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  • Permalink Gallery

    Saldaña: Transportation budget keeps our region moving forward

Saldaña: Transportation budget keeps our region moving forward

April 7th, 2017|

OLYMPIA – Following the unanimous passage of the Senate Transportation Budget, Sen. Rebecca Saldaña, D-Seattle, released this statement:

“Ensuring transportation funding that moves our state forward is one of the most critical issues in our district. Being stuck in traffic in our cars is about time away from our families, missed economic opportunities for our state, and pollution that increases asthma and other problems in children.

“I was extremely disappointed Senate Republicans rejected a measure that would have dealt with the car tab price increases without risking the buildout of light rail in our region. However, a lot of work went into the budget to ensure our state can maintain the infrastructure we have, increase investments in transit options and reduce traffic for the people of our region. It funds important projects like Interstate-405/State Route167 interchange, I-5 express lanes and RapidRide enhancements and traffic safety improvements.

“The generation before us missed the mark in investments in transit options that would have reduced traffic and increased mobility for our region. I am glad to have been able to vote for a transportation budget that makes investments in a clean and healthy transportation system that our district can count on in the future.”

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    Bill to help survivors of human trafficking on its way to becoming law

Bill to help survivors of human trafficking on its way to becoming law

April 5th, 2017|

OLYMPIA – A bill to help survivors of human trafficking and sexual exploitation passed the House of Representatives on Wednesday and is on its way to the Governor’s desk to be signed into law.

“Everyone deserves a fair chance and everyone deserves justice,” said Sen. Rebecca Saldaña, D-Seattle, the bill’s prime sponsor. “Survivors of trafficking and sexual exploitation in our state need every possible barrier removed from their path to a better life, and this law will help do that. No matter what has happened to them in the past, these girls, boys, women and men deserve a chance to move on.”

Senate Bill 5272 allows a person to vacate a conviction for prostitution even if he or she has committed other crimes since the date of conviction, provided those crimes were the result of a prostitution-related offense or being a victim of trafficking. This bill clarifies steps to vacate a conviction not made plain in previous legislation. Without this clarity, all attempts to vacate convictions by survivors to date have been denied. The ability to vacate these convictions is a key component in fighting trafficking, as barriers to necessities like employment and housing put survivors at a higher risk of being exploited further.

“Sadly, the average sex trafficking survivor is 15,” said Rep. Tina Orwall, D-Des Moines, sponsor of the companion bill in the House (House Bill 1112). “These young girls and boys are doubly victimized, first from having to recover from the horrific nightmare of being abused in the sex industry, and then from having to face numerous barriers as they try to rebuild their lives. We need this bill to help remove hurdles so they can obtain housing and employment, and begin to heal as they find their place in the community.”

Criminal records, even for those who have been exploited or trafficked, can often make it difficult to find a job, rent an apartment or apply for essential services. More than a quarter of trafficking victims globally are children, and roughly 55 percent are women and girls. Data shows most individuals involved in prostitution start as teenagers, some estimates as young as 13.

The bill passed the state Senate unanimously and the House nearly unanimously. Once signed by the Governor, the law will take effect within 90 days.

  • Permalink Gallery

    Roosevelt High School student serves as page in state Senate

Roosevelt High School student serves as page in state Senate

April 4th, 2017|

OLYMPIA – Ritzy Davidson, 15, served as a page in the Washington State Senate during the week of March 27, the 12th week of the 2017 Legislative Session. Sen. Rebecca Saldaña, D-Seattle, sponsored Davidson’ week in the Legislature.

“Ritzy brought a great energy to the office,” said Saldaña. “It was nice meeting her and having her help for a week. I hope she enjoyed being a page as much as we enjoyed having her.”

The Senate Page Program is an important opportunity for civics education for 14 to 17 year old students in Washington state. During their week at the Capitol, pages learn about the legislative process while assisting senators and staff. They hear lectures from guest speakers, and attend page school where they create their own bills in a mock committee setting. Davidson proposed legislation that would expand transgender education.

“I loved mock committee,” said Davidson. “I really liked hearing other people’s ideas and being able to do what senators do.”

Pages have many responsibilities during the week that take them all around the Capitol campus and give them access to places restricted to the general public. Davidson is in the ninth grade at Roosevelt High School.

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For more information about the Senate Page Program, contact SenatePageProgram@leg.wa.gov.

 

 

 

 

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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Saldana 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

  • Permalink Gallery

    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.”

 

  • Permalink Gallery

    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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Saldana clip keep in touch

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

 

  • Permalink Gallery

    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|

  • Permalink Gallery

    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.