Monthly Archives: March 2019

  • Permalink Gallery

    E-News – Telephone Town Hall Wed. 4/3 + infrastructure investments

E-News – Telephone Town Hall Wed. 4/3 + infrastructure investments

March 29th, 2019|

Friends, neighbors—

Next Wednesday, April 3, please join me for a telephone town hall! I’m eager to share the work I’ve been doing as your State Senator to expand health care access and reduce costs, as well as to make living and learning more affordable for everyone, including veterans and gold star families.

My top priority is opening the door to the Legislature to every member of our community—hearing your issues and concerns and reporting back to you on what we’ve done so far. You are essential to our democratic process.

If you would like to make sure you receive a phone call at 6 pm on April 3 for the telephone town hall, you can opt in here: www.vekeo.com/WSDC26.

Once you get the call on April 3, all you need to do is stay on the line to participate. Press *3 at any time to ask a question. The town hall will last until 7 pm. You can see more information on my Facebook page here.

Thank you for participating, and I hope to hear your voice!

Investing in our infrastructure

It’s budget week! I’ve been working hard to make sure that the 26th District gets our fair share of the transportation and capital investments that the state is going to make over the next two years. And I’ve been working closely with neighbors and community groups in our district to identify the most pressing places where we need investment in our physical infrastructure—from roads and ferries to affordable housing and health centers.

That means money for the Tacoma Narrows Bridge Fund, senior living at the Mustard Seed project on the Key Peninsula, mental health services and a mobile dental clinic through Peninsula Community Health Services, as well as more ferry funding.

I’m excited that the Senate’s draft transportation and capital budgets include these and several other projects I’ve been fighting for. Over the next two years, the Senate’s proposed capital budget would invest $31.9 million in our community, and the transportation budget $43 million in and around our district. Whether all these projects are in the budget that is ultimately passed by the legislature will depend on the negotiations of the coming weeks.

There’s more work to do to ensure these projects make their way through the legislative process and into the final budget, so take a look at my video about the budget, and check the comments for links to the full details of both budgets so you can learn about the projects you want to support!

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 legislative calendar each week 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 360-786-7650 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,

  • Permalink Gallery

    E-News – Town Halls Sat 3/23 + Behind the scenes at the Legislature

E-News – Town Halls Sat 3/23 + Behind the scenes at the Legislature

March 21st, 2019|

Friends, neighbors—

This weekend, on Saturday, March 23, please join me for town halls in Bremerton, Gig Harbor and Vaughn!

Let us know if you can make it to one of the events by clicking on the links below:

You can see more information on the town halls here.

Strong women at the Legislature

One of the friendliest faces at the Legislature belongs to Airy’l Simon. If you go through the line in the Senate dining room, you’ll see her behind the counter, greeting every senator by first name. “My favorite part of being here is customer service, interacting with everyone who comes through,” Airy’l says. “I like to make things a little more personable and make the senators feel like regular people.”

Airy’l is just as much at home in the Senate as anyone coming through the line. She’s been the sous chef in the Senate dining room for seven years. She works alongside an all-female staff, as does her mom, Kerri, who’s been with the Senate for 24 years as executive chef—longer than any currently serving senator.

Born and raised in Olympia, Airy’l started helping at her parents’ restaurant when she was five. “I would stand on a milk crate and could just reach the sink,” she said. She knew that restaurant front and back. These days, her parents have a new restaurant in Tumwater, named after her father, Jean-Pierre. Airy’l works there five nights a week as executive sous chef in addition to her time here. 

In between those jobs, she’s pursuing her passion: welding. Airy’l is an experienced welder whose eyes light up when she describes a few of the projects she’s produced: the wolf from Jack London’s classic novel White Fang, a metal rose made from the tin that welding rods come in, or a sign she made with her family’s name on it.

Three times a week, Airy’l heads off to South Puget Sound Community College, where she has just three more quarters until she receives her Associate in Applied Science in Welding Technology. During interims, she works making furniture for schools, and she has a vision for her career once she finishes her education. She’s going to learn about structural engineering, and build even bigger things—buildings, cars, bridges. What she loves about working in metal, she says, is: “the stuff that I make now will last practically forever.”

Airy’l remembers that when he was lieutenant governor, Brad Owen used to come to the Senate dining room and sit down with her. He’d tell her, “Your time is worth much more than you think it is; you’re smarter than you think you are—always think about what you want to accomplish.” Airy’l is thinking about that as she works toward her degree and the life that she wants to give her 18-month-old daughter, Ashyr. “She’s the reason I’m going to school and working,” says Airy’l. “I’m lucky to have my family there to support me, especially my sister Sky. It’s hard sometimes when I’m not there to put Ashyr into bed, but she’s why I get up in the mornings.” That devotion is just one of the reasons we’re lucky to have Airy’l here!

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 legislative calendar each week 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 360-786-7650 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 – Passing landmark legislation

March 15th, 2019|

Friends, neighbors—

We’ve hit the halfway point, and we’re done with the part of the session called house of origin cutoff, when we had to get all the Senate bills off the floor. I’m proud of the work we’ve done together—we passed legislation that would provide comprehensive sex education, protect trans kids and their classmates from bullying in schools, make great strides for our environment, ensure that the college students with the highest need are guaranteed the financial aid they need to succeed, regulate the inhumane conditions of migrant workers in our farms and fields, and so much more.

I’m also proud of the bills that I sponsored that we passed out of the Senate. For the next few weeks, I’ll be working to make sure that they get through the House and to the Governor’s desk.

Spotlight: Bills I have passed

When I came to Olympia, I brought with me the stories that I heard from neighbors and friends all around the 26th District, the stories of finding a way to go to college while taking care of kids and family members, of hiding the fact that your family is homeless from fellow students, of getting along while family members are serving overseas, of struggling to pay for health care coverage—or doing without. Those are the stories that keep me going, and they’re the stories that led to the bills I’ve sponsored this year. Nine of those bills passed through the Senate and are still alive:

SB 5822 is the Pathway to Universal Health Care 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 bill would convene a group of stakeholders to make a plan that 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.

SB 5602, the Reproductive Health Access for All Act, prohibits health care discrimination on the basis of immigration status or gender identity.  Our transgender and undocumented neighbors have faced continued discrimination and barriers to care. This bill protects the most vulnerable communities and provides access to the essential health care they need and deserve.

SB 5800 creates pilot programs at six colleges across the state, three on each side of the Cascades, to provide assistance to homeless students and students who have been in foster care. It includes both four-year institutions and community and technical colleges. Once young people experiencing homelessness get to college, they lose the network of support available when they’re younger.

SB 5603 would help 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 the 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.

SB 5755 increases the higher education tuition and fee waiver for gold star families, from 200 credits to 250, and expands access to tuition waivers to include veterans and National Guard members who received a general discharge under honorable conditions.

SB 5723, which passed unanimously, protects folks on bikes, on foot, in wheelchairs, and others using our roads, and encourages Washingtonians to get out and use alternative methods of transportation that will help keep themselves and our planet healthy and safe.

SB 5930 creates the first license plate in our state’s history to honor a women’s sports team, our WNBA champion Seattle Storm! This is a victory for gender parity, and the funds raised will go toward investing in the promise of young women and girls.

SB 5622 allows municipal and district court commissioners to officiate at a marriages. This would mean that LGBTQ, immigrant, or non-English speaking couples, or couples of other marginalized communities could approach someone a little more like themselves to perform their wedding.

SB 5764 changes the name of the Medical Quality Assurance Commission (“MQAC”) to the Washington Medical Commission, to make the name less confusing—and to take the “quack” out of “M-quack.”

Town Halls

On Saturday, March 23, I’ll be hosting town halls in Bremerton, Gig Harbor and Vaughn. I’m eager to share the work we’ve been doing to expand health care access and reduce costs, as well as to make living and learning more affordable for everyone, including veterans and gold star families.

My top priority is opening the door to Legislature to every member of our community—hearing your issues and concerns, and reporting back to you on what we’ve done so far. You are essential to our democratic process. Thank you for participating, and I hope to see you there!

Let us know if you can make it to one of the events by clicking on the links below:

You can see them all at the link here.

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 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 360-786-7650 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 – Save the date for my town halls!

March 10th, 2019|

Friends, neighbors—

We’ve been working around the clock this week passing bills on the floor of the Senate. There have been eloquent speeches, heated debates, tears, and—in the end—lots of legislation that’s going to make a difference in all of our lives.

We’ve passed bills to create an LGBTQ Commission, help human trafficking victims, expand broadband in underserved areas, address the opioid epidemic, and remove barriers to voting — and that’s just for starters. I also helped move a big transportation package, with millions of dollars of investments in our district, out of committee.  

Town Halls

On Saturday, March 23, I’ll be hosting town halls in Bremerton, Gig Harbor and Vaughn. I’m eager to share the work we’ve been doing to expand health care access and reduce costs, as well as to make living and learning more affordable for everyone, including veterans and gold star families.

My top priority is opening the door to Legislature to every member of our community—hearing your issues and concerns, and reporting back to you on what we’ve done so far. You are essential to our democratic process. Thank you for participating, and I hope to see you there!

Let us know if you can make it to one of the events by clicking on the links below:

You can see them all at the link here.

Behind the scenes at our Legislature

One of the great privileges of serving in the Legislature is interacting with all the bright and enthusiastic young people who spend time here learning about our democracy. I’ve gotten to talk to kids from schools around the district, and last week I sponsored my first page.

The page program gives young people a hands-on opportunity to learn how our state government works from the inside. The pages spend a week on the floor of the Senate, in the corridors of the Senate offices, and with guest speakers and classes on topics like budget writing and how a bill becomes a law. And it culminates in pages creating their own bills in a mock committee setting.

My page last week was Elena Weymiller. She’s in 9th grade at Gig Harbor High School, where she is on the speech and debate team. Elena enjoys playing a variety of different instruments including the guitar, ukulele, and piano. And when she has free time, Elena writes short modern fiction stories and hangs out with her dog Willy.

“I enjoyed being a page because the people here really treat us with responsibility and respect,” Elena said. “We are treated a lot more like adults here, and are trusted with important tasks.”

If you want to learn more about the page program or find the application, check here on the Legislature’s website.

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 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 360-786-7650 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,

  • Permalink Gallery

    Senate passes Randall bill to eliminate barriers to reproductive health care

Senate passes Randall bill to eliminate barriers to reproductive health care

March 7th, 2019|

OLYMPIA – The Washington State Senate voted 28-17 today to pass the Reproductive Health Access for All Act (RHAA).

Senate Bill 5602, sponsored by Sen. Emily Randall (D-Bremerton), prohibits health care discrimination on the basis of immigration status or gender identity. 

“Our state has a proud history of protecting and expanding reproductive freedom,” said Randall. “But our transgender and undocumented neighbors have faced continued discrimination and barriers to care. This bill protects the most vulnerable communities and provides access to the essential health care they need and deserve.”

The RHAA creates a state-funded program to cover family planning services for undocumented Washingtonians who would be eligible for the federal Take Charge program if not for their immigration status. It also prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender identity in all reproductive health services covered by Medicaid and private insurance plans. In addition, it extends reproductive health care access requirements to student health plans.

Last year, the Senate passed Sen. Steve Hobbs’s Reproductive Parity Act (SB 6219), which required all insurance plans in Washington state that cover maternity care to also cover the full range of reproductive health services.

The bill now goes to the state House of Representatives for consideration.

  • Permalink Gallery

    Senate passes bill to provide assistance to homeless college students

Senate passes bill to provide assistance to homeless college students

March 6th, 2019|

OLYMPIA – The Washington State Senate voted today to pass a bill to provide assistance to homeless college students. The bill passed on a vote of 30-18.

Senate Bill 5800, sponsored by Sen. Emily Randall (D-Bremerton), creates pilot programs at four colleges across the state, two on each side of the Cascades, to provide assistance to homeless students and students who were in foster care.

“As a state, we’ve taken important steps to support young students experiencing homelessness while in our K-12 system, but once they get to college, they lose that network,” Randall said. “College students experiencing homelessness are facing so many overlapping challenges—LGBTQ youth become homeless at a much higher rate than their straight, cis-gender peers. Between this bill and the provisions in the Reproductive Health Care Access for All Act, we’re expanding support and health care to vulnerable college students.”

The services that the colleges will provide to eligible students include access to short-term housing or housing assistance; laundry facilities, storage, and showers; reduced-price meal plans; technology; and case management services.

Institutions eligible for the pilot program include all six public, four-year colleges and universities in the state, as well as all 34 and community technical colleges (CTCs). Participating CTCs will be chosen by the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges, and participating four-year colleges by the Washington Student Achievement Council.

Colleges participating in the pilot program will collect data and issue a report in 2023.

The bill now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration.

  • Permalink Gallery

    Senate passes bill to improve safety for vulnerable road users

Senate passes bill to improve safety for vulnerable road users

March 5th, 2019|

OLYMPIA — The Washington State Senate passed a bill today to clarify how motor vehicles, pedestrians, bicyclists and other users are to share the road.

Senate Bill 5723, which passed unanimously, makes numerous changes to state rules on passing and following vulnerable road users, and provides an additional penalty for certain traffic infractions involving a motor vehicle and a vulnerable user of the road. Revenues from fines would be used to educate law enforcement officers, prosecutors and judges about opportunities for enforcement of traffic infractions and offenses committed against vulnerable roadway users.

“This is a wonderful bill that protects folks on bikes, on foot, in wheelchairs, and others when they’re using our roads,” said Sen. Emily Randall (D-Bremerton), the bill’s sponsor.

“The people of Washington—and our planet—are facing a collective health crisis. This bill encourages Washingtonians to get out and use alternative methods of transportation that will help keep themselves and our planet safe and healthy.” The bill now moves to the House of Representatives for consideration.

  • Permalink Gallery

    Senate would expand tuition waivers for service members, gold star families

Senate would expand tuition waivers for service members, gold star families

March 5th, 2019|

OLYMPIA – The Washington State Senate voted today to expand college access opportunities for veterans, National Guard members, and gold star families. The bill passed on a vote of 44-1.

Senate Bill 5755, sponsored by Sen. Emily Randall (D-Bremerton), increases the higher education tuition and fee waiver that gold star families receive from 200 to 250 credits.

This waiver, which is available at all public institutions of higher education in Washington, covers children, spouses, and domestic partners of eligible veterans and National Guard members who became totally disabled, became prisoners of war, went missing in action, or lost their lives while serving.

In addition, the bill expands access to optional tuition waivers at public institutions of higher education to include veterans and National Guard members who received a general discharge under honorable conditions. 

“As I’ve talked to folks around the district, I’ve heard that educational opportunities are one of the most important issues for veterans and their family members,” Randall said. “This bill makes those opportunities, and the good jobs they lead to, more accessible.”

The bill now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration.

Senate passes bill to create Seattle Storm license plate

March 5th, 2019|

OLYMPIA — In the first week of women’s history month, the Washington State Senate voted today to create a Seattle Storm special license plate.

“The Seattle Storm license plate would be the first in our state for a women’s sports team,” said Sen. Emily Randall (D-Bremerton), the bill’s sponsor. “I’m excited about this bill because it’s a great win for gender parity, and also because the funds raised by the plate will go toward investing in the promise of young women and girls.”

Senate Bill 5930 passed by a vote of 47-1. Proceeds from the sale of the Seattle Storm license plates will provide funds to the Washington State Legislative Youth Advisory Council and the Association of Washington Generals.

The Washington State Legislative Youth Advisory Council, whose 22 members are 14-18 year old students from across the state, is the formal voice for Washington youth in the state legislature. The students get involved with state government, learn and experience the legislative process, voice opinions regarding issues of importance to youth, and become more politically aware.

The Association of Washington Generals works to expand opportunities for youth, uniformed services members, veterans, military families, and people with disabilities. Funding from the Seattle Storm plates will go toward grants that support and enhance athletic, recreational, and other opportunities for women and girls, especially those with disabilities.

E-News – Breaking through the gridlock

March 3rd, 2019|

Friends, neighbors—

This has been a big week in the Senate! As the session goes on, we’re bringing more and more important bills up for votes on the floor and passing legislation that is making a better Washington for all of us. In the past few days, we have passed bills to lead us to a 100-percent clean energy future; to address the bullying of transgender students; to increase the supply of affordable housing; and to provide comprehensive, fact-based sex education – that includes important conversations about consent – to students across the state. Next up: bills we’ve been working on to expand access to college and health care, and to pave the way to a better, more efficient transportation system.  

Spotlight: investing in infrastructure

From Gig Harbor to Gorst, our transportation needs in and around the 26th District have been neglected for too long. That’s why I’m excited that so many of the projects I have been fighting for were included in the Forward Washington transportation infrastructure package that Senator Hobbs has put forward. In total, the land-based projects would represent a $361 million investment in improved mobility for our district, and the ferry improvements another $1.67 billion. The projects include:

  • $35 million for improving the intersection of SR3 and SR 16
  • $300 million for widening SR3 in Gorst (read about these two projects here)
  • $1.9 million for improving congestion on SR 16 in the Gig Harbor area
  • $6 million for roundabouts near Port Orchard at the intersection of SR 16 and SR 160
  • $18 million for widening Wollochet Drive NW
  • $1.5 billion for ferry vessels and terminal construction and preservation
  • $170 million for ferry vessel electrification

In addition, I’m the prime sponsor of a bill that would freeze tolls on the Tacoma Narrows Bridge and provide more state funding for the bridge payments. This state support would make up for lost time. When the bridge was built, we didn’t get a good deal on the financing. The original plan called for a much higher percentage of the cost of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge to be paid from tolls than for many other similar projects in other areas of the state, including the SR 520 bridge between Seattle and Bellevue. My bill would start to make up for that neglect. You can read more about it here.

Introducing our staff

Though you may not interact with them when you call the office, come to a town hall, or visit us in Olympia, there’s a dedicated staff behind the scenes making the Legislature hum along. The policy team brings an unmatched depth of knowledge in order to distill the perspectives of constituents, experts, stakeholders, and advocates into the bills that are the core of our work here. One of the policy staff who always has a smile and an encouraging word to go along with her keen intellect (and her A+ color-coordination!) is Noha Mahgoub.

Noha, who staffs the Local Government Committee, the Capital Budget, and the Members of Color Caucus, has led a life full of adventures. From spending several formative childhood years living in Egypt, to briefly guest-playing for the Egyptian women’s national soccer team, to becoming the first in her family to go to college, Noha hasn’t let anything hold her back.

Noha is an intellectual adventurer as well. She has a Masters of Social Work in Administration and Policy from UW. That background and her extensive experience as a social worker for the YMCA’s Young Adult Services, working with youth in foster care, as well as stints at the Washington Department of Social and Human Services and Child Protective Services, informs her work helping craft policy on a wide variety of issues.

The issues that the Local Government Committee deals with, for example, can be extremely technical, but things like zoning, emergency preparedness, and contracting rules make a big difference in people’s everyday lives. Noha is also fascinated by the capital budget, which funds construction and repair of buildings and infrastructure. “It touches every facet of what we work on here,” she says. “K-12 schools, college construction, flood preparations, you name it.” Before joining the policy staff, she spent two years working as an LA, and one of her most memorable experiences was seeing Big Bertha when touring the Seattle tunnel.

But, Noha says, “the Members of Color Caucus is where my heart and soul is—working on bills to reduce disparities and create the world we want to live in.” This is where Noha and I have worked together, on legislation like the Reproductive Health Access for All Act, and my first-year bill, which will ease school enrollment for the children of relocating military families. We’re making exciting progress, but there is still a lot of work to do—and I’m glad to be doing it with Noha’s help.

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 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,