Monthly Archives: February 2017

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    41st District Legislators: ‘An attack on one part of our community is an attack on the whole’

41st District Legislators: ‘An attack on one part of our community is an attack on the whole’

February 28th, 2017|

In response to the bomb threat at the Jewish Community Center on Mercer Island, Rep. Tana Senn, Rep. Judy Clibborn and Senator Lisa Wellman, issued the following joint statement:

“We strongly condemn the bomb threat levied against our Jewish Community Center on Mercer Island. Forcing toddlers, staff and community members to evacuate in fear from their daycare, workplace and gathering spot is unconscionable.

“Similar incidents against Jewish institutions have been perpetrated across the country. They are clearly meant to spread fear and division, and they are becoming all too common. We will not sit idly by as hate speech, anti-Semitism and anti-Immigrant sentiment encourage further hate and vile action. We will not allow such despicable acts and hateful rhetoric to become normalized in our society.

“An attack on one part of our community is an attack on the whole.

“We are working together with law enforcement locally and nationally and ask everyone to speak out resoundingly against those few who perpetrate such cowardly deeds and spew hatred. Together we will ensure hate has no place in Washington state.”

Wellman speaks during Latino Legislative Day

February 28th, 2017|

OLYMPIA – Sen. Lisa Wellman, D-Mercer Island, joined leaders from Washington’s Latino community on Monday to raise awareness about the economic contributions of immigrants to Washington state and the impact of federal immigration executive orders on the state’s economy.

Sen. Wellman’s legislative update

February 27th, 2017|

Greetings!

It’s been a busy few weeks as we close in on the mid-point of the 105-day legislative session here in Olympia. We are starting pass bills out of the Senate, including my first bill to safeguard the privacy of college sexual assault victims by protecting their conversations with campus advocates from public disclosure laws. Victims who seek help on campus should know their personal histories will be confidential. I’ll continue to work with students from all the major state universities and colleges as this bill moves to the House for consideration.

GOP’s levy cliff ploy hurts our schools

It’s been a month since the House passed a bill to allow school districts to continue collecting local levy dollars at the current rate. Without action from the Legislature, our school districts will have to prepare for what’s called the “levy cliff” — and lose millions of dollars in funding. Senate Republicans are refusing to address the crisis, creating chaos and uncertainty for schools. In just a few weeks, districts will have to start sending out layoff notices. This is completely unacceptable and Democrats will continue to urge action to prevent this unnecessary disruption to classrooms across the state.

Gov. Jay Inslee signs an executive order affirming and clarifying Washington state’s policies for state agencies who provide services to immigrant Washingtonians.

Standing up for Washington values

Like many of you, I remain extremely concerned about the policy and rhetoric coming from the Trump administration. I was proud to stand in support of Gov. Inslee on Thursday as he signed an executive order reaffirming our state’s commitment to tolerance. I’m especially proud of the governor’s action this week because his staff used language from my bill: SB5689 – Keep Washington Working Act. My bill is aimed at protecting the state’s economy by prohibiting hostile work environments for the thousand of immigrants who contribute to our economy. Immigrant advocates, religious leaders, business owners and educators all testified in support of my bill, but Senate Republicans refused to bring it up for a vote. Thankfully, the governor came through with “Plan B” – and signed the executive order. Watch the event here.

Funding education takes compromise

Democrats and Republicans in Olympia have approved their respective education proposals. It’s now time to sit down and start negotiating. Our budget negotiators this week formally requested meetings with Senate Republicans so we can improve education outcomes for our 1.1 million K-12 students.

I have serious concerns with the Republican plan, as do many educators in our school districts. The Republican proposal looks more like a property tax redistribution scheme than an education plan. I will not support a final package that undermines our quality teachers, redefines poverty, and shortchanges our kids.

Sen. Murray visits

Sen. Patty Murray visited Senate Democrats this week to give us an update on what she’s doing to hold the Trump Administration accountable. She told us how inspired she is by the thousands of Washingtonians speaking up for our values and shared that she received 55,000 letters opposing the confirmation of Betsy DeVos as secretary of education. I’m so proud of our state and the grassroots energy we are creating together.

Thanks, Brahm!

Sen. Lisa Wellman and Page Abraham Schenck.

It was pleasure to host Abraham (Brahm for short)Schenck this week as a Senate page. Brahm, 14, spent the week helping out our office and learning about civics first-hand in Olympia. I hope he returns to Seattle Academy of Arts and Sciences with a lot of knowledge to share with his classmates. If you know someone who is interested in page program, more information is available here.

Stay in touch!

As always, don’t hesitate to reach out to me via email, phone or social media including Facebook and Twitter. Thanks for the honor of serving you in Olympia.

Onward! Lisa

Senator Lisa Wellman Lisa.Wellman@leg.wa.gov (360) 786-7641

  • Permalink Gallery

    Senate approves Wellman bill to protect privacy of sexual assault victims

Senate approves Wellman bill to protect privacy of sexual assault victims

February 23rd, 2017|

OLYMPIA – Legislation that would protect privacy between college sexual assault victims and their campus advocates unanimously passed the state Senate on Thursday.

Senate Bill 5764, sponsored by Sen. Lisa Wellman, D-Mercer Island, would exempt communication between advocates and their clients from public disclosure laws.

“Studies show that one in five women will be victims of sexual assault in college and for those young women, life will never be the same,” Wellman said. “When victims seek campus resources, they should feel confident that those conversations will be kept confidential.”

The legislation is a first step of a broader effort by the Legislature to enact stronger policies to protect college students from violence, including campus sexual assault.

“For many victims, finding the courage to report assault is a huge hurdle. Knowing the information shared with advocates will remain confidential can relieve fear and anxiety for victims who want to tell their story,” Wellman said.

The bill now heads to the House of Representatives for consideration.

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    Diverse voices show support for ‘Keep Washington Working Act’

Diverse voices show support for ‘Keep Washington Working Act’

February 16th, 2017|

OLYMPIA – Business owners, immigration advocates, religious leaders and educators spoke in support of the “Keep Washington Working Act” during a public hearing in the Senate Commerce, Labor & Sports Committee on Thursday.

Senate Bill 5689, sponsored by Sen. Lisa Wellman (D-Mercer Island), is intended to keep Washington’s economy thriving, protect the state from over-reaching federal immigration policy changes, and recognize the important role of immigrants in the workplace.

“We have the responsibility to stand up for Washington businesses and protect our economy,” said Wellman. “From Puget Sound tech giants like Amazon and Microsoft to our agricultural producers across the state, our economy depends on the energy and talent of immigrants.”

The bill would create model policies for limiting immigration enforcement consistent with federal and state law and would prevent state and local law enforcement from using local tax dollars to assist in performing the functions of a federal immigration officer.

“We have been hearing from a lot of employers about the impact that federal policies are having on business,” said Jorge Baron, Executive Director of the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project. “This bill will have an important impact in making sure that we continue to grow Washington state and our economy.”

“All of our employees, whether they immigrated here yesterday or generations ago are critical to our industry and its economic success,” said Julia Gorton with the Washington State Hospitality Association. “We are proud so many of our employees are immigrants coming to the United States to realize the American dream. These employees are the backbone of our industry.”

“We know that public education is a civil right and we believe in keeping that promise to our 1.1 million students,” said Kim Mead with the Washington Education Association. “We support this bill becomes it ensures school districts aren’t forced to use funding for something other than education and schools remain a place of learning, not a place to be interrogated, detained or arrested for immigration enforcement purposes.”

‘Keep Washington Working Act’ to receive hearing

February 15th, 2017|

OLYMPIASenate Bill 5689, sponsored by Sen. Lisa Wellman (D-Mercer Island), will receive a hearing in the Senate Commerce, Labor & Sports Committee on Thursday at 1:30 p.m. in Senate hearing room 4. (Watch the hearing here.)

The bill is a late addition to the committee’s calendar this week as the Legislature faces a key policy bill deadline on Friday.

The ‘Keep Washington Working Act’ aims to keep Washington’s economy thriving, protect the state from over-reaching federal immigration policy changes, and recognize the important role of immigrants in the workplace. The bill would create model policies for limiting immigration enforcement consistent with federal and state law and would prevent state and local law enforcement from using local tax dollars to assist in performing the functions of a federal immigration officer.

Sen. Wellman’s Olympia update

February 10th, 2017|

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

We are busy here in Olympia spending most of our time in committee, reviewing nearly 2,000 bills introduced so far. This week I was able to testify on one of my bills that would increase safety enforcement surrounding dangerous lead paint removal during home renovations. Our first major cutoff is one week from today. Bills that survive this first deadline will give us a better picture of what proposals actually have support to proceed this year. Please take a minute to learn about some of the other issues I’m focused on.

Amply funding public schools

My top priority this session is increasing funding for our public schools. We are starting to see vigorous debate on how the Legislature will meet the Supreme Court’s order to provide ample funding for schools – the main objective of our work in Olympia this year.

Senate Republicans finally released their education plan and, within four days, passed the 130-page bill off floor with little public input. Even though the plan makes drastic policy changes to how we run and fund public schools, they held no public hearing in the K-12 Education Committee. I spoke out against the Senate Republican plan on the floor (watch here). Here is why I joined all of my Democratic colleagues in voting against the proposal:

  • Among other things, the plan would result in lower teaching standards, removing the state certification requirement for teachers. Some of our top teachers – those who have spent precious time and money earning additional National Board Certification – would lose their annual stipend under the Republican plan.
  • Families in our districts would pay significantly more in property taxes and, in return, our schools would receive incredibly modest funding increases. In addition, the plan would severely constrain the amount of funds schools can raise through local levies.

House and Senate Democrats have released a plan that would lower class sizes, improve teacher compensation and increase the services offered to our students. More importantly, our plan recognizes the importance of local control and treats our teachers with respect and dignity. Please take a moment to watch the public testimony the plan received on Monday in the House Appropriations Committee.

Democrats remain focused on ‘levy cliff’

We remain focused on giving our school districts certainty as they begin to budget for the next school year. In order to prevent a $480 million shortfall created by the so-called “levy cliff,” the Legislature needs to act. We will continue to urge Senate Republicans to take this important vote. This should not be a partisan issue – the House of Representative already approved a fix with a bipartisan vote of 62-35. It’s time for Republicans to stop playing politics with our teachers and students.

Breakfast After the Bell

Our state ranks near the bottom when it comes to reaching low-income students with nutritious school breakfasts. I am hoping to change that with Senate Bill 5696. This legislation would give kids in high-needs schools food where and when it matters. By simply removing barriers like peer pressure or stigmas, we can improve a child’s chance at success.

‘Keep Washington Working Act’

Last week I was proud to introduce the Keep Washington Working Act (SB 5689) to keep Washington’s economy thriving, protect the state from over-reaching federal immigration policy changes, and recognize the important role of immigrants in the workplace.

We have the responsibility to stand up for Washington businesses and protect our economy. From Puget Sound tech giants like Amazon and Microsoft to our agricultural producers across the state, our economy depends on the energy and talent of immigrants.

Our state is on the right side of history when it comes to fighting reckless federal immigration policies and I am proud our attorney general and his staff are working so hard to defend our rights. Click here to read more about the bill.

Stay in touch!

As always, don’t hesitate to reach out to me via email, phone and engage on social media including Facebook and Twitter. Thanks for the honor of serving you in Olympia.

Onward! Lisa

Senator Lisa Wellman Lisa.Wellman@leg.wa.gov (360) 786-7641

VIDEO: Wellman speaks against Republican education proposal

February 2nd, 2017|

Sen. Lisa Wellman spoke out against the Senate Republican education funding proposal Thursday during the floor debate on the bill. Wellman, a former teacher, highlighted how teachers, administrators and school advocates across the state do not support Senate Bill 5607. The bill passed on a party-line 25-24 vote.