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Das bill expanding affordable housing development becomes law

Das bill expanding affordable housing development becomes law

OLYMPIA – A bill signed today by Gov. Jay Inslee extends the Multifamily Tax Exemption (MFTE) to expand affordable housing building incentives. “Now more than ever, we need to advance solutions to our housing crisis and get – or keep – a roof over our neighbors’ heads,” said Sen. Mona Das (D-Kent), the sponsor of the bill. “This bill was a top priority for our community, and a broad coalition of local lawmakers, low-income housing advocates, associations of cities and counties, and housing developers came together to see this through.” In Washington, where there are only 29 affordable ...

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Sen. Claire Wilson receives national Sex Education Champion award

Sen. Claire Wilson receives national Sex Education Champion award

  OLYMPIA – Sen. Claire Wilson (D-Auburn) received the State Sex Education Champion award late Wednesday from SIECUS, a national organization that advocates for and advances comprehensive sexuality education policies. The State Sex Education Champion award recognizes leaders who speak to the importance of all people receiving comprehensive sexuality education and quality sexual and reproductive health services that affirm their identities and allow them to access and enjoy sexual and reproductive freedom, as they define it for themselves. The award recognizes long-term outcomes will positively impact all levels of society, particularly around issues of gender and racial equity, sexuality, ...

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Governor signs bill to increase access to computer science degrees

Governor signs bill to increase access to computer science degrees

OLYMPIA – Gov. Jay Inslee signed a bill into law today that allows community and technical colleges in Washington to offer bachelor’s degrees in computer science. Senate Bill 5401, sponsored by Sen. Joe Nguyen (D-West Seattle), creates more options for Washington students to earn degrees and enter the competitive computer science workforce. “Allowing our community colleges to offer these degrees will extend opportunities to so many of our neighbors,” said Nguyen. “With all the talented people living in our state, it’s so important that we provide options and paths forward.” Washington’s Employment Security Department estimates that more than ...

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Billig: “The 2021 legislative session saw the end of incremental change and the beginning of a fundamental transformation”

Billig: “The 2021 legislative session saw the end of incremental change and the beginning of a fundamental transformation”

“When we began this session 105 days ago, we had a choice.  We could come in to do the minimum and get out of town. Instead, we chose to rise to the moment as a Legislature and as a state and invest in robust, long-term recovery that works for everyone.” “We listened. We acted. The 2021 legislative session saw the end of incremental change and the beginning of a fundamental transformation to institutions that were always intended to work for people but too often fell short. “We addressed tax reform through the Working Families Tax Credit for Washingtonians struggling ...

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Legislature approves capital gains excise tax

Legislature approves capital gains excise tax

OLYMPIA – Earlier today, the Washington State Legislature approved a critical piece of tax reform legislation. Senate Bill 5096, sponsored by Sen. June Robinson, D-Everett, enacts a capital gains excise tax to fund the expansion and affordability of child care, early learning, and the state’s paramount duty to provide an education for the children of Washington. After passing the House on April 21, the bill was sent to conference following the Senate’s refusal to concur with House amendments. The final bill adjusts the distribution of collected revenues by capping deposits in the Education Legacy Trust Account at ...

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Legislature passes landmark recovery budget to help families, small businesses

Legislature passes landmark recovery budget to help families, small businesses

OLYMPIA – The Washington State Legislature passed a historic budget today that focuses on an equitable recovery from the economic and health impacts of COVID-19. The 2021-23 operating budget uses a combination of ongoing state revenue and federal funds from the American Rescue Plan to provide back-due rent relief, small business support, strengthen the state’s safety net, build upon investments in local public health, and prioritize needs of low-income and communities of color who have suffered the most impacts due to the pandemic. “This is a budget that meets the moment and will guide a sustainable and equitable recovery ...

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Change in law provides treatment for controlled substances

Change in law provides treatment for controlled substances

OLYMPIA – Washington will extend its public-health approach to substance use disorder by establishing a temporary new legal framework the possession of controlled substances and providing nearly $90 million to significantly expand treatment infrastructure, under a bill passed today by the Legislature. In a Feb. 25 decision in the case of State v. Blake, the Washington State Supreme Court struck down the state statute that made possession of controlled substances a class C felony, removing all state criminal penalties for possession. SB 5476, sponsored by Sen. Manka Dhingra (D-Redmond), reduces the penalty to a simple misdemeanor and mandates ...

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Senate passes $6.3 billion capital construction budget

Senate passes $6.3 billion capital construction budget

OLYMPIA — The Senate today approved $6.3 billion in funding for priority infrastructure across the state, the largest and most aggressive capital construction budget in state history, funded through a combination state bonds, local revenue sources and federal relief funds. The funds allocated by House Bill 1080 will go toward expanding broadband internet access, growing the state’s supply of affordable housing, improving behavioral health, safeguarding natural resources, and investing in underserved communities. “The economic conditions are right to make investments in infrastructure that will jumpstart our economic recovery and provide long-term dividends for our economy for years to ...

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Keiser: Legislature has delivered for hard-hit businesses

Keiser: Legislature has delivered for hard-hit businesses

OLYMPIA — With the passage of Senate Bill 5478 today, the Legislature has now put $2.2 billion in unemployment insurance (UI) tax cuts back into the pockets of Washington’s employers. “Businesses around our state have been suffering during this pandemic,” said Sen. Karen Keiser (D-Des Moines), the bill’s sponsor and chair of the Senate Labor, Commerce & Tribal Affairs Committee. “We knew when the legislative session started that we needed to act quickly and decisively to provide immediate relief and help employers recover going forward—and that’s what we’ve done.” SB 5478 provides the hardest-hit businesses with $500 million ...

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New law: Gross misdemeanor for portrayal of fraudulent drop boxes

New law: Gross misdemeanor for portrayal of fraudulent drop boxes

Legislation signed into law by the governor this week makes misrepresentation of an unofficial ballot drop box a gross misdemeanor. Senate Bill 5015, sponsored by Sen. Sam Hunt (D-Olympia), would hold anyone who provides a voter with faulty election equipment or misleading or incorrect information guilty of a gross misdemeanor. The penalty for a gross misdemeanor is a maximum of 364 days in jail and a fine of $5,000.

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