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Sen. Marko Liias Newsroom

VIDEO: Three ways to reduce student debt

February 15th, 2016|Uncategorized|


February 12th, 2016|Uncategorized|
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    Liias: Transgender people deserve ‘same basic rights as everyone else’

Liias: Transgender people deserve ‘same basic rights as everyone else’

Sen. Marko Liias, D-Lynnwood, released this statement today regarding the attempt by Senate Republicans to pass of legislation to remove protections for transgender men, women and children in Washington state. You can watch his floor speech on this issue here.

“Washington has long had one the strongest civil rights laws in the nation, and today the Senate reaffirmed our law and the fundamental rights of all our people.

“For 10 years, transgender people have been using the bathroom that matches their identity, without incident. We need not fear transgender children, women and men. They deserve the same basic rights as everyone else.

A national survey of transgender people found that 41 percent have attempted suicide and over 60 percent report being victims of physical or sexual assault. In Washington, 60 percent of those surveyed reported being verbally harassed or disrespected in a place of public accommodation.

“Transgender people aren’t some nameless, faceless group. They are our friends and neighbors, our children and our parents. They face tremendous challenges fitting into our society, and we should work to welcome them—not exclude them.

“While I was relieved to see the bill fail, I am sobered to see it rejected by only a single vote and appalled that it would even reach the floor for a vote. This was a sad day for the Senate and for our state.”

February 10th, 2016|Uncategorized|
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    Senate passes Liias bill to help students navigate digital perils

Senate passes Liias bill to help students navigate digital perils

Students would be receive better guidance and tools in navigating the pitfalls of digital media and communication, under legislation passed unanimously today by the Senate.

“In this digital age, online activities and influences play a larger and larger part in our children’s lives,” said Sen. Marko Liias, D-Lynnwood, the bill’s sponsor. “This legislation is geared to helping them better process and understand the full impacts of what’s going on around them and with them.”

Liias’ Senate Bill 6273 would establish a process whereby students, parents or guardians, teachers and other school employees, administrators, volunteers and community representatives engage in an ongoing discussion concerning safe technology use and digital citizenship.

The idea for Liias’ bill came from Claire Beach, a retired media literacy educator from the Edmonds School District.

“Whether consuming media, accessing online information, or communicating with their peers, today’s kids face a mine field of potential threats,” Liias said. “What they learn in school can help protect them from missteps and malignant actions by others.”

February 9th, 2016|Uncategorized|
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    Sen. Liias, AG Ferguson unveil bills to reduce student loan debt

Sen. Liias, AG Ferguson unveil bills to reduce student loan debt

College students could gain relief from crushing student loan debt through a trio of bills unveiled today by Sen. Marko Liias, D-Lynnwood, and Attorney Gen. Bob Ferguson.
“Spiraling student loan debt is strangling middle class households and those who aspire to middle-class households,” Liias said. “This affects not only students currently taking out loans but also working adults who are still paying off huge debt as well as future students who face the same pitfalls.”
Liias’ first bill, the Washington Student Loan Bill of Rights, would help students avoid spiraling debt by cracking down on fraud, misrepresentation, inaccuracies and other actions by student loan servicers. SB 6610 would create the position of student loan ombudsman, require loan servicers operating in the state to first gain approval from the Department of Financial Institutions (DFI), and grant DFI the authority and provide the Attorney General’s Office the additional tools to conduct investigations and examinations of loan servicers.
“My office is cracking down on student-loan scammers, from unscrupulous for-profit schools to predatory loan adjustment companies,” said Ferguson. “I thank Sen. Liias for proposing a bill that would grant my office additional tools to attack fraud and aid students and graduates.”
The second bill, the Employer Loan Repayment Tax Credit, would give employers a B&O tax credit for helping employees repay student loans. The credit provided by SB 6608 would equal 25 percent of the amount repaid directly to a student loan lender toward principal and interest, with a maximum credit per employee of $1,000 for an associate’s degree, $4,000 for a bachelor’s degree, and $6,000 for a graduate or postgraduate degree.
Anna Nepomuceno, a UW Tacoma student who spoke at the rollout in support of the legislation, told of how her husband’s $100,000 in student loan debt prevents them from being able to purchase a house or car or even qualify for a cell phone purchase. You can watch a video of the rollout here.
The third bill, SB 6609, would increase access to college for undergraduate and graduate students by exploring lower cost loan options by the state such as student loans competitive with federal interest through the use of tax-exempt bonds, which were approved for use by the federal government late last year.
“We have a society that tells us we can accomplish anything we want,” said Nick DeMuro, a UW student who also spoke and questioned whether the toll from his growing student loans would prevent him from finishing his education and becoming a professor. “Then we face the hard reality that this isn’t true.”
Rep. Tina Orwall, D-Des Moines, who attended the rollout to lend support from the other chamber, said, “These bills compliment efforts in the House to bring relief to thousands of Washingtonians struggling with student loan debt.”
“Democrats in both the House and Senate see student loan debt as a crisis that demands action,” Liias added. “It is our hope that our colleagues across the aisle will recognize this need with the same urgency that we do.”

February 2nd, 2016|Uncategorized|
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    Liias calls for AG to investigate use of ticket bots for Adele concert

Liias calls for AG to investigate use of ticket bots for Adele concert

Sen. Marko Liias, D-Lynnwood, has asked the state attorney general to investigate the use of ticket bots to profiteer off the sale of tickets to the upcoming Adele concert in Seattle.

“The use of ticket bots is profiteering, plain and simple. It’s unfair, it’s exploitative, and it’s illegal,” Liias said. “Last year, the Legislature passed a law prohibiting this practice. If bots have been used to purchase Adele tickets, this should be prosecuted.”

Ticket bots, or online robots, are software programs used to disrupt ticket sales and purchase tickets for a sports or entertainment event before the public has a chance to purchase tickets online at the intended, original price. The buyers then resell the tickets to the public at considerable markup.

Liias’ request to state Attorney General Bob Ferguson comes in response to reports of ticket manipulation for the upcoming Adele concert. It cites a law, House Bill 1091, which Ferguson’s office asked the Legislature to pass last year.

“Attorney General Ferguson wisely recognized the need for this law, and now we can use it to protect Washingtonians’ ability to purchase tickets at a reasonable, legal price,” Liias said. “This will send a message, loud and clear, that ticket bots have no place in Washington state.”

January 13th, 2016|Uncategorized|
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    Liias to take on role of assistant floor leader for Senate Democrats

Liias to take on role of assistant floor leader for Senate Democrats

Sen. Marko Liias, D-Lynnwood, has been chosen to serve as assistant floor leader for the Senate Democrats, where he will help control floor action on all legislation that comes up for a for a vote in the Senate.
“I am excited to join the Senate Democratic leadership team,” Liias said. “We have big challenges that need solutions and I look forward to reaching across the aisle to build bipartisan coalitions and address the issues that matter to the future of our state.”
At the same time, Liias has also been chosen by his peers to continue in his role as assistant ranking member on the Senate Transportation Committee, where he helps negotiate and write the state’s transportation budget, and on the Senate Higher Education Committee.

November 19th, 2015|Uncategorized|
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    Liias named Transportation Champion for bipartisan leadership

Liias named Transportation Champion for bipartisan leadership

Sen. Marko Liias, D-Lynnwood, was named a Transportation Champion today by the Association of Washington Cities.

One of several legislators who were honored today by the association, Liias was chosen for his efforts during the 2015 legislative session to develop and ensure passage of a historic, bipartisan revenue package to address critical transportation needs across the state. Among the projects made possible by the package is Sound Transit 3 (ST3), a major plan to extend light rail from Seattle to Everett.

“I’m so honored to be recognized by city leaders from around the state. But the real satisfaction comes from seeing the important work beginning to invest in transportation solutions here in our community and all over Washington,” Liias said. “My constituents sent me to Olympia to get things done. As a leader in transportation, it’s my responsibility to see that our system works for everyone in our state and also to make sure our community’s needs are met.”

“Sen. Liias has been a champion for our community since his days on the Mukilteo City Council,” said Mukilteo Mayor Jennifer Gregerson. “This is a well-deserved honor that recognizes the strong partnership he’s forged between local communities and state leaders all over Washington.”

The Association of Washington Cities is a non-partisan, Olympia-based organization that advocates on behalf of the state’s 281 cities and towns.

September 14th, 2015|Uncategorized|

Liias: Revenue package will improve travel, create jobs

The transportation revenue package passed by the Legislature includes funds to improve freight mobility near Paine Field, upgrade SR 99 in Edmonds, replace the Mukilteo ferry terminal, and add a bus rapid transit line Canyon Park to Boeing’s Everett plant, Sen. Marko Liias, D-Lynnwood, announced today.

The package also authorizes full tax funding capacity for Sound Transit 3 and provides 1-to-1 multi-modal funding for road projects, Liias said.

“For my constituents, the average commute time has gone up 18 minutes every day in just three years. That’s 18 minutes of not being home with their kids, not being there to tuck their little ones in at night, not making dinner for their kids when they get home,” he said. “This package will help all the people who want to walk their kids to school but can’t for lack of a sidewalk, the folks who want to ride a bike to work because they like the exercise but can’t because there isn’t a bike path. This makes the investments we need to build the communities we all want.”

For example, the additional rapid bus line is projected to start out carrying 3,300 riders a day and complete the 12.5-mile trip in about 40 minutes, Liias said.

“This bill and package represent a triumph of bipartisanship,” Liias said. “In our politics today, we have this sense that things are broken, that we can’t solve problems anymore. When we look at Washington DC, we see that problem. But here in Washington state, we are showing that we can solve problems by working together across the aisle, across this state, making a difference in rural and urban communities.”

The overall $31 billion revenue package will create 100,000 jobs and complete major state projects along SR 520 and SR 167 and other regional bottlenecks, said Liias, who helped negotiate the package as the deputy ranking member on the Senate Transportation Committee.

July 10th, 2015|Uncategorized|
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    21st District lawmakers schedule telephone town hall for 6 p.m. Tuesday

21st District lawmakers schedule telephone town hall for 6 p.m. Tuesday

Sen. Marko Liias, D-Lynnwood, Rep. Lillian Ortiz-Self, D-Mukilteo, and Rep. Strom Peterson, D-Edmonds, will host a telephone town hall on Tuesday, May 26 at 6 p.m. to update their constituents on what is happening in Olympia during the special legislative session.

Constituents can participate one of two ways: a wide swath of constituents across the district will receive a call a few minutes before the town hall begins, inviting them to stay on the line; or, if they don’t receive the call, they can dial the toll-free line 877-229-8493, followed by the ID code 18646.

Once on the call, constituents can listen to the questions and answers and also ask a question directly to their legislators.

21st Legislative District residents are encouraged to participate and discuss critical issues such as the state budget and a transportation package.

May 21st, 2015|Uncategorized|