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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.

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.

Washington Voting Rights Act introduced in state Senate

December 7th, 2017|

OLYMPIA – Sen. Rebecca Saldaña, D-Seattle, introduced the Washington Voting Rights Act (WVRA) to the state Senate on Wednesday.

The WVRA is designed to help cities, counties, school boards and other local elected bodies voluntarily adopt changes to their elections system that will improve representation in local elections.

“This bill is a significant step in the ongoing effort to remove barriers and expand access to our democracy, particularly for disenfranchised populations,” Saldaña said. “Like we’ve seen in Yakima and Pasco in recent years, having community members participate in drawing districts is the best way to ensure they have the opportunity to elect candidates of their choice. The WVRA will create the most effective process for voters in the nation to ensure a collaborative and less costly process for fair and equitable local elections.”

In most cities in Washington, state law only allows for at-large elections. This system is more likely than district-based elections to result in certain voters being underrepresented, including communities of color. The WVRA would allow local governments to implement a more fair system while also helping cities and counties avoid costly litigation under the federal Voting Rights Act.

“This is our opportunity to ensure that as a state institution we are doing everything to level the playing field and create an environment where everyone is represented,” said Rep. Mia Gregerson, D-SeaTac, the prime sponsor of the House of Representatives’ version of the bill (House Bill 1800). “When the Federal Voting Rights Act was passed, it was a major milestone, but that was 53 years ago. A lot has changed and so should we. I want to pay respect to the many legislators in the House who have worked on this year after year and I am excited to work with the Senate to finally pass this important legislation into law.”

“On behalf of OneAmerica and our immigrant leaders across the state, we are thrilled to see the Washington Voting Rights Act moving forward as a key priority for the 2018 legislative session,” said Rich Stolz, Executive Director of the immigrant advocacy group OneAmerica. “For the last seven years, our communities have fought to ensure people of color have greater access and representation in local governments and school boards. Now is the time and we look forward to working with Sen. Saldaña and Rep. Gregerson, as well as leadership in the House and Senate, to pass the Washington Voting Rights Act.”

“The WVRA promotes a strong, healthy democracy by empowering people to work with their local elected representatives to ensure all voices are heard,” said Elisabeth Smith, Legislative Director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington. “No voter or community should be denied an equal opportunity to elect the candidates of their choice.”

“We are delighted that Sen. Saldaña and Rep. Gregerson have taken the lead fighting for a Washington State Voting Rights Act,” said Peter Bloch Garcia, Executive Director of the Latino Community Fund of Washington State. “This law will dramatically improve the lives of countless Latinos throughout Washington state by making local representation possible in many communities. For too long, Latinos have not been at the table when the decisions are made that leave our community behind. We call on the Legislature to pass this law and make political opportunity a reality for our community.”

 

 

Legislative Update: Budget passes, shutdown averted

June 30th, 2017|

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June 30, 2017

37th District Values Reflected in Budget

Capitol sunset

With only hours to go before the deadline, a budget passed the Legislature and has been sent to the governor’s desk for his signature, avoiding a government shutdown.

While no budget is perfect, this has many positive things in it and reflects the values of the 37th Legislative District. Some reasons I voted for the budget include:

  • Funds the strongest statewide paid family leave program in the country. This will make a real difference to working families at the most important times of their lives – in welcoming a child or in caring for older parents or those with disabilities.
  • Fully funds collective bargaining agreements for public employees.
  • Real investments in Expanding New Americans Program. This budget increases support and capacity for immigration legal services for naturalization assistance for legal permanent residents.
  • Latino Health Center at UW
  • Critical investments in environmental justice and climate mitigation: Wildfire prevention planning, air quality study on implications of air traffic including assessment of ultra-fine particulate matter in impacted communities including Beacon Hill, and a funded Clean Air Act.
  • Investments in Child Care: Provides important critical rate increases for family child care providers, child care centers, and ECEAP program and ensures 3,700 childcare vouchers for families in the 37th District.
  • Formation of the Department of Children and Family Services, which will better serve foster youth and struggling families and includes parity for kinship providers.
  • More funding for homelessness prevention and services including housing and services for homeless youth and individuals with a history of mental illness.
  • Increased state need grant over the next two years and a state matching funds for the opportunity scholarship

“Yes” for Education – “No” for Regressive Funding

School kids

Along with the budget, the Legislature on Friday also passed a landmark bill to address the underfunding of public schools in this state. Overall, I support the policy because it ensures additional funds for:

  • Teacher salaries
  • Low-income schools and students, and ensures it goes directly to the school rather than the district where it can be distributed elsewhere
  • Special education
  • Career and technical education

Unfortunately, Republicans insisted on paying for the investments primarily through a property tax. This approach doubles down on our regressive tax system (the most unfair in the nation) and further burdens working families in Seattle, Renton and dozens of other communities throughout the state.

Seattle Renton impacts

In the end, it is a Democratic bill with Republican funding. And because the Republican property tax hits the 37th district particularly hard I could not vote for the bill. Raising property taxes by hundreds of dollars each year in a time when the rising cost of living is squeezing too many out of our neighborhoods is not an acceptable solution to our school funding issues.

I support progressive approaches to funding, including the capital gains tax and progressive real estate excise taxes. I am committed to reversing the unfair nature of our state tax system and pleased to share with you that a study was funded in the budget to examine the feasibility of a state bank (for more on that, click here).

I celebrate the good that will be done with the $7.3 billion going into our schools in the next four years, but will continue to work with you and my colleagues in the Legislature to ensure more fair funding in the future.

For detailed information on tax impacts, please click here.

Community Conversations

Community Conversations

This summer I am holding a Community Conversations series in our district. We will discuss how to make life in the 37th Legislative District more affordable while still making critical investments that ensure everyone in our community has opportunities to thrive.

Upcoming Events

July 28th, 12 p.m. – 1 p.m.  – Renton Highlands Library –  2801 NE 10th St, Renton, WA 98056

July 29th, 11:05 a.m. – 12:35 p.m. – Secondary Learning Center – 7800 S 132nd St, Seattle, WA 98178

July 30th, 12 p.m. – 2 p.m.  – Mt. Baker Housing Association – 2900 S. McClellan. Seattle, WA 98144

Do you want to host a

Community Conversation?

Contact me.

Saldana

Contact Me

Phone: (360) 786-7688

Email: Rebecca.Saldana@leg.wa.gov

District Office:

2900 S McClellan St.

Seattle, WA 98144

Website: www.sdc.wastateleg.org/Saldana

Community Conversations

June 30th, 2017|

Come talk to me!

I am launching a series of events called Community Conversations. I want to discuss with you how we can make life in the 37th Legislative District more affordable and improve our communities for everyone.

The first Community Conversation was held on Sat. June 24th at the Redwing Café in Rainier Beach. We had a great discussion about the state budget, a state bank proposal and many other topics.

Upcoming Events

July 28th, 12 p.m. – 1 p.m.  – Renton Highlands Library –  2801 NE 10th St, Renton, WA 98056

July 29th, 11:05 a.m. – 12:35 p.m.Secondary Learning Center – 7800 S 132nd St, Seattle, WA 98178

July 30th, 12 p.m. – 2 p.m.  – Mt. Baker Housing Association – 2900 S. McClellan. Seattle, WA 98144

 

Do you want to host a

Community Conversation?

Contact me.

  • Permalink Gallery

    Legislative Update: Community conversations and possible government shutdown

Legislative Update: Community conversations and possible government shutdown

June 26th, 2017|

June 22, 2017

Starting Saturday!

Community Conversations

This Saturday, I hope you’ll join me as I launch a summer Community Conversations series. We will  discuss how we can make life in the 37th Legislative District more affordable while still making critical investments that ensure everyone in our community has opportunities to thrive.

  • Saturday, June 24 from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Redwing Café in Rainier Beach.
  • Friday, July 28 – Time and place coming soon.
  • Saturday, July 29 – Time and place coming soon.
  • Sunday, July 30 – Time and place coming soon.

Republican Shutdown Looms

On July 1, our state government could shutdown for the first time in history.

For months, the Senate Republican majority has refused to participate in comprehensive budget negotiations. Although progress has been made in certain issue areas, Republican negotiators have taken a “my way or the highway” approach to some of the toughest challenges we face. This is especially true with regards to the revenue necessary to pay for schools and essential services. Republicans have insisted on a property tax only solution, which would increase the cost of living for working families in Seattle while adding little new money to our schools. This is unacceptable.

Washington has the most upside-down tax system in the nation, and we cannot continue to cut essential services and overburden only low and middle-income families in order to balance the budget. A shutdown would be devastating to Washingtonians across our state, hurting families, kids, workers and the most vulnerable. In our district alone, some 3,700 families could suddenly be without child care just as school lets out.

Republicans need to share Democrats’ sense of urgency and help us solve this problem now.

Call lawmakers at

1-800-562-6000

to share your views on the budget and possible government shutdown.

Read All About It

Senate budget is wrong approach on both sides of the Cascades

I recently had an op-ed published about the Senate Republicans plan to raise property taxes statewide.

Read it here.

Republicans move to cut family planning

A Senate colleague recently published an op-ed about Senate Republicans’ move to cut essential family planning funding for thousands of Washington women and families.

Read it here

Contact Me

Phone: (360) 786-7688

Email: Rebecca.Saldana@leg.wa.gov

District Office:

2900 S McClellan St.

Seattle, WA 98144

Website: www.sdc.wastateleg.org/Saldana

  • Permalink Gallery

    Saldaña’s Yakima Herald Op-Ed (In English/En Español): Senate budget is wrong approach on both sides of the Cascades

Saldaña’s Yakima Herald Op-Ed (In English/En Español): Senate budget is wrong approach on both sides of the Cascades

May 22nd, 2017|

Senate budget is wrong approach on both sides of the Cascades

By state Sen. Rebecca Saldaña

May 20, 2017

Throughout this legislative session, I have heard more times than I can remember how the interests of Seattle are at odds with Eastern Washington. But there is something my district in South Seattle shares with communities in the Yakima Valley: We can count ourselves among many throughout Washington who will see a big property tax hike under the state Senate Republican budget.

To fund their budget they rely on a levy swap, which they claim raises taxes only in “rich districts.” But school districts throughout Washington — including Union Gap, Zillah, Toppenish, Wapato and Mount Adams — will see an increase in taxes under their plan. Others will be forced to choose to raise their property taxes, sometimes by hundreds of dollars, if they vote to support their schools with a 10 percent levy. This is true in Yakima, Sunnyside, Naches Valley and Selah.

Just like many of you, the majority of people in my district can’t afford these tax hikes. Whether it is a working family or someone on a fixed income, taxpayers in this state are already struggling to make ends meet. I have lived in both rural farming communities in the Northwest as well as the city of Seattle. I understand how difficult it is to find solutions to complex problems that will work for our diverse communities and people in Washington.

School funding is one of those complex challenges, and what lawmakers do this year may well define our education system for a generation. In order to do this right, it will take a serious commitment from both Republicans and Democrats.

Unfortunately, the Senate budget raises property taxes in dozens and dozens of communities that can’t afford it. Meanwhile, Senate Republican budget negotiators are also refusing to come to the table with House Democrats who have asked for meetings repeatedly.

The funding approaches between the two budgets are stark. This is to be expected. But the political divide can only be breached by honest, good-faith negotiations. I know there are many Senate Republicans who want to reach across the aisle and work this out for their constituents. Like me, they believe that whether you live in Seattle or Selah, taxpayers should get the most for their dollar and know what it buys.

But raising taxes on some homeowners to buy lower taxes for others is not an equitable solution to our school funding question. After all, we all want our kids to succeed and our schools thrive. And though no one likes taxes, both Republicans and Democrats rely on them to fund our schools and balance their budgets.

The only way we will ever find solutions that work for all of us is for everyone to come to the negotiation table. This is what the people of this state expect of their leaders, no matter where they live.

El presupuesto del senado tiene el enfoque equivocado para ambos lados de las montañas

Por la senadora estatal Rebecca Saldaña

A través de esta sesión legislativa, he escuchado una y otra vez cómo los intereses de Seattle están en desacuerdo con los del oriente de Washington. Pero hay algo que mi distrito en el sur de Seattle comparte con las comunidades en el Valle de Yakima: Nos podemos contar entre los muchos en Washington que verán una gran alza de impuestos de propiedad bajo el presupuesto de los republicanos en el senado.

Para financiar su presupuesto, los Republicanos usan una ‘levy swap’ que, según ellos, sólo alza los impuestos en “distritos ricos.” Pero casi todos los distritos escolares en Washington, incluyendo Union Gap, Zillah, Toppenish, Wapato y Mount Adams, verán un alza de impuestos bajo este plan. Otros se verán obligados a optar por aumentar impuestos de propiedad local, a veces por cientos de dólares, si votan para apoyar a sus escuelas con una ‘levy’ del 10 por ciento. Esto es cierto en Yakima, Sunnyside, Naches Valley y Selah.

Como muchos de ustedes, la mayoría de las personas en mi distrito no pueden permitirse estas alzas de impuestos. Si se trata de familias trabajadoras o personas con ingreso fijo, los contribuyentes en este estado ya están luchando para llegar al fin del mes. He vivido en comunidades rurales en el noroeste y también en la ciudad de Seattle. Entiendo lo difícil que es encontrar soluciones a problemas complejos que funcionen para nuestras diversas comunidades y personas en Washington.

La financiación escolar es un reto complejo. Lo que hacemos los legisladores este año puede definir el sistema educativo para las generaciones futuras en Washington. Para hacer esto bien, será necesario contar con un compromiso serio de ambos republicanos y demócratas.

Desafortunadamente, el presupuesto del senado eleva los impuestos de propiedad en comunidades a través del estado que simplemente no podrían pagar. Mientras tanto, los negociadores del presupuesto republicano se niegan a reunirse con los demócratas de la cámara de representantes que siguen pidiendo juntas.

Hay diferencias en los enfoques de financiación entre los presupuestos de los republicanos y demócratas. Esto es de esperar. Pero la división política sólo puede ser solucionada mediante negociaciones honestas y de buena fe. Sé que hay muchos republicanos, tanto como demócratas, en el senado que quieren trabajar conjuntamente para resolver este problema. Como yo, ellos creen que independientemente de si usted vive en Seattle o en Selah, los contribuyentes deben sacar el máximo provecho de sus impuestos y saber en qué se invierten.

Pero aumentar los impuestos de algunos propietarios para bajar impuestos para otros no es una solución equitativa al problema de financiamiento para las escuelas. Después de todo, queremos que nuestros hijos tengan éxito y nuestras escuelas prosperen. Y aunque a nadie le gustan los impuestos, tanto los republicanos como los demócratas confían en ellos para financiar las escuelas y balancear el presupuesto.

La única manera en que encontraremos soluciones permanentes que funcionen para todos es que ambos republicanos y demócratas vengan a la mesa de negociaciones. Esto es lo que la gente de ambos lados del estado espera de sus líderes.

* Rebecca Saldaña es la senadora estatal del distrito legislativo 37, que cubre gran parte del sur de Seattle y partes de Renton.

  • Permalink Gallery

    Legislative Update: The end of the 2017 legislative session?

Legislative Update: The end of the 2017 legislative session?

May 11th, 2017|

Saldana banner

The end of the 2017 legislative session?

Speaking at a rally

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

The 2017 legislative session will end on Sunday without addressing our paramount duty to fund education and without passing a state budget. Despite efforts by Democrats to urge them to come to the table, Senate Republicans have refused to negotiate. That is why the Governor will immediately summon the Legislature back into special session to finish the budget.

This is extremely frustrating and unnecessary. I remain hopeful however that the negotiators can come together and produce a fair and balanced budget soon.

In spite of the anticlimactic end to the regular session, the Legislature did move many good policies forward. Recently a constituent noted that I had signed onto a lot of bills and wondered how many of those bills were still alive.

So, while we await news on the state budget, I’ve included the status of a handful of my policy priorities this session.

It has been a great honor to serve you these past months, and I will continue to update you as the budget is negotiated. As always, I hope you’ll stay in touch.

Regards,

Signature

Saldana bill signing with frame

First Bill Signed Into Law

I had my first bill signed into law on Wednesday by Gov. Jay Inslee, Senate Bill 5837, which will expand access to HOV lanes for blood donation vehicles. With increased technology, better blood-type matches are possible – making the quick transport of life-saving blood ever more important. My father became a blood donor as a child so he could help his sister and has continued to be a donor in Washington state. This is an issue that has touched many of us, and this bill will help ensure blood donation vehicles can continue to do their best work as we evaluate how HOV lanes can better serve Washingtonians. For more information, please click here.

Online privacy

Protecting Internet Privacy

I am the co-sponsor of a bipartisan bill called the Internet Privacy Act. If passed, this would block internet providers’ ability to collect and sell identifiable, personal information without the customer’s permission. Failure by corporations to comply would be a violation of the Washington State Consumer Protection Act.

We wrote and submitted this bill after the Congress voted to suspend Federal Communications Commission rules protecting internet privacy. Legislation like this has since been introduced in over 20 states and is critical to ensuring personal information is kept private.

The House bill just passed by 87-10. It now heads to the Senate, where 12 Senate Republicans co-sponsored the Senate companion bill. Unfortunately, Senate Republican leadership has indicated they are not committed to passing the bill this session. I will continue to work to keep the bill moving, but if you are interested in this issue I encourage you to submit comments on it by clicking here. You can also find contact information for all senators here.

Saldana clip with frame

Contact Me

Phone: (360) 786-7688

Email: Rebecca.Saldana@leg.wa.gov

Website: www.sdc.wastateleg.org/Saldana

*Stay tuned for district office contact information

April 21, 2017

Hopper

Education
ESHB 1600:
Increasing the career and college readiness of public school students. (Has not yet passed)
SHB 1445
Dual language in early learning and K-12 education. (Passed)
HB 1059
Delaying the levy cliff (Passed)
Labor Standards & Worker Justice
ESHB 1714
Improving nursing staffing practices at hospitals. (Passed)
SB 5833
Increases the basic and alternate minimum benefits for certain retired teachers. (Did not pass)
ESHB 1115
Concerning professional development for paraeducators. (Passed)
Economic Development & Small Business Support
EHB 2005
Improving the business climate in this state by simplifying business regulations. (Passed)
ESHB 1538
Helping smaller contracting firms and disadvantaged businesses be more competitive in contracting bids. (Passed)
Health & Safety
SHB 1234
Addressing private health plan coverage of contraceptives, allowing a year of birth control refills. (Passed)
ESHB 1808
Providing support for foster youth in obtaining drivers’ licenses and automobile liability insurance. (Passed)
SHB 1100
Helping ensure concealed pistol licenses stay up to date. (Passed)
Animal Welfare & Environmental Stewardship
HB 1676
Ensuring protection for guide dogs or service animals in training. (Passed)
ESHB 2126
Creating a community based approach to provide assistance with nonlethal wolf management methods to reduce livestock attacks. (Passed)
SHB 1353
Commissioning an elk management pilot project. (Passed)

Saldaña’s first bill signed into law

April 19th, 2017|

Saldaña bill to improve HOV lane access for blood-donation vehicles signed into law

OLYMPIA – A bill by Sen. Rebecca Saldaña, D-Seattle, to expand access to HOV lanes for blood donation vehicles was signed by Governor Jay Inslee today.

Gov. Inslee signs Substitute Senate Bill No. 5837, April 19, 2017. Relating to expanding high occupancy vehicle lane access to blood-collecting or distributing establishment vehicles. Primary Sponsor: Rebecca Saldaña

“Blood donation, as well as plasma and tissue donation, is vital to helping those who are critically ill,” Saldaña said. “My father became a blood donor as a child so he could help his sister, and has continued to be a donor in Washington state. With increased technology, better blood-type matches are possible – making the quick transport of life-saving blood ever more important. This is an issue that has touched many of us, and this bill will help ensure blood donation vehicles can continue to do their best work as we evaluate how HOV lanes can better serve Washingtonians.”

Senate Bill 5837 creates a two-year period for the Washington State Department of Transportation to reexamine its rules surrounding access to HOV lanes. This will be done through a public process, specifically looking at impacts of allowing vehicles that deliver or collect blood, tissue, or blood components to use the HOV lanes. Bloodworks Northwest testified in favor of the bill. They deliver more than 600,000 units of blood to nearly 90 hospitals throughout the Northwest and Alaska.

  • Permalink Gallery

    VIDEO: ¿Cómo funciona la legislatura en el estado de Washington?

VIDEO: ¿Cómo funciona la legislatura en el estado de Washington?

April 17th, 2017|

Pt. 2