10 08, 2018

Wenatchee is first city to use new Voting Rights Act to ensure better representation

August 10th, 2018|Uncategorized|

OLYMPIA – The City of Wenatchee today became the first local government to use the new Washington Voting Rights Act to change its electoral system to ensure better representation for voters.

The City Council voted to move from an at-large system for electing all seven council members to a hybrid model, keeping two at-large positions and splitting the city into five districts.

The act, which Democrats passed during the 2018 legislative session, permits local governments to restructure electoral districts to avoid costly litigation over gerrymandering that disenfranchises minority populations, allowing communities to elect leaders who reflect their values and the diversity of their neighborhoods.

“Making our democracy accessible to all eligible voters is our fundamental duty, so it’s great to see local officials use the new flexibility that the Voting Rights Act gives them to proactively engage with their community and tailor local solutions to achieve a more-representative government,” said Sen. Sam Hunt, D-Olympia, who chairs the Senate State Government, Tribal Relations & Elections Committee.

3 08, 2018

Ranker: Witnessing extinction is not an option

August 3rd, 2018|Uncategorized|

OLYMPIA – Sen. Kevin Ranker released a statement today regarding the need for action to protect and recover the Southern Resident Killer Whale.

“The past days have been overwhelming with sorrow, anguish and anger. Like you, I have been deeply impacted by the images of the mother with her dead calf.

“It is far past time that we act. The loss of another Southern Resident Killer Whale, the mother’s continued display of grief, and now another young member of J pod facing starvation are all gruesome reminders of the dangerous predicament these magnificent creatures face. Our resident Orca have not had a successful pregnancy in three years. The reality is that these incredible creatures are at extreme risk of becoming extinct. This is not an option. We must do every single thing in our power to reverse this trend.

“This is exactly why I introduced the Orca Protection Act last session. Many of us in the Senate worked so hard to pass it, but, unfortunately, this critical legislation did not make it to the governor’s desk. Our efforts continue and we are developing new recommendations for the short and long term.

The Southern Resident Killer Whale task force, on which I serve, is developing recommendations that will come back to the Legislature next year. As a member of that panel, I am doing everything in my power to make sure we produce bold recommendations — recommendations that put aside politics, and in some cases compromise, and purely focus on recovering our resident Orca.

  • We must recover their primary food source, Chinook salmon.
  • We must prioritize the cleanup of toxins in the Puget Sound.
  • We must protect the whales from harassment and noise pollution from vessels.
  • We must make sure there is not an oil spill that is the demise of an entire pod as occurred in the Exxon Valdez oil spill.

“Politics as usual is not an option. It will take dedication, resources and political courage to save these whales.

“Witnessing extinction is not an option. The struggle of these creatures is indicative of the struggle of the entire Salish Sea. These magnificent creatures and this incredible place we call home must be protected. These beautiful whales do not get a second chance.  We do not get a second chance.”

3 08, 2018

Rolfes: Dismissal of Eyman v. Davidson nixes ‘political distraction’

August 3rd, 2018|Budget|

OLYMPIA – Sen. Christine Rolfes, D-Bainbridge Island and chair of the Senate Ways & Means Committee, released this statement today after the Thurston County Superior Court dismissed the Eyman v. Davidson case, which would have impacted the 2018 Supplemental Budget passed by lawmakers in March:

“As chair of the Senate committee responsible for crafting our state budget, I take my duty to the people of this state extremely seriously, and I know my colleagues do as well. Earlier this year, we worked closely with our expert staff to write a budget that met our state’s pressing needs while also providing needed tax relief. The budget was certainly unique by including the first general property tax cut in decades, but in no way was it unconstitutional. I’m pleased the court agreed with a swift dismissal and taxpayers will not be further burdened by this political distraction.”