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

Sen. Marko Liias Newsroom

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    Mariner Community Campus project moves forward, search for location commences

Mariner Community Campus project moves forward, search for location commences

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.

June 5th, 2019|Uncategorized|
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    Senate approves legislation providing relief for student debtors

Senate approves legislation providing relief for student debtors

In an effort to address the growing student loan debt crisis, the Senate today passed legislation to establish new student debt refinancing options coordinated by the state and to offer alternatives to conventional student loans.

Sponsored by Sen. Marko Liias (D-Lynnwood), the Student Loan Relief and Reform Act would permit the Washington Student Achievement Council to contract with up to five private financial institutions to negotiate more favorable interest rates on student loan debt.

“With over 800,000 students owing more than $24 billion dollars on student loans, we must take seriously the potential ramifications on our economy and the livelihoods of hardworking Washingtonians,” said Liias. “This legislation takes a multifaceted approach in addressing existing debt and the need for innovative financing options that might help avoid excessive debt to begin with.”

Refinancing would only be available if the new agreement offers better terms than the original student loan contract.

The act would also create a pilot program for Income Sharing Agreements, which would designate a percentage of post-graduation income as a form of repayment rather than a conventional student loan structure.

“The burden of student debt post-graduation can be daunting, especially in your first years on the job market with the looming threat of late payments and defaults,” said Liias. “These agreements are an innovative way to merge the interests of students and colleges by incentivizing high-paying employment for all parties.”

Senate Bill 5774 passed on an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote of 40-8 and now moves to the House of Representatives for consideration.

March 6th, 2019|Uncategorized|
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    Senate passes legislation to reform non-compete clauses for Washington workers

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

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.

March 5th, 2019|Uncategorized|

21st LD Townhall Tonight!

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

February 28th, 2019|Uncategorized|
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    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

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.

January 14th, 2019|Uncategorized|

2018 Session Report

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

 

May 11th, 2018|Uncategorized|
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    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

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

March 28th, 2018|Uncategorized|
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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

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.

February 14th, 2018|Uncategorized|
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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

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.”

February 12th, 2018|Uncategorized|

Newsletter – Jan. 29

Dear Neighbors,

What an incredible start to the 2018 legislative session!

I’m proud to say that in our first weeks back in the majority, Senate Democrats have taken significant early action on a broad range of issues. Already we’ve passed legislation to:

  • Expand access to our democracy with a new voting rights act
  • Allow same-day voter registration
  • Shine light on the secret money in our elections
  • Ensure a healthy breakfast for every student
  • Expand college access for DREAMers
  • Ban bump stock trigger modifications

And perhaps most critically, we managed to pass the long-delayed capital budget, which includes the largest-ever investment in K-12 school construction – about $1 billion. With the budget passed, projects for environmental cleanup, housing and infrastructure will finally begin around our state, supporting 19,000 jobs.

Of course, last week was of special significance for the work I’ve been doing in the Legislature for the past five years to expand protections for LGBTQ youth in Washington. I’m proud to report that two of my bills, SB 5722 to ban so-called ‘conversion therapy’ and SB 5766 to prevent bullying of transgender students, both passed through the Senate with significant bipartisan majorities.

For years in person and in testimony, I’ve heard from countless families about the need to make our communities and schools safer for their children. This legislation puts our shared values forward, recognizing the value that LGBTQ youth bring to our society and that we will take every step we can to make Washington inclusive for all.

I cannot thank enough those that bravely shared their stories over the years and my colleagues for their support in this hard won victory. This is what I came to Olympia to fight for.

But as always, many remain ahead and as fast-paced as this session has been, much more awaits as Senate Democrats continue to put people first with our legislative action.

Upcoming Town Halls

As we are quickly approaching the halfway point of this short 60-day legislative session, it’s time for your 21st LD delegation to connect with you back home!

First, on Thursday, February 15th, Rep. Ortiz-Self, Rep. Peterson and I will be conducting a telephone town hall beginning at 6:05 p.m. You can RSVP by going to https://vekeo.com/whdc21/

If you do not receive a call, you can dial in at 877-229-8493 and use the pin number: 116357.

Then, on Saturday, February 17th, we will be hosting an in-person town hall from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. The town hall will be in the Great Hall at Meadowdale High School, located at 6002 168th St SW, Lynnwood, WA 98037.

We will continue to share details as the dates draw nearer, but we hope you’ll get it on the calendar and we will see you there!

All my best,

Sen. Marko Liias

January 29th, 2018|Uncategorized|