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2020 Session Preview: Affordable Housing and Homelessness

January 9th, 2020|

I was part of a panel discussion today in Olympia to talk about what lawmakers can and should be doing to address homelessness and the affordable housing crisis.

Last session, we adopted several bipartisan housing policy reforms and made important investments with our state budgets that help people find and retain stable housing. I’m optimistic we will continue that momentum into 2020 as there’s still more work that needs to be done.

Many thanks to AP’s Rachel La Corte for moderating a great discussion on such an important issue facing virtually all communities across Washington.

As always, TVW was there to broadcast our conversation. You can check out the discussion with the video below.

 

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    Governor signs bill extending notice for eviction, expanding tenant protections

Governor signs bill extending notice for eviction, expanding tenant protections

May 9th, 2019|

Gov. Inslee today signed legislation extending the requirement for pay-or-evict notices in Washington state to 14 days in an effort to pre-empt the cycle of homelessness before it begins.

Sponsored by Sen. Patty Kuderer (D-Bellevue), Senate Bill 5600 brings Washington state into the national norm for eviction notices. Until now, Washington required only three days’ notice to tenants before an eviction, compared to 26 states and the District of Columbia that have longer notice periods. 

“For people living paycheck to paycheck, now over half of Americans, extending the notice period can mean the difference between staying in their home or being out on the street,” said Kuderer. “But it’s not only help we should provide. For those facing hardships, we should offer resources, flexibility, and compassion along the way.”

SB 5600 would also make uniform eviction notices available to landlords written in plain language, including information on civil legal aid resources available to tenants and where to find translated copies of notices.

“Times have changed since the Residential Landlord Tenant Act was first enacted decades ago,” said Kuderer.  “Now, too many people are one unexpected medical bill, car accident, or family illness away from eviction. These reforms will make the lives of working Washingtonians more secure.”

Additional reforms to the eviction process in the bill include the use of judicial discretion in nonpayment of rent cases, requiring consideration of factors beyond the tenants’ control. In certain cases, landlords will be able to access the Department of Commerce’s mitigation fund for reimbursement of any shortfall in rent. 

“This legislation is a product of hard-earned compromise by a broad coalition of tenants’ rights advocates, private property managers, housing authorities, renters, legislators and the courts,” said Kuderer. “I especially want to thank my partner in the House, Rep. Nicole Macri, for her continued work as a steadfast advocate for people experiencing homelessness and ensuring we keep hardworking families in their homes.”

SB 5600 was passed by the House on a vote of 51-46 and by the Senate by a count of 30-18.

Governor signs legislation to reduce suicide by firearms

May 7th, 2019|

Legislation suspending access to firearms for those who have been detained under Washington’s Involuntary Treatment Act (ITA) was signed into law today by Gov. Jay Inslee.

Senate Bill 5181, sponsored by Sen. Patty Kuderer (D-Bellevue), would prohibit someone detained for 72 hours on the basis they present a likelihood of serious harm to themselves or others from possessing a firearm for six months.

“It’s clear that access to firearms makes it easier to act on suicidal thoughts in a single moment of desperation,” said Kuderer. “There are very few ‘do-overs’ when a gun is used, and this is a reasonable safety measure for the individual in crisis and for others in our communities.”

In 2017 alone, 1,292 Washingtonians took their own lives. Almost half of those deaths were with a firearm. Recent studies in Florida reveal that of people who both legally owned and used a gun in instances of suicide, 75 percent had records of a 72-hour involuntary hold. Additionally, 33 percent of individuals arrested for a violent gun crime also had records of involuntary holds. 

“If someone is involuntarily committed during a time of crisis while exhibiting signs of violence toward their family, the public or themselves, it is in the interest of all parties to take lethal weapons out of the equation,” said Kuderer. “Today we have made real progress that will spare individuals and those they love the tragedy of a life lost too soon.”

SB 5181 makes necessary changes to our current laws by increasing the window of time for people to receive mental health treatment and support from friends and family, and gives family members time to consider or file for an Extreme Risk Protection Order.

Individuals who have been placed on a 72-hour ITA may petition at any time to have their firearms returned before the temporary restriction ends. Otherwise, at the end of six months, weapons are returned automatically.

The Senate approved SB 5181 with a vote of 26-19. It passed the House of Representatives on a vote of 55-40.

March 15 Newsletter

March 15th, 2019|

Greetings!

What an exhilarating first half of the 2019 session! Over the past couple of weeks, the Senate has been hard at work in floor session, debating and passing over 300 bills.

But before we get to highlights, I want to make sure you are invited to the 48th Legislative District Town Hall on Saturday March 23rd from 10:30AM-Noon at Redmond City Hall. You can find full details and RSVP by CLICKING HERE! Rep. Slatter, Rep. Walen, and I cannot wait to be back in district to update you in full on the 2019 session.

This last Wednesday was “House of Origin Cutoff” in the Legislature, which is the date by which Senate and House bills must move out of their respective chambers in order receive further consideration. I’m proud to say that this year ten of my bills have moved over to the House of Representatives. Here is the full list:

Housing & Homelessness:

SB 5600 – Eviction Notice Reform

Firearm Safety:

SB 5181 – Initial Detention Procedures

Election Reform:

SB 5078 – Presidential Tax Disclosure

SB 5074 – Faithless Electors

SB 5224 – Eliminating Advisory Votes

SB 5227 – Receipt of Voter Registrations

SB 5779 – Ballot Drop Box Locations

Healthcare:

SB 5184 – Mail Order Pharmacies Reform

Environment:

SB 5077 – Single Use Plastic Straws

Labor:

SB 5765 – Industrial Insurance for Freight Transportation

NAVRA

Governor Inslee Signs the Native American Vote Rights Act!

Eviction Reform:

As the Chair of the newly-created Senate Housing Stability & Affordability Committee, our focus on preventing homelessness before it begins was granted a huge win with the Senate passage of SB 5600, which extends the eviction notice period from three to fourteen days (compare this with commercial tenants who have 30 days).  We learned in committee that evictions are the leading cause of homelessness, and that Washington is an outlier with a short three-day pay or evict notice period. Of the 26 states with longer notice periods, those with 14 days saw a decline in evictions, no effect on housing inventory, and no increase in the demand for taxpayer funded rental assistance. The advocates for landlords and tenants are to be given huge credit for their work in making hard-earned compromises that gives tenants a little more time when needed to pay the rent and protects landlords by expanding the Landlord Mitigation Fund, bringing fairness and balance to our eviction process. 

Watch Dr. Tim Thomas discuss the need for eviction reform here!

Access To Democracy

Once more in 2019, expanding access to our democracy and updating our system of elections is a major priority in the Legislature. Already, Governor Inslee has signed two significant bills: the Native American Voting Rights Act and legislation to move Washington’s Presidential Primary to the second Tuesday in March.

Every Washingtonian should have full confidence that the will of the voters will be respected and upheld. That’s why this session I have been working to pass two bills to cut waste and ensure our electoral process functions properly.

Growing up, my parents told us that our word was the most valuable thing we had to give to someone. In 2016, Washington’s twelve electors pledged to support the winner of our state’s popular vote. Fully one-third of them broke their word and cast votes for two candidates who were not even on the ballot. We cannot allow electors to have that kind of power – essentially turning a ministerial task into a major political decision affecting all Washingtonians. If enacted, SB 5074 would eliminate the fine and instead replace a faithless elector with someone who will be true to their word to guarantee that the winner of the popular vote in Washington receives every one of our crucial Electoral College votes. 

The Senate also passed SB 5224, which would eliminate wasteful and misleading advisory votes. When Washingtonians open our ballots, the first thing we see is a slew of questions with overly-complicated language that lack context and oftentimes induce confusion and frustration. This should not be the experience of those earnestly participating in democracy. I think we all know a friend or family member who was confused by advisory votes and then angry to learn they are not even binding. Add in the cost to the taxpayer for drafting, printing, and mailing – in 2017 alone advisory votes cost over half a million dollars – and taxpayers are funding what amounts to a state funded push poll. Saving voters aggravation and money is the right thing to do.

State Gov

Suicide Prevention

Sadly, in 2017 nearly 1,300 Washingtonians ended their lives. In just under half of those tragedies, a firearm was used. Let’s face the reality: there are very few do-overs when a firearm is used. The terrible truth is that access to firearms makes acting on suicidal thoughts easier in a moment of despair. If we are serious about preventing suicide, we must take meaningful steps to limit accessibility to firearms. SB 5181 makes this possible by temporarily removing firearms access for 6-months to those who have been brought in as a danger to themselves or others on a 72 hour involuntarily treatment hold. This bill will reduce suicide by gun, and for those of us for whom this bill is too late, this policy will make a difference in the future. Let’s give people who are suffering from mental illness just that little extra amount of time to get the help they need, or to give their family time to get an Extreme Risk Protection Order. That’s why I’m working to see SB 5181 enacted this year.

Lastly, I want to thank you for your continued advocacy over the course of this legislative session. I look forward to seeing you all on March 23rd!

Best Regards,

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    Senate approves legislation extending eviction notice to 14 days

Senate approves legislation extending eviction notice to 14 days

March 9th, 2019|

Taking action to interrupt the cycle of homelessness before it begins, the Washington state Senate today passed legislation that would require 14 days notice to evict a tenant.

Senate Bill 5600, sponsored by Sen. Patty Kuderer (D-Bellevue), also expands legal access for tenants and standardizes the requirements for an eviction notice. The current requirement notice for an eviction is three days. With many people living paycheck to paycheck, that provides scant time to recover from a significant unexpected expense such as a car repair or medical bill, and stay current with rent payments.

“We have heard definitively from experts, and from those directly impacted, that evictions are the leading cause of homelessness in Washington state,” said Kuderer. “When the Senate formed the new Housing Stability & Affordability Committee, we redirected our statewide approach on homelessness to include prevention. This legislation is a significant step in that direction.”

Twenty-six states and the District of Columbia have notice periods longer than three days. Among those, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Tennessee, Vermont, and Wisconsin have implemented a fourteen-day notice.

SB 5600 would also require uniform eviction notices written in plain language available to landlords for use that includes information on civil legal aid resources available to tenants and where to find translated copies of the notices.

“The eviction process can be complicated and overwhelming for anyone facing the possibility of homelessness,” said Kuderer. “Simplifying language is about more than conveying information to tenants, it is about increasing accessibility to a legal system in which they have every right to participate.”

Passage comes thanks to hard-earned compromise from a broad coalition of support, including tenant advocates and property owners. Additional reforms to the eviction process in the bill include the use of judicial discretion in cases over rent. requiring consideration of factors beyond the control of tenants in nonpayment, and allows landlords to recover some funds through the Department of Commerce’s mitigation fund.

The Senate approved SB 5600 on a bipartisan vote of 31-15 and now moves to the House for consideration.

February 14 Newsletter

February 14th, 2019|

Greetings!

We are now over a month into the 2019 legislative session and, through snow and sleet, the Senate is hard at work passing bills out of committee!

This session, I’ve introduced a combined 37 bills, joint memorials and resolutions, on issues ranging from reducing gun violence, expanding access to our democracy and strengthening supports for youth experiencing homelessness.

Kuderer Sworn In

If you’d like to see the full list, you can view and learn about each of my sponsored bills by clicking this link. In the meantime, here are some highlights from the session so far!


Sen. Kuderer is sworn in

Women In Cloud

Only five percent of all tech industry leaders are women. If that were true of the Legislature, I would be one of only a few women working on behalf of nearly 7.5 million Washingtonians. If that were the case, it would rightly be viewed as an abject failure in fair representation.

That’s why I sponsored Senate Resolution 8602 recognizing the work of Women In Cloud, an organization dedicated to expanding the leadership role of women in the tech industry and ensuring that digital spaces are more than just inclusive for all, but created by all!

Read more coverage of the resolution and the WIC conference from Geekwire: ‘We cannot let the next generation down’: Women in Cloud Summit rallies crowd to turn the tide in tech

Tobacco to 21

When I was growing up, my parents offered to pay each of their nine children if they reached age 21 without ever smoking. Seven of the nine were paid, including me, and all of us remain nonsmokers to this day. What my parents innately knew, medical science has now confirmed. If you don’t smoke by age 21, it is extremely unlikely you ever will.

That’s why I once again introduced legislation to raise the legal age to purchase tobacco and vaping products to 21. According to the CDC, more than 90% of adult smokers began before the age of 21. And the alarming increase in vaping in schools has jeopardized the years’ long downward trend in the number of Americans who smoke.

We all know someone who has suffered and possibly died from a smoking-related illness. If we can interrupt this cycle, we know it will save more lives and reduce healthcare costs. We’ve already heard the bipartisan bills in the House and Senate. We can make Washington healthier this year!

For more, I recommend you read the following December 30 op-ed to The Seattle Times: Raise sales age to 21 for all tobacco products to save our youth

Banning High Capacity Magazines

Mass shootings and individual acts of gun violence have become sadly routine in our society. Everyone, from all sides of these issues, knows what that news cycle looks like. Students in “active shooter drills,” buying bulletproof backpacks, and experiencing the horror of burying their classmates. Enough is enough.

High capacity magazines, like the ones used in the tragic Las Vegas and Thousand Oaks shootings, enable mass carnage. Closer to home, the shooters in Mukilteo and Burlington both used high capacity magazines to take eight lives far too early.

The argument that more than 10 rounds is needed for self-defense is not persuasive, especially when the NRA’s own statistics show that only about 2 rounds are ever fired in defense.

Limiting magazine capacity to 10 rounds, as I have proposed in Senate Bill 5062, strikes a balance, allowing critical time for first responders to intervene and save lives while permitting magazines with enough ammunition to maintain self-defense.

Full coverage from the Tacoma News Tribune: Gun magazine sizes, other firearms restrictions at play in renewed debate at Capitol

Snowed In

Snowed in at the Capitol!

Eviction Reform

When I was elected Chair of the newly formed Senate Housing Stability & Affordability Committee, I knew one of our greatest challenges was to overhaul our statewide housing and homelessness systems to focus on prevention.

So when we heard testimony that evictions were the number one cause for homelessness in our state, I knew we had an entry point to keep people in their homes.

Right now, residents in Washington can be evicted with only three days’ notice, even if they’re only a day late and a buck short. That’s a full 27 days shorter than the law gives commercial tenants. Twenty six states have notice periods longer than three days. Senate Bill 5600 would give a little more grace and flexibility to tenants across our state by increasing the eviction notice to 14 days.

You can watch the full press conference on Housing and Homelessness from TVW here.

Lastly, I want to invite you to head on over to my new official Senate Facebook page where I’ll be providing more regular updates and inviting your thoughts and feedback as the session progresses. We’ve got an aggressive agenda in 2019 and I want to hear from you as we make big changes to put hardworking Washingtonians first!

Best Regards,

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    Kuderer sworn in for first full Senate term, poised to address statewide crises

Kuderer sworn in for first full Senate term, poised to address statewide crises

January 14th, 2019|

Sen. Patty Kuderer (D-Bellevue) was sworn in today for her first full term serving Washington’s 48th Legislative District, which includes Bellevue, Redmond, Kirkland, the Points communities, and Medina.

Kuderer joined the Senate in 2017 upon appointment and quickly established herself as a leading advocate for expanding access to democracy, reforming the juvenile justice system, and finding ways the state can be a better steward of taxpayer dollars.

“The constituents of the 48th district have made it clear that they expect Washington to be a leader in supporting and enacting progressive policies in the midst of a chaotic national environment,” said Kuderer. “I am proud of the work we have accomplished together to make our state fairer and more inclusive for all, but our work is far from over.”

Selected by her colleagues to chair the new Senate Housing Stability & Affordability Committee, Kuderer is eager to bring new, diverse voices to the table as the Legislature looks to tackle the statewide crisis of housing instability.

“There is no ‘one size fits all’ solution to the growing humanitarian challenges that communities of every size and geography are facing. Inaction simply is not an option in 2019,” said Kuderer. “I look forward to collaborating with community leaders, local governments, advocacy groups and leaders of industry to begin the work of uplifting our fellow Washingtonians most in need.”

In addition to her new role as chair, Kuderer will continue to serve as the Senate’s assistant majority floor leader, as vice chair of the State Government, Tribal Relations & Elections, and as a member of the Law & Justice and Rules committees.

Sen. Kuderer can be reached by phone at 360-786-7694 or email at patty.kuderer@leg.wa.gov.

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    Kuderer to chair new Senate Housing Stability & Affordability Committee

Kuderer to chair new Senate Housing Stability & Affordability Committee

November 29th, 2018|

Sen. Patty Kuderer (D-Bellevue) will lead efforts to address the growing crises related to housing and homelessness in Washington state as chair of the newly created Senate Housing Stability & Affordability Committee.

Selected by her colleagues in the Senate Democratic Caucus, Kuderer will focus the committee on short- and long-term solutions to the broad range of causes, barriers and impacts that affect housing options for communities and individuals in every corner of Washington.

“There isn’t a place in our state where a conversation about local politics goes on long without the cost of housing and the need for community services becoming the dominant topic,” said Kuderer. “I am honored to have been elected chair of this new committee and look forward to working with an expanded Democratic majority and our colleagues across the aisle to address these issues head on.”

Additionally, Kuderer will serve as vice chair of the Senate State Government, Tribal Relations & Elections Committee and serve as a member of the Senate Law & Justice and Rules committees.

Kuderer will retain her position in caucus leadership as Assistant Floor Leader.

During the 2018 Legislative Session, Kuderer was pivotal in enacting a slate of elections reforms, including prime sponsorship bills implementing same-day voter registration and critical legislation designed to reduce recidivism rates among juvenile offenders.

Formerly a member of the state House of Representatives, Kuderer was appointed to fill a vacancy in the Senate and then won election to serve out the remainder of the term for that seat. Earlier this month, she was re-elected to serve a full four-year term. She is the first female senator to represent the 48th Legislative District.

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 Patty.Kuderer@leg.wa.gov 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 patty.kuderer@leg.wa.gov. Thank you!]