Sen. Annette Cleveland Newsroom

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    Senate passes Cleveland bill to accelerate I-5 bridge approval process

Senate passes Cleveland bill to accelerate I-5 bridge approval process

The Senate passed bipartisan legislation today to simplify and speed up the process of approving a plan for a new I-5 bridge over the Columbia River once consensus can be reached on the parameters of such a bridge.

Senate Bill 6195, sponsored by Sen. Annette Cleveland, D-Vancouver, would establish a formal process of coordination to expedite the completion of transportation projects of statewide significance. They require the state Department of Transportation to develop a formal application for the designation of such projects and also the criteria they must meet.

The legislation provides an important tool to expedite infrastructure projects while signaling the state’s continued strong commitment in Southwest Washington to work together with Oregon officials to address the transportation challenges.

“While we continue to promote the development of a bridge plan, we are also taking pains to make the process move more quickly once that plan is finalized,” Cleveland said. “This legislation has the support of the full seven-member coalition of Southwest Washington legislators who have been working together to move our state forward on this essential project.”

The other legislators in the coalition are Sens. Ann Rivers and Lynda Wilson, and Reps. Sharon Wylie, Monica Stonier, Paul Harris and Brandon Vick.

“A bridge can be viewed simply as a means of moving vehicles across water, but this project means so much more than that; it’s a bridge to our future economic development and prosperity,” Cleveland said. “Just as the existing bridges were the keys to our past economic growth, a new bridge is a key to future growth. If we want healthy communities, we need meaningful jobs that pay a family wage and businesses to be able to efficiently move freight and goods. For that, we need adequate infrastructure that can support the businesses that provide good jobs.”

February 10th, 2018|Uncategorized|
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    Senate passes Cleveland bill to maintain stability of health insurance

Senate passes Cleveland bill to maintain stability of health insurance

Legislation passed today by the Senate will enable the state to explore ways to protect Washingtonians from reductions in minimum essential health care standards by the Trump administration.

Senate Bill 6084, sponsored by Sen. Annette Cleveland, D-Vancouver, directs the Office of the Insurance Commissioner to convene a task force to explore mechanisms for enforcing an individual mandate at the state level. The Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate requirement is being effectively eliminated at the federal level, a move expected to destabilize health insurance markets in states across the country.

“We can’t stand by and let the current administration in the other Washington roll back the gains we’ve made here in our state in expanding health care coverage,” Cleveland said. “The elimination of the individual mandate poses the single biggest threat to the stability of our health insurance market.”

Since Washington state does not levy an tax income, which is how the federal mandate is enforced, an alternative enforcement mechanism must be found at the state level.

“There is nothing so essential in life as good health, and nothing so fragile these days as people’s access to essential health care,” Cleveland said. “We must not allow people outside our state to push our health care standards backwards. By taking this action now, we can make sure our health insurance market remains stable despite the loss of the federal individual mandate and, more importantly, ensure that we put people and their health first.”

February 7th, 2018|Uncategorized|
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    Bill would allow low-cost veterinary services for low-income pet owners

Bill would allow low-cost veterinary services for low-income pet owners

Animal shelters would be able to provide a wider range of low-cost services to pet owners on limited incomes, under legislation heard today by the Senate Health & Long Term Care Committee.

Sen. Annette Cleveland, D-Vancouver said the idea for Senate Bill 6196 came from her district and has been championed by Stacey Graham, president of the Humane Society for Southwest Washington in Vancouver.

“Our purpose in life is to match animals and people, and we want them to stay together,” Graham said. “With this bill, we will be able to let more low-income families keep their animals and their animals will be healthier.”

Current law limits the low-cost services provided by veterinarians in shelters to inserting microchips, spaying or neutering, and administering vaccines. Fewer than 10 other states in the country have similar limits. Cleveland’s bill would expand the range of services shelters can perform, limiting them to clients who meet specific income criteria, and enable the center to pursue fundraising for an endowment to open a three-day a week clinic with sliding fees for low-income people.

“We surveyed about a thousand low-income people who came to shelters around the state and what we found was that 60 percent didn’t regularly see a vet and 46 percent would need to borrow money to pay for treatment,” Graham said. “And 65 percent would leave their pets untreated because they couldn’t afford treatment.”

In addition, nearly 70 percent of those surveyed said they surrendered animals to be euthanized because they couldn’t afford veterinary care for aging, sick animals.

“Affordable care can help families better care for their beloved pets, it relieves pain and suffering for animals, and it prevents economic euthanasia, which is when people bring animals in to be euthanized because they cannot afford them,” Cleveland said. “This would not increase competition between veterinary clinics, it would simply provide services to people who cannot afford them and otherwise would go without.”

February 1st, 2018|Uncategorized|
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    Senate passes Cleveland bill to increase worker safety on public roads

Senate passes Cleveland bill to increase worker safety on public roads

Traffic laws and offenses governing motorists in the vicinity of emergency vehicles would be extended to apply to adjacent lanes 200 feet before and after work vehicles that display flashing lights, under legislation that passed the Senate unanimously today.

Senate Bill 5841, sponsored by Sen. Annette Cleveland, D-Vancouver, expands the area in which motorists must move into the next lane to accommodate stationary or slow-moving highway construction vehicles; highway maintenance vehicles; solid waste vehicles, and utility service vehicles. It also applies to highway construction and maintenance areas where flaggers and other workers are present.

“Highway maintenance workers, flaggers and others work under conditions that place them at the mercy of passing motorists,” Cleveland said. “The risk to their safety has become even greater in this digital age, as more and more people are texting and engaging in other forms of distracted driving.”

Monetary penalties in Washington state are double for drivers who speed in road construction zones. Total penalties and fines range from $153 to $788 depending on how much the motorist exceeds the speed limit. In addition, a motorist whose driving endangers or is likely to endanger roadway workers is guilty of reckless endangerment, a gross misdemeanor punishable by a $1,000 fine and/or a jail sentence of up to 364 days and a mandatory, 60-day drivers’ license suspension.

SB 5841 extends those penalties by 200 feet before and after road work zones, vehicles, flaggers, and other workers.

January 24th, 2018|Uncategorized|

Cleveland bill targets bullying in the workplace

Sen. Annette Cleveland testified today on Senate Bill 6435, her legislation to address bullying in the workplace. You can hear her testimony by clicking here or by clicking on the icon below:

January 24th, 2018|Uncategorized|
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    Cleveland: Construction projects will boost jobs, infrastructure

Cleveland: Construction projects will boost jobs, infrastructure

The capital construction budget passed late last week by the Legislature will create family-wage jobs and fund important infrastructure in communities across the district, Sen. Annette Cleveland, D-Vancouver, said today.

“These projects will improve our schools and make our communities better places to live and work, not just for those of us who live here today but for our children and their grandchildren,” Cleveland said. “Investing in infrastructure sets us up for economic growth and prosperity that results in healthier households and stronger communities.”

The overall construction budget will create more than 19,000 construction jobs, invest more than $1 billion in public school construction to lower class sizes, and pump $800 million into our public universities and colleges. Additionally, the capital budget will provide millions of dollars in investments to support the elderly, add new mental health beds, protect the environment and get homeless children off the streets.

Funds secured by Cleveland and her 49th District seatmates include $11.8 million for:

  • $4.8 million in Public Works Assistance Account loans for Vancouver LED Street Lights
  • $3.2 million to Repair and Maintain Clark College
  • $700,000 Building Communities Fund grant for the Bridgeview Resource Center
  • $570,000 to preserve and maintain the State School for the Blind
  • $1.2 million for community projects at the Bridgeview Resource Center
  • $500,000 to increase capacity at Special Commitment Center community facilities
  • $395,000 Building Communities Fund grant for Aging With Dignity
  • $328,000 Youth Recreational Facilities grant for the Clinton and Gloria John Club
  • $307,000 for improvements to the Center for Childhood Deafness & Hearing Loss
  • $300,000 Local and Community Projects grant for the Clark County Historical Museum
  • $180,000 Building Communities Fund grant for the Share Day Center
  • $50,000 for improvements to the Independent Living Skills Center
  • $20,000 to remedy leaking tank models at the Hansen Drilling Co.
January 23rd, 2018|Uncategorized|
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    Cleveland: Quartet of bills will help women live healthier lives

Cleveland: Quartet of bills will help women live healthier lives

Sen. Annette Cleveland, D-Vancouver and the chair of the committee, released this statement today to commemorate the 45th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark Roe v. Wade decision:

“A year ago, I traveled across the country to join my daughter in attending the historic Women’s March on Washington, D.C. Last night I attended an event in Vancouver honoring the anniversary of that march and the anniversary of Roe v. Wade. At both events, it was impossible not to reflect on the generations of women who have courageously fought for our rights as women.

“I thought of my Grandma, who took me aside at the age of 10, when Roe v. Wade was announced, to impress upon me how hard the fight was and to ask me to promise to never yield ground on that progress. I thought of my own grown daughter, who today is working toward her graduate degree in gender policy in order to take up the mantel and continue the fight for equal rights.

“I will never forget my Grandma’s voice as she shared with me, as I got older, the anguish women would feel prior to Roe v. Wade and the development of contraceptives, at being unable to control their own reproductive health. I am so thankful those days are in our past. We must never forget.

“Today, as chair of the Senate Health & Long Term Care Committee, it was my privilege and honor to act on four pieces of legislation that will continue to improve women’s access to services critical to their health.

“It’s vital that women have access to whatever contraceptive drugs, devices, products and services we need to manage our reproductive needs and overall health. Contraception is about far more than unwanted births. Women use contraceptive products to manage a wide range of health concerns and conditions and live healthier lives because of it.

“Just as Roe V Wade moved women’s reproductive health issues out of back alleys and into hospitals and other safe venues, these bills today will make life safer yet for women across our state.”

The bills before the Health & Long Term Care Committee included:

Senate Bill 6219, the Reproductive Parity Act;

SB 5912, which expands mammography coverage to include 3-D mammography;

SB 6102, which enacts the Employee Reproductive Choice Act; and

SB 6105, which enacts the Reproductive Health Access for All Act.

January 22nd, 2018|Uncategorized|
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    Cleveland welcomes global perspective in Thursday health hearing

Cleveland welcomes global perspective in Thursday health hearing

Dr. Nata Menabde, the executive director of the World Health Organization of the United Nations, will testify Thursday before the Senate Labor & Commerce Committee on the goal of achieving worldwide sustainable healthcare and how it applies to Washington state.

“It is extremely rare that a state legislature has the opportunity to hear testimony from someone with the expertise and stature of Dr. Menabde,” said Sen. Annette Cleveland, D-Vancouver and the chair of the committee. “As someone who has led efforts to improve health care in numerous nations around the world, Dr. Menabde can offer a truly global perspective on universal health care and what steps we can take here in Washington state.”

Cleveland noted that, prior to leading the United Nation’s World Health Organization, Menabde led the Indian government’s efforts on a wide range of health care challenges, has oversaw European research into the relationship between health and wealth, and forged partnerships with nearly a dozen world organizations to elevate health issues on the political agendas of many nations.

“You could fill an entire hearing just running through Dr. Menabde’s full resume,” Cleveland said. “We are incredibly fortunate to have the benefit of her knowledge.”

Menabde holds a PhD in Clinical Pharmacology as well as diplomas in Health Management and Leadership from schools here in the states and in Health Care Economics from the United Kingdom. She also studied Public Health at the Nordic School of Public Health in Sweden.

The 10 a.m. hearing will focus on a number of bills to improve health care, including:

  • Senate Bill 5957, which would establish the Healthy Washington program to provide comprehensive universal single-payer health care coverage for all residents of the state;
  • SB 5984, which addresses access to health care for all state residents with Apple Health on the state Health Benefit Exchange;
  • SB 6047, which would ensure access to affordable health care coverage for children; and
  • SB 6304, which would ensure continued access to Medicaid services for Washingtonians.
January 16th, 2018|Uncategorized|

Area legislators welcome WSDOT inventory of bridge intel

Efforts to replace the outmoded I-5 bridge spanning the Columbia River took a key step forward this week when the state Department of Transportation (WSDOT) released a comprehensive inventory of bridge data.

WSDOT was directed to conduct an inventory of existing data from previous efforts to replace the bridge as part of Senate Bill 5806, which establishes a process for moving forward on a new I-5 bridge that can ease traffic congestion, improve safety and resist an earthquake.

“The specific information that can be applied to a new bridge project will depend on the scope and type of bridge as a plan takes shape, but the past technical information and environmental studies are particularly likely to be useful,” said Sen. Annette Cleveland, D-Vancouver and one of seven southwest Washington lawmakers who collaborated for months to develop SB 5806. “It would make no sense to waste time and money duplicating work that’s already been done.”

The more-than-140-page inventory is the result of 20 years of project work, including 10 years of intensive project development, on a bridge plan that came up short in the final days of the 2013 legislative session.

“The existing drawbridge is a choke point that averages 400 collisions a year; by 2030, when the bridge carries increasingly more vehicles and increasingly more large pieces of equipment by truck, the number of collisions is projected to double,” said Rep. Sharon Wylie, D-Vancouver. “In addition to the need for improved safety and reliability, a new replacement I-5 bridge is critical for future economic growth.”

“We need a bridge. We know we need three or four bridges, and to get there we need a process that is open and transparent and balances competing interests every step of the way,” said Sen Lynda Wilson, R-Vancouver. “Our constituents demand and deserve no less.  Moving commerce and people is vital in our county and in a state where we are a leading exporter. Addressing congestion relief for economic growth and freight mobility has to be a top priority in this process.”

“This is the first of the many steps in developing a comprehensive solution for southwest Washington’s transportation needs, particularly as they pertain to bridges linking Washington and Oregon,” said Sen. Ann Rivers, R-La Center.

The other area lawmakers who have been working on the effort are Representatives Monica Stonier, D-Vancouver, Paul Harris, R-Vancouver, and Brandon Vick, R-Vancouver.

SB 5806 also called for the creation of a joint Oregon-Washington legislative action committee to address a variety of concerns including the process for developing a new I-5 bridge and appropriated $350,000 for the inventory that was released today to be conducted, and the committee work to begin.

The full inventory, including a summary of specific sections, can be accessed at this link.

December 4th, 2017|Uncategorized|
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    Cleveland to lead Senate Health & Long Term Care Committee as chair

Cleveland to lead Senate Health & Long Term Care Committee as chair

Sen. Annette Cleveland, D-Vancouver, will chair the Senate Health & Long Term Care Committee when the Legislature convenes in January for the 2018 legislative session.

Having been the ranking member on the committee when Democrats were in the minority, the move to chair will put Cleveland in charge of the committee. Democrats are now the majority party in the Senate after winning a special election earlier this month in the state’s 45th Legislative District; this gives them the power to set the agendas of Senate committees and floor action, determining which bills will be heard and brought up for votes.

Cleveland will also continue to serve on the Senate Transportation Committee and the Senate Rules Committee.

“Just as I built bridges across the aisle when we were in the minority, I intend to work productively with my Republican colleagues in the House and Senate now that we’re in the majority,” Cleveland said. “What’s important isn’t who gets credit for a certain piece of legislation but that the legislation helps our families across the state prosper.”

The 2018 legislative session gets underway in Olympia on Jan. 8.

 

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For interviews:         Sen. Annette Cleveland, 360-786-7696

For information:       Rick Manugian, Senate Democratic Communications, 360-786-7569

November 14th, 2017|Uncategorized|