News

Senate unanimously passes bills to help survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault

Senate unanimously passes bills to help survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault

OLYMPIA – Survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault will gain crucial protections and supports, and abusers will be held more accountable, if four bills passed unanimously by the Senate become law. SB 5180, passed today, would make it easier for survivors to wipe off their record sentences they received for offenses that were the result of being a victim of sex trafficking, domestic violence or sexual assault. “Traditionally our justice system has not done a good job in understanding the trauma of survivors,” said Sen. Manka Dhingra (D-Redmond), the bill’s sponsor. “This bill is about helping ...

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Liias bill to prohibit arbitrary local housing ordinances that limit housing options gets Senate approval

Liias bill to prohibit arbitrary local housing ordinances that limit housing options gets Senate approval

OLYMPIA – A bill to restrict local governments from enacting arbitrary housing restrictions on accessory dwelling units (ADU) and home occupancy was approved by the Senate by a vote of 43-6 on Wednesday.Add New SB 5235, sponsored by State Sen. Marko Liias (D-Lynnwood) would prevent local governments from having ordinances that restrict who can live in ADUs in most circumstances. The bill would also restrict local governments from placing arbitrary limits on the number of unrelated people within a home. These arbitrary limits disproportionally impact historically and currently marginalized communities, and have contributed to widespread discrimination in ...

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Liias bill to expand blood donation options to 16- and 17-year-olds gets Senate approval

Liias bill to expand blood donation options to 16- and 17-year-olds gets Senate approval

A bill to expand eligibility for a certain type of blood donation to 16- and 17-year-olds was approved by the Senate by a vote of 48-1 on Tuesday. SB 5179, sponsored by State Sen. Marko Liias (D-Lynnwood) would allow people ages 16 and 17 to donate blood through the apheresis process with parental or guardian permission.

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Senate passes nation-leading Keiser bill to protect frontline workers during pandemic

Senate passes nation-leading Keiser bill to protect frontline workers during pandemic

OLYMPIA — Frontline workers who are infected with COVID-19 would receive medical coverage and partial wage replacement for lost work hours under the Health Emergency Labor Standards Act (HELSA), passed today by the Senate on a vote of 48-1. “HELSA would take a big step to assure frontline workers that they will be kept informed about what is happening in their workplaces and reduce the fear and anxiety they feel about coming to work every day,” said Sen. Karen Keiser (D-Des Moines), the bill’s sponsor. SB 5115 would create a presumption that any frontline employees infected by ...

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Nobles’ parks pilot focuses on health of disenfranchised youth

Nobles’ parks pilot focuses on health of disenfranchised youth

The Senate has passed legislation to create a task force to develop a pilot wellness program to address the health impacts of systematic inequities and discrimination. “This is about opening the doors to the outdoors for communities that need healing, both physically and mentally,” said Sen. T’wina Nobles (D-Fircrest). “This is an issue of justice. In my work prior to the Legislature, I specifically focused on girls and our Black communities to provide healing from institutional racism and other trauma.” Nobles’ Senate Bill 5292 will now be considered by the House. The bill would direct the task force to ...

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Stanford bill to engage tribes in emergency management passes Senate

Stanford bill to engage tribes in emergency management passes Senate

OLYMPIA – Native American tribes would gain a say in Washington state’s emergency management preparations under legislation passed unanimously today by the Senate. “Emergencies do not recognize borders,” said Sen. Derek Stanford (D-Bothell), the bill’s sponsor. “It’s crucial that federally recognized tribes, as sovereign nations, have a seat at the table as our state plans for emergencies like a pandemic.” SB 5101 would increase the size of the Washington state Emergency Management Council, which advises the governor and the adjutant general, who commands the Washington National Guard, from 18 members to 20. The additional two members would ...

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Dhingra: Duty-to-intervene bill empowers officers to do the right thing

Dhingra: Duty-to-intervene bill empowers officers to do the right thing

OLYMPIA – If a law enforcement officer uses excessive force, fellow officers would have a duty to intervene to stop it, under a bill passed today by the Senate. “I have had the pleasure of working with many law enforcement officers in my previous career as a senior deputy prosecutor, and the vast majority are committed to doing the right thing,” said Sen. Manka Dhingra (D-Redmond), the bill’s sponsor. “They hold themselves up to a high ethical standard. This bill is about empowering our good officers to hold their peers to the same high standard.” SB 5066, ...

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Salomon’s bill to boost critical Orca food supply wins Senate approval

Salomon’s bill to boost critical Orca food supply wins Senate approval

A bill aimed at restoring salmon habitat for Puget Sound orcas struggling to find enough food to survive was approved by the Senate by a vote of 28-21 on Thursday. Senate Bill 5273, sponsored by Sen. Jesse Salomon (D-Shoreline), would require residential property owners to use an alternative that has the least amount of negative impact on marine life when replacing existing shoreline seawalls.

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Kuderer’s pregnancy protection bill wins Senate approval

Kuderer’s pregnancy protection bill wins Senate approval

OLYMPIA – A bill that would protect pregnant patients’ access to health care during urgent medical situations was approved by the Senate by a vote of 29-20 on Wednesday. Senate Bill 5140, sponsored by Sen. Patty Kuderer (D-Bellevue), would bar hospitals from prohibiting health care providers from providing health care services related to miscarriage management and treatment for ectopic pregnancies.

“Women need to be safe, feel safe, and receive the best possible health care during pregnancy,” said Kuderer. “Pregnant patients should never have their lives put in jeopardy by having urgent medical care delayed or denied.”

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Legislature approves 2.2B COVID-19 relief bill

Legislature approves 2.2B COVID-19 relief bill

The Washington State Legislature on Wednesday gave final approval to a bipartisan $2.2 billion COVID-19 relief measure to expand testing and vaccine distribution, provide support to schools, make grants available for small business, and help thousands meet basic needs with housing and food assistance. The bill (HB 1368) will now head to Gov. Inslee to be signed into law. “This pandemic continues to put strain on communities across our state, and these investments target critical areas that will help us defeat COVID-19 while building back a stronger and more resilient Washington,” said Sen. Christine Rolfes (D-Bainbridge Island), chair ...

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