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Statement from legislative leaders in support of Stay Home, Stay Healthy

Statement from legislative leaders in support of Stay Home, Stay Healthy

Senate Majority Leader Andy Billig (D-Spokane), Speaker of the House Laurie Jinkins (D-Tacoma), Senate Minority Leader Mark Schoesler (R-Ritzville) and House Minority Leader JT Wilcox (R-Yelm) released the following statement in support of Gov. Inslee’s ‘Stay Home, Stay Healthy’ steps to slow the spread of COVID-19 in Washington state.

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“We encourage all Washingtonians to follow the new guidance of Gov. Jay Inslee. The guidance in “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” is critical to limiting the spread of COVID-19 and helping flatten the curve of infections. Our behavior could mean life or death for Washingtonians. “We have ...

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Billig: Governor has Legislature’s full support

Billig: Governor has Legislature’s full support

OLYMPIA – Senate Majority Leader Andy Billig said the Legislature took steps before adjourning last week to swiftly support coronavirus response efforts by Gov. Jay Inslee, including the release of $200 million in emergency funds appropriated by the Washington State Legislature to help fund the state's COVID-19 response. The funds will be used for hospital surge capacity, testing, and other efforts at local health departments. The Legislature also authorized immediate funding that may be used for shelter needs related to COVID-19, which the Department of Commerce is already in the process of distributing to counties and cities. “Leaders in ...

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Sen. Billig statement on the conclusion of the 2020 session

Sen. Billig statement on the conclusion of the 2020 session

“I am so proud of the work we’ve done on behalf of the people of this state, but all of our thoughts right now are with the people and communities across Washington impacted by the coronavirus and with the public health professionals who are working around the clock to stop its spread. “The budget we passed today addresses the needs we saw coming into session as well as those that unfolded in recent weeks. The steps we have taken this year, and really for the past three years, leaves our state in a strong position to combat this ...

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Legislature doubles funding to respond to coronavirus

Legislature doubles funding to respond to coronavirus

OLYMPIA – As the 2020 Legislative session came to a close, lawmakers increased emergency coronavirus funding from $100 million to $200 million. With the passage of House Bill 2965, a total of $175 million will be directed to state and local public health agencies and the remaining $25 million will be transferred into the newly created COVID-19 unemployment account to help businesses and workers disrupted by the pandemic. “It’s crucial that the people of Washington have the full support of the Legislature behind them during these challenging times,” said Sen. Christine Rolfes, chair of the Senate Ways & ...

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Takko secures $700,000 to cut traffic congestion in Aberdeen

Takko secures $700,000 to cut traffic congestion in Aberdeen

The City of Aberdeen will receive $700,000 for the US 12 Highway-Rail Separation Project, thanks to a provision added to the Legislature’s final transportation budget by Sen. Dean Takko (D-Longview). The money will fund preliminary work for an overpass and roundabout to raise South Chehalis Street above US 12 and Puget Sound & Pacific Railroad, where train traffic regularly causes congestion and backups on US 12. The number of freight trains traveling along this corridor has significantly increased over the past 15 years and is predicted to continue growing in the coming decades. The Port of Grays Harbor, at the ...

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Legislature doubles funding to respond to coronavirus

Legislature doubles funding to respond to coronavirus

OLYMPIA – The Legislature approved the 2020 supplemental operating budget today as the 60-day legislative session ended on time. In a late addition, lawmakers increased emergency coronavirus funding from $100 million to $200 million. With the passage of House Bill 2965, a total of $175 million will be directed to state and local public health agencies and the remaining $25 million will be transferred into the newly created COVID-19 unemployment account to help businesses and workers disrupted by the pandemic. “It’s crucial that the people of Washington have the full support of the Legislature behind them during ...

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Governor approves ban on ‘panic defense’ in LGBTQ assault cases

Governor approves ban on ‘panic defense’ in LGBTQ assault cases

OLYMPIA – Gov. Jay Inslee signed into law today a bill that will prevent defendants from citing a victim’s gender identity or sexual orientation — the so-called “panic defense” — to justify a violent assault.

House Bill 1687 was introduced in 2019 by then-Rep. Derek Stanford (D-Bothell). Now a state senator, Stanford moved it through the Senate this year to full passage by the Legislature.

HB 1687 makes clear that the discovery of a person’s actual or perceived gender, gender identity, gender expression or sexual orientation provides no justification ...

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Senate passes budget focused on homelessness, working families

Senate passes budget focused on homelessness, working families

OLYMPIA – The 2020 supplemental operating budget (SB 6168) passed today by the Senate directs an additional $115 million to critical investments to address the state’s homelessness crisis. The Senate proposal was approved on a 33-16 vote and includes nearly $1 billion in new spending overall, including significant increases for childcare and early learning as well as a historic investment to speed up financing and construction of the new UW Medicine Behavioral Health Teaching Facility. “With this budget, we are able to address three of the biggest challenges our state faces — affordable housing and homelessness, behavioral health, ...

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Senate transportation budget addresses I-976 funding crisis, restarts stuck projects

Senate transportation budget addresses I-976 funding crisis, restarts stuck projects

The Senate on Tuesday unveiled the 2020 supplemental transportation budget. Normally a document used to make minor tweaks and updates to the statewide transportation needs, this version of the supplemental budget is introduced at a time when Washington’s transportation funding is at a crossroads. This budget utilizes one-time balancing methods that provide a short-term fix, but does not attempt to address the larger, longer-term transportation budget crisis the Legislature must address next session. “I’ve chaired the Transportation Committee for the last three years and been a member of the committee for nearly a decade. I can honestly say putting ...

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Senate budget proposal targets homelessness, early learning and childcare, climate resiliency

Senate budget proposal targets homelessness, early learning and childcare, climate resiliency

OLYMPIA – Senate Democrats today unveiled their 2020 supplemental operating budget, proposing to invest an additional $115 million this year to directly address the state’s homelessness crisis. “This is a realistic, sustainable and responsible budget that will make a difference in people’s daily lives,” said Christine Rolfes (D-Bainbridge Island), chair of the Senate Ways & Means Committee and chief budget writer. “Our economy remains strong and our state’s bond rating is at historic highs, but we also recognize the growing needs of our growing state. “I’m proud this budget makes targeted investments without any new taxes. It’s a budget ...

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