E-News

Health and Wellness Update

May 15th, 2020|

Dear neighbors,

I hope this message finds you and your loved ones healthy and safe. As the state starts to consider the transition to reopening, please remember that in order to avoid another spike in infection rates, we have to stay the course by staying home to stay healthy.

Sen. Rebecca Saldaña wearing a homemade face mask that is red with multicolored flowers.

The scientific data tells us if we were to lift all restrictions right now or even two weeks from now, the decline in cases would almost certainly stop and the spread of COVID-19 would increase. That would set everything back, which would bring more illnesses and more deaths, and businesses would remain closed for even longer.

King County residents have been directed to wear face coverings in most public settings beginning May 18. As a community, it’s our job to work together to stop the spread of COVID-19. Even if you have no symptoms, you may still be a carrier of the virus who could spread it to others.

Starting now, show the people in your community that their health matters to you, even if you are not concerned for your own. Do others the courtesy of wearing a mask to protect them and their families.

Learn more about the King County directive here.

Paying Rent in Times of COVID-19

Pay your rent if you can. Here’s why:

#1  The eviction moratorium does not forgive rent amounts you owe. Paying rent will help you avoid eviction after the moratorium is lifted.

#2  Tenants who keep paying rent free up resources for landlords to give a break to neighbors who can’t pay due to income loss.

#3  Willful failure to pay could end up getting you evicted later, which will limit your ability to rent a home in the future.

#4  Eviction courts are unlikely to give you a break if you had the ability to pay rent and did not.

#5  Smaller landlords are also struggling during this time, and if they are forced to sell their properties because they’re not receiving rent, even more of the rental market could end up dominated by large corporate landlords.

#6  Landlords have costs to keep properties open, healthy and safe, including:

    • Utilities
    • Repairs
    • Staff
    • Insurance
    • Mortgages
    • Property taxes

 If you can’t pay your rent:

Reach out to your landlord or property manager. In writing, explain your situation and request an accommodation. Here are some ideas:

  • Ask for a waiver of rent for a certain amount of time.
  • Propose a partial payment.
  • Ask to apply whatever deposits you have on file to the missed rent.
  • Request a payment plan for missed rent.

And remember:

  • Keep copies of all communications between you and your landlord.
  • Make sure any agreement you reach with your landlord is in writing.
  • Make sure to follow that agreement. If your circumstances change, talk to your landlord about changing it.

Note: If you are in subsidized housing, contact your local housing authority or your property manager to recalculate your rent due to your change in income.

If your landlord evicts you or threatens to evict you in violation of the moratorium, report it here. (Form is in English and Spanish).

Rental Assistance Programs

Call 2-1-1 Washington Information Network for current information about agencies providing rental assistance. Keep in mind that several rental assistance programs can only be accessed through a 2-1-1 telephone screening.

  • Write down the contact information, hours of operation and eligibility info for agencies suggested by the 2-1-1 operator
  • When you contact the agencies, make notes about the conversations (examples: “left message, need to call back” “appointment on Monday at 2:00”)
  • Generally, lowest call volumes are on Wednesday –Thursday between 8:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m.
  • Call from a landline if you have limited cell phone minutes

Tip: If agencies report that funds are not currently available, ask when they will receive funding again so that you can contact them at that time.

Unemployment Insurance Updates

At this point, 810,000 people, or one in five of the estimated 3.6 million working Washingtonians, have applied for unemployment benefits since the start of this crisis. Of those, two thirds have received payments.

That’s why I want to share information and recommendations from the Employment Security Department to help you or those you know obtain the full benefits for which you or they might be eligible.

Top tips:

#1  File your claims every week. Many people who are eligible and qualified for benefits haven’t filed weekly claims. If you’ve already applied for unemployment benefits but have not yet filed a weekly claim, be sure to file your weekly claim and check this useful information out first before doing so. That will ensure you get through as smoothly as possible.

#2  Apply for expanded benefits. If you applied for regular unemployment insurance and were deemed ineligible, you may be eligible for the new expanded unemployment benefit called Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). On the ESD website, go to your e-services account and if the “PUA” link is there, you may be eligible. Check out this guide before you apply.

#3  Answer the phone. The Employment Security Department (ESD) team members are reaching out and calling people to resolve their cases.

#4  Check your spam filter for emails and check your e-services account for notes from ESD asking for information. In some cases, they’ve reached out and haven’t heard back.

#5  Be prepared if you’re new to making a claim. Use the ESD materials like the checklist and the guide – these will help. Also make sure that the information is correct before you submit the application.

#6  Tell the truth. As you fill out, for example, your weekly claim – make sure you’re truthful. If asked whether you’ve been offered work, answer truthfully. If you refused the offer, state why. While it’s possible you’ll no longer be eligible for benefits, if you still have a  COVID-19 reason why you are unable to go into the workplace, such as kids home from a school that’s closed due to COVID-19, you may still be eligible for benefits. Here’s more information.

#7  Rest assured. The money will not run out and you will not miss out. There have been rumors/concerns that the money will run out before someone can obtain their benefits, but the money will not run out AND benefits will be paid retroactively to the date of eligibility. Even if you go back to work, you’ll be able to get benefits for all the weeks for which you were eligible.

If you’ve applied and your claim is “in adjudication”, the ESD just launched Operation 100% to quickly catch up on cases that need adjudication. Here’s their webpage with more information.

Has someone obtained your identity from some other source and then used it to apply for unemployment benefits? This page on ESD’s site has the information you need to report it. If you run a business and have seen this happen to multiple employees, ESD can also obtain the information in bulk from you and will soon have a template up on that same webpage. In the meantime, you can reach them via their email here: esdfraud@esd.wa.gov.

 

We’ve been successful in slowing the spread of the virus because the people of Washington have stepped up and sacrificed for each other to save lives. I know this is lasting much longer than we expected, but it’s important to stay the course and keep up the keep up the good work to protect the health of all Washingtonians.

My office welcomes your thoughts and concerns, so please feel free to reach out and let us know what issues are important to you and your community at this time.

Sincerely,

Sen. Rebecca Saldaña

 

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  • COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Resources for immigrants/recursos para inmigrantes
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    COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Resources for Immigrants / Recursos para Inmigrantes

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Resources for Immigrants / Recursos para Inmigrantes

April 20th, 2020|

We know immigrant communities have been hit especially hard by the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and economic crisis.  Click here for a comprehensive bilingual English/Spanish list of resources to help our state’s immigrant population through the unique challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. You’ll find links to:

  • general COVID-19 information in various languages
  • federal, state and county resources
  • information on education, housing and unemployment
  • resources specifically for undocumented folks
  • resources for Muslim communities
  • mutual aid, well-being, and anti-racism resources

Sabemos que las comunidades de inmigrantes en particular han sufrido mucho debido a los retos que enfrentamos por la pandemia de COVID-19 y la crisis económica.  Haga clic aquí para ver una lista comprensiva bilingüe de recursos en inglés y español. Encontrará enlaces a:

  • información en general sobre el COVID-19 en varios idiomas 
  • recursos federales, estatales, y del condado
  • información sobre la educación, el alojamiento, y el desempleo
  • recursos específicamente para las personas indocumentadas
  • recursos para comunidades musulmanes
  • recursos de ayuda mutual, bienestar, y en contra del racismo

The information for this resource was provided by OneAmerica.

La información para este recurso fue proporcionada por OneAmerica.

 

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    Don’t qualify for regular state cash assistance? Disaster Cash Assistance Program could help.

Don’t qualify for regular state cash assistance? Disaster Cash Assistance Program could help.

April 17th, 2020|

Not eligible for most state cash assistance programs?  You may qualify for the Disaster Cash Assistance Program. Please see the information below for an update from the Washington State Department of Social & Health Services about this program.

Washington State Department of Social & Health ServicesEconomic Services Administration to administer Disaster Cash Assistance Program (DCAP)

April 17, 2020

Effective today, the Department of Social and Health Services’ Economic Services Administration (ESA) received approval to begin administering a Disaster Cash Assistance Program (DCAP) in response to the Governor’s declaration of a statewide emergency related to COVID-19.

DCAP was originally designed to provide emergency assistance with natural disasters in mind, like wildfires and flooding. In order to expand DCAP to families and individuals affected by COVID-19, the Department adopted emergency rules allowing these funds to be used during the COVID-19 state of emergency.

DCAP benefits are available for one month, in a 12-month period, to all Washington families and people without children, who meet income and resource rules and who are not eligible other cash programs, such as:

  • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
  • Aged, Blind or Disabled (ABD) cash
  • Pregnant Women Assistance (PWA)
  • Unemployment Compensation, or
  • Paid Family & Medical Leave through ESD or their employer.

DCAP Overview:

  • Applicants must be living in Washington before the emergency declaration happened.
  • Applicants must first apply and be determined not eligible for other cash assistance programs available.
  • Under DCAP, applicants are not required to:
    • Meet citizenship requirements;
    • Provide a social security number; or
    • Be pregnant or have a minor child.
  • Program benefits are available for one month in a 12 month period.
  • The program is not a public charge program since it is disaster relief.
  • Payment standards are based on income and need and may not exceed the TANF payment standards for their household size. For example, to be eligible for DCAP, a one person household must have less than $363.00 in income after deductions are applied in the month of application (approximately 34% of the Federal Poverty Level). If an individual has no income and is resource eligible, they may qualify for the maximum payment amount of $363.00 in DCAP.

People may apply for DCAP or other ESA administered assistance programs online at WashingtonConnection.org or by calling the Customer Service Contact Center at 1-877-501-2233.

Important Information for Unemployed Workers

April 10th, 2020|

Dear neighbors,

The good news is Washingtonians are doing a great job at following the governor’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order, and the curve is beginning to flatten. We must double down on this good work and continue to stay home to make sure it continues to flatten.

The mixed news is that with so many people out of work the unemployment insurance system is under extreme pressure. As you know, this has left many people frustrated and anxious about whether they will be able to access these vital benefits.

At the same time, many of us have realized that the immigrant and agricultural working community is being hit particularly hard, with many unable to qualify for unemployment, paid sick time, the federal stimulus, and other government relief programs.

Today I’d like to share some information from the Employment Security Department, along with a list of resources for immigrants dealing with the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Accessing Unemployment Insurance Benefits

The Employment Security Department (ESD) has received record numbers of new claims for unemployment insurance, including extremely high numbers of phone calls and emails. We know many people have questions about the recent federal stimulus package and the enhancements to eligibility and available benefits for individuals.

To address your questions and to find out more information, please do not call their toll-free numbers first. Instead, visit their website at esd.wa.gov. There you will likely find answers to the questions you were going to ask and you will get them sooner than you will waiting on a back-up phone line. You can also sign up for action alerts to receive the most up-to-date information on these benefits. So please view the ESD’s Frequently Asked Questions for Workers and also for Businesses and use their checklist before applying for benefits.

To be clear, ESD’s toll-free numbers need to be reserved for individuals who need assistance with claims that have been filed. So, again, check their website, which has answers to most questions you may have.

COVID-19 Resources for Immigrants

Click here for a comprehensive list of resources to help our state’s immigrant community through the unique challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This bilingual English/Spanish guide provides links to:

  • general COVID-19 information in various languages
  • federal, state and county resources
  • information on education, housing and unemployment
  • resources specifically for undocumented folks
  • resources for Muslim communities
  • mutual aid, well-being, and anti-racism resources

The curve is flattening and the weather is great, but please do not give into the temptation to start gathering with friends and loved ones. The COVID-19 crisis is not over, and it will not subside unless we keep up the good work, be consistent, and continue to follow the Stay Home, Stay Healthy order. Doing so will keep you and your loved ones healthier and will literally save lives.

As always, please feel free to reach out to my office. We want to do everything we can to support you in these difficult times.

Sincerely,

Sen. Rebecca Saldaña

  • Black and white photo of three empty chairs in a hair salon.
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    Recursos para empleados por cuenta propia, contratistas independientes y pequeñas empresas

Recursos para empleados por cuenta propia, contratistas independientes y pequeñas empresas

April 2nd, 2020|

English          Español

Estimados vecinos:

Sé que muchos de ustedes son empleados por cuenta propia, contratistas independientes o propietarios de pequeñas empresas y tienen dificultad para llegar a fin de mes debido a la respuesta COVID-19. A continuación, hay algunos recursos que pueden ayudar en estos tiempos difíciles.

Programa de protección de sueldo

El gobierno federal ha financiado el Programa de protección de sueldo con $ 349 mil millones destinados a ayudar a las organizaciones a pagar a sus empleados desde ahora hasta finales de junio de 2020.

Las solicitudes se pueden presentar a partir del 3 de abril y los fondos se distribuirán en función de por orden de llegada, por lo que es importante entregar su solicitud lo antes posible.

El programa es para pequeñas empresas con menos de 500 empleados (incluidas las empresas unipersonales, contratistas independientes y empleados por cuenta propia). También incluye las organizaciones privadas sin fines de lucro u organizaciones de veteranos 501 (c) (19) afectadas por la crisis de COVID-19. Algunas empresas con más de 500 empleados también pueden ser elegibles.

Obtenga más información sobre el programa y cómo presentar una solicitud en   https://www.sba.gov/ppp (inglés) o aprenda más sobre otros recursos para los negocios pequeños en https://www.sba.gov/page/coronavirus-covid-19-orientacion-y-recursos-de-prestamos-para-pequenas-empresas (español).

Recursos estatales y federales para pequeñas empresas

Visite los siguientes enlaces para obtener más información sobre recursos y programas para brindar ayuda a los propietarios de pequeñas empresas:

Haga clic aquí para obtener una lista detallada (en inglés) de los programas disponibles para las pequeñas empresas de Washington, actualizada el 1 de abril.

Visite el sitio web del gobierno federal sobre coronavirus (COVID-19) y recursos de orientación y préstamos para pequeñas empresas en http://www.sba.gov/coronavirus

Vea el sitio web (también en inglés) de recursos y herramientas de planificación de crisis del Departamento de Comercio del Estado de Washington en: http://startup.choosewashingtonstate.com/links/crisis/covid-19-resources/

Sus legisladores estatales están preocupados por los desafíos que usted está enfrentando. Además de la acción legislativa que tomamos para invertir inicialmente 200 millones de dólares en la respuesta a la crisis de COVID-19, apoyamos al Gobernador Inslee en sus respuestas ejecutivas y estamos listos para brindar ayuda adicional a medida que los eventos continúan evolucionando.

No dude en comunicarse con mi oficina si tiene preguntas que estos recursos no abordan.

Atentamente,

Senadora Rebecca Saldaña

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    Relief for the self-employed, independent contractors & small businesses affected by COVID-19

Relief for the self-employed, independent contractors & small businesses affected by COVID-19

April 2nd, 2020|

English         Español

Dear neighbors,

I know many of you are self-employed, independent contractors, or small business owners who are struggling to make ends meet due to the COVID-19 response. Here are some resources that may help you through these tough times.

Paycheck Protection Program

The federal government has funded the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) with $349 billion intended to help organizations keep employees on payroll between now and the end of June 2020.

Applications can be filed starting April 3 and funds will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis, so it’s important to get your application in early.

The program is for any small business with less than 500 employees (including sole proprietorships, independent contractors and self-employed persons), private non-profit organization or 501(c)(19) veterans organization affected by the COVID-19 crisis. Some businesses with more than 500 employees may also be eligible.

Learn more about the program and how to apply at https://www.sba.gov/ppp.

State and Federal Resources for Small Businesses

Visit the following links for more information about resources and programs to provide relief to small business owners:

Click here for a detailed list of available programs for Washington’s small businesses, updated on April 1.

Visit the Federal Coronavirus (COVID-19) Small Business Guidance & Loan Resources website at http://www.sba.gov/coronavirus

Check out the Washington State Department of Commerce’s COVID-19 Crisis Planning Tools & Resources website at: http://startup.choosewashingtonstate.com/links/crisis/covid-19-resources/

The challenges you face weigh heavily on the minds of your state legislators. In addition to legislative action we took to provide an initial investment of $200 million for the COVID-19 response, we support Gov. Inslee in his executive responses and stand ready to provide additional help as events continue to evolve.

Please feel free to contact my office with questions not addressed by these resources.

Sincerely,

Sen. Rebecca Saldaña

Comunicado especial: coronavirus

March 18th, 2020|

English          Español

18 de marzo del 2020

Estimados vecinos:

Terminamos la sesión legislativa de 2020 la semana pasada, y próximamente llegará más información sobre la legislación.  Por ahora, me gustaría tomar un momento para asegurarles que la Legislatura y nuestras agencias estatales están tomando muy en serio nuestra crisis de salud actual.

Acciones de la Legislatura

The Washington State Senate convenes for floor session

Hemos apropiado $200 millones para financiar la respuesta de nuestro estado, incluyendo monitoreo, pruebas y apoyo para los departamentos de salud locales.

También hemos actuado para:

  • asegurar que las personas que reciben beneficios de seguro de desempleo podrán recibirlos incluso si no pueden cumplir con el requisito de búsqueda de trabajo debido a la cuarentena.
  • mitigar los costos para las empresas debido al aumento del número de trabajadores que reciben seguro de desempleo
  • reembolsar residencias de ancianos que ayudan en la respuesta del coronavirus
  • mantener elegibles para el seguro de salud empleados de las escuelas el resto del año escolar, incluso si no cumplen con el número de horas de trabajo requerido debido al estado de emergencia del coronavirus.

Acciones del Gobernador

Para minimizar los riesgos para la salud pública, en los últimos días el Gobernador Inslee ha:

Para las últimas noticias sobre las acciones del Gobernador, haga clic aquí.

 

Recursos para Información y Ayuda

¿Está buscando las noticias actuales o respuestas sobre cómo hacer frente a la interrupción a la vida diaria y la nueva tensión financiera causada por la pérdida de trabajo? ¿Quiere saber lo que están haciendo las agencias estatales para ayudar? Visite a https://coronavirus.wa.gov/, donde se puede encontrar toda la información en un solo lugar.

Otros recursos en nuestra área para obtener información sobre coronavirus incluyen:

Más recursos para información en español:

Período Especial de Inscripción para el Intercambio de Beneficios de Salud de Washington

Como respuesta al crecimiento potencial de los casos de coronavirus, el Intercambio de Beneficios de Salud de Washington (Washington Health Benefit Exchange) está celebrando un período especial de inscripción por tiempo limitado para personas calificadas que actualmente están sin seguro médico. Este período de inscripción especial se extiende hasta el 8 de abril de 2020, y permitirá a las personas no aseguradas 30 días para inscribirse para cobertura de seguro médico a través de Washington Healthplanfinder. Puede llamar al 1-855-923-4633 entre las 7:30 a.m. y las 5:30 p.m. de lunes a viernes o ver más información en wahealthplanfinder.org (para la versión en español, haga clic aquí).

Gracias por su cooperación en este momento difícil, en el que se requiere un distanciamiento social para frenar la propagación del virus para garantizar la seguridad de todos los miembros de nuestras comunidades. No olvide ayudar a sus amigos, familiares y vecinos que pueden estar luchando para llegar a fin de mes en este momento.

Mi oficina seguirá dando la bienvenida a sus pensamientos y preocupaciones, así que háganos saber cuáles asuntos son importantes para usted y su comunidad ahora.

Atentamente,

Senadora Rebecca Saldaña

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Sígueme en Facebook   para obtener las últimas noticias sobre lo que estoy haciendo durante el período de interino.

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Special Update: Coronavirus

March 18th, 2020|

English          Español

March 18, 2020

Dear neighbors,

We wrapped up the 2020 legislative session last week, and updates about legislation will be coming soon.  For now, I’d like to take a moment to assure you that the Legislature and our state agencies are taking our current health crisis very seriously.

The Legislature’s ActionsThe Washington State Senate convenes for floor session

We have now appropriated $200 million to fund our state’s response, including monitoring, testing and support for local health departments.

We have also acted to:

  • ensure that people receiving unemployment insurance benefits will be able to receive them even if they can’t meet the work search requirement due to quarantine.
  • mitigate costs to businesses due to increased numbers of workers receiving unemployment insurance
  • reimburse nursing homes that aid in the coronavirus response
  • keep school employees eligible for health insurance for the rest of the school year even if they don’t meet the required number of work hours because of the coronavirus state of emergency.

The Governor’s Actions

To minimize public health risks, in recent days Governor Inslee has:

For the latest updates on the Governor’s actions, click here.

 

Resources for Information and Assistance

Are you looking for the latest updates or answers about how to cope with the disruption of daily life and the new financial strain caused by missed work? Do you want to know what state agencies are doing to help? Visit https://coronavirus.wa.gov/, where you can find all the information in one place.

Other resources in our area for information about coronavirus include:

Special Enrollment Period for Washington Health Benefit Exchange

In response to the potential growth of coronavirus cases, the Washington Health Benefit Exchange is holding a limited-time special enrollment period for qualified individuals who are currently without insurance. This special enrollment period runs through April 8, 2020, and will allow uninsured individuals 30 days to enroll in health insurance coverage through Washington Healthplanfinder. You can call 1-855-923-4633 between 7:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Thank you for your cooperation in this difficult time, when social distancing is required to slow the spread of the virus to ensure the safety of all members of our communities. Don’t forget to help your friends, family and neighbors who may be struggling to make ends meet right now.

My office will continue to welcome your thoughts and concerns, so please let us know what issues are important to you and your community at this time.

Sincerely,

Sen. Rebecca Saldaña

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Update from Olympia

February 20th, 2020|

Dear Neighbors,

The 2020 legislative session continues to be a whirlwind, and last night we wrapped up another phase. Yesterday marked the cutoff deadline for bills to pass out of the chamber where they were introduced. Only these bills will move forward as the session advances.

Below are some of the bills I prime sponsored that passed out of the Senate, as well as bills that passed out of the House of Representatives that were companions to Senate bills I prime sponsored.

Senate Bill 5165 would prohibit discrimination based on citizenship or immigration status under the Washington Law Against Discrimination.

Senate Bill 5164 would expand eligibility for state assistance programs for noncitizen victims of human trafficking and other serious crimes.

Senate Bill 5473 would establish a study of the impacts of extending unemployment benefits to workers who must leave their job due to inaccessible care for a child or vulnerable adult, or separation from a minor child.

Senate Bill 6442 would prohibit the Department of Corrections from contracting with out of state private prisons, ensuring that Washington residents are not shipped out of state to private facilities that are more likely to have deplorable conditions.

House Bill 2511 would protect the rights of domestic workers to be free from discrimination, harassment, and retaliation by their employers, and would establish a stakeholder work group to make recommendations to improve working conditions for domestic workers.

House Bill 2638 would allow tribes to include sports wagering at their gaming facilities.

House Bill 2691 would expand collective bargaining for language access providers who provide services to state agencies, allowing them to bargain regarding health and welfare benefits and other economic matters.

House Bill 2797 would improve rules for local governments’ adoption and implementation of the local sales tax for affordable or supportive housing.

It’s been great working on these notable bills as we continue to build on the many progressive policies the Senate Democrats have passed in recent years.  Now it’s time to dig into the next phase of the session—public hearings on House bills that have been passed to the Senate for consideration, and then votes on the ones that pass out of their respective committees!

Don’t forget!

Join me at my town hall on February 29! It will  be from noon to 2 pm at New Holly Gathering Hall, 7054 32nd Ave. S, in Seattle.

Stay tuned for more e-news updates as the session continues. My office will continue to welcome your thoughts and concerns throughout the session, so please let us know what issues are important to you and your community!

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    Update from Olympia: The legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Update from Olympia: The legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

January 31st, 2020|

Dear Neighbors,

The legislative session is moving at a fast pace!  This week wraps up week 3 out of 8 weeks. In this first phase of the session, the Senate Committees are holding numerous public hearings each week to choose bills to pass out of committee.

This session, Feb. 7 is the last day to pass bills out of policy committees, but any with a financial impact must also be heard by the Ways & Means or Transportation committees. Feb. 11 will be the last day for bills to pass out of those committees.

Save the Date

I will be holding a town hall in the 37th legislative district on Saturday, February 29, 2020. 

Stay tuned for more details!

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Legacy

Last week, I introduced a Senate Resolution to honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  I gave some remarks about his legacy, and you can hear them by watching this video:

I feel especially connected to Dr. King’s legacy of advocating for the rights of workers, and I often look to his words at the Sanitation Worker Strike in Memphis the day before he was assassinated:

“So often we overlook the work and the significance of those who are not in professional jobs, of those who are not in the so-called big jobs. But let me say to you tonight that whenever you are engaged in work that serves humanity and is for the building of humanity, it has dignity and it has worth.”

There is perhaps no better way to honor his legacy than by continuing the work of Dr. King and other labor leaders. We must continue working to ensure that every worker in Washington is treated with dignity and respect.

To that end, here’s a quick look at some of the legislation I’ve sponsored this session to protect workers’ rights:

  • SB 6247 would expand protections for domestic workers, who have few rights and little recourse in the face of employer abuse, such as wage theft or sexual harassment. The solitary nature of their work makes domestic workers especially vulnerable. This bill would take a significant step forward to ensure those who care for our families and help maintain our homes the same rights as workers in other fields.
Woman standing in a kitchen wearing an apron and gloves, wiping a countertop with a towel.

Source: blogspot.com

  • SB 5717 would provide secure scheduling for employees of big retail and food service establishments. Did you know that currently 68% of Washington’s retail and food service employees must keep their schedules open, without compensation, to pick up last-minute shifts? Many of their employers also spread out hours among part-time employees; 60% of part-time retail and food service employees are underemployed and want to work more hours.  Workers struggle to make ends meet to support their families because keeping their schedule open means they can’t get a second job or additional job training. Secure scheduling would provide workers with 14 days’ notice of work schedules, longer rest breaks after closing shifts, preference over new employees for additional work hours, and more.

Woman playing with baby in stroller, stuffed monkey in one of the cup holders of the stroller.

  • SB 5473 would update the definition of “good cause” in unemployment insurance to cover working parents who lose work because of a lack of childcare or the responsibility to care for a vulnerable adult. Access to unemployment benefits would provide relief to working families trying to make ends meet while searching for employment that is compatible with their families’ needs.

Stay tuned for more e-news updates as the session quickly progresses.  My office will continue to welcome your thoughts and concerns throughout the session, so please let us know what issues are important to you and your community!

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