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Women’s Commission holds first meeting

October 17th, 2018|

The new Washington State Women’s Commission met on Wednesday to discuss a number of issues of focus, including sexual harassment, economic opportunity, and gender based violence.

Under the direction of Michelle Gonzales, the commission was formed through legislation earlier this year to focus efforts on improving the wellbeing of women in Washington state.

“I feel extremely fortunate to work with such talented group of women who are passionate about addressing issues that impact women’s lives every day,” said Sen. Lisa Wellman, one of four legislators appointed to the commission.

The Commission will focus its work on issues such as domestic violence, child care, child support, sexual discrimination, sexual harassment, equal compensation and job pathways opportunities in employment, and the specific needs of women of color.

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    Wellman talks with Q13 about mental health resources in schools

Wellman talks with Q13 about mental health resources in schools

September 27th, 2018|

Sen. Lisa Wellman recently sat down with Q13 reporter Hana Kim to discuss work on a comprehensive safety package for schools, including an emphasis on mental health resources.

Wellman on school safety in Seattle Times

September 26th, 2018|

Sen. Lisa Wellman, chair of the Senate Education Committee, recently wrote an op-ed for the Seattle Times outlining school safety priorities Democrats plan to pursue in 2019:

As a new school year begins, one issue remains high on every parent’s mind — keeping our kids safe. With so many high-profile tragedies last year, it’s heartbreaking but understandable that many students don’t feel safe in their classrooms. Current surveys show more than one third of parents fear for their children’s safety in school — the highest rate since the nation grappled with the Columbine, Colorado, shootings two decades ago.

That must change. It is our job as lawmakers to make sure every student has access to a healthy, safe and supportive learning environment — and every parent feels comfortable sending them to school.

Over the summer, Senate and House Democrats reached out to educators, parents, law enforcement, students and others with expertise in school safety to develop comprehensive solutions. We took a hard look at policies already in place in Washington, gaps in these policies and best practices we can learn from other states

Read the entire op-ed here.

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.”

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.