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

Sen. Marko Liias Newsroom

Putting People First

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.

May 7th, 2020|Uncategorized|

VOTE Act: boosting youth voter participation

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.

May 7th, 2020|Uncategorized|

Financial aid opportunities for undocumented students

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.

May 7th, 2020|Uncategorized|

COVID-19 Resources

***UPDATE*** Click here for our COVID-19 Resource Guide. If you did not receive a copy in the mail, you can request one from my office by clicking here. And if you missed our COVID-19 telephone town hall, you can listen to that here.

Friends:

These are difficult times to say the least. None of us has seen a public health crisis like this in our lifetimes. The coronavirus outbreak has challenged us in many ways, but I am so impressed by how our community has stepped up to meet those challenges.

From a Mukilteo company creating portable hand washing stations to Edmonds College making face shields that protect health care workers, there’s no shortage of examples of our community coming together to help one another. I’m confident we will get through crisis and come out stronger on the other side.

Washington state is making progress, but we’re not out of the woods yet. Our early efforts to slow the spread of the virus have led to lower infection rates and deaths compared to other states. The economic shutdown is painful for all of us, but it’s necessary to keep people safe and healthy.

After several weeks of staying home, it’ll be tempting to resume our normal lives. And with warmer weather right around the corner, you may want to venture out. However, the science and data indicate lifting the restrictions too early will likely cause another spike in infections and could undo all the progress we’ve made so far.

How we move forward each day needs to be driven by science and data, not by politics. I urge you to continue to follow the Governor’s Stay Home, Stay Healthy orders until he and the public health experts agree those restrictions can be lifted.

Sometime this week you will likely receive a COVID-19 Resource Guide from me, Rep. Ortiz-Self, and Rep. Peterson. With the coronavirus news flooding our personal streams these days, we wanted to send you a consolidated list of resources that you can turn to for assistance.

A great place to start if you have questions or need assistance is coronavirus.wa.gov. This website is updated several times a day with the latest news, guidance for businesses & workers, and family resources like food assistance, child care, and health care.

If you don’t get your Resource Guide in the mail or you misplace yours, you can find it on my website here.

As your state Senator, I am available and happy to help you connect with state and local resources if you need any assistance. Please contact my office any time with any questions, comments, or concerns.

 

 

 

Marko Liias
State Senator
21st Legislative District

May 5th, 2020|E-News|
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    ICYMI: Senator Liias selected as one of nation’s outstanding rising leaders

ICYMI: Senator Liias selected as one of nation’s outstanding rising leaders

Joins group of the most innovative Democratic state and local officials who are pro-growth progressives

Washington, D.C. – Today, State Senator Marko Liias (D-Lynnwood) was selected as one of 15 leaders from across the country to join the NewDEAL (Developing Exceptional American Leaders), a selective national network of state and local elected officials with Honorary Co-Chairs U.S. Senator Mark Warner and former Governor Jack Markell. With state and local leaders on the frontlines of responding to the coronavirus crisis, Liias joins the group at a time when members are rising to this challenge by innovating, convening virtually, and sharing good ideas. The NewDEAL recently launched a database of policies and programs that address the wide-ranging impacts of the pandemic.

Members of the 180-plus-person network are working to enact pro-growth progressive solutions in a diverse array of communities. They have been chosen from more than 1500 nominations over its nine-year history.

Liias and his peers in the new class of leaders (listed below) were recognized for their unwavering commitment to expanding opportunity, as they work to move their communities forward in the new economy and reject the idea that policymakers can or should want to turn the clock back to a prior era. These leaders’ work will help build on policy recommendations that NewDEAL Leaders help develop, including the release of a report from the NewDEAL Forum Future of Work Policy Group, and the upcoming release of work by the Climate Change and Education Policy Groups.

“Our state and local officials play vital roles affecting the prosperity of our country and the quality of life of the American people,” said Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) and former Delaware Governor Jack Markell, Honorary Co-Chairs of NewDEAL. ”As so many of them have stepped up in key ways to protect Americans during the coronavirus crisis, we are reminded of the importance of supporting great leaders outside of Washington. NewDEALers consistently set examples for our country to follow and are prepared to take on more challenges at all levels of government in the future. We look forward to promoting the work of Senator Liias and giving him the opportunity to learn from other leaders.”

These leaders include new members of Congress, (Ben McAdams in Utah, Greg Stanton in Arizona, and Jennifer Wexton in Virginia), as well as Mayors Lierion Gaylor Baird (Lincoln, NE), Kate Gallego (Phoenix), Eric Johnson (Dallas), Quinton Lucas (Kansas City, MO), Lauren McLean (Boise, ID), Steven Reed (Montgomery, AL), and Brandon Whipple (Wichita, KS).

“We are in a unique moment for state and local leaders as we must find solutions for the urgent challenges created by COVID-19 while not losing focus on longer-term issues that will also affect Washington’s economic security for decades to come,” said Liias. “I look forward to sharing lessons with and learning from other leaders who are setting the standard for effective governance, and I am excited to be part of NewDEAL’s efforts to expand opportunities for communities nationwide.”

Liias was selected to join NewDEAL because of his dedication to promoting the interests of Washington’s middle class, including making investments in public transportation, improving education options in the state, and promoting small businesses. One of Liias’ key initiatives is his Student Loan Bill of Rights, which would protect college students from predatory and fraudulent loan practices. He has also sponsored legislation to improve pedestrian and bicycle safety, as well as multiple bills to introduce and promote digital citizenship in schools across the state.

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Contact: Jonathon Dworkin, 202-660-1340 x5

About NewDEAL

The NewDEAL brings together leaders focused on expanding opportunity, helping them develop and spread innovative ideas to spur economic growth that is broadly-earned and sustainable. Most importantly, the organization facilitates the exchange of ideas among its members and connects them with other pro-growth progressive political, policy, and private sector leaders.

Today’s announcement brings the total number of NewDEAL members – statewide officials, legislators, mayors, councilmembers, and other local leaders – to 185 leaders from 48 states.

Learn more about Senator Liias and the NewDEAL at http://www.newdealleaders.org/leaders.

 

The new class of NewDEAL Leaders includes:

Malia Cohen, State Board of Equalization Chair,  San Francisco, CA
Ben Diamond, Representative, St. Petersburg, FL
Kristin Sunde, Representative, Des Moines, IA
McKenzie Cantrell, Representative, Louisville, KY
Pavel Payano, Councilmember, Lawrence, MA
Garlin Gilchrist, Lt. Governor, Michigan
Annie Rice, Alderwoman, St. Louis, MO
Zach Conine, Treasurer, Nevada
Elizabeth Walters, Councilmember, Akron, OH
Shannon Hardin, Council President, Columbus, OH
Jordan Harris, Representative, Philadelphia, PA
Erin Mendenhall, Mayor, Salt Lake City, UT
Ron Nirenberg, Mayor, San Antonio, TX
Cassie Franklin, Mayor, Everett, WA
Marko Liias, Senator, Lynnwood, WA

May 4th, 2020|News Release|
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    MEDIA ADVISORY: 21st District Telephone Town Hall on Wednesday, May 6 @ 5:30 p.m.

MEDIA ADVISORY: 21st District Telephone Town Hall on Wednesday, May 6 @ 5:30 p.m.

Who: 21st Legislative District lawmakers, Sen. Marko LiiasRep. Lillian Ortiz-Self, Rep. Strom Peterson, and special guest Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers.

What: Telephone town hall meeting.

When: 5:30 – 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 6, 2020.

Where: Calls will go out to thousands of homes throughout the 21st legislative district. Residents will be able to listen live and speak with their lawmakers. Those who do not receive a call can participate by dialing 877-229-8493 and using ID Code 116357.

Alternatively, the telephone town hall can be live-streamed:

https://video.teleforumonline.com/video/streaming.php?client=16357

https://vekeo.com/whdc21/

Why: To provide constituents with the opportunity to ask questions related to the COVID-19 outbreak and share information about state and local resources that are available to help workers, families, and small business owners during the public health crisis.

May 4th, 2020|News Release|

Liias bills signed by governor with more on deck

OLYMPIA – Governor Inslee has signed three bills sponsored by State Sen. Marko Liias (D-Lynnwood) into law since the Legislature adjourned on March 12.

Senate Bill 6690 repeals the preferential aerospace B&O tax rate and should stave off retaliatory tariffs on many trade dependent industries.

“When this issue was brought to my attention two months ago, the world looked quite different than it does today,” said Liias. “Obviously issues like international tariffs are going to take a back seat while the world focuses on defeating the coronavirus. Once we get the virus under control, a healthy aerospace industry will be vital to returning our economy to where it was before the outbreak. This measure will help us avoid retaliatory tariffs and give our aerospace-dependent companies and employees the best chance of success.”

Washington state is heavily dependent on international trade. Retaliatory tariffs could have resulted in tens of thousands of lost jobs in Washington’s aerospace sector and in dozens of other trade-dependent industries.

Senate bill 6493 allows the Cooper Jones Bicyclist Safety Council to continue its work to make roads safer for all users.

”The Cooper Jones Safety Council has provided important information and recommendations to improve safety of bicyclists across the state,” said Liias. “The council provides lawmakers with the data and expert analysis we need to enact policies that make our roadways safer for everyone.”

SB 5282 prohibits health care providers and medical students from performing pelvic exams on women without informed consent. Under the new law, a licensed health care provider may not perform or authorize a student practicing under the provider’s authority to perform a pelvic examination on a patient who is anesthetized or unconscious unless:

  • the patient or the patient’s representative has provided informed consent; or
  • the examination is necessary for diagnostic or treatment purposes.

An amendment was added by the House to allow health care providers to perform pelvic exams in certain circumstances where sexual assault is suspected.

“This seems like a pretty glaring hole in our patient protections,” said Liias. “We want to make sure, while this practice thankfully is not happening in Washington that we know of, that we provide this really important protection.” [Link to audio file from Sen. Liias’ Senate floor speech]

In total, Liias was successful in passing 11 bills in this short 60-day session. Additional Liias bills awaiting action by the governor include bills to ease regulations for building accessory dwelling units (SB 6617), boost youth voter participation (SB 6313), and expand financial aid opportunities for undocumented students (SB 6561).

March 30th, 2020|News Release|

Update on the Coronavirus Outbreak

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

March 19th, 2020|E-News|
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    VOTE Act aimed at boosting young voter turnout gets House approval

VOTE Act aimed at boosting young voter turnout gets House approval

OLYMPIA – A bill that aims to increase voter participation among young adults was approved today by the House of Representatives by a vote of 56-41.

“We have to do more to bring down barriers for young people to participate in our elections,” said state Sen. Marko Liias (D-Lynnwood). “The data is clear — if young people participate when they are 18, 19, 20, in those first formative elections, their lifetime voter participation is much higher. We want to teach young people to be engaged in our democracy.”

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.

During the 2018 legislative session, Washington lawmakers enacted automatic voter registration for those 18 years and older as well as a law allowing 16- and 17-year-olds to pre-register to vote upon coming of age. However, the youth pre-registration is an opt-in process.

Senate Bill 6313, the Voting Opportunities Through Education (VOTE) Act, will change that to an opt-out process, making registration automatic unless they choose to not register. It will also allow young voters to vote in primary elections if they will turn 18 and are otherwise eligible to vote before the next general election, which had previously been permitted in presidential caucuses before the state’s adoption of the presidential primary law in 2019.

Liias’ legislation seeks to address barriers to voting common to many younger adults, such as frequent changes of address, becoming eligible right after an election, and limits on voter registration access on college campuses.

The VOTE Act would create “Student Engagement Hubs” at the state’s public four-year colleges and universities. The hubs would make it easier for college students to cast ballots if they have last-minute challenges that would otherwise be barriers to voting. For example, the hubs could help people take advantage of the state’s new, same-day voter registration law in the final days before the election.

After regaining the Senate majority in 2018, Democrats in the Washington State Legislature enacted several polices expanding access to voting including same-day voter registration, automatic voter registration, the Washington Voting Rights Act, and pre-registration for 16- and 17-year-olds.

SB 6313 was amended by the House, so the bill now returns to the Senate for a concurrence vote.

The 2020 legislative session is scheduled to adjourn for the year on March 12.

March 5th, 2020|News Release|

Coronavirus update

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

March 2nd, 2020|E-News|