Monthly Archives: March 2017

Legislative Update: What do budgets tell us?

March 31st, 2017|

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There are three separate budgets that fund all the responsibilities of the state. They are passed on a biennial basis, or every two years, with smaller 2017 Senate Capital Budget 37thsupplemental budgets passed in alternating years.

Operating Budget

The operating budget is the main budget for the state, with proposals this year ranging from $43 to $46 billion. It funds everything from higher education to state agencies and the mental health care system.

Transportation Budget

The transportation budget funds everything from pedestrian safety to traffic improvement projects, street completion, bridge repairs, ferries and avalanche control. This year’s transportation budget includes a number of projects for the 37th district. Some examples include funds for multimodal transportation options like Amtrak improvements, safe routes to schools and bike and pedestrian improvements, as well as improvements on I-5 between downtown Seattle and State Route 167.

Capital Budget

The capital budget funds a variety of building and maintenance projects throughout the state. From affordable housing grants to schools to community and arts centers and parks, the capital budget is critical to building and expanding public spaces throughout Washington.

I teamed up with our budget negotiators and the other members of the Senate Members of Color of Caucus to advocate for key projects and investments in our districts.

Our priorities include the Housing Trust Fund, Building Communities Fund Grants, Dental Capacity Grants, and Model Toxics. I will continue to advocate for these priorities and 37th District projects as the final capital budget is negotiated with the House of Representatives.

 

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D v R revenue comparison

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Cesar Chavez floor speechAhead of César Chávez Day, celebrated on MarchCesar Chavez reader board 31, the Senate honored the work of this great American civil and labor rights leader in a resolution I brought to the Senate floor. Chávez was an advocate for farm workers who tirelessly promoted equality through non-violent resistance, and uplifted Latino communities and workers throughout the nation and world. It was a privilege to recognize Chávez with the rest of the Washington State Senate.

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Olympia OfficeSaldana floor speaking

230 John A. Cherberg Building

Phone: (360) 786-7688

Email: Rebecca.Saldana@leg.wa.gov

Website: www.sdc.wastateleg.org/saldana

Legislative Update: Thank you for your input

March 22nd, 2017|

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Town Hall Update

Thank you to everyone who took time out of their busy lives to participate in the 37th Legislative District town hall. It was a huge success! The discussion was robust and civil – a true testament to the democratic process. I am honored to represent such a well-informed and engaged group of people.

We discussed a wide range of topics, including:

  • Broken tax system and the need for new revenue from fair sources
  • Education funding
  • Caring for foster kids
  • Gun safety
  • Health care
  • Damaging effects of Republican and Trump policies coming out of Washington D.C.
  • Federal immigration policy

I also want to thank the wonderful panelists who came to share with us about the work they do for the 37th District, and the advocacy they take on in Olympia. The panelists were:

  • Sue Cary, Grandmothers Against Gun Violence
  • Robert Beiser, Seattle Against Slavery
  • Sameth Mell, Coalition of Immigrants, Refugees, and Communities of Color
  • Cash Carlos, Washington Care Services

If you were unable to make it to the town hall or did not get your question answered, please feel free to contact my office.

Town hall 2017

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Olympia Office

230 John A. Cherberg Building

Phone: (360) 786-7688

Email: Rebecca.Saldana@leg.wa.gov

Website: www.sdc.wastateleg.org/saldana

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    Saldaña introduces bill to help reduce car tab fees for low-income families

Saldaña introduces bill to help reduce car tab fees for low-income families

March 21st, 2017|

OLYMPIA— Democratic senators introduced five separate reforms today to address frustration surrounding how Sound Transit 3 is handling car tabs.

Senate Bill 5905, sponsored by Sen. Steve Hobbs, D-Lake Stevens, would adopt a new formula for assessing the value of vehicles taxed by Sound Transit on future bonds issued by accelerating the rate of depreciation.

“We all have a stake in building a world-class transportation system, but we must also ensure that those who can least afford it don’t shoulder an unfair burden – that’s what my bill is all about,” said Hobbs, the ranking member of the Senate Transportation Committee. “We must address the transit needs of our region and ensure greater transparency and accountability in working with Sound Transit. An undertaking of this magnitude is bound to find controversy along the way. I will remain open to all ideas that the public and Sound Transit bring forward.”

SB 5907, sponsored by Sen. Marko Liias, D-Lynnwood, would direct transit agencies to improve coordination with Sound Transit and other agencies and show measurable progress as they integrate service with Sound Transit.

“As light rail grows, we want transit agencies to reallocate bus service so that our buses are feeding into rail stations rather than running the same routes served by rail,” said Liias, the assistant ranking member on the Senate Transportation Committee. “Our agencies need to work together seamlessly to make sure taxpayers get the best service for their dollars.”

SB 5908 and SB 5909, both sponsored by Sen. Guy Palumbo, D-Maltby, would increase accountability by: requiring notices of regional transit authority motor vehicle excise taxes and property taxes to include budget information and status of Sound Transit projects being funded by car tab fees; and directing county auditors to provide similar accountability statements on the status of Sound Transit projects to property taxpayers.

“As a former senior manager in the technology industry, I learned that if I didn’t keep my investors updated on how their projects were progressing, I would lose their trust,” said Sen. Guy Palumbo, D-Maltby. “The same can be said for government and its responsibility to be transparent and accountable to taxpayers. After all, taxpayers are essentially investors. That’s why I am directing county auditors and the Department of Licensing to provide information on the status of Sound Transit’s projects. People need to see their hard-earned dollars at work and be able to hold government accountable if projects aren’t being done on time or on budget.”

SB 5906, sponsored by Sen. Rebecca Saldaña, D-Seattle, would allow Sound Transit to offer a rebate of up to 40 percent on car tab charges for low-income vehicle owners and a similar rebate of up to 40 percent on the property tax charge for Sound Transit 3 (ST3) for low-income homeowners.

“Like the overwhelming majority of the people in the 37th district, I strongly support more public transit options that come about through better community support and engagement,” Saldaña said. “Our district is made up of diverse, working people and families who are most impacted by our state’s upside down tax system. This bill aims to mitigate the effects of that broken system on fixed income adults and low-income folks who may need relief with some of the extra costs related to ST3 while ensuring we keep our district and region moving toward a cleaner and better transportation future.”

 

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    2017 Session Halfway Point Update: Good things happening in Olympia

2017 Session Halfway Point Update: Good things happening in Olympia

March 10th, 2017|

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Halfway point 2017

Every year, hundreds of bills pass through the Senate and House of Representatives. Some bills get a lot of attention, while others get little or no attention. Below are a few bills that passed the Senate that you may not have heard about but which will improve the lives of Washingtonians.Capitol in spring

  • SB 5833 This provides a small increase for our honored retired teachers who, after a career of service, live on very modest fixed incomes. There is more work to do, but this bill is a good start.
  • SB 5614 Increases diversion opportunities for juvenile offenders. These are measures to deal with offenses besides incarceration, including community service or behavioral management classes.
  • SB 5712 Creates the Bilingual Educator Initiative to encourage bilingual Washington students to become teachers.
  • SB 5835 Improves health outcomes by making accommodations for pregnant workers. The U.S. maternal and mortality rates are some of the highest among developed nations, particularly for women of color. This anti-discrimination bill is key to healthier outcomes for mothers and babies.
  • SB 5107 This bill helps reduce the number of barriers to use local and private funds to expand early childhood education.
  • SB 5141 This exempts yoga schools from licensure and regulatory requirements for private vocational schools.
  • SB 5236 This ensures students in K-12 schools are equipped with the knowledge and skills they need to engage effectively in government.
  • SB 5357 This requires the Department of Early Learning to create outdoor, nature-based early learning and child care programs.
  • SB 5077 This authorizes the Department of Corrections to provide temporary housing assistance for women released from the Washington Corrections Center.

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Be Bold for Change

Women of the Senate Democratic Caucus celebrate International Women’s Day

Women's day video

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Levy cliff passage alert

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Stay in Touch

Olympia Office

230 John A. Cherberg Building

Phone: (360) 786-7688

Email: Rebecca.Saldana@leg.wa.gov

Website: www.sdc.wastateleg.org/saldana

 

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    Saldaña on levy cliff: The persistent voices of the people prevailed today

Saldaña on levy cliff: The persistent voices of the people prevailed today

March 8th, 2017|

OLYMPIA – A month and a half after the House of Representatives passed a similar measure, the state Senate passed Senate Bill 5023 just before a key deadline, delaying the so-called levy cliff and a $358 million dollar cut to Washington schools. Following passage of the bill, Sen. Rebecca Saldaña, D-Seattle, released this statement:

“The persistent voices of the people prevailed today in our state. My office and so many others received hundreds of calls and emails from teachers, students, and parents, urging legislators to fight for this bill. Democrats in the Senate never gave up. Finally, the Senate Republican majority could no longer ignore our voices and those of Washington parents, teachers and students and allowed the bill to come up for a vote.

“If this had not passed nearly every school in our state would have seen cuts. Seattle Schools stood to lose tens of millions of dollars, with kids in already struggling areas like those in the 37th hit the hardest. This should never have been a partisan issue.

“However, I am glad that it is now resolved so schools can focus solely on the great work they do for our students, and the Legislature can focus on fully and fairly funding education throughout our state.”

 

 

 

Join Me! Town Hall Meeting, March 18

March 8th, 2017|

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    Saldaña, other women legislators celebrate Int’l Women’s Day

Saldaña, other women legislators celebrate Int’l Women’s Day

March 8th, 2017|

OLYMPIA – Sen. Rebecca Saldaña offered a Senate Resolution on Wednesday, in honor of International Women’s Day. This year’s International Women’s Day theme was, “Be Bold for Change.” With that in mind, Saldaña and her fellow women state senators made a short video to mark the day and celebrate women in Washington and throughout the nation and world who are bold for change.

 

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    Saldaña on ‘Uber bill’: In the new economy, we need to keep employment standards high

Saldaña on ‘Uber bill’: In the new economy, we need to keep employment standards high

March 7th, 2017|

OLYMPIA – Sen. Rebecca Saldaña, D-Seattle, released this statement after voting against Senate Bill 5620, which passed the state Senate today and would create a statewide regulatory program for transportation network companies, including Uber and Lyft:

“Workers in non-traditional employment and paid as independent contractors, like drivers for Uber and Lyft, are increasingly in demand in our economy. Without careful regulation though, these workers’ economic security is going to be continuously at risk.

“Unless drivers in a shared economy have parity with other for-hire drivers, employment standards are lowered for everyone. This bill undermines the ability for drivers to have a voice when it comes to their working conditions and rights.

“While I appreciate the work done so far by my colleagues, this bill has not been worked over in a way that engages enough consumers and stakeholders that will be impacted by this legislation. It also pre-empts local governments seeking to protect the workers in their cities.

“It is critical to acknowledge and address the changing needs of workers and businesses in the new economy. But central to that discussion must be ensuring we don’t set a lower standard in the process.”