18 06, 2020

Sen. Saldaña on DACA decision: “We are home.”

June 18th, 2020|News Release|

Sen. Rebecca Saldaña (D-Seattle) on Thursday issued the statement below on the US Supreme Court’s decision to reject the Trump Administration’s attempt to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA):

“This news comes as a tremendous relief for the thousands of DACA recipients living in Washington. From the time the Trump Administration began its racist, xenophobic campaign against immigrant communities across this nation, people who know no other home but this one, have lived in fear.

“In our Washington we have taken strides to ensure immigrants have access to education, health care and jobs. This includes our most recent legislation to include immigration status as a protected class under our Washington Law Against Discrimination.

“This is more important than ever, because while we are happy with today’s decision, the Court’s decision indicates that the Administration still has the authority to end DACA.

“We will continue to fight for immigrant communities in our state, but until those in the other Washington truly take on meaningful, comprehensive immigration policy reform, this broken system will continue to punish and harm our immigrant neighbors, many whom the same Trump Administration has deemed essential.

“There is much work to be done, but this is a victory for our country, and is worth celebrating.  I thank the thousands of undocumented young people and their families for the valiance in standing up for what is right.

“We are home.”

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17 06, 2020

Statement from Sen. Christine Rolfes on state revenue forecast

June 17th, 2020|News Release|

OLYMPIA – Sen. Christine Rolfes (D-Bainbridge Island), chair of the Senate Ways & Means Committee, released this statement following today’s Economic and Revenue Forecast Council meeting:

“Today’s forecast gives us a better understanding of the enormous fiscal challenges facing our state in the months to come. We will continue our work to address the immediate impacts of the pandemic and prepare to make smart, informed budget decisions that will protect households from the continued impacts of a sustained downturn.

“While we remain hopeful that our federal partners will act responsibly and support states with a relief package, it will ultimately be up to us to find a budget solution that works in all corners of our state. Now more than ever, we must forge bipartisan solutions to keep our communities whole and build opportunity, prosperity and equity across the state.

“As our state faces many difficult financial decisions in the coming months, the health and safety of all Washingtonians is paramount. Our shared goal is to strategically align our state for a strong economic recovery, and we have a solid foundation on which to rebuild, thanks in part to a healthy rainy day fund.

“The challenge before us will require everybody’s participation and constructive ideas. The hard work and ingenuity of Washington’s workforce built the nation’s strongest economy over the last decade, and in the months to come I’m confident we will rebuild our economy upon the strong foundation we have forged together.”

 

17 06, 2020

Sen. Billig statement on release of June Economic Revenue Forecast

June 17th, 2020|News Release|

OLYMPIA – Senate Majority Leader Andy Billig (D-Spokane) released the statement below following today’s Economic and Revenue Forecast Council meeting:

“Since session concluded in March, we have not stopped our work to ensure all working people, businesses and those disproportionately impacted by both the economic and health impacts of COVID-19 receive the support they need to survive this crisis in the short-term and thrive in the long-term.

“Today’s revenue forecast gives us a better understanding of the size of the economic problem and reaffirms that we have a daunting task ahead. As we continue preparation for an eventual special session and the 2021 regular session, we must take a balanced approach that includes budget savings and the use of resources like the budget stabilization account and, potentially, new revenue.

“Gov. Inslee’s decision today to cancel raises and begin furloughs for many state employees was difficult, but under these circumstances, it was the correct call to make.

“The last economic downturn resulted in deep cuts to education, behavioral health, the environment, our safety net and other critical programs, which ended up costing taxpayers more in the long run. We cannot repeat those mistakes. This problem requires creative, thoughtful decisions that keep our long-term goals of opportunity, prosperity and equity in mind as put all options on the table to deliver a sustained recovery for everyone in Washington state.”

16 06, 2020

Bipartisan COVID-19 recovery committee holds its first meeting

June 16th, 2020|News Release|

Working people and small businesses are facing unprecedented challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. On Tuesday, the Senate Special Committee on Economic Recovery heard from a variety of experts about ways to help people and businesses recover.

The bipartisan committee focused its first meeting on a wide variety of topics, including unemployment, regional challenges, challenges faced by small businesses, short and long-term recovery strategies, supply chain issues, and much, much more.

“Solving this crisis will require us to be thoughtful, creative and resist the temptation to retreat to our ideological corners. I was encouraged by the collaborative nature of this first meeting,” said Sen. David Frockt (D-Seattle) chair of the committee. “Washingtonians are suffering. Small businesses are shuttered. It’s our job to find a way back, and we can only do that together.”

The seven member committee heard from prominent economists, including Austan Goolsbee, Professor of Economics at Chicago University and former Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers under President Obama. Economist Betsey Stevenson, Professor of Economics and Public Policy at the University of Michigan and former Chief Economist at the U.S. Department of Labor also under Obama. Annaliese Vance-Sherman, Labor Economist at the state Employment Security Department and Debra Glassman, Principal Lecturer of Finance and Business Economics at the University of Washington’s Dept of Finance and Business Economics also weighed in.

Frockt said that he felt there were three main takeaways from the inaugural meeting of the recovery committee.

“One, we have to get the virus under control,” he said. “A full recovery simply cannot happen while COVID-19 continues to make its way through our state. Two, we must address access to childcare. People cannot return to work if they do not have reliable, consistent childcare. And three, we must help small businesses and their workforce bounce back, particularly small businesses and workers in communities that have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.”

The committee is tentatively scheduled to hold its next meeting on July 21.

5 06, 2020

An open letter to the people of Washington state

June 5th, 2020|Leadership|

An open letter to the people of Washington state:

The Senate Democratic Caucus – fully recognizing that our own state Senate lacks the voice of even a single Black legislator, a voice that needs to ground us today and always – stands with our Black neighbors throughout Washington as we grieve together the violent and unjust killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, David McAtee, Charleena Lyles, Manuel Ellis and too many others, at the hands of law enforcement.

A history of systemic and institutionalized racism and violence leveled against our Black neighbors has manifested in days of protests around our grieving country, including here at home. As the Senate Democratic Caucus, we unequivocally stand with those who are raising their voices in pain, anger and hope to make demands for substantive change.

We are moved by the love and grief displayed over the life and death of George Floyd that has mobilized so many of every background, some for the first time. Though our state and country face a moment of deep pain and renewed trauma, we are also witness to a pivotal moment of potential historic change in public policy; one with an opportunity to craft equitable and compassionate laws that serve all of us.

We recognize that the power to make substantive change lies with us, the policymakers. We recognize this power to make substantive change should have been wielded long ago. We recognize that Black, Indigenous and brown lives have been disproportionately subjected to police brutality in addition to the merciless cycle of incarceration. We are committed to changing these broken institutions.

Our agenda will be shaped by the community. We are committed to listening and working alongside Black leaders and organizers. Their ideas and their solutions to these issues will be elevated so that we may respond to their call for action. Successful efforts toward change have always had their origins at the local level. We are listening.

Know that we grieve with you, stand united in your call for justice and promise to work with you in these next crucial steps toward real change.

On behalf of the Senate Democratic Caucus,

Billig e-sig Dhingra e-sig saldana e-sig
Sen. Andy Billig
Majority Leader
Sen. Manka Dhingra
Deputy Majority Leader
Sen. Rebecca Saldaña
Deputy Majority Leader