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Wellman discusses ‘Keep Washington Working’ legislation

July 15th, 2018|

Sen. Lisa Wellman, D- Mercer Island, recently sat down with Stephan Cox of Indivisible Washington to discuss her legislation to protect our economy from reckless federal immigration policies. Listen to the full interview here.

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    Senators: Treatment of asylum seekers is inhumane, deplorable

Senators: Treatment of asylum seekers is inhumane, deplorable

June 11th, 2018|

OLYMPIA – State Senators Lisa Wellman, D-Mercer Island, and Bob Hasegawa, D-Seattle, issued the following statement regarding asylum-seekers who were separated from their children and recently moved to a Bureau of Prisons detention center in SeaTac:

“We condemn the treatment of these mothers separated from their children and currently being held here in SeaTac. The Trump administration’s new family separation policy is both deplorable and inhumane, and these immigrant families fleeing legitimate violence and persecution do not belong in federal detention.
“Families with valid claims for refugee and asylum status deserve dignity and respect – this treatment in no way aligns with our Washington values.
“Washington has worked hard to earn a reputation as a welcoming state, which is why our economy depends on the energy and talent of immigrants. In 2018, Senate Bill 5689 was introduced to protect the state and our economy from reckless federal immigration policy. The treatment of these families is just another example of the damage these policies are having on the country.
“It also sends a troubling message of intolerance to immigrant families already living in Washington state. We worry that these actions will have detrimental effects on our communities, discouraging immigrant families from reporting crimes, seeking social services or going to work. This is simply not who we are in Washington state.”

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    KIMA-TV coverage: Local educators talk school safety with state senator

KIMA-TV coverage: Local educators talk school safety with state senator

May 23rd, 2018|

YAKIMA, Wash. – Washington Senator Lisa Wellman is speaking with local educators about ways to improve school safety.

Wellman said she wants to find out what’s working, what isn’t and what else needs to be done.
“It is about guns and physical safety but it is also about the fact that we have 30,000 kids in the United States committing suicide,” she said.

Wellman said they want teachers to be aware of the kids who are feeling like outsiders in their schools and what can be done to help them feel included in the community.

Read more of this report from KIMA-TV in Yakima here.

Wellman’s statewide tour to focus on school safety

May 21st, 2018|

OLYMPIA – Sen. Lisa Wellman, D-Mercer Island, began a tour of all nine Educational Service Districts in the state on Monday to meet with educators and discuss strategies to improve school safety, student outcomes and digital parity.

Wellman, chair of the Senate Early Learning and K-12 Education Committee, met with school officials in Pasco Monday. Over the next two weeks, she will make stops in Yakima, Wenatchee, Vancouver, Tumwater, Bremerton, Renton, Anacortes and Spokane. Local officials and Senate staff will join Wellman at each ESD.

“Obviously, school safety is paramount in everyone’s mind right now and these meetings will give the Legislature valuable insight into what’s working and what can be improved in each unique area of our state,” Wellman said. “We also plan to focus on kindergarten readiness, career connected learning and broadband access. Our schools need to work for each and every child.”

Earlier this year, the Legislature increased K-12 funding by nearly $1 billion, the final step to bring Washington into compliance with a state Supreme Court mandate on basic education funding. In January, the Legislature also made the largest ever investment in school construction through the passage of the 2017-19 Capital Budget. Wellman said she is excited to now focus her committee’s work on key emerging needs in the state’s classrooms.

“We have made significant progress with our funding levels, but we are always concerned with continuing to hear directly from our districts on ways to improve the quality of education in our schools. I look forward to listening to the views of all the dedicated educators around the state.”

Here is the full schedule of ESD visits:

  • May 21: Pasco – ESD 123
  • May 22: Yakima – ESD 105
  • May 22: Wenatchee – ESD 171
  • May 24: Vancouver – ESD 112
  • June 4: Tumwater – ESD 113
  • June 4: Bremerton – ESD 114
  • June 11: Anacortes – ESD 189
  • June 13: Renton – ESD 121
  • June 14: Spokane – ESD 101
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    Wellman to serve on new Washington State Women’s Commission

Wellman to serve on new Washington State Women’s Commission

May 10th, 2018|

OLYMPIA – Sen. Lisa Wellman, D-Mercer Island, has been appointed to the newly established Washington State Women’s Commission.

Created with the passage of House Bill 2759 during the 2018 legislative session, the commission will focus on solutions to address inequality for women in the workplace and in society overall.

“It’s a true honor to be selected to work with my colleagues on such important challenges. Women are still less likely to be elected to public office or serve in corporate and non-profit leadership positions,” said Wellman, who sponsored companion legislation in the Senate. “Whether it’s pay inequity or sexual harassment, women still face unfair obstacles in the workplace. I look forward to working with the Women’s Commission to break down these barriers.”

The Women’s Commission is responsible for:

  • Reviewing best practices for sexual harassment policies and training, and providing recommendations to state agencies;
  • Identifying and defining specific needs of women of color;
  • Consulting with state agencies regarding the effect of agency policies, rules and practices on the unique problems and needs of women;
  • Staffing the Interagency Committee for State Employed Women;
  • Preparing for a 2020 statewide commemoration of women’s suffrage;
  • Holding public hearings to gather input related to the unique problems and needs of women;
  • Advocating for the removal of legal and social barriers for women; and
  • Reviewing and recommending strategies to increase the number of women serving on for-profit boards.

The commission will also make regular recommendations to the Legislature and to the governor. It will consist of 13 members: four state lawmakers (one from each caucus) and nine members appointed by the governor to provide a balanced and diverse distribution of ethnic, geographic, gender, sexual orientation, age, socioeconomic status and occupational representation.

The new commission is expected to have official meetings on the calendar by July 1. For more information, click here.

Wellman to serve on new student career-readiness committee

April 9th, 2018|

OLYMPIA – Sen. Lisa Wellman, D-Mercer Island, will serve on a new state task force responsible for recommending policies to increase the career and college readiness of public school students in Washington state.

Wellman, the chair of the Senate Early Learning & K-12 Education Committee, will serve on the new Work-Integrated Learning Advisory Committee responsible for supporting the state’s goal of increasing the number of students who pursue good-paying jobs after high school through career-ready education.

“We know that there are many family-wage jobs that are going unfilled throughout our state and I’m excited to have the opportunity to help connect our students to these exciting careers,” Wellman said.

The committee will be responsible for helping develop a framework for the development of successful work-integrated learning programs throughout the state. These could include internships, externships and apprenticeships with public and private sector employers.

The task force includes lawmakers, educators and representatives from the state’s community and technical colleges and the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction.

“We know students from every part of our state would benefit from more work-integrated learning opportunities,” Wellman said. “Our challenge will be to integrate these additional pathways to success into the existing K-12 system.”

A historic 2018 session ends on time!

March 10th, 2018|

Greetings from Olympia!

The final gavel fell on the 2018 legislative session last night and I couldn’t be more proud of what our new Democratic majority accomplished this year. We started 60 days ago with big goals and we were able to deliver legislation that will improve lives in communities across the state. I have a lot to share!

Education

The biggest investment we made this year was in education, and as chair of the Early Learning and K-12 Education Committee, I spent a bulk of the session focused on improving schools and education policy. Our final budget fully funds teacher salaries by the start of the 2018-19 school year, as ordered by the state Supreme Court. We were also able to make needed adjustments to the sweeping education legislation (HB 2242) passed in 2017. Our schools will see more funding for special education, and levy capacity will grow at a more accurate inflationary rate, which will help maintain local support for enhancements we value in our Eastside schools.

I was also proud to sponsor the Breakfast after the Bell legislation in the Senate this year. The idea is pretty simple — hungry kids have a hard time paying attention and learning. This common-sense legislation will result in more kids starting the day with a nutritious meal, a dynamic that has been proven in the schools that already had this program.

I will have another update soon highlighting all the other great investments made this year in the supplemental operating, capital and transportation budgets.

Keep Washington Working Act

I was proud to again sponsor the Keep Washington Working Act (SB 5689), which would safeguard our thriving economy, protect the state from the lack of federal immigration action, and recognize the important role of immigrants in Washington’s workplaces. I believe we have a 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. While the legislation did not pass this session, I will not give up on all the workers who are the engine of our economy. I plan to introduce the bill again in 2019.

Eliminating dangerous chemicals

One of the measures I worked on this year concerned perfluorinated chemicals, which are found in fast food wrappers, microwave popcorn bags, and butter wrappers, among other everyday items. These persistent chemicals get into our food and from there into our bodies, where they build up to increasing levels. The chemicals have been linked to health concerns ranging from cancer, to developmental toxicity, to the disruption of hormones. The House companion legislation to my bill passed the Legislature and will lead to our food being packaged in safer materials. Washington also became the first state in the nation to ban perfluorinated chemicals in firefighting foam. For years, firefighters have sprayed the foam around Washington’s military airstrips and fire-training facilities, including the facility in Issaquah. The state Department of Ecology will now study these chemicals so we can take a comprehensive approach to creating a toxic-free environment.

Making progress in 2018

2018 Washington State Senate Democrats.

When Democrats won control of the Senate last November, we identified several key priorities as part of a session-long focus on “putting people first” and completing the people’s work on time with a balanced budget. We passed landmark legislation with bipartisan support throughout the 2018 session, putting the needs of people first in a wide range of areas.

TAX CUTS
We passed a statewide property tax cut to give households relief from the Republican Property Tax of 2017. In 2019, property taxes will be lowered by $0.31 per $1,000 of assessed value.

BAN ON BUMP STOCKS
We banned bump stocks, the device used in the Las Vegas massacre to give a semi-automatic rifle the rapid-fire capability of a machine gun.

EQUAL PAY
We required equal pay for equal work to close the wage gap between women and men who do the same work with the same experience.

REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH
We passed The Reproductive Health Equity Act to make sure women have the option of choosing the healthcare choices that are best for them and their families. We also passed legislation to require health care providers to cover the cost of 3-D mammograms and to require doctors to inform and assist patients who have high breast density, to better detect early signs of breast cancer.

HEALTH CARE
We strengthened health care coverage for all Washingtonians, addressing health care needs such as disease screening and contraception access in the event the Trump administration continues to undermine the Affordable Care Act.

RURAL BROADBAND
We expanded high-speed broadband access to rural communities through actions to increase internet access throughout our state, regardless of where you live.

RURAL JOBS
We took action to create more family-wage jobs in rural areas by: directing the state to assess thousands of acres of trust lands that could be harvested without harming endangered species; requiring the state to explore ways to make common-sense land swaps to boost our timber industry; and creating a stronger market for wood products by updating the building code to include cross-laminated lumber.

OPIOID CRISIS
We increase funding in the capital and operating budgets to help stem the opioid crisis. Much of the funding is directed toward behavioral health and crisis care.

ENDING UNFAIR CREDIT FEES
We protected Washingtonians from unfair fees charged by financial institutions to freeze and unfreeze credit accounts when information is breached as in the notorious Equifax debacle.

ACCESS TO DEMOCRACY
We expanded voter access to Democracy on several fronts. We passed The DISCLOSE Act to expose hidden money in elections; same-day voter registration, automatic voter registration, and voter pre-registration; and The Washington Voting Rights Act to provide representation to disenfranchised voters.

NET NEUTRALITY
We passed Net Neutrality to protect Washington households from receiving slowed or reduced internet service.

STUDENT LOAN BILL OF RIGHTS
We protected college students from fraudulent and predatory practices by lenders that saddle students with spiraling debt by passing The Student Loan Bill of Rights to protect.

JUVENILE JUSTICE REFORM
We reformed juvenile justice to reduce recidivism by increasing access to evidence-based rehabilitative services for certain youth who would otherwise be tried and sentenced as adults. We also gave prosecutors more discretion to divert less serious cases so youth can access the services and help they need to get back on track.

DREAM ACT 2.0
We passed The Dream Act 2.0 to expand access to higher education for students who are DACA recipients.

PROTECTING PRIVACY
We fought to limit the disclosure of people’s religious affiliations to protect them from federal authorities who would use the information to arrest or apprehend law-abiding Washingtonians.

BAN ON CONVERSION THERAPY
We banned conversion therapy, the practice of applying physical and mental discomfort to try to force LGBTQ minors to conform to a gender identity other than which feels appropriate for who they are.

NET PEN FISH FARMS
We phased out Atlantic salmon net pen farms that threaten the health of our water and native finfish populations such as salmon.

International Women’s Day

Yesterday was International Women’s Day and we marked the occasion with a video message. Please take a minute to watch the video on my new official Facebook page.

Stay in Touch!

I am proud to be a member of a caucus that prioritized legislation to make our households healthier and our communities stronger. As a result, our state provided a national example for what can be done when Democrats are united and put people first. Please continue to reach out to me with any questions. It’s a true privilege to serve the 41st District.

Onward!
Lisa

Sen. Wellman’s statement on ESB 6617

March 2nd, 2018|

Last night Governor Inslee vetoed ESB 6617, the Legislative Public Records Act. After hearing from the people of the 41st district, I believe it was the right decision.

I initially supported the bill because I believe in the positive transparency reforms it would have enacted. However, I recognize the process through which the bill came to be was flawed and did not adequately provide for public input.

I’m glad the media and Legislature were able to come to an agreement to jointly request a stay of Judge Lanese’s decision, to give all parties the time needed to sit down and find a workable solution. I look forward to an open process where all stakeholders, including the public and media, have the opportunity to share their concerns on this important piece of legislation.

For now, we can continue focusing on issues that impact the people of Washington, including efforts to reduce gun violence, improve women’s health, lower property taxes, increase affordable housing, and protect the most vulnerable in our communities.

 

Video: Wellman discusses education on the Eastside

February 13th, 2018|

Sens. Lisa Wellman, Manka Dhingra, and Patty Kuderer, who each represent legislative districts in King County’s Eastside, discuss education funding, levies, and taxes.

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    Senate approves Wellman’s ‘Breakfast After the Bell’ legislation

Senate approves Wellman’s ‘Breakfast After the Bell’ legislation

January 19th, 2018|

OLYMPIA – Legislation to expand the successful “Breakfast After the Bell” program to more students across the state passed the state Senate today with bipartisan support.

The program would ensure more students — especially those with limited financial means — have access to a nutritionally balanced meal after the first bell of the school day.

“We know students who get quality nutrition have improved concentration and academic outcomes in the classroom, and this bill will ensure more students have that opportunity,” said Sen. Lisa Wellman, D-Mercer Island, prime sponsor of the bill.

Under the legislation, schools would have the flexibility to choose a delivery model that works best for their individual needs, whether it is a quick nutrition break in the morning, breakfast in the classroom, or grab-and-go style during the walk between classes.

“It’s a common-sense bill that will have an impact,” Wellman said. “We’ve already seen this program implemented across the country. Now it’s time to make sure more kids here in Washington start their day with a healthy breakfast.”

Read more about Senate Bill 6003 here.