First off, if you’re getting this e-newsletter for the first time, welcome! I’m Marko Liias, your state senator from the 21st Legislative District. I am one of your voices in the state Legislature in Olympia. I send these e-newsletters a few times a month during the legislative session and periodically when we’re out of session because it’s important you know what your public officials are doing on your behalf.
Engaging with my constituents directly is one of my favorite parts of the job. In our democracy, collectively you are my bosses and managers and I work for all of us in our community. I can represent you better if I know what matters to you most, so your feedback is always welcome.
I hope you find value in this e-newsletter. However, if you do not want to be on my e-newsletter distribution, simply click here and you’ll be removed from this list.
COVID-19 Economic Relief
Sadly, our nation reached 400,000 coronavirus deaths earlier this week. And unfortunately a year after the first case was discovered in the U.S. right here in Washington state, we still don’t have this deadly virus under control. I’m optimistic that the new Biden Administration will put an end to letting politics be the driving force behind federal policy and instead will be guided by science and facts.
At the state level, the Senate will be working to implement the recommendations of the bipartisan Special Committee on Economic Recovery. You can read their full report here.
On Friday, Democrats released a $2.2 billion COVID-19 relief package that includes funding for small business grants, vaccine administration, schools, rental assistance, food assistance, childcare, and assistance for undocumented immigrants. This is just an initial investment as lawmakers continue to work on additional relief measures. You can read more about our proposal here.
I saw several news accounts about price gouging of critical supplies early on in the pandemic. My colleague, Sen. Jeannie Darneille has a bill (SB 5191) to strengthen our price gouging laws. Click here for a summary of the bill.
Did you experience price gouging during the pandemic? If so, we’d like to hear from you. You can submit your comments on the bill here, and sign up to testify on the bill here.
While much of the focus will be on immediate relief, lawmakers must also act to ensure the state comes out of this pandemic stronger and better prepared for the next public health crisis. For longer-term recovery, we must invest in our infrastructure, higher education, internet access, and rebuild sectors like hospitality, where small businesses were decimated.
I will share more about these efforts as the session progresses.
2021 Remote Session
The 2021 mostly remote legislative session is officially underway. Lawmakers gathered in Olympia on Day One of the session to swear in newly-elected members and to change parliamentary rules to allow us to continue our work remotely.
A few members and staff need to be physically present at the Capitol. We’re following the advice of state and local public health experts to minimize health risks. But most members, staff, reporters, and advocates are participating in the legislative process remotely.
Click here for more information on how you can participate in the 2021 session remotely. I’m taking all of my meetings over the phone or through video conference. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call my office at 360-786-7640 if you’d like to chat.
We owe a big thanks to all the members, staff, and public health experts who helped develop the work plan for this session that allows us to work safely amidst a pandemic that’s still not under control.
And a big “thank you” to the members of the Washington National Guard, state and local law enforcement, and legislative campus security team who kept us all physically safe in light of recent state and national threats made against our democratic institutions.
My 2021 bills
I’m sponsoring several bills this session that will benefit Washington state and our community.
- SB 5078 would expand our successful firearms background checks to cover firearms accessories and restrict high capacity magazines, like the ones used in the Las Vegas massacre that killed 58 people and injured 847, and in the Mukilteo shooting closer to home. High capacity magazines are used as tools for weapons of war and have no place in our community.
- SB 5093, the Healthy Homes and Clean Buildings Act, will put the state on a path to decarbonize all of its buildings by 2050. Homes and buildings are the second-largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, so this bill will get Washington state closer to a green energy future. We must take bold climate action this year. I am proud to be teaming up with Governor Inslee to present this important legislation.
- SB 5242 would create an education grant program to develop curriculum to boost student media literacy and digital citizenship. The massive growth and spread of conspiracy theories over the last four years contributed to an unprecedented insurrection at our nation’s Capitol. More needs to be done to educate young people about media and digital citizenship to ensure such riots don’t happen again.
How to reach me?
As always, your ideas are important to me. You can stay in touch several ways:
- Send me an email here or at email@example.com.
- Call the toll-free legislative hotline at 1.800.562.6000 or 1-800.833.6388 (TTY).
- Check out my website.
- Find me on Facebook, Instagram or follow my work on Twitter.
21st Legislative District