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Monthly Archives: February 2018

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    Student Loan Bill of Rights passes out of Washington State Senate

Student Loan Bill of Rights passes out of Washington State Senate

February 14th, 2018|

Taking a vital step to address the growing crisis of individual student loan indebtedness, the state Senate today passed legislation to expand consumer protections for Washington borrowers.

Known as the Student Loan Bill of Rights, Senate Bill 6029 would establish a range of provisions designed to protect Washingtonians from deceptive or predatory practices and require student loan servicers to obtain licenses to operate in the state.

“As one of the nearly 800,000 Washingtonians still paying off their college education, I know firsthand the balancing act of trying to afford housing, purchase daily necessities, and save money for the future while dealing with student debt,” said bill sponsor Sen. Marko Liias, D-Lynnwood. “We’re still learning what the full impact of this kind of debt will be on our state’s economy, but in the meantime, this legislation will ensure that we are putting people first and giving borrowers the information and tools they need.”

The bill would also establish a Student Education Loan Advocate to aid borrowers, compile data, provide information on student loans, and receive, review, and take action on complaints from borrowers.

“Student loan borrowers deserve to be treated fairly by their loan servicers, and this legislation will help ensure that they are,” said state Atty. Gen. Bob Ferguson. “I want to thank Sen. Liias for his leadership on this important issue.”

As of 2016, Washingtonians collectively owe more than $24 billion in student loans. They are part of the 44 million Americans who now owe more than $1.48 trillion in student loan debt, more than the total national credit card debt. Nationally, one in four student loan borrowers are behind in payments. As incomes have stagnated and many states have reduced investments in public higher education, the need for these loans has continued to rise. This rapidly growing debt jeopardizes livelihoods, relationships, and even retirement.

SB 6029 passed the Senate on a bipartisan vote of 35-13 and now moves to the House of Representatives for further consideration.

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    Senate passes bills to boost jobs in Olympic Peninsula and across state

Senate passes bills to boost jobs in Olympic Peninsula and across state

February 12th, 2018|

Two bipartisan bills passed today by the Senate could spur job growth on the Olympic Peninsula and in rural and coastal areas across the state by boosting the timber industry, said Sen. Kevin Van De Wege, D-Sequim.

Senate Bill 6140, cosponsored by Van De Wege, could create jobs in rural communities by directing the Department of Natural Resources to evaluate state land, forestland, revenue streams and related management methods to make it easier to transact common-sense land swaps and help spur mill activity.

“In past years, the state and our timber businesses have lost revenue on trees that were supposed to be harvested and were not,” said Van De Wege, who voted for both bills. “That’s not only a waste of valuable resources, it squanders opportunities to create family-wage jobs our Olympic Peninsula communities desperately need.”

SB 5450 would add cross-laminated timber to the state building code, making it easier for businesses to incorporate timber dependent technology in residential and commercial construction. In addition to creating a stronger market for wood, the cross-laminated timber provides an environmental benefit by sequestering carbon.

Mass timber products include cross-laminated timber, nail-laminated timber, glue-laminated timber, laminated strand timber, dowel-laminated timber, laminated veneer lumber, structural composite lumber, and wood concrete composites.

“Both of these bills take advantage of lost opportunities to create good jobs in the communities that need them most,” said Sen. Marko Liias, D-Lynnwood and the sponsor of SB 5450. “It’s important that we put people first as we work to grow rural and coastal economies across our state.”