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E-Newsletter: Governor Inslee’s Reopening Plan

May 8th, 2020|

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Because of election year restrictions, this is the last e-newsletter you will receive from me until November. During that time, I will also be unable to update my website.

Before those restrictions take effect, I wanted to update you about some important issues currently facing Washingtonians.

Most of you will have heard that Governor Jay Inslee has announces a plan for re-opening Washington state. I stand behind the governor and his plans. For the sake of our health and our economy, we must take a phased-in, measured approach to re-opening the various parts of our economy. I’ve included more information about the plans below.

As a reminder, you can still take the 2020 Census. The census is essential to ensuring that our communities receive adequate funding for the coming decade, and for ensuring appropriate government representation. You can take the census or learn more at 2020census.gov.

In the coming months, please take care of yourselves, your families and your neighbors. I know that the COVID-19 pandemic has been hard on everyone, but I know that if we work together, we can get through this.

Sincerely,

Lisa

Safe Start Washington

In an effort to keep Washingtonians safe, Governor Jay Inslee announced that the Stay Home, Stay Healthy order will remain in place through May 31. He also announced a phased in, data-driven approach to re-opening the state. We are currently in Phase One of this plan.

All reopening activities depend on our success in slowing the spread of COVID-19 and meeting four goals: health care system readiness, testing capacity, ability to perform contact tracing, and ability to protect high-risk populations.

Every phase will still require physical distancing and appropriate health precautions. During all phases, individuals should continue to practice social distancing, wear a face mask in public, and wash hands frequently.

There will be a minimum of three weeks between each phase in order to allow one complete disease incubation period and an additional week to compile data and confirm trends. The governor and public health officials will look at numerous data sources to determine when we can move to the next phase safely. You can check out their data dashboard here and learn more about the plan here.

Coronavirus Information

March 24th, 2020|

When to seek medical evaluation and advice

  • If you have a cough, fever, or other respiratory problems, speak with your healthcare provider before going to a medical facility. Do not go to an emergency room.
  • If you believe you are experiencing life-threatening symptoms, call 9-1-1.

Washington State’s Coronavirus Response

The Washington State Coronavirus Website

This website features the most up-to-date and accurate information about coronavirus in Washington state. The website includes, but is not limited to:

  • Information about Gov. Jay Inslee’s orders
  • Statistics about coronavirus cases
  • Multilingual resources
  • Information about businesses and workers

Washington State Department of Health

The Washington State Department of Health’s Website

Coronavirus Hotline: 1-800-525-0127 (staffed from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m, seven days a week)

The Washington State Department of Health coronavirus website provides a comprehensive look at the situation in Washington. The website includes, but is not limited to:

  • Information about testing
  • Statewide statistics
  • Contact information for local health jurisdictions

School Closures and Education Information

The Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction’s Website

This website provides information for parents, educators and school districts about how the coronavirus pandemic is affecting local schools — and the resources and best practices that will help communities deal with the closures. The website includes, but is not limited to:

  • Information about school meals
  • Parent guides in both English and Spanish
  • Tips for talking to kids about coronavirus
  • Guidance for school districts about various topics

King County’s Coronavirus Response

King County Public Health’s Website

King County Coronavirus Call Center: 206-477-3977 (Staffed from 8 a.m. to 7  p.m., seven days a week)

This website provides King County-specific information about the Coronavirus pandemic, and how it is being addressed locally. The website includes, but is not limited to:

  • Instructions on what to do if you are ill
  • Accurate local statistics
  • Public health recommendations in several languages

Additional Information

Articles about coronavirus and K-12 education:

How Will Schools Provide Special Education During the Coronavirus Crisis? (Education Week)

E-Newsletter: Coronavirus Resources

March 20th, 2020|

Dear Friends and Neighbors of the 41st Legislative District,

My thoughts go out to you and your families as you work to keep yourselves and your families healthy during this coronavirus outbreak. We are all deeply saddened for the families who have suffered loss or who are currently suffering.

I’m sure that many of you are scared, worried and stressed as we all try to get through this unprecedented event. It can be hard in times like these to know where to turn, and where to find the most up-to-date and accurate information.

www.coronavirus.wa.gov

This website contains a wealth of information from Governor Jay Inslee’s office, our state agencies, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and more. In this note I’ve included a lot of the helpful information – from tools for handling stress, to resources for our out-of-work neighbors, to tips for talking to kids. But I encourage you to explore this website for yourselves, and to pass it on to others in our community who have questions.

In addition, I have heard from many people who are being laid off from their hospitality and restaurant jobs as well as the owners of these establishments who are seeking assistance to cover payroll or otherwise maintain their business.   There is information further down on the Small Business Association and other resources that should become available, I hope very shortly.

What to do if you are ill

If you are ill with fever and a cough or non-acute shortness of breath, please stay home. If you are unsure of how to care for yourself or are concerned about your condition, call your health care provider for advice. If you feel you need to visit your doctor, call them first. Keep yourself separated from other people and animals in your home. Cover your coughs and sneezes and wash your hands often.

Leave some for your neighbor – don’t buy more than you need!

Washington State’s supply chains are operating normally, yet consumers are overstocking and clearing store shelves of the items that sick neighbors, doctors, dentists and emergency response personnel need to stay safe. Health experts emphasize the best way to protect yourself from infection is through washing your hands frequently and limiting contact with others, not by overstocking certain supplies. Leave some for the folks who need them most!

Supporting affected employers and workers

State agencies have been working with federal agencies, employers and workers to support businesses and workers affected by COVID-19.

Resources for you and your family

We all play a part in stopping the spread of coronavirus. Learn how to protect and care for yourself and your family, how to cope with feelings of isolation or anxiety, determine whether you or a loved one is at higher risk from COVID-19, and find resources to get the care you need.

As always, don’t hesitate to reach out to me via email or phone. Please keep yourselves, your families and your neighbors safe and healthy.

Lisa

  • Permalink Gallery

    A statement from Sen. Wellman on school closures in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties

A statement from Sen. Wellman on school closures in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties

March 12th, 2020|

Sen. Lisa Wellman (D-Mercer Island) released the following statement today regarding Gov. Jay Inslee’s decision to close public schools in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties. Wellman serves as chair of the Senate Early Learning & K-12 Education Committee.

“Our number one concern is keeping our students, staff and their families safe. We know many people who attend or work in our schools have compromised immune systems, existing medical conditions, elderly relatives and other concerns. We’re keeping those concerns in mind as we move forward. We’re also taking into account the financial and academic concerns that school closures cause.

In the last several weeks, we’ve been working closely with the Governor’s Office, the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, and local school districts to anticipate their needs and ensure that we have policies in place to lessen the burdens placed on students and school employees.

As adequate access to healthcare is one of our best tools for addressing this pandemic, we have approved a measure that allows school employees to maintain health insurance eligibility for the remainder of the school year during the COVID-19 state of emergency, even if the employees would otherwise lose eligibility due to a school closure or changes in school operations. The idea is that all school employees who had insurance prior to this emergency – including hourly employees – will maintain that coverage.

We have also adopted a policy that gives the State Board of Education the authority to establish an emergency waiver program to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 on high school graduations. Students who were on track to graduate prior to the governor declaring a state of emergency on Feb. 29 could receive a waiver.

Again, our priority is helping our communities stay healthy. I thank the Governor, the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction and the Legislature for taking the COVID-19 pandemic seriously and taking steps to help our state.”

E-Newsletter: Coronavirus Update and Information

March 6th, 2020|

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

I wanted to send an update to our community with some resources and information about coronavirus from the Washington State Department of Health and Public Health: Seattle & King County. These resources include ways to keep yourselves and your loved ones healthy, and to help slow the spread of coronavirus.

In addition to the resources from our local and state health departments, I’d like to share a website put together by Mercer Island High School student Avi Schiffran. This website compiles data, maps, FAQs, prevention information and statistics. You can find the information here: https://ncov2019.live/data

If you’re currently experiencing symptoms of coronoavirus, please call your doctor. Don’t go to a clinic or hospital. Your doctor will make an assessment about next steps and contact public health officials if a test is needed.

If you are in King County and believe you were exposed to a confirmed case of coronavirus but don’t have a doctor to call, stay home and contact the King County novel coronavirus call center at 206-477-3977.

Symptoms of coronavirus include:

  • fever
  • cough
  • shortness of breath

The following measures can help keep you and loved ones healthy:

  • Wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds.
  • Use hand sanitizers if you are unable to wash your hands.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Covering your coughs and sneezes with an elbow, sleeve or tissue.
  • Good personal health habits (diet/exercise).
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Avoid touching your face.

Additional Resources:

The Washington State Department of Health has also established a call center to address questions. Given the high call volume, it is best to research general questions online if you can. If you need advice about what to do if you have symptoms, you can call 1-800-525-0127 and press #.

You can stay informed at these pages:

You can find information about how the situation affects school closures here.

What we are doing in Olympia

The Senate passed an operating budget last week that dramatically increased funding for coronavirus response with an additional $10 million for public health.

Much more funding is on the way. New legislation to transfer $100 million from the state’s Rainy Day Fund into the state disaster response account has passed the House, and we passed it the Senate yesterday (HB 2965).You can read more about that bill here.

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.

Take care of yourselves and each other,
Lisa

 

Kai Thomson serves as page in Washington State Senate

February 7th, 2020|

Kai Thomson, 15, served as a page in the Washington State Senate during the week of January 31.

Pages are typically sponsored by the senator from their legislative district. Sen. Lisa Wellman (D-Mercer Island) sponsored Thomson’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, which culminates in pages creating their own bills in a mock committee setting. The educational experience is furthered by guest speakers.

“The most interesting thing that I did this week was meeting so many different people in the government and hearing about all of their different roles.  From meeting different senators to the (state) treasurer, to the lieutenant governor.  They were all very nice and took time to answer questions,” said Thomson.

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.

“The most fun thing that I did this week was working on the Senate floor passing out notes and bills and it felt like we were a part of the process and in a way help in our own small way to help create the laws,” added Thomson.

“I am very interested in working in public service in the future because I’ve been so inspired by listening to the Senators talk about their constituents and how they reference them during their floor speeches.  It really shows how people are a part of the bill/law writing process,” remarked Thomson.

Thomson is in 9th grade at Sammamish High School. In his free time, he enjoys reading, playing the French horn, and Civil Air Patrol.

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

Isabella Syverson serves as page in Washington State Senate

February 7th, 2020|

Isabella Syverson, 16, served as a page in the Washington State Senate during the week of Jan. 24.

Pages are typically sponsored by the senator from their legislative district. Sen. Lisa Wellman (D-Mercer Island) sponsored Syverson’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, which culminates in pages creating their own bills in a mock committee setting. The educational experience is furthered by guest speakers.

“The most interesting thing that I have done is sit on the (Senate) floor and listen to my sponsoring senator speak in favor of a couple of bills.  Listening allowed me to formulate my own opinions about the issues,” said Syverson.

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

“I’m really passionate about the environment and I really enjoyed watching Senator Wellman lead the Environment, Energy & Tech committee.  I could see myself doing that.” added Syverson.

Syverson is in 10th grade at Eastside Preparatory School. In her free time, she enjoys horseback riding, playing violin, and the Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestra.

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

Survey: Parents & guardians, what is your experience with school bullying/harassment policies?

October 23rd, 2019|

This interim, the Senate Early Learning & K-12 Education Committee is working to learn more about state and federal laws regarding harassment, intimidation, bullying and discrimination — and how those laws are being implemented in Washington schools.

We know that school safety is a growing concern for students and parents statewide. We also know that creating a safe school environment isn’t just about headline-grabbing issues like school shootings. We must consider the social and emotional well-being of students and confront the issues they face in their daily lives.

That’s why the Senate Early Learning & K-12 Education Committee is asking parents and guardians to take this survey to help inform our work: https://bit.ly/2J9uj4N

The survey is open through Nov. 1.

  • Permalink Gallery

    Wellman: “We will not turn our backs on our friends and neighbors who have made Washington their home”

Wellman: “We will not turn our backs on our friends and neighbors who have made Washington their home”

September 26th, 2019|

Sen. Lisa Wellman (D-Mercer Island) released the following statement in response to a press conference held today by Nathalie Asher, director of Seattle’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) field office. During her remarks, Asher specifically referenced Senate Bill 5497, the Keep Washington Working Act, which was sponsored by Wellman in the Legislature and enacted earlier this year.

“Our nation and our state could not have been built without the hands of hard-working immigrants who came from around the world seeking better lives for themselves and their families. Despite renewed pressure from our federal government, we refuse to turn our backs on our friends and neighbors who have made Washington their home.

Our economy and the very structure of our society depend on the new ideas, vital services and the determination to succeed that immigrants bring in to our communities. They are our doctors, our home healthcare workers, our tech geniuses, our farm workers, our own parents and grandparents, and the families who live next door. We cannot, in good faith, stand back and watch them be vilified and separated from their children.

The Keep Washington Working Act ensures that our tax dollars pay for Washington services and Washington values, and I stand by it. We’re creating a positive business environment in which all people can succeed.”

Wellman worked closely with state agencies and law enforcement while crafting the Keep Washington Working Act. It is supported by Gov. Jay Inslee and by the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs, whose letter of support can be found here.

Legislature increases funding for special education

May 13th, 2019|

A bill signed today by Gov. Jay Inslee increases funding for special education, paving the way for more inclusive learning environments.

Senate Bill 5091 was sponsored by Sen. Lisa Wellman (D-Mercer Island), who chairs the Senate Early Learning & K-12 Education committee. The additional special education funding comes at the request of parents, teachers and schools.

“We know that Washington’s special education students aren’t as successful as students in other states, and that is absolutely unacceptable,” Wellman said. “In order to make meaningful changes, including more inclusive learning environments, we must allocate additional funding to implement evidence-based practices.”

“Improving our special education practices will take more work in coming years, but the changes we made this year are a great step,” she added.

The bill includes a two-year phase in of increased special education funding, with schools receiving more money when they offer more inclusive learning environments.

During the 2019-20 school year, the state’s cost multiplier for special education funding increases from 0.9609 to 0.995. This multiplier would be applied to calculate the amount of general education funding that each student receives in a given school district. For example, in a school district with $1,000 in per pupil funding, the district would be allocated $1,995 for each special education student.

Beginning in the 2020-21 school year, the state’s cost multiplier would increase to 1.0075 for special education students learning in a general education environment for 80 percent or more of the school day. For example, in a school district with $1,000 in per pupil funding, the district would be allocated $2,007.5 for each special education student.

The state’s cost multiplier would remain at 0.995 for special education students learning in a general education environment for less than 80 percent of the school day.

School districts that demonstrate significant extra need beyond what they receive from this formula would be eligible for safety net funds.

In Washington, less than 4 percent of students with disabilities are identified as having an intellectual disability, and more than 90 percent have above average intellectual functioning, according to data from the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction. But only 55 percent are placed in general education for 80 to 100 percent of the day. For students of color, the number is even lower — only 47 percent.

“Evidence shows that students who are included in general education have better outcomes,” Wellman said. “We know that this takes more resources, but it’s what we should be working toward.”