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Liias’ Gender Affirming Treatment Act wins House approval

Liias’ Gender Affirming Treatment Act wins House approval

OLYMPIA – A bill that would require health insurers to cover medically necessary gender affirming treatment in their health plans was approved by the House on Wednesday. SB 5313, also known as the Gender Affirming Treatment Act and is sponsored by State Sen. Marko Liias (D-Everett), would prohibit health insurers from denying or limiting coverage for gender affirming treatment that is consistent with a protected gender expression or identity, is medically necessary, and is prescribed in accordance with accepted standards of care. Many health plans in Washington state classify gender confirmation treatment as cosmetic and therefore such treatment is ...

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Senate budget makes historic investments for recovery, resilience

Senate budget makes historic investments for recovery, resilience

OLYMPIA – Senate Democrats today introduced a sweeping, $59.2 billion two-year budget proposal to increase funding for vital state services, including targeted support for the state’s pandemic recovery efforts and historic investments to support Washington’s working families. The 2021-23 operating budget proposal also leverages an additional $7 billion in one-time federal funds from the American Rescue Plan to bring relief to struggling households and help the state emerge from the pandemic with a stronger safety net and a more resilient public health system. “This budget reflects our state’s strength, determination and will to defeat the virus, and includes ...

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Hobbs: Transportation budget “reflects the urgent need for infrastructure investments”

Hobbs: Transportation budget “reflects the urgent need for infrastructure investments”

While Washington’s finances continue to recover and benefit from a better-than-expected revenue forecast and one-time federal money, the state’s transportation funding sources continue to languish. Even before the Covid-19 pandemic, the collection of gas tax, has been in decline. Gas tax revenue waned only further as Washingtonians began to stay home to combat the pandemic. In addition, other sources of transportation revenue, like tolling, rail, and ferry fare revenue, dropped dramatically. The financially strapped 2021-23 Transportation Budget, Senate Bill 5165, will have a public hearing today in the Senate Transportation Committee. Adding to the challenge are the ...

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Dhingra proposes treatment-focused legal framework for controlled substances

Dhingra proposes treatment-focused legal framework for controlled substances

OLYMPIA – Washington would extend its public-health approach to substance use disorder by establishing a new legal framework for the possession of controlled substances, under a bill introduced today by Sen. Manka Dhingra (D-Redmond). 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, effectively removing any state criminal penalties for possession. Similar to current state laws on marijuana and alcohol, SB 5476 would prohibit the public use of controlled substances, as well as possession by ...

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Senate MOCC statement on acts of violence against AAPI communities

Senate MOCC statement on acts of violence against AAPI communities

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 17, 2021

Senate MOCC statement on acts of violence against AAPI communities

The Senate Members of Color Caucus today issued the following statement: “Waking up to yet another day of more Asian American lives lost at the hands of another hateful individual is devastating. In a year of such vitriol and hardship for everyone, and particularly for Asian American families, businesses, and neighborhoods, the trauma of this continued violence and anti-Asian rhetoric is overwhelming and enraging. “The use of discriminatory language throughout the pandemic has exacerbated decades of xenophobia against Asian Americans. Language from federal government officials ...

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Rolfes: March revenue forecast is ‘fantastic news for our state’

Rolfes: March revenue forecast is ‘fantastic news for our state’

OLYMPIA – State Senator Christine Rolfes (D-Bainbridge Island), chair of the Senate Ways & Means Committee, released this statement following today’s Economic and Revenue Forecast Council meeting. “Today’s revenue forecast is fantastic news for our state. The challenge now is to carefully plan both one-time and ongoing investments that will help the entire state prosper as it emerges from the pandemic. These investments must meet the growing needs of millions of Washingtonians who have had their lives upended in the last year. “Today’s positive news puts the Legislature in an even better position to craft a sustainable and resilient ...

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Senate passes Das bill to allow civil suits for racially-motivated 911 calls

Senate passes Das bill to allow civil suits for racially-motivated 911 calls

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 8, 2021 Senate passes Das bill to allow civil suits for racially-motivated 911 calls The Senate today passed legislation that would provide legal recourse to those who are victims of biased or discriminatory police notifications. “This bill is a response to a problem we’ve seen way too often,” said Sen. Mona Das (D-Kent), the sponsor of SB 5135. “People of color – most often our Black neighbors – in our state and around the nation have had the cops called on them by someone who intends to threaten or intimidate or to tell someone they don’t ...

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Senate Democrats pass capital gains excise tax

Senate Democrats pass capital gains excise tax

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 7, 2021 Senate Democrats pass capital gains excise tax Legislation to establish a state capital gains tax on the sale of stocks and bonds passed out of the Senate on a 25-24 vote yesterday afternoon. Sen. June Robinson (D-Everett), the sponsor of the bill, acknowledged the extensive input and collaboration that has shaped this policy over the course of a decade in her remarks during yesterday’s floor debate. She also underscored the importance of this bill as a tool for rebuilding Washington State’s regressive tax code. “When we vote to pass this bill, we’re voting to speed ...

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Senate passes landmark Wilson bill to expand access to childcare

Senate passes landmark Wilson bill to expand access to childcare

  OLYMPIA Sweeping legislation passed today by the Senate would address one of the leading challenges for Washington households by dramatically increasing the accessibility and affordability of childcare while stabilizing and expanding an industry in crisis. “Childcare tops the list of concerns for the vast majority of our households,” said Sen. Claire Wilson (D-Auburn), the bill’s sponsor. “This bill will help kids across our state and it will help parents keep their jobs and the salaries they need to take care of their families.” Pre-pandemic, the Child Care Collaborative Task Force reported that the childcare crisis was costing ...

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Kuderer’s public financial cooperative bill passes Senate

Kuderer’s public financial cooperative bill passes Senate

A bill that would create a public financial cooperative in Washington state was approved by the Senate on Friday. The new public cooperative created by SB 5188, sponsored by Sen. Patty Kuderer (D-Bellevue), would provide alternatives for local and tribal governments to fund critical infrastructure and economic development needs.

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