Monthly Archives: February 2019

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    E-News – Supporting military families + Monday evening Facebook LIVE!

E-News – Supporting military families + Monday evening Facebook LIVE!

February 23rd, 2019|

Friends, neighbors—

Today was policy cutoff day at the legislature. That means that we’ve introduced the last new bills of this session, and now we turn to moving the best of these bills along in the process. It’s our first big deadline, and I’m excited that we’re going to be able to keep moving so many great bills to improve our transportation system, make college more accessible, and expand health care to everyone who needs it.

Speaking of health care—I hope you’ll join me on Monday at 6:00 p.m. LIVE on Facebook to hear about the Pathway to Universal Health Care bill. I’ll be joined by some of our fellow Washingtonians who will share their personal stories about how access to—or lack of—health care can change lives.

Have questions you’d like us to answer? Just respond to this email and we’ll add your question to Monday night’s discussion!

*Even if you’re not on Facebook, you can keep an eye on what’s happening each day in Olympia—and watch my first floor speech—on TVW!

Spotlight: Supporting veterans and military families

On Wednesday, I gave my first speech on the floor of the Senate.* The bill I spoke about, SB 5603, is all about ensuring that the families that are serving us are served by the work we’re doing for them. It would allow the children of service members who are relocating to enroll in school before they have an address in district. This will improve the transition to a new school for the kids, for their families, and for their school districts. As we welcome many families connected to the USS Carl Vinson to our community this year, we want to make sure that no matter what the makeup of your family or how soon you know that you’re coming to our community, we clear the ground for you.

As I’ve talked to service members, veterans, and neighbors around our community, I’ve heard about ways that we as a state can better support our veterans and military families. That’s why I’ve sponsored four other related bills this session:

  •  SB 5571 will boost the economy around military bases by authorizing cities and counties near bases to establish military benefit zones. This program will allow for tax incentives and state grants to fund investment in public infrastructure, including streets, parks, and broadband access.
  • SB 5713 requires that disabled veterans who are entitled to federal Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Services benefits qualify for in-state tuition at public higher education institutions in Washington.
  • SB 5755 increases the tuition and fee waiver for gold star families and expands tuition waivers to more veterans and National Guard members.
  • SB 5900 creates the position of LGBTQ coordinator in the Washington Department of Veterans Affairs. The coordinator will conduct outreach to LGBTQ veterans, their spouses, and their dependents, and connect them to benefits and services earned through their service.

This week in Olympia

I believe in transparency, and I want to keep you all informed about what I’m doing on behalf of the 26th District in Olympia. That’s why I’m making a practice of posting my calendar each week on Facebook. You can always see the last week’s calendar on my Facebook page.

Keep in touch

We are all eager to hear from you about your priorities. I hope you’ll follow me on Facebook so you can see what we’re up to. And please feel free to reach out anytime at 360-786-7560 or Emily.Randall@leg.wa.gov. The more we hear from you, the better our work in Olympia can reflect our shared values and goals.

All my best,

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    Senate unanimously passes Randall bill to help relocating military families

Senate unanimously passes Randall bill to help relocating military families

February 20th, 2019|

OLYMPIA – Legislation to ease the transition of children in military families to new schools passed unanimously today off the floor of the Senate.

“This is all about ensuring that the families that are serving us are served by the work we’re doing for them,” said Sen. Emily Randall (D-Bremerton), the bill’s sponsor. “It will be good for kids, for their families, and for their school districts.”

Senate Bill 5603 will allow the children of service members who receive transfer orders to any base in Washington to enroll in school before they have an address in district.

The bill establishes a 14-day conditional enrollment period during which students can register for classes and schools can prepare for the new students.

“As we welcome the families connected to the USS Carl Vinson to Bremerton this year, we want to make sure that regardless of the makeup of your family or how soon you know that you’re coming to our community, we’ve cleared the ground for you.”

Randall’s grandparents on both sides moved to Bremerton to work at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, and her father worked there for more than 25 years. 

This is one of five bills Randall has introduced this session to help military families and their communities. The others include:

  • SB 5571 will boost the economy around military bases by authorizing cities and counties near bases to establish military benefit zones. This program will allow for tax incentives and state grants to fund investment in public infrastructure, including streets, parks, and broadband access.
  • SB 5713 requires that disabled veterans who are entitled to federal Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Services benefits qualify for in-state tuition at public higher education institutions in Washington.
  • SB 5755 increases the tuition and fee waiver for gold star families and expands tuition waivers to more veterans and National Guard members.
  • SB 5900 creates the position of LGBTQ coordinator in the Washington Department of Veterans Affairs. The coordinator will conduct outreach to LGBTQ veterans, their spouses, and their dependents, and connect them to benefits and services earned through their service.

E-News – A pathway to universal health care

February 15th, 2019|

Friends, neighbors –

Somehow, we’ve already had five weeks, dozens of committee hearings, and 18 inches of snow in this legislative session! Five of the bills I’m prime-sponsoring have made it out of committee, including a measure to make child care more accessible to community college student-parents, as well as bills to support military families and communities.

And this Monday, I’m very excited to introduce a bill to establish a pathway to universal health care in Washington! (See more below.)

We also just welcomed our newest member, Sen. Liz Lovelett, from the 40th District! I’m excited to work with her to expand health care access, support working families, and make college more affordable.

Spotlight: a pathway to universal health care

Monday is going to be a big day for me, and more importantly, for Washington state. In the Senate Health & Long Term Care Committee hearing, I’m going to introduce SB 5822, the pathway to universal health care in Washington. As I wrote last week, this bill isn’t intended just to send a message or to check a box. It’s about taking concrete steps to prepare us for a future where we cover ALL Washingtonians.

This bill would lay the groundwork by convening a group of stakeholders to lay out a clear, step-by-step path to implement a universal health care system in Washington.

With the chaos and the hostility to expanding health care in the current administration, we know that we are not going to get the waivers we need from the federal government right now for a universal health care system. This task force would set us up to get that support when there’s a change of administration. We can’t afford to wait around—we need to start preparing now, and that’s what we’re going to be doing come Monday.

My week in Olympia

I believe in transparency, and I want to keep you all informed about what I’m doing on behalf of the 26th District in Olympia. That’s why I’m making a practice of posting my calendar each week on Facebook. You can see last week’s calendar here.

Send photos!

Calling all the photographers out there in the 26th! Send us photos of the most beautiful spots you know in the District, if you’d like to potentially see them in the banner of a future e-newsletter. To fit the space, the best photos are very wide landscapes. Take a look at the heading at the top of this newsletter and you’ll see what I mean.

Keep in touch

We are all eager to hear from you about your priorities. I hope you’ll follow me on Facebook so you can see what we’re up to. And please feel free to reach out anytime at 360-786-7560 or Emily.Randall@leg.wa.gov. The more we hear from you, the better our work in Olympia can reflect our shared values and goals.

All my best,

E-News – Fighting for universal health care

February 11th, 2019|

Friends, neighbors—

Despite the snow and ice this past week, we kept things moving at the Capitol! I introduced seven bills in committee—to provide supports for college students experiencing homelessness, to tackle congestion at our Park & Rides, to open doors to education for service members and their families. I met with constituents and stakeholders like the State Council of Fire Fighters (see below!). And I kept listening to you all and fighting for our shared values.

Spotlight: Universal health care

Washington has long been a leader in expanding health care access and coverage, but we have further to go. Every day I hear your stories about the ways that our health care system is falling short. Costs are too high; families are making tough choices about which prescriptions to fill and whether or not to go to the doctor; too many people are falling through the cracks. Nearly half a million Washingtonians are living and working without health care coverage. That’s why we need a bold fix—we need a system where everyone can get the high quality, comprehensive care they deserve.

My own family benefited from our legislature taking a bold step forward to expand Medicaid. In 1993, when my sister Olivia was born with microcephaly, we didn’t know how long she’d live—or how we’d pay for the care she needed to stay alive. But once the legislature expanded Medicaid, we could focus on keeping Olivia healthy and home with us—not on the fear of losing our home.

I believe that no family—regardless of their income or financial situation—should go bankrupt or lose their home because of their medical needs.

That’s why I’m sponsoring SB 5822, the pathway to universal health care in Washington. This bill isn’t intended just to send a message or to check a box. It’s about taking concrete steps to prepare us for a future where we cover ALL Washingtonians.

Last year, the Legislature commissioned a study from the Washington State Institute for Public Policy to analyze how single-payer systems work in other places.

This bill would take the next step and convene a group of stakeholders to lay out a clear, step-by-step path to implement a universal health care system in Washington.

We know that right now, we are not going to get the support—or the waivers—we need from the federal government for a universal health care system. This task force would put us in position to get that support when there’s a change of administration. We can’t afford to wait until our national politics heal—we need to start preparing now, and that’s what this bill does.

Introducing our staff

Kenzie Taylor is joining us for the legislative session as our intern. She hails from all the way over in Spokane (where my grandparents retired), and she is just finishing up her bachelor’s degree at UW. She’s putting her political science background to work by tracking my prime-sponsored bills and other proposed bills.

As Kenzie said, “I love learning about the way a bill works through the Legislature and seeing how thorough and detailed the process is, how many people hear and give input on each bill. Each one is so important because it could potentially affect everyone in the state.”

Kenzie has particularly enjoyed attending committee hearings and listening to people testify on bills they’re passionate about. She’s also sat in on meetings with me, where’s she’s heard from constituents and advocates about some of the most important issues facing our families and communities. She says her perspective was especially broadened by a meeting with Washington State Parks. “I’ve visited so many state parks, but I never stopped to think about the budget and effort it takes to staff, maintain, and preserve them.”

That’s one of several educational opportunities Kenzie has taken advantage of over the past weeks. And she’s looking forward to many more through the internship program. The interns will tour the Governor’s mansion, visit the state archives, and sit in on oral argument at the Washington Supreme Court.

The internship program is one of the most valuable ways that we open up the Legislature, by bringing in young people from across the state to learn about democratic self-government in action. You can read about some of our fabulous interns and learn about the program here.

This week in Olympia

I believe in transparency, and I want to keep you all informed about what I’m doing on behalf of the 26th District in Olympia. That’s why I’m making a practice of posting my calendar each week on Facebook. You can see last week’s calendar here.

Keep in touch

We are all eager to hear from you about your priorities. I hope you’ll follow me on Facebook so you can see what we’re up to. And please feel free to reach out anytime at 360-786-7560 or Emily.Randall@leg.wa.gov. The more we hear from you, the better our work in Olympia can reflect our shared values and goals.

All my best,

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    The Everblue State podcast: Sen. Emily Randall on being a new senator

The Everblue State podcast: Sen. Emily Randall on being a new senator

February 7th, 2019|

In this week’s episode of the Everblue State podcast, Sen. Randall spoke about what it’s like to be one of the Senate’s newest members.

Her seat was previously held by a Republican, and she is working to make sure her constituents are fairly represented. She’s also one of the Legislature’s several new women of color, and is an LGBTQ leader.

She told the hosts what it’s like to serve in a Legislature that is slowly becoming more diverse. you can find the podcast here or below:

Podcast (everbluestate): Play in new window | Download

Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Android | RSS

E-News – Boosting success for children and parents

February 4th, 2019|

Friends, neighbors –

It’s been another packed week at the legislature! So many of you have called, emailed, and come all the way Olympia to talk about the issues most important to you, our families, and our communities. Together, we’re fighting for affordable college and the training needed for family-wage jobs, reproductive freedom, and health care access for each and every one of us.

Spotlight: Supporting student parents

We know that higher education is not equally accessible to families across the state. For some, the high cost of tuition stands in the way. For others, the application fees keep them from applying. Sometimes students don’t realize that college is even an option for them. And once students are enrolled, the challenges standing between them and graduation don’t go away.

This week, I introduced a bill to help remove one of those barriers for student parents. There are 46,000 students at our state’s community and technical colleges who have children. Right now, many of those student parents don’t have access to child care. My bill, SB 5341, will remove the requirement that community and technical college students work 20 hours per week in order to qualify for assistance with childcare.

I’ve talked to student parents from our district and around the state, and I’ve heard their stories about how hard it is to keep up with classes, assignments, bureaucracy, being a parent, AND on top of that, working 20 hours a week just so that they can qualify for child care subsidies.

We know that access to high-quality child care improves parents’ performance in school and provides long-lasting benefits for kids. We should allow these students to focus on their studies and their families, so that they can make progress toward rewarding careers.

Introducing our staff

Kali Chargualaf, our session aide, is often the first point of contact for those of you who call the office or come in. She grew up in Suquamish on the Port Madison Indian Reservation and just graduated from Western Washington University in December!

Kali enjoys the face-to-face contact of talking with constituents as well as mentoring and working with the young people who serve as pages. She likes passing on to the pages the insights she’s been gaining herself. “This being my first session at the legislature, everything is a learning experience,” Kali said. “All my colleagues have been so helpful.”

She particularly appreciates the input that constituents and agencies give on the bills before the legislature. “It’s great to see that people are taking steps to interact with their Senators about potential laws that are being considered.”

Some of the issues under discussion have hit home for Kali. “We met with a person who works in treatment services, and it was a really helpful conversation on both sides. I have family and friends who have been involved with treatment facilities. I learned a lot, and I was also able to share my knowledge about how best to interact with indigenous communities.”

One of the most valuable moments, Kali says, was when she attended the caucus meeting with Tribal leaders. She saw familiar faces, including Chairman Leonard Forsman of the Suquamish Tribe, to which she belongs, and Claudia Kauffman, who was the first Native American woman elected to the Washington State Senate. Kauffman was also Kali’s scholarship donor at WWU. “It was inspiring to see them and realize that one day I could have a seat at the table.” 

This week in Olympia

I believe in transparency, and I want to keep you all informed about what I’m doing on behalf of the 26th District in Olympia. That’s why I’m making a practice of posting my calendar each week on Facebook. You can see last week’s calendar here.

Keep in touch

We are all eager to hear from you about your priorities. I hope you’ll follow me on Facebook so you can see what we’re up to. And please feel free to reach out anytime at 360-786-7560 or Emily.Randall@leg.wa.gov. The more we hear from you, the better our work in Olympia can reflect our shared values and goals.

All my best,

Randall sponsors military benefit zones legislation

February 1st, 2019|

OLYMPIA – As one of her first official acts since being sworn in as Senator for the 26th Legislative District, Sen. Emily Randall (D-Bremerton) testified Thursday on behalf of her legislation to establish military benefit zones.

Randall’s bipartisan bill, SB 5571, would stimulate economic activity around military bases by authorizing cities and counties near bases to establish military benefit zones. This designation would allow for tax incentives to fund investment in public infrastructure, including amenities such as streets, parks, and broadband access.

Under this plan, local revenues could be supplemented with competitive awards from the state Department of Commerce. In past cases, the state has often supplied the lion’s share of the funds.

“My grandparents on both sides moved to Kitsap to work at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Keyport, and my dad worked at PSNS for more than 25 years,” said Randall. “The Navy presence is a big and important part of why Bremerton’s such a rich, diverse community.”

Similar programs have proven to provide a substantial return on investment for the state. The Local Revitalization Financing Program (LRF), established by the Legislature in 2009, received $6.6 million from the state and returned a state benefit of $199.7 million by 2014.

“I have met and talked to a lot of veterans in our community who would like to see investment that’s good for them, for their families, for their grandkids, and for our economy,” Randall added.

Randall sponsors military benefit zones legislation

February 1st, 2019|

OLYMPIA – As one of her first official acts since being sworn in as Senator for the 26th Legislative District, Sen. Emily Randall (D-Bremerton) testified Thursday on behalf of her legislation to establish military benefit zones.

Randall’s bipartisan bill, SB 5571, would stimulate economic activity around military bases by authorizing cities and counties near bases to establish military benefit zones. This designation would allow for tax incentives to fund investment in public infrastructure, including amenities such as streets, parks, and broadband access.

Under this plan, local revenues could be supplemented with competitive awards from the state Department of Commerce. In past cases, the state has often supplied the lion’s share of the funds.

“My grandparents on both sides moved to Kitsap to work at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Keyport, and my dad worked at PSNS for more than 25 years,” said Randall. “The Navy presence is a big and important part of why Bremerton’s such a rich, diverse community.”

Similar programs have proven to provide a substantial return on investment for the state. The Local Revitalization Financing Program (LRF), established by the Legislature in 2009, received $6.6 million from the state and returned a state benefit of $199.7 million by 2014.

“I have met and talked to a lot of veterans in our community who would like to see investment that’s good for them, for their families, for their grandkids, and for our economy,” Randall added.