The 2018 legislative session officially convenes today and with Democrats now controlling the State Senate, we’ll be hitting the ground running to embrace new opportunities for a short 60-day session.
Returning to Olympia, I’m reminded again what a privilege it is to serve the 21st Legislative District, the community I grew up in. As our voice in the Legislature I work to ensure that the community which raised me has its voice heard in the halls of the Capitol.
Which is why I’m excited to tell you about a couple of the bills I’ve sponsored that are set to be heard in committee this week.
As you may have seen recently, the Attorney General released a report detailing student-loan indebtedness in Washington state. The results are astounding: 800,000 Washingtonians owe a cumulative $24.4 billion. That’s one-in-seven Washingtonians paying off student debt, including $2.1 billion owed by Washingtonians over the age of sixty.
I’m one of the 800,000 still paying off my loans, so I really understand the economic pressures it can put on individuals trying to plan their future.
On January 11th, the Student Loan Bill of Rights will be heard in the Senate Higher Education & Workforce Development Committee.
I introduced this legislation knowing that we must implement safeguards to protect Washingtonians from predatory loan servicers and ensure that those still paying off their debt will have a student-loan advocate at the state level.
Also this week, my bill to ban so-called “conversion therapy” for LGBTQ youth will receive a hearing in the Senate Health & Long Term Care Committee.
Every major medical organization which has reviewed “conversion therapy” has condemned the practice. It is barbaric to deny young people their identity and I am proud to sponsor the legislation to ban it in our state.
In 2018, the Senate Democratic Caucus will return the Legislature to effective, transparent governance to produce results for the people of Washington. As the newly elected Floor Leader of the Senate, I am honored to help lead in that cause.
So in that spirit, I encourage you to reach out and connect. I can be reached by phone at 360-786-7640 or by email at Marko.Liias@leg.wa.gov. The work of the Legislature is done best when we work with you.
All my best,
Senator Marko Liias