Monthly Archives: February 2016

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    Ranker: Senate budget fails to address critical needs across state

Ranker: Senate budget fails to address critical needs across state

February 26th, 2016|

Sen. Kevin Ranker, D-Orcas Island, issued the following statement today following the Senate’s passage of the 2016 supplemental operating budget.

“Traditional bipartisan negotiations on the budget were suspended last week, when the tally was still in the red, so final cuts were decided without Democrats in the room. While the budget my Republican colleagues passed today does many things I agree with and helped shape before bipartisan negotiations broke down, it fails to address critical needs in several areas.

“First, it literally balances on the pensions of retired firefighters, police officers and schoolteachers. That’s no way to thank them for a lifetime of public service.

“At a time when mental health needs are on the rise, this budget reduces mental health funding by $14.3 million.

“Homelessness is dramatically increasing in communities across our state. More than 35,000 school children are homeless, and while this budget does take some actions to begin to address this crisis, it does not go far enough. It doesn’t begin to provide the funding necessary to reverse this destructive tide. This budget tells people across our state that being without a safe, warm home does not constitute an emergency.

“Without action on the looming levy cliff, school districts across our state stand to lose over $460 million in local funds. They need assurance that we will delay the levy cliff so that they can plan their budgets this fall. Without the amendment we tried to add to the budget, these districts have no assurance they will receive these critical funds. Also, while we are being fined $100,000 a day for failing to adequately fund our schools, this budget does nothing to take additional steps to address the largest outstanding aspects of the McCleary ruling to fully fund education.

“This budget leaves thousands of women without access to one of the most effective methods of preventing unintended pregnancy — long-acting, reversible contraceptives. If women who rely on Medicaid were able to access these contraceptives, Washington state would avoid about 2,804 unintended pregnancies annually— saving the state millions at the same time.

“When negotiations resume to settle on a final budget, I will work tirelessly to address these urgent, critical needs.”

Ranker: Education bill ‘barely better than no bill’

February 16th, 2016|

Sen. Kevin Ranker, D-Orcas Island, issued the following statement today following the passage of Senate Bill 6195 regarding the funding of basic education.

“This bill is barely better than no bill. It does not solve the problem. We had a bipartisan proposal that would have actually addressed this problem, but in the end neither side had the votes. We did not have the votes because it talked about revenue, it talked about the simple fact that to fix this problem — this $3.5 billion dollar problem — we’ve got to actually fund it.

“Elected officials at all levels need two things to do the right thing, and you can’t have one without the other. You need political cover and you need political pressure.

“We need people to come into our hearing rooms and into our offices and tell us, ‘Yes, that is a great idea, please do that and I am going to be there supporting you if you are willing to do that.’ But I also need those same people to come back with a bat, screaming and telling me that they are going to hold my feet to the fire if I do not do what’s right.

“At this point in time, we have the political cover. The people of Washington state are telling us that we need to do our job. The Supreme Court is telling us we need to do our job, and we have that political pressure. We have people screaming, saying ‘It’s been years — fully fund education!’

“I’ve been in this chamber for eight years, and we’ve been talking about this for eight years. For eight years, we’ve had that political pressure building and we still haven’t done our jobs.

“We need to be bold. We need to step up for our children. My little girl is in the second grade. Can we please solve this problem before she graduates?

“I voted for this bill to move forward because we need to do something, but we should not celebrate this. We should not feel that we’ve done our work. We should not feel that we’ve satisfied our moral and constitutional obligation.”

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    Ranker: ‘Unnecessary’ legislation would undermine state’s core values and progress on fundamental civil rights

Ranker: ‘Unnecessary’ legislation would undermine state’s core values and progress on fundamental civil rights

February 10th, 2016|

Sen. Kevin Ranker, D-Orcas Island, released this statement today regarding the attempt by Senate Republicans to remove protections for transgender men, women and children in Washington state.

“We finally have rules in place that reaffirm and clarify that we protect all members of our communities, including our transgender family members, friends and neighbors. Repealing this is unacceptable.

“Over recent weeks we’ve heard from hundreds of transgender members of our communities and their parents.

“We received a letter from a mother of a 31-year-old transgender woman who told us that it was only at the age of 29 that her daughter finally found the courage to live as her authentic self. This courage came after years of extreme depression, suicidal thoughts, self-mutilation and high school bullying because she felt she could never be who she was destined to be.

“We heard from another mother of a transgender child who wanted to remain anonymous as she felt her ‘child’s physical, social and emotional safety depends on anonymity.’

“I remember reading the statement from California Congressman Mike Honda who tweeted last year, ‘as the proud grandparent of a transgender granddaughter, I hope she can feel safe at school without the fear of being bullied.’

“These rules currently in place represent our continued fight for equality. Even more importantly however, they represent critical protections for members of our communities – protections that help allow them to live proudly as they are.

“When we turn our backs on any civil rights or equality, we turn our backs on the fundamental core values that make Washington state great.

“While this horrible legislation ultimately failed, the fact that it was allowed to come up for a vote demonstrated the Republican majority’s ability to be totally out of step with the core values of Washington State.”

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    Ranker: Homelessness a ‘crisis no one can overlook any longer’

Ranker: Homelessness a ‘crisis no one can overlook any longer’

February 5th, 2016|

With the number of homeless Washingtonians spiking in communities across the state, Sen. Kevin Ranker, D-Orcas Island, has signed onto legislation to recognize the problem for the crisis it is and provide relief.

“The numbers that are coming in from last week’s One Night Count are incredibly dire,” Ranker said today following a rollout of Senate Bill 6647, the Bring Washington Home Act. “What was already a terrible problem is spiking. This is a crisis no one can overlook any longer.”

Numbers from are starting to come in. Homelessness is up 19 percent in King County and it’s up a devastating 54 percent in Snohomish County. OSPI just reported that more than 35,000 Washington students don’t have a safe and consistent place to sleep at night.

To target investments in programs aimed at breaking the cycle of homelessness and help the less fortunate get off the streets, the Bring Washington Home Act would tap into the state’s Rainy Day Fund, which is money set aside for emergencies. One percent of existing tax dollars are put into the Rainy Day Fund annually and the fund is projected to be reach more than $700 million by June of 2017 and over a billion dollars by 2019.

“We need to address this crisis, and we can do it without raising taxes,” Ranker said. “This is why we have a Rainy Day Fund — for emergencies like this.”

The Bring Washington Home Act will make the following investments:

  • $18.455 million toward services such as rapid rehousing for people who are mentally ill, chemically dependent and/or chronically homeless.
  • $4.625 million for homeless youth, including HOPE beds, the Street Youth program, and funding for the homeless student stability and opportunity gap act (SB 6298).
  • $3 million for consolidated homeless grants.
  • $60 million toward shelter and support services for the homeless and families at risk of becoming homeless.

$95 million toward the Housing Trust Fund for building supportive or other housing, and $5 million for maintenance and operations for housing stock. This $95 million will drive $190 million in housing investments, when those funds are combined with other resources (donations, grant money, tax credits, local funding) used in conjunction with the Housing Trust Fund.

Ranker: Outdoor recreation is an economic driver

February 3rd, 2016|

Sen. Kevin Ranker spoke today at a Big Tent rally on the Capitol Campus on how outdoor recreation is not just good for people’s health, it’s a major economic driver for Washington state. To view the speech, click here or on the image below:

kr big tent video

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    Ranker: State has lost an ‘incredible leader’ in Harriet Spanel

Ranker: State has lost an ‘incredible leader’ in Harriet Spanel

February 2nd, 2016|

Sen. Kevin Ranker, D-Orcas Island, today released this statement on the passing of former Sen. Harriet Spanel, his predecessor as senator representing the 40th Legislative District.
“I am extremely saddened to hear of the loss of Harriet Spanel. She was a dear friend and mentor to me.
“Harriet has been a sounding board and a true mentor on countless issues for me as I have navigated Olympia these past eight years.
“She was a tireless fighter for our communities, our children, the environment and our state. She was a champion for the protection of Puget Sound and oil spill protection laws and was a strong advocate for protecting habitat and ensuring that our fisheries were well-managed and that our fishing industry remained a healthy one.
“After leaving the Senate, Sen. Spanel continued to actively serve the people of the state, having been appointed to several boards and commissions by the governor.
“We have lost an incredible leader and a dear friend.
“She will be deeply, deeply missed.”