(360) 786-7640|Marko.Liias@leg.wa.gov

E-News

Update on the Coronavirus Outbreak

March 19th, 2020|

Friends:

I hope you and your family are in good health and safe from the coronavirus. The situation is evolving rapidly, so I encourage you to stay up-to-date with the latest information from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the Washington State Department of Health, and the Snohomish County Health District.

Washington’s Joint Information Center just launched a new online portal that will organize helpful information and resources in one location. The site currently has information about what to do if you feel sick, along with resources and information related to workers, small businesses, childcare, and travel guidance. The site will be updated as more information becomes available.

https://coronavirus.wa.gov/

Before we adjourned for the year, the Legislature passed HB 2965 to dedicate $200 million for our state’s response to the coronavirus. Governor Inslee has already allocated $75 million of those funds to various state agencies and organizations to respond directly to the challenges facing communities all over the state. The Legislature stands ready to allocate more resources if necessary.

We also made sure people can receive unemployment insurance even if they don’t meet the work search requirements. Yesterday Governor Inslee issued another emergency proclamation that waives the standard one-week waiting period and allows for benefits to apply retroactively to March 8.

The Legislature also ensured school employees can maintain health insurance eligibility for the remainder of the school year even if they come up short of required work hours because of being quarantined, school closure, or care of a family member.

Our state executive agencies are acting through emergency rules to provide relief and support. Some examples include:

I will keep you posted as additional resources come online to help our community during these difficult times. As always, if you need any assistance connecting with state agencies to help you or your family, please reach out to my office.

My Legislative Priorities

Despite the challenges facing lawmakers this session, we managed to pass a lot of great policy and make important investments for Washington’s 7 million residents this session.

I worked on several bills that will soon be making their way to the governor’s desk for his signature. Two bills I’m particularly proud of build upon efforts to expand access to college to more students.

Undocumented Student Support
Undocumented students want to pursue the same college opportunities as every other student with big dreams for their future. But they also face additional barriers to college, such as the lack of access to federal financial aid programs.

In 2014, the Legislature enacted the Dream Act, which increased access to college for undocumented residents. Senate Bill 6561 expands upon that effort by creating a state-funded, state-administered student loan program to help undocumented students who are ineligible for federal financial aid programs that cover the full cost of a degree.

Common Application for College
Currently, each of the public four-year institutions in Washington has its own unique application and fee waiver process for low-income students. SB 6142 will simplify the college application process by creating a single common application for our public four-year institutions in Washington state.

Legislative Recap

Other bills we passed include ones to reign in the skyrocketing costs of prescription drugs like insulin. Lawmakers also approved several bills to address the homelessness crisis and increase the supply of affordable housing. We enacted a plastic bag ban and a requirement for public schools to phase in age-appropriate comprehensive sexual health education over the next several years.

I’ll share more details about my bills that passed and other statewide priorities in future updates.

Public service is an honor and privilege. Thank you for the opportunity to be your voice in the Washington State Senate. I welcome your feedback. Please keep in touch to let me know how I can best serve you.

 

 

Marko Liias
State Senator
21st Legislative District

Coronavirus update

March 2nd, 2020|

Friends and neighbors:

Sadly, public health officials announced yesterday that four more Washingtonians have passed away after contracting coronavirus. I know all Washingtonians mourn their passing and send our condolences to their families and friends in this time of loss.

Lawmakers are receiving regular updates from health department officials and I am confident that state and local agencies are taking all necessary actions to limit the spread of the virus and keep us safe.

We all must do our part to keep the virus from spreading, which means washing our hands often, sanitizing frequently touched surfaces, and staying home when we’re sick.

If you haven’t already, please take a look at these tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on how to avoid contracting and spreading the virus.

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, how the virus is spread, and what to do if you have symptoms, please call 1-800-525-0127 and press #.

If you feel sick with fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, call your health care provider before going to get care and tell them about your symptoms.

You can keep up with the latest from our federal, state, and local public health officials here:

Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention (CDC)
Washington State
Department of Health
Snohomish County
Health District
Website Website Website
Facebook Facebook Facebook
Twitter Twitter Twitter

 


ICYMI – On a happier note, we had another fantastic episode of Live with Liias last week with my friend and colleague Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz. Click on the image below to check out our conversation. We had a great time talking about the work her agencies do for the people of Washington and her legislative priorities like wildfire prevention.

And as a bonus, you can find out more about her connection to a very famous ice skater from the 1990s.

Click here for Live with Liias with special guest Hilary Franz

 


I’ll send you an update on the bills I’m working on as we get closer to the end of the legislative session.

It is truly an honor to serve you, 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 Marko.Liias@leg.wa.gov or by phone at 360-786-7640.

All my best,

 

 

Sen. Marko Liias
21st Legislative District

Another great session putting people first

February 20th, 2020|

This is Marko Liias, your state Senator from the 21st Legislative District. If you’re getting this message from me for the first time, welcome!

I like to send a few updates while the Legislature is in session to help you stay informed on what lawmakers are doing on your behalf. During the rest of the year, I’ll send additional updates to let you know what I’m working on for the next legislative session and to hear about your priorities.

If you do not want to receive these email updates, simply click here and you’ll be instantly removed from this distribution list.

If you ever decide to change your mind, you can re-sign up and update your delivery preferences by clicking here.


The 2020 Legislative Session

We just reached a key cutoff of the 2020 session for Senate bills to be sent to the House and vice versa. This is a “short” 60-day session, meaning we’re a few days beyond the halfway point. After about a month of public hearings on bills, we debated and voted on more than 260 bills on the Senate Floor.

Some important issues we’re considering this year in our ongoing effort of putting people first:

  • Addressing the homelessness and affordable housing crisis impacting all communities across the state
  • Increasing health care access and affordability
  • Continuing our progress on fighting climate change
  • Expanding access to early learning for more families
  • Building a green transportation infrastructure
  • Reforming our state’s unfair and unsustainable regressive tax code

My 2020 priorities

Youth voting: At a time when several states are making concerted efforts to restrict the voting rights of residents, I remain focused on expanding access to democracy to as many eligible voters as possible. This session introduced Senate Bill 6313 – the Voting Opportunities Through Education (VOTE) Act, a measure aimed at increasing voter participation among young adults.

In addition to making the youth pre-registration process opt-out instead of opt-in, the VOTE Act creates “Voter Empowerment Centers” at the state’s public four-year colleges and universities. These voter empowerment centers will make it easier for college students to cast their ballots in several key ways: students will be able to print their ballots if they didn’t receive them at their current address and update their voter registration if they have moved away from home to attend school. Studies show that people who vote as young adults go on to become consistent, lifelong voters – one sign of a healthy, functioning democracy!

SB 6313 was approved by the Senate and is scheduled for a vote in the House State Government & Tribal Relations Committee for Friday.


College Opportunities: A major priority of mine throughout my legislative career has been to find ways to remove barriers to a college education. In 2018, I was successful in passing a Student Loan Bill of Rights, which protects borrowers from harmful and unfair business practices.

Last year, the Legislature enacted the Workforce Education Investment Act, which will greatly reduce financial barriers for thousands of low- and middle-income students.

Building on that success, I’ve introduced a few bills aimed opening up more doors of opportunity for people to go to college:

  • SB 6542 – Would create the “Next Step” pilot program, which would automatically admit graduating high school students into one or more colleges or universities in the state.
  • SB 6577 – Would create a child savings program to help all children born in Washington state pay for college.
  • SB 6561 – Would provide more financial aid options for undocumented students.

Join the Discussion!

Please join me, Rep. Lillian Ortiz-Self, and Rep. Strom Peterson for a town hall discussion on Saturday, February 22 from 10 a.m. to noon at Mariner High School (200 120th St SW, Everett). This will be a great opportunity for you to hear what we’re working on in the Legislature and share your thoughts about the issues we’re debating.


How to reach me?

As always, your ideas are important to me. You can stay in touch in a number of different ways:


Public service is an honor and privilege. Thank you for the opportunity to be your voice in the Washington State Senate. I welcome your feedback. Please keep in touch to let me know how I can best serve you.

 

 

 

Marko Liias
State Senator
21st Legislative District

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