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|
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    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|
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    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|

E-news – Session 2020: By the numbers

Friends, neighbors—

As of yesterday, we’ve crossed the finish line of our 60-day legislative session – and there is *so* much to be proud of!

All my colleagues at the Legislature worked together to respond to the needs of Washingtonians. We did that by expanding access to quality health care, opening doors to affordable housing, answering the needs of our kiddos and teachers in K-12 schools, eliminating barriers to higher education, taking care of our small and local business owners, and banding together to support cities statewide as we all combat COVID-19 and take care of one another. Our collaborative, community-oriented work and the investments we made are especially important as we adapt to changing public health guidance that affects Washington families, like we’ve seen with today’s statewide school closures. 

I’m excited to give you a full session report card soon but, for now, here’s a quick look at our amazing 2020 session – by the numbers! 

Sen Randall in higher ed

2020 Session Stats

12 of my bills (plus the House “companion” version of my bills) passed

377 total bills passed the Legislature

$1,318,000 total dollars invested in our district

2,500+ emails we’ve responded to (and we’re still going!)

320+ phone calls with community members

12,230+ views on my most widely-shared Facebook post

210 town hall attendees (including our Facebook Live viewers!)

425 constituents who visited with me this session

10 job shadows and Pages I had the opportunity to host

Spotlight: Capital budget wins 

While my *next* e-newsletter will be a full, in-depth review of our wins this session, I’m so excited about the amazing capital budget investments we won for our district that I want to highlight some of them for you now! We received: 

  • $100,000 for Lakebay Marina Acquisition  
  • $52,000 for the Greater Gig Harbor Community Campus 
  • $250,000 for Gig Harbor Peninsula FISH Food Bank 
  • $24,000 for South Kitsap High School NJROTC Equipment 
  • $294,000 for the Harbor Hope Center Home for Girls 
  • $309,000 for South Kitsap School District Health Center 
  • $289,000 for Penrose Park Improvements 

These investments in and around our community will go such a long way for our neighbors – bringing people together, supporting programming for our kiddos, and establishing spaces for people to play and be active. 

Good news: Transportation Projects 

Because of the huge funding hole created in our state’s transportation budget by the passage of I-976, the governor had to pause critical projects all over the state until we figured out ways to fund them. We also started this session worried about potential cuts to key services like State Patrol, Washington State Ferries, and special needs transportation. Luckily both Democrats and Republicans on the Senate Transportation Committee were committed to doing the least damage to our communities as possible. We worked together to comb though the budget and find efficiencies, ensuring that our transit-dependent and rural Washingtonians would not be disproportionately disadvantaged by this abrupt lack of funding. The budget we passed should allow projects that were paused by the governor after the passage of I-976 to be un-paused. Last stop: the governor’s desk. 

Sen Randall and Sen Sheldon

Overview: Statewide operating budget investments 

I’m thrilled to say that we worked hard to pass a supplemental operating budget that keeps our four-year budget balanced. It leaves $3 billion in total reserves at the end of the biennium (which is so important in the face of unexpected crises or disasters, like the one we’re all braving right now – we know that we are well-prepared to face challenges head on!). The budget makes big investments in support of working families, and addresses so many of our most urgent needs across the state: public health, housing accessibility, childcare, climate resilience. It does all this while being fiscally responsible and putting both current needs and future needs at the center.  

Looking ahead to interim: coffee hours and community calls 

As much I love being in Olympia and working alongside my colleagues in service of our state, I really love being home with my neighbors – connecting over coffee, buying flowers and veggies at the farmer’s market, strolling the beach in Southworth, shopping in the Harbor, and attending great events on the Key like the Logging Show and Farm Tour. That said, I want to take every possible measure to follow the suggestions of health care professionals encouraging folks to stay home and stay healthy. This means I’m exploring options to continue my weekly coffee hours virtually. Look out for information to come on how we’ll be staying connected while practicing healthy social distancing precautions! 

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 and posting frequent, real-time updates on my Instagram and Twitter pages.

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,

Signature

March 16th, 2020|E-News|

E-news – Spotlight: All our great work for our K-12 kiddos!

Friends, neighbors— 

Our short 2020 legislative session is nearing its end. There is so much to be proud of – especially all the work we’ve done to give all of our kiddos every opportunity to succeed. As chair of the Senate Higher Education & Workforce Development Committee, I spend a lot of time opening doors for students after K-12, but setting people up for success in college and careers means supporting kiddos long before their senior year. Investments in early learning, supporting students struggling with homelessness, improving social-emotional learning standards, and bolstering graduation pathways are all parts of building a well-prepared workforce. And we have so many education and career wins to celebrate this year! 

Randall and kiddo

Spotlight: K-12 Education

*FYI most of these bills have passed the House and the Senate. Final stop: the governor’s office! 

HB 2455 allows parents who are attending high school or who are working toward completing a high school equivalency certificate to qualify for Working Connections Child Care, a federal- and state-funded program. Parents in high school would be able to take care of their little one and focus on their education, and schools will even provide transportation to both parent and baby. We know earning a high school degree is critical for future job success. This bill will help alleviate the burden of child care on parenting teens so they can earn their degree, pursue their dreams, and take care of their family. 

HB 2660 helps feed kiddos who struggle with food insecurity. It increases the availability of school meals provided to public school students at 18 lower income school districts. This program provides all students with no-cost lunch which eliminates stigma and meal debt, and we know that kids do better in school when they’re well-nourished. 

SB 6117 would increase the funding for students enrolled in special education who are in the general education classroom. This would help us support our students in special education programs at schools throughout the state, something that para-educators and teachers have been asking for. We know that a one-size-fits-all approach to education – especially for our young learners with special learning needs – doesn’t work. With this bill we can work to accommodate all of our students. This bill hasn’t made it to the House floor yet, so if it’s something you’re excited about, I encourage you to reach out to your representatives in the House and urge them to help us get this bill to the governor’s desk this session! 

Sen. Randall and group photo with visiting class

HB 1660 helps close the current opportunity gaps in extracurricular participation at high school. It also directs school boards to adopt a policy to waive fees for students who are low-income.  Participation and success should never be limited by socioeconomic status. This bill will help schools examine what they can do to help more of their students pursue soccer, marching band, theatre, debate – whatever they love and whatever they want to try! I am so excited this bill has passed both chambers this week with bipartisan support. 

Besides voting on great bills for kids, I’ve also had the pleasure of meeting with students from Lighthouse Christian School, East Port Orchard, Hidden Creek Elementary, Libert-T School, Discovery Elementary, and Mullenix Ridge Elementary – and heard great ideas from our youngest neighbors. I love how much they care about their classmates and their siblings in different grades, and how excited they are to do everything they can to help make the world a better place. Chatting with our young neighbors gives me so much hope, and reminds me why we do the work to support our students. Keep an eye on my FacebookInstagram, and Twitter accounts  I’ll be answering questions from these kiddos in the weeks to come! 

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 here each week on Facebook, and have launched an Instagram account (@senatoremilyrandall) to give you more in-the-moment updates.

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,

Signature

March 9th, 2020|Uncategorized|