News

  • Permalink Gallery

    E-news: An invitation to participate + exciting upcoming opportunities to hear from you!

E-news: An invitation to participate + exciting upcoming opportunities to hear from you!

Randall 2019 banner

Friends, neighbors—

Even though state legislators are still at home in the 49 districts that make up Washington – for the period of time between legislative sessions called “interim” – we’re still hard at work. Interim is a time to reground ourselves in our communities, connect with our neighbors (even if it has to be virtual these days), and rebuild our list of priorities that we will take with us to Olympia in January 2021 – a list of priorities informed by neighbors like you.  

For me, interim is one of my favorite parts of this role. When our neighbors drive our mission and shape what I elevate in Olympia, our democracy is working. And when I head to the state capitol for the legislative session, at the forefront of my mind is how I bring transparency and community values to my work. I want you to know that you are the most important part of the lawmaking process. That’s why I warmly invite you to keep guiding me – and the rest of my colleagues at the state legislature – towards the future Washington that you envision.  

You can always email me, message me on Facebook and Instagram, or call my office at any time – but you can also sign up to give remote public testimony!

Read on for some opportunities to tune in to – and to join – legislative meetings coming up this month 

Click here!

On September 17 at 1pm, the Senate Health and Long Term Care committee had a meeting to discuss three things: an update on the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, a COVID-19 modeling update, and health equity as it relates to COVID-19.  

  • If these interest you and you want to watch the conversation, head here to watch the meeting and reply to this email with your thoughts or questions 

On October 7 at 1pm, the Universal Health Care Workgroup will be meeting to continue our visioning for a future that holds accessible, affordable health care coverage for every Washingtonian. 

  • If this interests you and you want to watch the conversation, tune in here at 1pm on 10/7.
  • If this interests you and you want to participate in the conversation, click here to sign up for remote public testimony. 

On October 14 at 3pm, the Joint Legislative Executive Committee on Planning for Aging and Disability Issues is having a meeting to discuss two things: COVID-19’s impacts on individuals with development disabilities, and a budget update from the Department of Social and Health Services. 

  • If these interest you and you want to watch the conversation, tune in here at 3:00 pm on 10/14. 
  • If these interest you and you want to participate in the conversation, click here to sign up for remote public testimony. 

Upcoming community conversation – evening edition!

You’re also invited to another weekly Facebook Live Community Conversation, coming up in two weeks on October 14 at 5:30 pm PST (please note: we are not having a live community conversation on 10/7). I’ll be chatting with several community leaders from local departments of human services about housing: the crucial need so many neighbors have for stable, secure housing, and why we all have a vested interested in helping everyone in our community stay healthy and safe under a reliable roof – something this pandemic has highlighted. Click the image below to head to my Facebook page and keep an eye out! In a few days you will be able to sign up for a notification when we go live. You can also reply to this email if you’d like the information for a call-in option if you don’t have access to Facebook. 

Click here!

And a quick bit of exciting news to share: as of October 1, applications for federal and state financial aid are open! Click here for a one-tap shortcut to the application portals (and to more information about both federal aid and state aid), and click here for a comprehensive look at the different financial aid options – thanks to investments Washington state has recently made in financial support for our communities’ college students. So many options are available, doors are open, and the sky is the limit when students take advantage of this aid. Please consider sharing this as a resource!

abc

And as always, please feel free to reach out anytime at (360) 742-2539 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

October 6th, 2020|E-News|
  • Permalink Gallery

    E-news – You’re invited! Submit your thoughts and testimony at our Universal Healthcare Workgroup Meeting, 8/25!

E-news – You’re invited! Submit your thoughts and testimony at our Universal Healthcare Workgroup Meeting, 8/25!

Friends, neighbors—

Everyone – regardless of zip code, income, pre-existing conditions – should be able to get the health care that they need, when they need it. That truth is only more relevant now as we endure a pandemic together that has ground our economy to a halt, separated loved ones, stolen away lives, and disproportionately impacted Latinx, Pacific Islander, Native, and other BIPOC communities. Here in Washington, we can — and we will — continue leading the country in expanding access to the care that folks need, not only because it’s important during a public health crisis, but because it is the foundation of a strong community where every Washingtonian can thrive. 

One of the steps we took as a legislature to widen access to health care was funding The Universal Healthcare Workgroupduring the 2019 legislative session. The Universal Healthcare Workgroup will provide recommendations to the Legislature on how to create, implement, maintain, and fund a universal health care system. In other words, it’ll help us envision a future in which every Washingtonian has health care coverage – and lay out the plan to get there. 

UHC Workgroup video

The work that this group does is so crucial, but like everyone else, we’ve had to adapt how we conduct meetings, stay connected, and center the voices of the public without being together in person.  

That’s why I’m excited to invite you to join us via Zoom on Tuesday, August 25, for our next virtual workgroup meeting! You can register to join the meeting here, where you can also opt to sign up for public comment if you would like to share your thoughts or ask a question – your voice and experience is so important to the process

PLEASE NOTE: the deadline to sign up for public comment is August 21 (that’s this coming Friday!), but there’s no deadline to register for the meeting if you simply want to tune in and listen. 

Upcoming community conversation – evening edition!

Another opportunity to engage virtually: my next Live community conversation TOMORROW, August 18, at 5:30 pm – that’s a NEW time!! We got good feedback from folks who enjoy our weekly conversations that it’s easier to tune in during the evening, so we made the switch! Our Live conversation this week will feature youth activists from Kitsap and Pierce for a discussion about how COVID-19 has impacted them in their communities, and how they continue to advocate for their neighbors no matter the obstacles. 

Hit the image below to get a reminder when we go live. And if you don’t have Facebook, don’t worry! Just reply to this email so we can get you information to call in by phone. 

8.18 flz

My recommendations for the week:

And as always, please feel free to reach out anytime at (360) 742-2539 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

August 17th, 2020|E-News|

E-news – Celebrating ADA 30, self-advocates, and allies!

Friends, neighbors –  

Congratulations! On July 26, we celebrated together the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a huge milestone in the civil rights journey toward full equity and inclusion for our family, friends, and neighbors with disabilities. Because of it, the disability community has seen improvements in accessibility of the built environment, increased access to health care, and an expansion of political participation over the past 30 years. Though this work to build a more inclusive society began far earlier than July 26, 1990, and is an ongoing movement that continues to demand needed change, it’s so important that we celebrate how far we’ve come together – led by self-advocates and allies. 

A brief overview of the ADA 

The passage of the ADA prohibited discrimination on the basis of disability – in employment, state and local government, public accommodations, commercial facilities, transportation, and telecommunication. It gave people with disabilities and their families the legal mechanism to challenge the exclusion, segregation, and institutionalization that had kept them out of their communities for so long. The work to expand disability rights continues, but we have come a long way: toward celebrating and empowering people with disabilities, toward equitable transportation and housing, toward a stronger and more comprehensive health care infrastructure that gives people with disabilities control over their own health care decisions. 

2.25.20 - ADA celebration

Working alongside the disability community 

In partnership with self-advocates, their families, and allies, I sponsored and passed a bill relating to health care for working individuals with disabilities during the 2019 legislative session. We fought hard for this because people with disabilities had to navigate a complicated system in order to stay eligible for Medicaid while still working. Working people shouldn’t have to say no to working more hours – or accepting a promotion – in order to afford healthcareEspecially in light of COVID-19, it’s so clear how important it is that as many people as possible are covered and can get the healthcare they need when they need it. I am proud that we passed this bill to improve people’s health, keep folks covered, and alleviate the numerous restrictions placed on people with disabilities so that they can work without jeopardizing their health care.  

Last session, we also formally recognized the groundbreaking accomplishments of the disability community with my resolution to honor the 30th anniversary of the ADA. We had such a joyful day celebrating this landmark legislation with disabled Washingtonians and their friends and family from all over the state. You can watch the resolution here, read the resolution here, and see my Facebook post about our day of celebrating the ADA on the Senate floor here. 

ADA celebration 2.25.20 guests

The work continues 

ICYMI, I had a fantastic conversation with disability community advocates over Facebook Live a few weeks ago. We discussed the challenges facing students with special needs (and their teachers and families) in the midst of remote learning, which continues to be a crucial conversation as more and more Washington schools decide to proceed with 100% online learning in the fall. You can watch that conversation here 

On the subject of Facebook Live chats, don’t forget to tune in TODAY at 1:00 pm (in an hour!) for a live conversation with our very own mayor of Bremerton, our Bremerton fire chief, and our superintendent of Bremerton School District. We’ll be discussing all things local – challenges, opportunities, and ways to help. And if you don’t have access to Facebook, just reply to this email so we can get you the call-in info. Talk to you soon! 

Click here!

 All my best,

Signature

August 5th, 2020|Uncategorized|

E-news – Thirteen weeks of virtual coffee hours + another live chat at 1pm today!

Friends, neighbors –  

Sipping coffee with neighbors at Kimball Coffee House, navigating walls of books at Bremerton Regional Library, gathering around a table at The Mustard Seed – I had so looked forward to another year of meeting with neighbors in the community. Continuing my weekly Coffee Hours with neighbors in our district (after taking a brief hiatus for legislative session down in Olympia!) was something I planned to do again this summer. But as has been the case for nearly every Washingtonian, the coronavirus pandemic threw a wrench in my plans. 

Taking a cue from resilient neighbors like you – I adapted! Nearly every Wednesday since April, Ive had weekly virtual coffee hours (13 total!) with community leaders and advocates about everything under the sun: support for students and faculty at colleges and universitiesracial equity in systems of education, state support for public health expertshow high schoolers are handling distance learning – and so much more. 

Read on for a few highlights from some of these conversations – and hit the images and links below to watch the chats and see the resources that were brought up by our neighbors to help us all persist through this hard time. 

Week 1 + Week 2 

Our very first live conversations featured Pierce County Councilmember Derek Young, followed by Kitsap County Commissioner Charlotte Garrido. We focused on how each county was taking their first steps to respond to the crisis – making sure folks had rent and mortgage support, helping individuals navigate unemployment insurance, and aid for food banks doing crucial work to keep our neighbors fed. Click here to watch the conversation with Commissioner Garrido, and hit the image below to tune in for the conversation with Councilmember Young! 

Derek young

Image from January 30, 2020 – students testifying in committee

Week 5 

For one of our biggest community conversations yet, I was joined by Sen. Claire Wilson leaders from the disability rights community – including parent advocates. We had a much-needed conversation about resources for students and families with special education needs – all of whom are adapting to this challenging time of distance learning and remote work without the same education support and childcare support that they often need. We had over 145 comments from community members who joined us to watch this chat – many of whom shared incredible resources like this guide for parents and educators to develop a continuous learning plan together, and this Wellness Recovery Action Plan for individual empowerment and self-determination. Click the image below to hear more about what we discussed, and to see what other excellent tools parents and activists dropped in the comments to help Washington families get through this. 

special ed chat

Week 7 

I had such a fun and uplifting conversation with six smallbusiness owners to talk about how they’re faring during this major economic slowdown. We talked about how they’re navigating applications for the Payroll Protection Program and other small business loans, and how they’ve pivoted during this crisis to adjust their business model and ensure that they can keep their staff and clientele safe. Part of what made this conversation so encouraging was hearing how these small businesses – which are already the backbone of our communities in so many ways – are continuing to serve the people who come to them no matter the obstacles they face. 

small biz owners

Week 13 

Skipping ahead to our most recent virtual coffee hour just this past Wednesday, I want to highlight the amazing scholars who joined me for a conversation about advancing racial equity in our systems of education: why equity matters, how we can make our schools places where all of our students have a fair shot at opportunity, and what happens to our collective future when all students are given the tools they need to thrive and to contribute. Interested in this topic? Hit the image below to watch the conversation, and check out the Race and Pedagogy Institute (founded and run by Dr. Dexter Gordon, who joined me for this call!) for resources. 

equity in ed

Click here to get a reminder about this town hall when we go live!

And this week!

I can’t wait to see you all in person again, but until then, I am so enjoying these virtual opportunities to connect with people in our region who are hard at work, advocating for a better Washington for all of us. It’s my deepest honor to stand alongside you in this work as a lawmaker, and I’m grateful for your continual input to help me advocate well. Please don’t hesitate to stay in touch – and tune into our live conversation today about LGBTQ healthcare at 1:00 pm today! Just click on the image below to join us. 

And if you have ideas for conversations you’d like to see our take part in, please shoot me an email or reach out anytime at 360-742-2539 / Emily.Randall@leg.wa.gov

7.8 flz

Looking forward to talking with you soon.

 All my best,

Signature

July 13th, 2020|Uncategorized|
  • Permalink Gallery

    VIRTUAL GRADUATION CELEBRATION for the Class of 2020 – June 6!

VIRTUAL GRADUATION CELEBRATION for the Class of 2020 – June 6!

Class of 2020: We are excited to invite you to join Senator Emily Randall – and students, staff, faculty, and community leaders, athletes, and artists from around the state – for a Virtual Graduation Celebration TODAY, JUNE 6… to celebrate YOU! As chair of the Senate Higher Education and Workforce Development Committee, Senator Randall has had the honor and privilege of working with college students all over the state and knows exactly how hard you’ve worked to get here.

For the virtual celebration, we collected video submissions from incredible Washingtonians who all want to honor your hard work and this amazing victory: graduation!

Tune in by clicking here!

 

May 20th, 2020|Uncategorized|

E-news – Higher Education and COVID-19

Friends, neighbors –  

The COVID-19 crisis has been hard – for all of us. Washingtonians across the state are finding our lives upended; our financial stability disrupted, our loved ones at risk, our friends at a distance. But I have some good news for you regarding our future, current, and former college students (a group of folks who have experienced unique challenges during this time). Washingtonians who are pursuing or who have completed their higher education goals are being looked after by a community – and a Legislature – that wants to see them succeed, no matter what kind of roadblocks COVID-19 puts up. Read on for a comprehensive update about how the higher ed community is adapting to today’s unprecedented challenges in a way that puts students and their families first. 

Oct. 2019 photo with college prez

A few important highlights:

  • Thanks to academic leaders around the state, a COVID-19 FAQ site about public four-year colleges and universities is available.Check it out to get answers to questions like, “How should students approach high school coursework given the transition to remote learning?” and “Is financial aid still available?” 
  • Registrars are continuing to meet end-of-term needs and prepare for summer and fall 2020 registration and deadlines. Information about their process is available on the Washington Student Achievement Council COVID-19 website. 
  • Veteran Center Directors acknowledge the importance of flexibility for veterans who have transitioned to remote learning. The Veterans Affairs Department and the State Approving Agency have committed to allowing accommodations for veterans who are pursuing a higher education degree. 
  • Financial Aid Officers are talking about implementation of and access to emergency grant funds from the federal government. Visit this FAQ site to see how the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act is being distributed to colleges in our state. 

College students and access to technology:

The current crisis has underscored inequities and challenges related to broadband connectivity and technology for Washington students. Washington’s colleges and universities are employing a range of approaches and resources to assist students in the transition to remote learning. These include:

  • Increasing the amount of aid to students to reduce financial barriers to accessing broadband services. 
  • Purchasing and lending laptops to students. 
  • Establishing mobile hot spots via public venues (e.g. libraries, etc.), parking lots, and university centers. 
  • Boosting signal strength where possible through a range of access points. 
  • Bolstering student and faculty support services to assist with the transition to remote learning, including advising and technology assistance. 
  • Surveying students to develop proactive responses to emerging issues and challenges. 
  • Supporting and reaching out to state agencies and partners (e.g. K-12 education, libraries, etc.) to provide leadership and assistance through our research and public service missions across the state. 
  • Sharing broadband resources with students and families including, but not limited to, Federal Communication Commission guidance and broadband services and carriers. 
  • Participation in the Washington Internet Access Crisis Team to participate in updates, coordination and prioritization of next steps for addressing digital inclusion gaps. 

Get LIVE updates about Higher Education in our state TOMORROW:

Serving as Chair of the Senate Higher Education & Workforce Development is an incredible honor. Something I’d been looking forward to – pre-coronavirus – is the opportunity to tour the state and visit with the students, staff, and faculty of different higher education institutions in Washington. (You might remember that last year I visited roughly half of our 34 community and technical colleges and public universities – in addition to a couple private schools. I had big plans to complete the tour by January!) Since in-person visits aren’t possible for the time being, I’ve been keeping in close contact with different members of the higher ed community through Zoom meetings, conference calls, and Facebook updates. 

I’m super excited to invite you to my sixth Facebook Live Zoom Chat, this time with three panelists from the higher education community: a college president, a college student, and the director of a college access program!

Link to event - click here!

I’m looking forward to this conversation (happening TOMORROW 5/6 at 1:00 pm) and can’t wait to hear from these advocates about how the world of higher education is faring throughout this crisis. Have any questions or thoughts to share? Reply to this email or join live to drop your thoughts into the comments. And, if access to Facebook is a challenge for you, respond to this email and let us know so that we can get you the call-in information to join us by phone! 

Looking forward to hearing from you.

All my best,

Signature

May 5th, 2020|E-News|

E-news – !! UPDATE about the Employment Security Department and unemployment benefits

Friends, neighbors –  

Our community has shown truly astounding resiliency in the face of loss, instability, and uncertainty. Every day, I am inspired and encouraged by you. I am also eager to share with you some crucial information from the Washington State Employment Security Department (ESD) about expanded benefits and increased capacity to provide aid after April 18 – this weekend!  

There’s a lot you should know and a lot that you should prepare if you plan to take advantage of this aid. We all want every Washingtonian in need to receive help as quickly and efficiently as possible so we can get our families and our neighbors through this together. Read on for updated information and resources about the upcoming expansion of unemployment benefits and, as always, feel free to reach out to my office if there’s anything I can clarify for you. 

Background

During the week of April 5-11, there were 143,241 initial and 585,983 total claims for unemployment benefits, according to ESD. While initial claims declined 16% from the previous week, it was still the third highest weekly number on record and five times more claims than the peak week during the Great Recession. Total weekly claims are now the highest on record. 

ESD Graph

ESD has been working hard around the clock to help folks get their benefits. One of the upcoming steps is a rollout of the new federal CARES Act provisions that expand eligibility for unemployment assistance, increase the weekly benefit amount by $600, and extend the time available for unemployment assistance by 13 weeks.

ESD will be updating their system to enable that expansion so that individuals such as self-employed workers, independent contractors and other workers who are not traditionally eligible can apply for unemployment benefits. The updates will take the system down most of the day on the 18th, and all staff will be involved in the process. Therefore the call center and site will be closed on Saturday but will reopen on Sunday, 4/19In the meantime, you can get ready with the information below. ↓↓↓↓ 

Your unemployment application toolkit 

While ESD works hard to update their system and provide guidance for Washington workers, these are four actions you can take right away to get prepared:  

  1. Stay up to date. If you haven’t already, please sign up for ESD’s COVID-19 action alerts. You can do so on the agency’s COVID page (esd.wa.gov/newsroom/covid-19). 
  2. Check your eligibility. Learn more about your eligibility and when to apply for benefits using the new eligibility checker 
  3. Get ready to apply. Download the application checklist. 
  4. Set up your account. Watch the tutorial video to set up your account correctly. It is nine minutes long but will likely save a lot of time. 

ESD toolkit graphic

Other next-week news: 

Have you participated in our weekly Live Zoom Chats on Wednesdays? I’ve loved the opportunity to stay connected with neighbors and share information from local leaders! So far I’ve talked to: Pierce County Councilmember Derek Young and Kitsap County Commissioner Charlotte Garrido about COVID-19 resources in our region, as well as Jaime Forsyth from Kitsap’s Small Business Development Center about support for businesses during this tough time. Next week, I’m so excited to say we’ll have Dr. Nathan Schlicher from Team Health on our call to give us the health expert perspective on today’s health crisis. 

Join us at 3:00 pm (not 1:00 pm as in past weeks – we’re trying to accommodate Dr. Schlicher’s busy schedule!) for our fourth weekly Live Zoom Chat on Wednesday, 4/22. Respond to this email with your questions or comments, or hop on to Facebook at 3:00 pm and drop your questions and thoughts in the comments. Click on the image below to get a reminder and share the link with your friends and neighbors. 

Don’t have Facebook? Don’t worry! We can give you call-in information so you can join by phone.

Live Zoom Chat on 4/22 at 3:00 pm

Looking forward to chatting with you soon, and please feel free to reach out anytime at 360-742-2539 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

April 20th, 2020|Uncategorized|

A letter to our congressional delegation

Sen. Emily Randall, D-26

On April 7, I authored a letter asking my colleagues in Washington state’s congressional delegation to advocate for loan forgiveness for our health care workers on the front-lines of the coronavirus crisis. Click on the link below to read the letter:

Health Care Workers Loan Forgiveness Letter to Congressional Delegation 4-7-20 (002)

April 9th, 2020|Uncategorized|
  • Permalink Gallery

    E-news – A COVID-19 update about the ‘Stay Home, Stay Healthy’ order

E-news – A COVID-19 update about the ‘Stay Home, Stay Healthy’ order

Friends, neighbors –

On Monday evening March 23, Governor Inslee signed a two-week “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” proclamation in Washington state, similar to orders you may have heard about in other states that are also battling coronavirus outbreaks. This decision was not made lightly — it is essential to our ability to control the virus and prevent the number of cases from overwhelming our healthcare system.  Here’s what yesterday’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order means: 

We are ALLOWED to: 

  • Leave the house for essential activities, like grocery shopping and medical care. 
  • Get takeout food from your favorite local restaurants. 
  • Go to work at an essential business, like post offices and pharmacies. 

With modifications, we are ALLOWED to: 

  • Go outside for walks and exercise (because taking care of your mental and physical health, and the health of your furry friend, is absolutely an essential activity!) – as long as you stay six feet away from others. 

We are NOT ALLOWED to: 

  • Gather in groups for social, spiritual, and recreational purposes. 
  • Host or join in-person visits with family and friends. 
  • Camp on state lands. 
  • Go to work at a non-essential business beginning TOMORROW March 26th. 
Stay Home Stay Healthy

These measures are so crucial for protecting health care workers, first responders, and current patients. We’ll be able to slow the spread of the virus so that everyone can give and receive the health care they need, with an adequate amount of supplies – like personal protective equipment and ventilators – available for that care. I know it’s tough to stay home so much more than we’re used to, but staying home is about staying healthy – and keeping others healthy, too! I have been so encouraged and inspired by the way our community members have banded together to help each other through this, and I know we’ll continue to rise to the occasion. 

All my best,

Signature

P.S. If you have questions or information about donations of much needed PPE (personal protective equipment) for health care workers who are in short supply, please email PPEDonation@des.wa.gov. You can find a list of needed items here

March 25th, 2020|Uncategorized|

E-news – An update on COVID-19

Friends, neighbors—

This is a time of uncertainty and worry – for all of us. Together we’re grieving the lives lost to the virus. Together we’re anxious about our own finances, and the future of our economy. Together we’re imagining how kids – and students of all ages – will bounce back after this time out of school.  

But we are also finding creative solutions and comfort together. We are recognizing the power of collective action, and the importance of a strong safety net.  I have so much faith in our families and friends, neighbors and communities, state agencies and local organizations – and in our ability to support one another through this crisis. 

Read on for: 

  1. What our government is doing
  2. What YOU can do
  3. A fun fact (because we all need a little levity!)
Sen Randall and Sen Cleveland

1. This new website will help keep all our communities informed: coronavirus.wa.govHere, you’ll find a frequently-updated compilation of all the coronavirus information from Governor Inslee’s office, our state agencies, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and more. I encourage you to explore this website and to pass it on to others in our community who have questions. 

Yesterday, the governor issued executive orders to help support Washingtonians impacted by these uncertain times –

  • Assistance for renters: Among the measures announced by the governor is a statewide moratorium on evictions of residential tenants for the next 30 days. As Washington faces the economic impacts of COVID-19, no one should be put out of their home as a result. 
  • Utility rate payer assistance: The governor called on all public utilities in our state to ensure the health and safety of their employees and the public by suspending disconnection of services for nonpayment, waiving late fees for customers who are out of work, and expanding bill assistance programs for customers who’ve been economically impacted by this emergency. 
  • Assistance for workers: The governor waived the one week waiting period to receive unemployment insurance, which will get more funds in the pockets of unemployed workers. The order is retroactive for claims filed up to March 8, the day of the governor’s first emergency rule expanding unemployment insurance criteria. 
  • Business assistance: Up to $5 million of the Governor’s Strategic Reserve Funds will be made available as small grants to small business across the state to help prevent closure due to COVID-19. The federal Small Business Administration has also approved the governor’s request for a disaster declaration, which will unlock low-interest loans that help small business meet their financial obligations and cover operating expenses. 
  • Cash assistance to families: Under the governor’s direction, the state Department of Social and Health Services will expand eligibility for the Family Emergency Assistance Program to include families without children. 
  • Long-term care waivers: The state is doing a number of things to ease pressure on the long-term care system, especially our nursing homes. This involves suspending rules around nursing home assessment requirements to allow for faster admissions, and suspending inspections and surveys on particular timelines. 
  • Supply chain flexibility: To ensure the timely delivery of certain goods that are critical during this crisis, the governor is waiving restrictions on hours worked for delivery drivers carrying groceries, medical supplies and equipment, pharmaceuticals, fuel, and pet food and supplies. Shout out to our amazing delivery drivers and all the hard work they’re doing to help us all maintain access to such important goods and services! 

2. The single most important thing to do right now is limit contact with others.

To stem the spread of the coronavirus, it’s absolutely crucial to change our normal day-to-day behavior and reduce our exposure to other people. We can reduce the numbers of people who will be exposed, which will in turn reduce the numbers who will test positive, which will in turn reduce the numbers who develop life-threatening illness. We can reduce illness and truly save lives – but only if we take the right steps right nowSo: call, FaceTime, or host Zoom get-togethers with friends and family instead of getting together in person. Limiting exposure to others is our responsibility – that’s how we “flatten the curve” (aka keep the number of new cases below hospital and health care worker capacity – here’s a helpful graph to show you what I mean!): 

Flatten the curve graph

Other important things to do: wash your hands! Health experts recommend washing well – being sure to scrub between your fingers and under your nails, and with good antibacterial soap – for at least 20 seconds. It helps to hum the chorus of your favorite song so that you know you’ve washed your hands for the recommended time. No soap and water handy? Use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol content, and wipe down frequently-touched surfaces with a sanitizing wipe. 

3. And here’s some good news! 

Our community members have pulled together in such an inspiring way during this emergency – making sure people are fed, housed, and cared for. The disruption to our schools’ schedules has had a particularly negative impact on students that previously relied on school to receive a square meal, but our neighbors have stepped in – in a big way – to keep students fed.  

Tacoma Community College, for example, is providing financial, housing, and food support through the TCC Foundation’s student emergency fund and is continuing to operate the Max and Margi Harned Titan Food Pantry so that students aren’t going without basic necessities even as campuses empty and classes shift online. TCC has also done extensive work to provide student access and address equity issues, making sure that students have the equipment for distance learning. 

The efforts of our higher education institutions in particular – to take care of their students, faculty, and staff – are nothing new! When I passed my bill last year to establish programs at certain colleges that would support students experiencing housing and food insecurity, our higher ed institutions advocated for that policy the whole way. I’ve been so encouraged by how they and other community leaders throughout the state have taken it upon themselves to take care of everyone, not only in this time of emergency but all the time. I hope this brightens your day the way it brightened mine! 

All my best,

Signature

March 20th, 2020|E-News|