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

Uncategorized

Putting People First

May 7th, 2020|

We wrapped up the 2020 session a few months ago. And once again with Democrats in control of the Senate for the third session in a row, we were able to enact so many great progressive policies that were held up over the previous five years.

VOTE Act: boosting youth voter participation

May 7th, 2020|

At a time when several states are making concerted efforts to restrict the voting rights of residents, lawmakers in Washington state are again focused on expanding access to democracy to as many eligible voters as possible.

Financial aid opportunities for undocumented students

May 7th, 2020|

I’m so proud to live in a state like Washington that has been a leader in providing opportunities for immigrants. Undocumented students want to pursue the same opportunities and we want to help the state meet the degree attainment goals we’ve set for ourselves. But there are critical barriers to them in the way.

  • Permalink Gallery

    Mariner Community Campus project moves forward, search for location commences

Mariner Community Campus project moves forward, search for location commences

June 5th, 2019|

A coalition of Snohomish County organizations has announced the completion of a state funded needs assessment affirming the necessity of a new space providing a comprehensive set of resources for the Mariner community.

Led by Sno-Isle Libraries, the Snohomish Health District, the Mukilteo School District, State Senator Marko Liias, and County Executive Dave Somers, the vision to create a Mariner Community Campus strengthening and supporting the more than 25,000 residents of the area began in 2017.

Thanks to seed funding in the 2018 state supplemental capital budget, outreach and planning with community leaders, residents and stakeholders launched over the course of 2018-2019. The results of these dialogues reveal the need for a multiuse space where resources for education, healthcare and community building are available.

“Without access to a parks department, libraries or other resources that would typically be provided by incorporated cities, the residents of the Mariner community have been left without civic spaces where neighbors can convene and collaborate,” said Sen. Marko Liias, D-Lynnwood. “Already we have seen an amazing public-private partnership come together to ensure that one of the most underserved communities in our county has a pathway to opportunity. I can’t wait for the next phase of this project to come to fruition!”

From the outset, the coalition supporting the Mariner Community Campus project has sought to develop a space providing free and equal access to resources, technology, community opportunities, connection to community, and social equity.

“Libraries bring people together and the Mariner Library is providing resources, programs, and services to help our community. We are grateful to have worked with neighbors, State Senator Liias, the Snohomish Health District and community partners to help gather this neighborhood’s hopes and dreams,” said Executive Director of Sno-Isle Libraries Lois Langer Thompson. “Sno-Isle Libraries is excited to continue participating with the community and partners in moving this worthy project forward.”

With the community needs assessment completed, citing for the project now commences thanks to a $2.25 million appropriation in the 2019 state capital budget.

“This community campus is a natural complement to the work we do, given that community partnership development, maternal-child and family health, and chronic disease and injury prevention are all foundational public health services,” said Stephanie Wright, chair of the Snohomish Health District’s Board of Health. “The District has been looking to locate a new headquarters or satellite location, and this Mariner area provides an exciting opportunity to do that while helping to build healthy families and a strong community.”

The coalition has already begun developing a short list of potential locations in the area and will continue to engage with the public through the entirety of the process. Construction is tentatively slated to begin in 2023 and to be fully open to the community in 2025.

The completed needs assessment report can be viewed at https://marinercommunity.org/ along with full translations in Spanish, Russian, and Vietnamese.

  • Permalink Gallery

    Senate passes legislation to reform non-compete clauses for Washington workers

Senate passes legislation to reform non-compete clauses for Washington workers

March 5th, 2019|

Legislation limiting the reach of non-compete clauses in employment contracts today passed the Washington state Senate on a bipartisan 30-18 vote.

Senate Bill 5478, sponsored by Sen. Marko Liias (D-Lynnwood), would ensure that employees earning $100,000 a year or less are no longer locked into terms of employment that can limit opportunity and innovation.

“Through impassioned vision and hard work, Washington has established itself as one of the American capitals of innovation. Small startups becoming multibillion dollar enterprises are more than just stories in the Pacific Northwest, they are our economy,” said Liias. “While non-compete clauses are useful in protecting proprietary information, they have become far too commonplace — a tool to stifle innovation rather than one to protect it.”

Though non-compete clauses are common in technology industries, they have also become normalized in broader sectors of the economy, including food service.

“When 14 percent of workers who make $40,000 a year or less are forced to sign non-compete agreements, it is clear that these arrangements are being used for purposes other than protecting trade secrets,” said Liias. “There are clearly instances in which these provisions make sense, but they should not be used simply to limit workers’ employment options.”

In addition to protecting employees, SB 5478 would also prohibit non-compete clauses for independent contractors who earn $250,000 a year or less, and limit the length of non-compete clauses to 18 months.

The bill also prevents franchised companies from imposing non-compete clauses to prevent employees from seeking similar jobs with competitors in the same field, including among food service franchises or big box stores. It also ensures individuals can work a second job when needed, an often-necessary option to help make ends meet.

SB 5478 passed on a bipartisan vote of 30-18 and now moves to the House of Representatives for consideration.

21st LD Townhall Tonight!

February 28th, 2019|

Friends,

I just wanted to send you a quick note to ensure you were invited to join our 21st Legislative District Telephone Town Hall tonight from 6-7pm.

Rep. Ortiz-Self, Rep. Peterson, and I will be answering your questions live in a district wide conversation about the big issues facing the Legislature this year and how we are working to enact your priorities!

You can RSVP by going to https://vekeo.com/whdc21/ or you can call in directly tonight at 877-229-8493 and use the code 116357.

After the Telephone Town Hall concludes, we will also be doing a brief live stream from my official Facebook page to recap the conversation and discuss our next steps!

So, if you haven’t already, head on over to facebook.com/senmarkoliias and “Like” the page to be sure you’re receiving more regular updates about the 2019 Session, including our weekly Q&A talk show Live With Liias, which airs every Thursday evening at 5:30pm.

I can’t wait to hear from you tonight!

Always,

Marko

  • Permalink Gallery

    Liias sworn in for second Senate term, will continue fight for working families

Liias sworn in for second Senate term, will continue fight for working families

January 14th, 2019|

Sen. Marko Liias (D-Lynnwood) was sworn in today for a second Senate term to serve Washington’s 21st legislative district, which includes Edmonds, Mukilteo and Lynnwood.

A lifelong resident of the 21st, Liias was the prime sponsor of landmark legislation in 2018 to ban conversion therapy and to create a student loan bill of rights. In his first Senate term, he was a key negotiator to enact statewide paid family leave. Returning to Olympia, he will continue fighting to ensure the Legislature puts the people of Washington first as it addresses a broad range of existing and emerging challenges.

“Now more than ever, Washingtonians are demanding its government fight to protect those most in need while creating an economy that works for more than just the privileged few,” said Liias. “There are far too many people in our state who have worked hard their entire lives only to find themselves stuck in place. Whether that’s a matter of student loan debt, out-of-control medical costs, or simply fighting for the right to exist, we have a majority that will to work for you.”

Liias will continue to serve as the majority floor leader in the 2019 session in addition to serving as vice chair of the Senate Higher Education & Workforce Development committee. He will also serve as a member of the Ways & Means, Local Government, and Rules committees.

“I am endlessly grateful to my hometown community for sending me to Olympia as their advocate and voice once again,” said Liias. “We have accomplished a great deal in the recent past and more than ever I am encouraged about the inclusive and just Washington we are creating together.”

Sen. Liias can be reached by phone at 360-786-7640 or by email at marko.liias@leg.wa.gov.

2018 Session Report

May 11th, 2018|

The last few years have been tough. On the heels of the Great Recession, it feels like the needs of regular people — middle class families like the one I grew up in — have been ignored at the expense of special interests and powerful elites. Congress has spent more time debating new tax cuts for the wealthy than it has spent focused on how to grow an economy that works for all of us.

As I returned to Olympia this session, I was selected by my colleagues to take on the new role of Majority Floor Leader. As one of the top ranking members in our new Senate majority, I made it my mission to focus on one goal: putting people first.

In just a short 60-day session, and the first session in five years with Democrats again controlling the Legislature, I am proud to report that we made significant progress on the important issues facing middle-class families in our community and around the state.

Please click here to read my full report on the 2018 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,

Click here to read my 2018 Session report

 

  • Permalink Gallery

    Washington makes history, becoming the 10th state to protect LGBTQ youth from conversion therapy

Washington makes history, becoming the 10th state to protect LGBTQ youth from conversion therapy

March 28th, 2018|

From The Trevor Project:

This week the state of Washington made history, becoming the first state in 2018, and the 10th state in total, to pass protections for LGBTQ youth from the barbaric practice of conversion therapy. Conversion therapists falsely claim be able to change LGBTQ youth into straight and cisgender youth. Prominent professional health associations—including the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association, and the American Academy of Pediatrics, among numerous others—oppose the use of conversion therapy on youth, calling the practice harmful and ineffective.

As the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services for LGBTQ youth, The Trevor Project is invested in ending conversion therapy in every state and was proud to submit testimony with our partners such as Equal Rights Washington on the critical need to protect LGBTQ youth from conversion therapy. The Trevor Project’s 50 Bills in 50 States campaign works to introduce legislation to ban the practice in every state in the country.

“Washington has been leading by example. So far bills have been introduced in 34 states, passed in over 30 cities, and nearing passage in states from coast to coast” said Sam Brinton, Head of Advocacy and Government Affairs for The Trevor Project. They continued “Every week, we celebrate as another local ordinance like the City of Milwaukee or piece of state legislation like the State of Maryland moves closer to protecting LGBTQ youth from conversion therapy.”

There is a lot of work to do. New research by The Williams Institute shows that there are an estimated 20,000 LGBT youth in the U.S. ages 13 to 17 who will receive conversion therapy from a licensed health care professional before the age of 18. Also, approximately 57,000 youth will undergo the treatment from a religious or spiritual advisor. Researchers also found that approximately 698,000 LGBT adults in the U.S have received conversion therapy at some point in their lives, including about 350,000 who received it as adolescents.

“So-called ‘conversion therapy’ is dangerous and should be banned everywhere. We are thankful that politicians on both sides of the aisle in Washington States have joined together to protect LGBTQ youth,” said Amit Paley, The Trevor Project’s CEO and Executive Director. “This victory is part of a growing movement to stop conversion across the country and we won’t rest until conversion therapy is banned in all 50 states.”

“Banning conversion therapy sends a loud and unequivocal message to LGBTQ youth: there is nothing wrong with you. As a community, we love and support every person and we celebrate the diversity that makes us stronger. I am proud that Washington is standing up for our queer youth and I look forward to the day that these monstrous practices are illegal in every state,” said  Sen. Marko Liias, lead sponsor of this critical legislation.

“As a mother of a teenage son I am grateful for the steps Governor Inslee takes today to protect the LGBTQ youth in our state. A dear friend experienced conversion therapy. My heart aches for them and the pain they endured.” said Amanda Williams, a local activist working with the Trevor Project and the 50 Bills 50 States campaign. She continued, “Parenting is the hardest, best thing I’ve ever done. Everyday we’re confronted with confusing, conflicting advice. Every day we do our best to make the best choices for our kids. Thank you for taking a dangerous, destructive choice off the table for some of our most vulnerable children.”

The bill was signed by Gov. Jay Inslee on March 28, 2018.

The Trevor Project is the leading and only accredited national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning (LGBTQ) young people under the age of 25. The Trevor Project offers a suite of crisis intervention and suicide prevention programs, including TrevorLifelineTrevorText, and TrevorChat as well as a peer-to-peer social network support for LGBTQ young people under the age of 25, TrevorSpace. Trevor also offers an education program with resources for youth-serving adults and organizations, a legislative advocacy department fighting for pro-LGBTQ legislation and against anti-LGBTQ rhetoric/policy positions, and conducts research to discover the most effective means to help young LGBTQ people in crisis and end suicide. If you or someone you know is feeling hopeless or suicidal, our Trevor Lifeline crisis counselors are available 24/7/365 at 866.488.7386. www.TheTrevorProject.org

  • Permalink Gallery

    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.