expect this is only the beginning of our work. The Legislature stands ready if and when additional action is needed.

Friends, we will get through this crisis, but we have to work together and follow the guidelines being laid out by the governor and public health officials. And if you are able, please consider donating blood during this time of great need.

Wash your hands, stay at least six feet away from other people, and please stay home.

My dad used to say, “you don’t always get to pick your challenges, but you do get to pick how you respond to them.”  We can do this.

 

 

 

 

 

Patty Kuderer
State Senator
48th Legislative District

 

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    Legislature approves several measures to reduce homelessness

Legislature approves several measures to reduce homelessness

March 13th, 2020|

OLYMPIA – The 2020 legislative session adjourned for the year on Thursday with several new policies and investments aimed at reducing homelessness on deck for becoming law.

“Homelessness was the number one issue coming into the session,” said Sen. Patty Kuderer (D-Bellevue), chair of the Senate Housing Stability & Affordability Committee. “I am encouraged by all we accomplished for the people of Washington. These new investments and changes in policy will have a real impact on people’s lives.”

The 2019-21 supplemental operating budget provides an additional $160 million to address housing and homelessness with new investments in services such as reducing youth homelessness, supporting a grant program for pregnant women and single mothers, and helping struggling families pay for child care.

The 2019-21 supplemental capital budget invests an additional $14 million in affordable housing and homeless programs, including $8 million to increase shelter capacity, $5 million for local community housing grant programs, and $1 million for a pilot program aimed at preserving mobile home communities.

“A supplemental budget year is typically meant to make minor tweaks here and there to the state budgets,” said Kuderer. “It was clear this year that minor tweaks simply weren’t going to cut it. Lawmakers in both chambers and both parties stepped up to address the challenges, particularly in the area of homelessness. We’re adjourning this week knowing our work this session will have a positive impact on communities across the state, and I look forward to coming back next session to build further on this important work.”

In addition to new investments, lawmakers approved several new policies to address homelessness and the insufficient supply of affordable housing.

Senate Bill 6378 (Kuderer/Macri) updates SB 5600, which was enacted in 2019, to extend pay or vacate notice periods from three to 14 days. SB 6378 adds additional protections for tenants such as prohibiting the threat of eviction for nonpayment of non-rent items.

House Bill 2512 (Orwall) takes tax lien foreclosure allowances afforded to homeowners in legislation approved in 2019 and extends them to mobile home owners to help low-income people stay in their homes.

SB 6617 (Liias) requires cities to revise local ordinances on parking requirements related to Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) that are built near transit stops. ADUs are an affordable living option for those who might otherwise be living on the streets or in overcrowded shelters. SB 6617 will encourage more ADU construction and increase housing supply.

SB 6231 (Kuderer/Walen) extends current property tax exemptions for improvements made to single-family homes to ADUs.

SB 6212 (Das/Ryu) gives local governments additional flexibility with locally-collected property taxes by expanding the use of those funds for affordable homeownership, owner-occupied home repair, and foreclosure prevention programs for low-income households.

HB 2950 (Marci) extends the Multifamily Property Tax Exemption to maintain current affordable housing units, particularly in high-rent areas like Seattle. Without this extension, rents for many people living in affordable housing would increase and possibly force them out of their homes.

HB 1754 (Santos/Darneille) limits the hosting-related regulations that cities and counties can place on religious organizations. This will help churches, temples, synagogues, and other faith-based organizations fulfill their missions to serve communities and to the people who need it most.

 

Coronavirus update

March 4th, 2020|

Friends and neighbors:

My sincere and heartfelt condolences go out to the friends and families of those who have passed away after contracting this virus.

It’s important to be thankful for and recognize the hard work and professional dedication of those on the front lines fighting this outbreak. The first responders helping deliver care to those who are sick. The public health officials working around the clock on prevention, testing, and treatment efforts. They all deserve our gratitude and support during these difficult and stressful times.

I am reaching out with helpful information about the novel coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, that is unfortunately spreading quickly in our region.

This is an evolving emergency, and I encourage you to frequently check the sites below and follow the social media accounts to stay up-to-date on the latest information.

Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention (CDC)

Washington State
Department of Health
King County
Health District
Website Website

Website

Facebook Facebook

Facebook

Twitter Twitter

Twitter

 


What you can do to help prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus

  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Stay away from others who are ill. Consider avoiding events with large groups of people. This is particularly important if you are at high risk or have people at high risk in your household.
  • If you have symptoms of coronavirus (fever, cough, and/or shortness of breath) or have traveled to a high risk area or come into contact with someone with the virus, call your doctor rather than going to the emergency room. Your doctor will determine if you should go to the ER.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.

There are additional guidelines from the department of health on what to do if you think you may have the virus here, here, and here.

Discrimination based on ethnicity or ancestry will make the situation worse. Having Chinese ancestry – or any other ancestry – does not make a person more vulnerable to this illness. Viruses – like all illnesses – don’t recognize race, nationality or ethnicity.

The Washington State Department of Health has established a call center to address questions from the public. If you have questions about what is happening in Washington, or how the virus is spread, please call 1-800-525-0127. Phone lines are currently staffed from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.

As an alternative, you can also call 206-477-3977 if you are in King County and believe you were exposed to a confirmed case of COVID-19.

 

 

Patty Kuderer
State Senator
48th Legislative District

 

 

Statement from Eastside lawmakers on coronavirus

March 2nd, 2020|

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

We have been informed by Public Health – Seattle & King County that there are multiple cases of coronavirus in King County, including multiple people who are hospitalized. Sadly, one individual has also died.

These illnesses are associated with an immunocompromised population in a nursing home and a dialysis facility in Kirkland. Public health officials are working closely with their leadership, staff, and families to contain and manage the situation at these facilities.

Health officials are also working as rapidly as possible to identify others in the community who have been exposed, isolate them and get them tested.

Public Health – Seattle & King County is fully activated. They are in close contact with CDC, State DOH, hospitals, the Emergency Medical Services system. The CDC is sending a high-level team to King County to help with the response.

King County government is coordinating together with Public Health to share information, deploy resources, and respond at maximum capacity.

We are fortunate in Washington to have expert public health officials who have experience in responding to pandemics, including coronavirus. We can all help by staying informed and following health guidance carefully.

If someone has symptoms, they should call their doctor – not go to the hospital. The doctor will make an assessment about next steps. If it requires a COVID-19 test, the doctor will then contact King County Public Health and they will arrange a test.

This is a very quickly moving situation and information is changing. You can keep informed on the Public Health – Seattle & King County website and Facebook page:

https://www.kingcounty.gov/depts/health/communicable-diseases/disease-control/novel-coronavirus.aspx

https://www.facebook.com/KCPubHealth/

Good personal health habits help prevent respiratory infections, including coronaviruses and influenza. These are simple yet effective actions, like staying home when you are sick, covering your coughs and sneezes with an elbow, sleeve or tissue, and frequently washing your hands with soap and water (or using at least a 60% alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available). See more here: https://publichealthinsider.com/2020/02/24/what-happens-if-the-novel-coronavirus-covid-19-spreads-here-a-conversation-with-our-health-officer/.

For more information:

https://www.doh.wa.gov/Emergencies/Coronavirus

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

Sincerely,

Sen. Manka Dhingra
45th Legislative District
Rep. Roger Goodman
45th Legislative District
Sen. Patty Kuderer
48th Legislative District
Rep. Vandana Slatter
48th Legislative District
Rep. Larry Springer
45th Legislative District
Rep. Amy Walen
48th Legislative District