Monthly Archives: February 2017

Ranker outdoor early learning pilot passes Senate

February 28th, 2017|

OLYMPIA — A bill introduced by Sen. Kevin Ranker, D-Orcas Island, passed the state Senate today with bipartisan support.

“This bill will help children get outside at an early age, letting them learn and thrive outdoors while preparing for their future,” Ranker said. “We’re giving existing programs the opportunity to become fully licensed, full-time programs, allowing children to learn and explore in the environment around them.”

Sponsored by senators from across the state, Senate Bill 5357 would offer a four-year pilot program for outdoor early learning programs. Based on a Scandinavian model, educators lead children through exploration and hands-on learning for hours a day, entirely outside. The pilot puts these in-demand programs in Washington on track to offer full-day programs.

“Early learning outdoor programs are a great way for families struggling to afford childcare to get their children into the outdoors with exceptional science and early education to improve their learning and become stewards of the environment,” said Ranker.

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    Regardless of U.S. Supreme Court, Washington must protect women’s reproductive rights

Regardless of U.S. Supreme Court, Washington must protect women’s reproductive rights

February 16th, 2017|

OLYMPIA — The Senate Commerce, Labor & Sports Committee held a hearing on Sen. Kevin Ranker’s Bill 5760 to ensure employers cannot discriminate against women seeking full health care and access to contraception in response to the U.S. Supreme Court Hobby Lobby decision.

“Two weeks ago, the president nominated to the Supreme Court the very same judge who authored the Court of Appeals Hobby Lobby decision allowing privately-held employers to discriminate against women by restricting their access to contraception.

“This decision, along with confusion and uncertainty around the future of healthcare in Washington, D.C. is a major concern. I introduced legislation in the state Senate in direct response, safeguarding the right of Washington women to receive essential health coverage they deserve in response to the U.S. Supreme Court Hobby Lobby decision.

“Barrier-free access to birth control remains a fundamental right, and discrimination against women is contrary to our state’s values.

“These kinds of attacks on our fundamental values are unacceptable, and we will oppose these attacks and strengthen our commitments at every opportunity.

“We can and must ensure that, no matter what destructive choices are made at the federal level, Washington women, regardless of who they work for, have equal rights and individual choice for their reproductive health decisions.”

Supreme court chooses equality

February 16th, 2017|

OLYMPIA — Sen. Kevin Ranker, D-Orcas Island:

“The Washington State Supreme Court ruled for equality today. I am proud that our state stands up for all people, to ensure that all Washingtonians can shop where they want and marry who they love without persecution. This court ruling reflects our core values of equality and love for all.

“Washington continues to lead the nation in supporting the rights of all people. We will continue to fight for basic civil rights for people in our communities and be a leader for our country.”

Ranker fights for prescription drug price transparency

February 7th, 2017|

OLYMPIA — Recognizing the real impact of prescription drug prices on Washington citizens’ pocket books and the state budget, Sen. Kevin Ranker, D-Orcas Island, introduced bipartisan legislation to bring transparency to prescription drug costs. Senate Bill 5586 was heard in the Senate Health Care Committee today.

“People who rely on prescription drugs for their health are finding them increasingly expensive to purchase,” Ranker said. “Consumers should have the confidence that the manufacturer is charging a fair price.”

“Last year, health care costs in the state budget increased $384 million under managed care accounts; about $246 million of that was attributed just to prescription drug costs,” Ranker said. “With clear and up-to-date information, we can work to contain prescription drug costs.”

Ranker’s Senate Bill 5586 would require pharmaceutical companies to make their pricing, research, and development as transparent as the pricing in other sectors of the health care industry by reporting a breakdown of those costs to the Legislature.

“The cost of prescription drugs can push a household to the brink in some cases,” Ranker said. “No one should have to choose between getting the medication they need and making risky choices like rationing their meds or going into debt to afford their medication.”

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    Ranker’s outdoor early learning pilot program heard in committee

Ranker’s outdoor early learning pilot program heard in committee

February 3rd, 2017|

OLYMPIA — A bipartisan bill introduced by Sen. Kevin Ranker, D-Orcas Island, was heard in the Senate Early Learning & K-12 Education Committee this week.

Sponsored by senators from across the state, Senate Bill 5357 would offer a four-year pilot program for outdoor early learning programs. Educators, parents and children from outdoor programs testified in support of the pilot program.

“This bill will help children get outside at an early age, letting them learn and thrive outdoors while preparing for their future,” Ranker said. “We’re giving existing programs the opportunity to become fully licensed, full-time programs, allowing children to learn and explore in the environment around them.”

Over forty outdoor, nature-based programs already operate in Washington’s incredible natural surroundings. Based on a Scandinavian model, educators lead children through exploration and hands-on learning for hours a day, entirely outside. The pilot puts these in-demand programs in Washington on track to offer full-day programs.

“Children are outside every day in every season, connected to the natural world through ongoing observation learning the names of local plants and animals and recognizing their impacts and contributions on our community as well as the impact of humans on the natural world.” testimony of Sibyl Maer-Fillo, Washington Outdoor School

“Play-based education in nature is an excellent foundation for academic achievement later on.” testimony of Heidi Bruce Orcas Island Forest School

Children from outdoor preschool programs and their parents and educators testified in committee February 2, 2017:

Strongly standing up against discrimination

February 1st, 2017|

Today, I was proud to join all other Democratic members of the Washington State Legislature in signing a letter to the President of the United States in opposition to the President’s Executive Order that allows racism and religious discrimination.

We unanimously and strongly object to the Executive Order dated January 27, 2017, because it makes us less safe, harms our economy, but, most importantly, because it divides us as a country and undermines one of our most cherished core values:

“Give me your tired, your poor / Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”

Our values compel us to protect and respect families and friends and their ability to have an equal opportunity to succeed and an equal opportunity to fulfill their dreams, regardless of religion, race or place of birth. I believe now more than ever that we who hold these core values sacred must redouble our commitment to them at the very moment they become threatened.

We have entered an era of uncertainty as a nation, but now is the time for progressives to stand strong. Together, we are much more powerful than the forces of division and discrimination. I continue to believe that ours is a nation of people who are decent, inclusive and kind-hearted, and that rhetoric to the contrary remains far outside the mainstream of American life. We must continue to show this in everything we do. It is our duty to remind those around us that America is defined by an open, caring and welcoming sensibility.

Sen. Kevin Ranker