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Randall voted Chair of Senate Higher Education Committee

October 8th, 2019|

BREMERTON – Sen. Emily Randall (D-Bremerton) has been chosen to chair the Senate Higher Education & Workforce Development Committee.

“I’m honored to have the trust of my colleagues to lead our efforts to make higher education more affordable and accessible to all Washingtonians,” said Randall. “As the first in my family to graduate from college, I know firsthand what higher education can do to open up a world of possibilities.”

Randall previously served as vice chair of the committee. Under her tenure, the Legislature passed the Workforce Education Investment Act, which dramatically increased foundational support for community and technical colleges and created the Washington College Grant Program, a statewide guaranteed free college program serving up to 110,000 low-income students.

The Legislature also passed a bill sponsored by Randall, Senate Bill 5800, which establishes 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. “This bill will help connect students to services, and it will allow us to collect data to inform our future efforts.”  

As acting chair of the Senate Higher Education and Workforce Development Committee, Randall has spent the interim touring colleges and universities around the state to check on innovative new programs they are implementing. “We’re working to provide opportunities for all students, regardless of their zip code or family income,” said Randall.

Randall’s selection as chair will be formalized in a vote of the full Senate on the first day of the 2020 legislative session.

E-News – Health care progress report

September 5th, 2019|

Friends, neighbors—

Across the country, our health care is endangered by recklessness and greed. But here in Washington, we can — and we will — continue leading the country in expanding access to the care that folks need.

This year, we took historic steps to expand access to health care—to address the urgent problems with our system now and to make our system better in the long term.

  • The Reproductive Health Access for All Act, which I sponsored, prohibited health care discrimination based on gender identity, expanded reproductive health access for our transgender neighbors, extended care to college students who have suffered sexual assault, and put more muscle behind HIV education outreach.
  • The new Cascade Care program will provide the nation’s first public option. It will be available to all Washingtonians who aren’t covered by an employer, and it will decrease the cost of premiums, copays, and out-of-pocket expenses on the individual insurance market.
  • The Universal Healthcare Workgroup we funded this session will form a plan to ensure that every Washingtonian has the care they need. We have a strong history in our state of leading the nation on health care expansion. And I’m excited about where we’re headed together.
  • The Long-Term Care Trust Act is the first statewide long-term care insurance system in the nation. It will help prevent thousands of working and middle-class families from having to spend down their savings to pay for their care. This is all about building a safe and stable future for all Washingtonians!

Our work is not done, but I’m in it for the long haul. We won’t go back.

Calling all college students!

Applications for the 2020 session intern program are open! It’s a great opportunity to learn about our government at work and get hands-on experience with the legislative process. Junior and senior students in any major can apply, and interns receive a cost-of-living stipend to help make this more accessible.  You can read more and find the application here.

Sen. Randall and Kenzie Taylor
We appreciated the work of my wonderful intern in the 2019 session, Kenzie Taylor!

Around the 26th 

I hope you can join me at one of my coffee hours around the district: 1st Mondays in Port Orchard (moved to the 5th Monday this month due to Labor Day), 2nd Mondays in Gig Harbor, 3rd Mondays on the Key Peninsula, and 4th Mondays in Bremerton. You can see the details about the upcoming schedule on my website or Facebook.

On September 9, the Gig Harbor coffee hour will be one hour shorter than usual so that we can attend the groundbreaking for the new Splash Pad at Gateway Park! See more info here.

My week in service

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 Facebook. You can see this week’s here.

Keep in touch

I’m eager to hear from you about your priorities. I hope you’ll follow me on Facebook so you can see what my team and I are up to. And please feel free to reach out anytime at (360) 627-7610 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,

Signature

LGBTQ Caucus supports gender-nonbinary option for state IDs

August 13th, 2019|

The members of the Washington State Legislative LGBTQ caucus wrote the following letter in support of the rule change:

As members of the Washington State Legislative LGBTQ Caucus, we write regarding your proposed rule change to allow Washington residents to choose from three options when getting a state-issued ID: female, male, and X. Last session, we passed a bill establishing the LGBTQ Commission to work with state agencies on issues exactly like this rule change. We strongly support this latest step in the state’s efforts to be more inclusive of all our residents.

While no one additional designation could capture the many realities of gender in cultures today and throughout history, the X serves as a symbol of our state’s commitment to honor the lives of those whose gender identities are nonbinary.

This move will have further practical benefits for gender nonbinary people and for our society. It will create greater consistency with our state birth certificates, which have included a possible X designation since 2018. And it will encourage the private sector to make the practical changes—such as changing forms or reprogramming software to accept more than two genders—that can make a significant difference in the daily lives of LGBTQ Washingtonians. In addition, we applaud the choice to allow self-identification of gender, which will prevent medical certification from being a barrier to choosing X.

We look forward to watching your progress toward adopting this proposal.

Sincerely yours,

Sen. Marko Liias, 21st Legislative District 
Sen. Jamie Pedersen, 43rd Legislative District 
Sen. Emily Randall, 26th Legislative District
Sen. Claire Wilson, 30th Legislative District 
Rep. Beth Doglio, 22nd Legislative District 
Rep. Laurie Jinkins, 27th Legislative District
Rep. Nicole Macri, 43rd Legislative District
Rep. Christine Kilduff, 28th Legislative District

Session Report

June 12th, 2019|

Dear friends and neighbors,

Now that we’ve finished the legislative session—with the first on-time budget in a decade—I’m excited to report back to you on what we did and how it will affect our community.

Since I came to Olympia this January, I have made it my mission to fight every day to make the 26th District and our whole state a better place—to expand access to health care, to make it easier for kids to fulfill their dreams through higher education, and to ensure that our community is getting the investments we need and deserve.

Of the bills I introduced this year, five passed into law. These bills impact healthcare, homelessness, road safety, and efficiency in our court system. One bill creates pilot programs at six universities and community and technical colleges around the state to provide assistance to students experiencing homelessness. Another of my bills prohibits discrimination in health care based on gender identity and extends care to college students who suffer from sexual assault. I also cosponsored a property tax exemption for veterans, seniors, and folks with disabilities.

At the same time, I worked hard to make sure the capital construction budget funds $29 million in infrastructure projects in communities across our district. A few highlights include:

• $1 million for the Mustard Seed senior living project on Key Peninsula.
• $4 million for construction at Retsil Washington Veterans Home.
• $1.2 million for new facilities in Kopachuck Beach State Park.
• $2 million for Peninsula Community Health Services to expand its behavioral health offerings and support its new mobile dental clinic.

It is an honor to be your voice in the Legislature. In the coming months, I will be attending events around the district and also holding regular coffee hours. You can see specific times, locations and other details on my official website.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out. The more I hear from you, the better I can ensure that our work in Olympia reflects our shared values.

All my best,

Senator Emily Randall

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    Coffee hours in Bremerton, Port Orchard, Gig Harbor and on Key Peninsula

Coffee hours in Bremerton, Port Orchard, Gig Harbor and on Key Peninsula

May 31st, 2019|

Sen. Emily Randall will host coffee hours around the 26th Legislative District on Mondays during the summer and fall.

“The meetings are a time for neighbors to come to me with questions, concerns, or ideas for how we can work together to build a better 26th District,” Randall said.

Randall will hold the meetings regularly on a rotating basis, on Mondays from 4-6 p.m. The next meetings will be:

  • 1st Mondays* in Port Orchard at Whiskey Gulch CoffeePub, 2065 Bay St – upcoming on September 30. *NOTE: not October 7
  • 2nd Mondays in Gig Harbor at Kimball Coffeehouse, 6659 Kimball Drive, Suite A102 – NOTE: cancelled this month
  • 3rd Mondays on the Key Peninsula, this month at Key Peninsula Community Services – 17015 9th Street Ct NW, Lakebay, WA 98349 – upcoming on October 21
  • 4th Mondays in Bremerton at Kitsap Public Library, Bremerton, 612 5th St – upcoming on October 28

For more information, see facebook.com/senatoremilyrandall/events/ or call Sen. Randall’s district office at (360) 627-7610.

It’s time we covered all Washingtonians

May 1st, 2019|

From the Key Peninsula News

When I talk to our neighbors in Lakebay, Lake Holiday and Vaughn, I hear over and over that you are worried about health care costs.

Whether it’s high premiums and deductibles, limited networks that don’t include your family doctors, plans that don’t cover the care you need, family members who are out of work and can’t afford coverage on the individual market, or the nagging worry that you’ll lose your care if you lose your job—it’s hard to avoid the stress caused by our broken system.

I take those concerns to heart because my family has been there.

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. Even though my dad worked at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and had good health coverage, it wouldn’t come close to covering Olivia’s needs.

When the Legislature expanded Medicaid that same year, we felt a huge burden lifted. We could focus on keeping Olivia healthy and home with us, instead of worrying we’d lose our home. It didn’t solve all our problems, but it did pay for the specialists Olivia saw in Tacoma and Seattle, her many expensive medications, her feeding tube and supplies, her wheelchairs—the care we needed to help her live her fullest, healthiest life. For our family—and for Olivia—Medicaid was a lifesaver.

Ours wasn’t the only family to benefit. After that 1993 expansion, 100,000 more Washingtonians were covered by Medicaid in 1994 than had been in 1992.

We have a lot to be proud of in our state’s history of expanding care. Since 2012, when Washington again expanded Medicaid as part of the Affordable Care Act, 600,000 more people have gained coverage. The uninsured rate in our state decreased from 14 percent to 5.5 percent by 2017.

That’s a huge improvement—changing hundreds of thousands of lives for the better. It means more of us are able to afford checkups, to fill prescriptions for asthma medicine, and to get preventive treatment from our doctors instead of waiting until it’s so bad we have to go to the emergency room.

But we haven’t done enough. There are still nearly half a million Washingtonians without health care coverage. And many families that do have insurance avoid going to the doctor because their premiums and deductibles are so high.

Given the urgency of this problem, I’m supporting immediate action while also working to establish a long-term solution.

Both houses of the Legislature this year have passed a version of our new Cascade Care health plan, which would create a public option for health care coverage. This plan would offer a good benefit package at an affordable price. And it would be available for any Washingtonian to buy into, without affecting those who already have health care through their employers or through Medicare or Medicaid.

This would make good health care more easily accessible and provide some healthy competition for private health care plans.

But just making care more accessible won’t address everyone’s needs. And no family—regardless of their income or financial situation—should go bankrupt or lose their home because they have a child born with special needs, are diagnosed with cancer, or get into a car accident.

That’s why I introduced a Pathway to Universal Health Care this year. 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.

The Pathway bill would bring all the stakeholders into one room—from patients to physicians, health care workers to employers, insurance carriers and hospitals—to hash out a specific plan to provide that coverage. That would put us in position for the next milestone in our proud history of leading the nation in health care coverage: the day we make worries about losing health care a thing of the past.

Sen. Emily Randall, D-Bremerton, represents the 26th Legislative District.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.