Monthly Archives: March 2019

Update from Olympia

March 21st, 2019|

Olympia, March 21, 2019

Dear Neighbors,

My colleagues and I in the Senate continue to advance progressive legislation to improve the quality of life in Washington. Don’t miss our district’s town hall this weekend, where your House representatives and I will chat with you about the issues that matter most.

I’m especially excited this week to share our recent progress with health and wellness legislation.

Access to health care is a right, and last week the Senate passed numerous bills that get us closer to affordable, quality healthcare for all.  SB 5822 would initiate the process of finding the best way to provide universal health care in Washington. In the meantime, SB 5526 would increase the availability of quality, affordable health coverage in the individual market by developing standardized health plans and premium subsidies for individuals who purchase insurance on the Washington Health Benefit Exchange.

We are also working hard to get critical health care to some of the most marginalized communities in our state. SB 5602 would expand access to family planning programs regardless of immigration status, and would protect transgender folks from discrimination in receiving reproductive health care services. In addition, SB 5274 would extend health care programs for Washington residents who are citizens of the Marshall Islands, Micronesia or Palau to include dental care services.

All of these bills passed the Senate last week, and now we need your help to make sure they get through the House as well. Make your voice heard by contacting legislators about the issues that are important to you.

Get More Updates

Follow me on Facebook to get the latest updates on what’s going on at the Senate, like this week’s visit from civil rights leader and labor organizer Dolores Huerta.


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.

  • Dolores Huerta at the Washington State Senate
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    Proyecto de ley honrando a la activista de derechos civiles, Dolores Huerta, es aprobado por la Legislatura

Proyecto de ley honrando a la activista de derechos civiles, Dolores Huerta, es aprobado por la Legislatura

March 19th, 2019|

18 de marzo, 2019

Source information in English

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OLYMPIA – Hoy el Senado aprobó una legislación histórica para designar el 10 de abril como Día de Dolores Huerta en la presencia de la misma Sra. Huerta.

El Proyecto de Ley de la Cámara de Representantes HB 1906, patrocinado por la Representante Lillian Ortiz-Self, Demócrata de Mukilteo, honra a Dolores Huerta, feminista, activista de los derechos civiles y líder laboral que cofundó la Asociación Nacional de Campesinos en 1962 y contribuyó decisivamente a la adopción, en California, de la Ley de Relaciones Laborales Agrícolas de California de 1975, que otorgó derechos de negociación colectiva a los trabajadores agrícolas.

Huerta estuvo hoy en el Capitolio para participar en las actividades del Día Legislativo Latino con la Alianza Cívica Latina. Mientras miraba desde la galería del Senado, varios senadores se levantaron para apoyar el proyecto de ley, que fue aprobado por un voto de 44-0.

Ortis-Self-Huerta-Saldana

De origen humilde, y como madre soltera, Huerta se buscó una educación, y se convirtió en maestra. Desanimada por los efectos de la pobreza en sus estudiantes, hijos de campesinos, se unió a los movimientos para mejorar las condiciones de vida y de trabajo de los trabajadores agrícolas y también desafió la discriminación de género dentro de esos movimientos.

Como líder y organizadora clave del movimiento por los derechos de los campesinos, luchó contra la discriminación, defendió los derechos de las mujeres, abogó por brindar dignidad a los trabajadores agrícolas y enfatizó la importancia de construir una comunidad. A lo largo de los años, ella ha trabajado en muchos asuntos, como la reforma migratoria integral, la desigualdad de ingresos, los derechos de las mujeres y de los miembros de la comunidad latina.

“El Mes de la Historia de la Mujer celebra el papel vital de las mujeres en la historia de Estados Unidos, y Dolores Huerta es una de esas mujeres que reconocemos como instrumentales en la lucha por los derechos de los trabajadores agrícolas,” dijo la Senadora Rebecca Saldaña, Demócrata de Seattle. “Su historia resuena con muchas mujeres de grupos subrepresentados, y su trabajo ha pavimentado el camino para que mujeres como yo asumamos roles de liderazgo en nuestras comunidades. Este reconocimiento envía un mensaje sobre la importancia del liderazgo de las mujeres y las personas de color.”

“Estoy orgullosa de que Washington ahora honrará el legado y reconocerá la extraordinaria vida de una trabajadora incansable, una defensora apasionada y una verdadera luchadora. Una guerrera cuya búsqueda inquebrantable por los derechos civiles, la igualdad y la justicia continúa haciendo de nuestra nación una unión más perfecta,” dijo la representante principal de la medida, Rep. Lillian Ortiz-Self, quien de manera efectiva llevó su proyecto de ley a través del proceso legislativo hasta sacarlo de la Cámara de Representantes la primera semana de marzo. “Una mujer que desafiante miró a la opresión a los ojos y dijo, suficiente. Una latina que empujó a otras latinas a buscar posiciones de liderazgo. Una americana que nos enseñó que juntos podemos hacer grandes cosas. Sí se puede! ”

“Dolores Huerta es un verdadero ícono estadounidense,” dijo el Senador Sam Hunt, Demócrata de Olympia. “Su liderazgo en el establecimiento del Sindicato de Campesinos  Unidos ayudó a elevar a algunos de los trabajadores peor pagados, que se ganan la vida en trabajos agotadores cosechando nuestros cultivos.”

Esta es la segunda vez que la Legislatura del estado de Washington designa, en estatuto, un día honrando a una mujer. La primera fue en 1999, estableciendo el 16 de abril como el Día de la Madre Joseph.

La propuesta HB 1906 fue aprobada por la Cámara de Representantes el 4 de marzo y ahora va a la oficina del gobernador para que se convierta en ley.

  • Dolores Huerta at the Washington State Senate
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    Bill honoring civil rights activist Dolores Huerta passes Legislature

Bill honoring civil rights activist Dolores Huerta passes Legislature

March 18th, 2019|


Versión en español aquí.

OLYMPIA – Today the Senate passed historic legislation to designate April 10 as Dolores Huerta Day as Ms. Huerta herself looked on.

House Bill 1906, sponsored by Rep. Lilian Ortiz-Self, honors Dolores Huerta, a feminist, civil rights activist and labor leader who co-founded the National Farm Workers Association in 1962 and was instrumental in California’s adoption of the California Agricultural Labor Relations Act of 1975, which granted farmworkers collective bargaining rights.

Huerta was at the Capitol today to participate in Latino Legislative Day activities with the Latino Civic Alliance. As she looked on from the gallery, several senators rose in support of the bill, which passed on a 44-0 vote. 

From a humble background, Huerta pursued an education as a single mom and became a teacher. Dismayed by the poor living conditions of her students, the children of farm workers, she joined movements to improve living and working conditions of farm workers, and also challenged gender discrimination within those movements.

As a key leader and organizer of the farm worker’s rights movement, she fought against discrimination, stood up for the rights of women, advocated to bring dignity to farm workers, and emphasized the importance of building community. Over the years, she has worked on many issues, such as comprehensive immigration reform, income inequality, and the rights of women and those in the Latino community.

“Women’s History Month celebrates the vital role of women in American history, and Dolores Huerta is one of those women we recognize as instrumental in the fight for farm workers’ rights,” said Sen. Rebecca Saldaña (D-Seattle). “Her story resonates with many women from underrepresented groups, and her work has paved the way for women like me in assuming leadership roles in their communities. This recognition sends a message about the importance of the leadership of women and people of color.”

“I am proud that Washington will now honor the legacy and recognize the remarkable life of a tireless worker, a passionate advocate and a true fighter,” said Rep. Lillian Ortiz-Self, D-Mukilteo, who prime-sponsored the measure and effectively steered it through the legislative process to get it out of the House the first week of March. “A warrior whose unwavering quest for civil rights, equality and justice continue to make our nation a more perfect union. A woman who defiantly looked oppression in the eye and said, enough. A Latina who pushed other Latinas to seek positions of leadership. An American who taught us that together we can do great things. ¡Sí se puede!

“Dolores Huerta is a true American icon,” said Sen. Sam Hunt (D-Olympia). “Her leadership in establishing the United Farmworkers Union helped to lift up some of the lowest-paid workers, who make their living in backbreaking jobs harvesting our crops.”

HB 1906 passed the House on March 4 and now goes to the governor’s office to be signed into law.

Senate approves housing assistance for family reunification

March 11th, 2019|

OLYMPIA – Today the Senate passed legislation to establish a child welfare housing assistance program to shorten the time that children remain in out-of-home care.

Senate Bill 5718, sponsored by Sen. Rebecca Saldaña (D-Seattle), would create a pilot program through the Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF) that would provide housing assistance to parents whose lack of appropriate housing is the primary barrier to reunification with a child who has been removed from their care.  

“Families already face many barriers to affordable housing, and with children temporarily removed from the home, housing assistance programs are even less accessible,” said Saldaña. “This makes it extremely difficult for parents in this situation to obtain the appropriate housing necessary to reunify with their kids. This program would remove that barrier to bringing a family back together, and reduce the time kids are separated from their parents.”

SB 5718 requires DCYF to consult with a stakeholder group that includes parent allies, parent attorneys and social workers, housing organizations, behavior health providers and others to determine details for the pilot program, such as eligibility requirements and equitable program distribution.

The bill now moves to the House for consideration.

  • Photo by Forrest Cavale on Unpslash
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    Senate passes legislation to address environmental health disparities

Senate passes legislation to address environmental health disparities

March 9th, 2019|

OLYMPIA – Yesterday the Senate passed the HEAL Act to address environmental health disparities and establish a more equitable approach to environmental health.

Senate Bill 5489, sponsored by Sen. Rebecca Saldaña (D-Seattle), creates a task force to make recommendations on how state agencies can incorporate environmental justice principles in their work. The task force would also provide guidance for identifying and addressing environmental health disparities and designate highly impacted communities. 

“Our youth need a clean environment to meet their full potential. We must recognize the disproportional impacts of environmental problems on low-income communities and communities of color, and we need state agencies to be coordinated with community stakeholders to face these impacts,” said Saldaña. “The HEAL Act will bring environmental and health agencies together with impacted community stakeholders to determine how to best use the new cumulative impacts data tool to achieve more efficient and coordinated outreach, policy implementation, and investments.”

SB 5489 defines environmental justice as “the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies.”

The bill now moves to the House for consideration.

Update from Olympia

March 9th, 2019|

Olympia, March 8, 2019

Dear Neighbors,

Happy International Women’s Day! Here at the Senate we are moving forward with progressive legislation to improve the quality of life in all aspects throughout Washington. I’m especially excited this week about the progress we are making on environmental issues.

Prioritizing Good Green Jobs & Our Environment 

100% Clean Energy

Last week, the Senate passed SB 5116, which would transition our economy toward clean, affordable and reliable energy future. The bill would require all electric utilities in Washington to transition to a 100-percent, carbon-neutral electricity supply by 2030 and to 100-percent carbon-free electricity by 2045. This effort is distinguishing Washington as a nationwide leader in adopting a working action plan to reduce our carbon footprint.
Other environmental priorities to watch this week:

  • SB 5489, the HEAL Act, is one of my top priorities. This legislation will define environmental justice in our state and allow its implementation, bringing the interests of unfairly burdened communities to the forefront of decisions about policy, investments, and enforcement.
  • SB 5223 allows households that generate their own clean energy from small-scale, renewable systems to benefit by providing excess energy to Washington’s power grid through net metering. 
  • SB 5811 reduces emissions by improving our state’s clean car standards.
  • SB 5077 reduces plastic waste by restricting single-use plastic straws at restaurants.
  • SB 5322 brings our state into compliance with the federal clean water act and addresses discharges of storm water runoff.

Getting Tough on Wage Theft in Construction


Last week, the Senate passed my bill, SB 5035, which was requested by the Attorney General and advocates tackling the underground economy. This bill supports businesses who pay quality wages to workers on time while holding accountable the few bad actors who conduct wage theft. It increases the minimum penalty for prevailing wage violations and requires public works contractors to retain their payroll records for at least three years, submitting certified payroll records monthly. Legislation like this protects workers from exploitation and ensures they receive a full day’s pay for a full day’s work.  As our construction jobs become increasingly about building green infrastructure, we need to make sure they provide quality careers.

UPDATES


37th District Town Hall
Saturday, March 23 from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 pm
Ethiopian Community in Seattle, 8323 Rainier Ave. S.

Get More Updates

Follow me on Facebook to get the latest updates on what’s going on at the Senate, like last week’s resolution recognizing Black History Month.

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 bycalling or emailing my office.

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    Senate unanimously passes legislation to help human trafficking victims

Senate unanimously passes legislation to help human trafficking victims

March 7th, 2019|

OLYMPIA – The Senate unanimously passed legislation today to provide public assistance to certain victims of human trafficking by expanding eligibility for state food assistance, family assistance, and medical care services programs.

Under Senate Bill 5164, sponsored by Sen. Rebecca Saldaña (D-Seattle), noncitizens would be able to access these programs if they have taken steps to obtain status under federal laws that protect victims of human trafficking and serious crimes. Qualifying family members would also be eligible for assistance.

“While we would like to think human trafficking does not exist in our state, it does. Trafficked women, men, and children seeking to free themselves often face losing their housing and employment, which is tied up with their trafficker,” said Saldaña. “This legislation removes the barriers to critical life-saving services when people are in their most vulnerable moment and most need them.  I am proud to have worked with API-CHAYA, Seattle Against Slavery, and Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence, who are the frontline leaders in eliminating trafficking in Washington State.”

This legislation builds on a law that passed in the 2018 legislative session, HB 1022, which addressed law enforcement agency certifications for noncitizens who qualify for visas for victims of human trafficking and other serious crimes. SB 5164 gives victims access to services while they are in the process of obtaining visas.

The bill now moves to the House for consideration.