News Release

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    Governor approves bill to explore increased access to benefits for caregivers

Governor approves bill to explore increased access to benefits for caregivers

March 27th, 2020|

OLYMPIA – Gov. Jay Inslee today signed into law a measure to explore giving access to unemployment benefits to those who become unemployed due to family caregiving responsibilities.

Currently, unemployment insurance law does not allow people to collect unemployment benefits if they leave work voluntarily without “good cause.” The definition of what qualifies as “good cause” is narrow, and current law denies these essential benefits to workers who must leave a job to care for a child or vulnerable adult for whom other care is not accessible.

Sponsored by Sen. Rebecca Saldaña (D-Seattle), SB 5473 requires the state Employment Security Department to study the impacts of allowing exceptions to current unemployment insurance law that would allow people to receive unemployment insurance benefits if they leave work voluntarily due to:

  • inaccessible care for a child or vulnerable adult.
  • separation from a minor child.
  • a substantial increase in job duties or significant change to working conditions without a commensurate change in pay.

“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,” said Saldaña.

“Women, who are still largely in charge of family caregiving responsibilities, now outnumber men in the workforce,” said Saldaña. “In Washington, we value the work family caregivers do and we need to honor the efforts working families undertake to balance these duties with work outside the home, and ensure they are not penalized for prioritizing care for their families.

“The goal is to modernize unemployment insurance laws to reflect the needs of today’s workforce and help struggling households stay afloat in tough times—a must in the face of our worsening homelessness human rights crisis.”

Saldaña credited Sen. Patty Kuderer (D-Bellevue) and Sen. Shelly Short (R-Addy) for their valuable contributions to crafting this critical legislation.

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    Gobernador aprueba asistencia pública para víctimas de trata de personas

Gobernador aprueba asistencia pública para víctimas de trata de personas

March 25th, 2020|

English          Español

OLYMPIA – Hoy, el Gobernador Jay Inslee aprobó legislación que amplía el acceso a la asistencia pública para las víctimas de la trata de personas.

 El proyecto de ley 5164 del Senado, patrocinado por la senadora Rebecca Saldaña (Demócrata-Seattle), amplía la elegibilidad para programas estatales de asistencia alimenticia, asistencia familiar y atención médica. Según la nueva ley, los no ciudadanos podrán acceder a estos programas si han tomado medidas para obtener estatus migratorio bajo las leyes federales que protegen a las víctimas de la trata de personas y los delitos graves. Los familiares que califican también serán elegibles para recibir asistencia.

“Trágicamente, la trata de personas es un problema grave en nuestro estado. Los adultos y niños que son víctimas de la trata quienes buscan liberarse a menudo corren el riesgo de perder su vivienda y empleo, los cuales están vinculados con su traficante,” dijo Saldaña. “Esta legislación elimina las barreras a los servicios críticos para salvar vidas cuando las personas se encuentran en su momento más vulnerable y más necesitan estos servicios.”

Saldaña dijo que desarrolló el proyecto de ley su primer año en el Senado con API-CHAYA, Seattle Against Slavery y Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence, que son líderes de primera línea para eliminar la trata en el estado de Washington.  Lo presentó otras tres veces antes de que la legislatura lo aprobara y lo mandara al escritorio del gobernador.

“Como ex fiscal de delitos sexuales, sé lo importante que es para los sobrevivientes de la trata de personas de tener los servicios vitales para la transición a una vida libre de explotación”, dijo el Representante Mike Pellicciotti (D-Federal Way), patrocinador de un proyecto de ley parecido en la Cámara de Representantes, Proyecto de ley 1971 de la Cámara. “Aprecio el liderazgo de la Senadora Saldaña en este proyecto de ley”.

Una ley aprobada en la sesión legislativa de 2018, Proyecto de ley 1022 de la Cámara, abordó las certificaciones de las agencias de policía para los no ciudadanos que califican para visas para víctimas de trata de personas y otros delitos graves. La ley firmada hoy brinda a las víctimas la oportunidad de solicitar servicios mientras están en el proceso de obtener visas.

La nueva ley entrará en vigencia el 1 de febrero de 2022.

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    Governor approves public assistance for human trafficking victims

Governor approves public assistance for human trafficking victims

March 25th, 2020|

English          Español

OLYMPIA – Today, Gov. Jay Inslee signed into law a measure that expands access to public assistance for victims of human trafficking.

Senate Bill 5164, sponsored by Sen. Rebecca Saldaña (D-Seattle), expands eligibility for state food assistance, family assistance, and medical care services programs. Under the new law, noncitizens will 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 will also be eligible for assistance.

“Tragically, human trafficking is a serious problem in our state. Trafficked adults and children seeking to free themselves often risk losing their housing and employment, which are tied up with their trafficker,” said Saldaña. “This legislation removes barriers to critical life-saving services when people are in their most vulnerable moment and most need them.”

Saldaña said she developed the bill her first year in the Senate with API-CHAYA, Seattle Against Slavery, and Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence, who are frontline leaders in eliminating trafficking in Washington State.  She introduced it three other times before it made it all the way to the Governor’s desk.

“As a former sex crimes prosecutor, I know how important it is for survivors of trafficking to have the vital services to transition out of a life of exploitation,” said Rep. Mike Pellicciotti (D-Federal Way), sponsor of the companion, House Bill 1971. “I appreciate Sen. Saldaña’s leadership on this bill.”

This legislation builds on a law that passed in the 2018 legislative session, House Bill 1022, which addressed law enforcement agency certifications for noncitizens who qualify for visas for victims of human trafficking and other serious crimes. The law signed today gives victims the opportunity to apply for services while in the process of obtaining visas.

The new law will take effect on Feb. 1, 2022.

  • El gobernador, Jay Inslee, firma el proyecto de ley 5165 el 18 de marzo del 2020.
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    Gobernador aprueba la prohibición de la discriminación por ciudadanía/estatus migratorio

Gobernador aprueba la prohibición de la discriminación por ciudadanía/estatus migratorio

March 18th, 2020|

OLYMPIA – Hoy el Gobernador Jay Inslee firmó legislación para prohibir la discriminación basada en la ciudadanía o el estatus migratorio, haciendo ley la prohibición.

Proyecto de Ley del Senado 5165 (SB 5165), patrocinado por la Senadora Rebecca Saldaña (Demócrata-Seattle), agregará la ciudadanía y el estatus migratorio a la lista de características protegidas por la Ley en Contra de la Discriminación de Washington. El cambio prohíbe la discriminación basada en la ciudadanía o el estatus migratorio a menos que una ley estatal o federal, reglamento o contrato gubernamental exija una distinción o trato diferenciado.

Los inmigrantes documentados e indocumentados por igual experimentan este tipo de discriminación, incluyendo a las personas que viven y trabajan en Washington con autorización. Este proyecto de ley protege a cualquier persona que se perciba como no ciudadano, independientemente de su estatus migratorio real, y ayudará a prevenir la discriminación en numerosos entornos como la educación, la vivienda, las adaptaciones públicas y el empleo.

“Las personas en nuestras comunidades reportan vivir con miedo, a veces incluso temerosos de llevar a sus hijos a la escuela,” dijo Saldaña. “Queremos que esta aclaración de nuestra ley contra la discriminación haga que las personas se sientan bienvenidas y seguras participando plenamente en sus comunidades.”

Saldaña acreditó al representante Javier Valdez (Demócrata-Seattle) y a la representante Christine Kilduff (Demócrata-University Place) por guiar el proyecto de ley a través de la Cámara de Representantes.

“Los washingtonianos deben sentirse seguros y bienvenidos independientemente de su estatus de ciudadanía y país de origen”, dijo Valdez. “Es nuestra responsabilidad como legisladores proteger a cualquier persona que ya es vulnerable a la discriminación simplemente porque puede parecer que no tiene estatus legal y proviene de otro lugar”.

“Washington tiene una orgullosa tradición de dar la bienvenida a todas las personas a nuestro estado,” dijo Kilduff. “SB 5165 actualiza nuestras leyes al prohibir la discriminación por motivos de estatus migratorio y ciudadanía.  A nadie en nuestro estado se le debe negar un trabajo, crédito o un viaje en autobús debido a quiénes son o dónde nacieron.”

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Para más información:  Nicole Herrera, Comunicaciones los Democrátas del Senado, 360-786-7050 o nicole.herrera@leg.wa.gov

  • El gobernador, Jay Inslee, firma el proyecto de ley 5165 el 18 de marzo del 2020.
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    Governor approves prohibition on citizenship/immigration status discrimination

Governor approves prohibition on citizenship/immigration status discrimination

March 18th, 2020|

OLYMPIA – Today Gov. Jay Inslee signed legislation to prohibit discrimination based on citizenship or immigration status into law.

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

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

“People in our communities report living in fear, sometimes even afraid to take their kids to school,” said Saldaña. “We want this clarification of our law against discrimination to make people feel welcome and safe participating fully in their communities.”

Saldaña credited Rep. Javier Valdez (D-Seattle) and Rep. Christine Kilduff (D-University Place) for shepherding the bill through the House.

“Washingtonians should feel safe and welcome regardless of their citizenship status and country of origin,” said Valdez. “It’s our responsibility as lawmakers to protect anyone who is already vulnerable to discrimination simply because they may look like they don’t have legal status and come from somewhere else.”

“Washington has a proud tradition of welcoming all people to our state,” said Kilduff. “SB 5165 updates our laws by prohibiting discrimination on the basis of immigration and citizenship status.  No one in our state should be denied a job, credit, or a bus ride because of who they are or where they were born.”

Kai Craig serves as page in Washington State Senate

March 9th, 2020|

OLYMPIA – Kai Craig, 16, served as a page in the Washington State Senate during the week of March 6.

Pages are typically sponsored by the senator from their legislative district. Sen. Rebecca Saldaña (D-Seattle) sponsored Craig’s week in the Legislature.

The page program offers a hands-on opportunity for students to find out how state government works. The interactive learning experience includes classes focused on topics like budget writing and how a bill becomes a law, and culminates in pages creating their own bills in a mock committee setting. The educational experience is furthered by guest speakers.

“We have shifts where we go and work with the Senate security staff at different checkpoints and they are so funny and entertaining.  We help escort guests to different places around the Capitol that are secured from the general public,” said Craig.

Pages also have the opportunity to work on the Senate floor. Their maroon coats and credentials allow them access to all parts of the Capitol Campus.

Senate Page Kai Craig, March 2, 2020.

Senate Page Kai Craig, March 2, 2020. Photo: Legislative Support Services.

“Senator Saldaña has a Monday morning meeting and she let me come and observe how her staff and her talk about the goals that they have already achieved and what they hope to work on for the week ahead.  I thought it was fascinating to listen to their thought processes about strategies for what they hope to accomplish,” added Craig.

“I’ve been considering a career in public service for a long time working in social services and this experience has only given me renewed energy to continue towards that goal.  Meeting and talking with Senator Saldaña about my goals was very encouraging,” remarked Craig.

Craig is in the 11th grade at James A. Garfield High School. In her free time, she enjoys All-City Marching Band, Seattle Youth Traffic Court, and the Seattle Youth Employment program.

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

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    MEDIA ADVISORY: 37th Legislative District town hall meeting with Saldaña on Feb. 29

MEDIA ADVISORY: 37th Legislative District town hall meeting with Saldaña on Feb. 29

February 26th, 2020|

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Feb. 26, 2020

WHO: Sen. Rebecca Saldaña, state senator for the 37th Legislative District, which includes the Seattle neighborhoods of Madrona, Central District, Leschi, Mt. Baker, Beacon Hill, Columbia City, Rainier Valley and Bryn Mawr-Skyway, as well as parts of Renton.

WHAT: Town hall meeting with 37th District constituents

WHEN: 12:00 to 2:00 pm Saturday, Feb. 29

WHERE: New Holly Gathering Hall, 7054 32nd Ave. S, Seattle

WHY: Sen. Saldaña will provide an update on the 2020 session and answer questions from constituents about issues under consideration in the Legislature.

Senate votes to prohibit use of for-profit prisons

February 18th, 2020|

OLYMPIA – Today the Senate voted to prohibit Washington state from contracting with private prisons.

Senate Bill 6442, sponsored by Sen. Rebecca Saldaña (D-Seattle), would prohibit the state from sending people to for-profit prisons outside the state.

The prohibition does not apply to facilities for involuntary placement for mental health, substance use rehabilitation, juvenile rehabilitation and similar services. It also does not prevent governments from contracting with tribal governments that own and operate jails.

“Incarceration is an inherently governmental function that should not be outsourced,” said Saldaña. “The public expects humane treatment and transparency, not privatization of public responsibilities.  We in Washington state are committed to ending the growth of the for-profit private detention industrial complex.”

“Private prisons experience more incidents of violence than public prisons, and they have been shown to lead to increased recidivism. The detention and confinement of individuals carries great responsibility, and these functions must not be motivated by private profits.”

“It is wrong and amoral to profit from the misfortune of others. There is an inherent injustice in making money from those who are incarcerated,” said Rep. Lillian Ortiz-Self, (D-Mukilteo), prime sponsor of the companion bill in the House. “It is a violation of human rights and is contrary to our democratic values.”

The bill now moves to the House for consideration.

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    MEDIA ADVISORY: 37th Legislative District town hall meeting on Feb. 29

MEDIA ADVISORY: 37th Legislative District town hall meeting on Feb. 29

February 17th, 2020|

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Feb. 17, 2020

WHO:  Sen. Rebecca Saldaña (D-Seattle), state senator from the 37th legislative district which includes part of Seattle, Renton, Madrona, Central District, Leschi, Mt. Baker, Beacon Hill, Columbia City, Rainier Valley, and Bryn Mawr-Skyway.

WHAT: Town hall meeting with 37th District constituents

WHEN: Noon to 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 29

WHERE: New Holly Gathering Hall, 7054 32nd Ave. South, Seattle

WHY: Sen. Saldaña will provide an update on the 2020 session and answer questions from constituents about issues under consideration in the Legislature.

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    Senate unanimously passes legislation to help human trafficking victims

Senate unanimously passes legislation to help human trafficking victims

February 14th, 2020|

OLYMPIA – The Senate unanimously passed legislation today to provide access to 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.”

“As a former sex crimes prosecutor, I know how important it is for survivors of trafficking to have the vital services to transition out of a life of exploitation,” said Rep. Mike Pellicciotti (D-Federal Way), sponsor of the companion, House Bill 1971. “I appreciate Sen. Saldaña’s leadership on this bill, and I look forward to voting yes in the House of Representatives.”

This legislation builds on a law that passed in the 2018 legislative session, House Bill 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 the opportunity to apply for services while they are in the process of obtaining visas.

The bill now moves to the House for consideration.