Monthly Archives: February 2019

  • Permalink Gallery

    Senate votes to prohibit citizenship/immigration status discrimination

Senate votes to prohibit citizenship/immigration status discrimination

February 26th, 2019|

OLYMPIA – The Washington Senate today voted 29-20 to prohibit discrimination based on citizenship or immigration status.

Senate Bill 5165, sponsored by Sen. Rebecca Saldaña (D-Seattle), adds citizenship or immigration status to the list of characteristics protected by Washington’s Law against Discrimination. The change prohibits discrimination based on citizenship or immigration status unless a distinction or differential treatment is required by a state or federal law, regulation, or government contract.

This type of discrimination is experienced by documented and undocumented immigrants alike, including people living and working in Washington with authorization. This bill protects anyone perceived to be a noncitizen, regardless of their actual immigration status, and would help prevent discrimination in various settings such as education, housing, public accommodations and employment.

“We’re hearing from communities that people are not at ease; they live in fear and sometimes are even afraid to bring their kids to school,” said Saldaña. “By clarifying our law against discrimination, we hope people will feel more secure participating fully in their communities.”

The bill will now be considered in the House of Representatives.

Update from Olympia

February 25th, 2019|

Olympia, February 22, 2019

Dear Neighbors,

We hit the ground running this legislative session to advance our district priorities around homelessness and housing affordability, social justice for immigrants, youth, and workers, and healthy and safe communities.  This Friday is cut off for policy bills to be heard in committee. A huge highlight from last week: My Senate colleagues and I passed Senate Bill 5339, which would end the use of the death penalty in Washington State.  In October, the Washington State Supreme Court ruled that the death penalty as it was being applied in our state was unconstitutional because it was “imposed in an arbitrary and racially biased manner.”  This important bill will bring our state’s laws into compliance with the Constitution.

Protections for Workers and Immigrants

This year I’ve sponsored some critical legislation in response to the needs of Washington’s workers:

  • Senate Bill 5156 would add citizenship or immigration status to the list of characteristics protected by Washington’s Law against Discrimination. This will help prevent landlords from refusing to rent to families for no valid reason, and provide a path to recourse for renters who are taken advantage of because of their immigration status. It will also prevent discrimination in other settings, such as real estate transactions, public accommodations, and employment.
  •  Senate Bill 5693 addresses human trafficking and related employment violations by requiring transparency in agricultural supply chains. This bill focuses on the largest corporate sellers and end users—those with annual gross receipts of over $200 million. Consumers have a right to know whether a company they purchase from is following through on its commitment to product integrity.
  • Senate Bill 5717 provides protections for workers, such as requiring employers to give workers 14 days’ notice of their work schedules and to grant worker requests for schedule changes under certain conditions. It would also require employers to offer more hours to existing workers before hiring more employees.
  • Senate Bill 5846 creates pathways for international medical graduates who live in Washington to help us address our shortage of culturally competent and bilingual medical professionals and improve public health .

Coming Up

The Senate State Government Committee will soon hear the Washington State Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Act, also known as I-1000. This initiative submitted to the government by the people of Washington seeks to guarantee fairness and equality, eliminate discrimination, and establish a governor’s commission on diversity, equity and inclusion.

Meet My Staff

As we enter the next phase of this legislative session, I will continue to work hard on behalf of our state’s working families.  My efforts could not be possible without the help of my amazing staff!

Ayla Kadah, Legislative Aide

Ayla Kadah is a proud Syrian, Muslim, Arab-American woman. Her deep-rooted passion for racial, economic, and social justice stems from her early organizing days in her hometown of Damascus, Syria – particularly around causes like poverty alleviation, education for children with disabilities, and support for victims of war. After moving to the US to attend the University of Washington — where she graduated with degrees in Psychology and Political Communication — Ayla expanded her skills into the realm of grassroots political organizing, particularly for immigration reform and refugee resettlement. In 2016, she served as an elected National Delegate to the Democratic National Convention. Through working for two women of color and activists-turned-elected officials, she was able to witness firsthand the power of activism in the legislative process. She hopes to one day write laws that bend the arc of the moral universe towards justice, and to help build a pipeline that elevates historically underrepresented communities into government spaces.

Joyce Bruce, Session Aide

Joyce is a Seattle native, born and raised in the 37th District. She is an alum of the University Of Washington and Seattle University School of Law. Prior to working in the Washington State Senate, she worked in regulatory compliance and externed at the state Department of Financial Institutions. She hopes to use her background and legal knowledge to make policy that will correct unjust laws that disproportionately impact under-served communities. In her free time she enjoys traveling, spending time with family, and empowering youth through mentorship.

David Pham, Intern

Born and raised in the district, David is the first child in his family to attend college after his parents emigrated from Vietnam in the late 1980s. David currently attends the University of Washington in Seattle studying Political Science and plans to pursue law school and becoming a public defender. Prior to working in Sen. Saldaña’s office, David interned for the City of Seattle in the Legislative Department and worked in the Seattle Public Libraries as a library associate. He is passionate about empowering and mentoring students in underrepresented communities. In his free time, he loves to spend his time hiking, camping and traveling.

Stay in Touch!

Thank you for contacting us on what matters to you. Your participation is making a difference and helping to improve our communities! Follow my official Facebook page for updates and remember to stay in touch by calling or emailing my office.

To subscribe to Sen. Saldaña’s E-Newsletter, click here.

For alerts about specific issues, click here.

Saldaña bill honors civil rights activist Dolores Huerta

February 15th, 2019|

OLYMPIA – The Senate State Government will hear testimony today at 1:30 p.m. on legislation to recognize April 10 as Dolores Huerta Day.

Dolores Huerta, a feminist, civil rights activist and labor leader, co-founded the National Farm Workers Association and was instrumental in California’s adoption of the California Agricultural Labor Relations Act of 1975, which granted farmworkers collective bargaining rights.

Senate Bill 5868 is one of two bills sponsored by Sen. Rebecca Saldaña (D-Seattle) that focus on farmworkers’ concerns. The other bill, Senate Bill 5693, addresses human trafficking and related employment violations by requiring transparency in agricultural supply chains. (Watch the hearing here.)

“Consumers in our state who want to buy products that reflect their values have a right to know whether a company they purchase from is following through on its commitment to production integrity,” Saldaña said.

SB 5693 focuses on the largest corporate sellers and end users, including those who claim to have responsible standards for their suppliers. The bill would increase transparency and accountability for retail sellers and manufacturers of agricultural products with annual gross receipts of $100 million or more.

The companies would be required to obtain reports from suppliers about violations of employment laws including human trafficking, sexual harassment, or labor violations, and to disclose the information annually and post it on their company websites.

The bill is scheduled for executive session in the Senate Labor & Commerce Committee next Thursday.