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Senate passes four Dhingra bills to tackle mental health, substance use disorder

Senate passes four Dhingra bills to tackle mental health, substance use disorder

OLYMPIA — Four bills to improve Washington state’s behavioral health system passed the Senate unanimously this week. “Over the last six years we have been working to build capacity for services across the behavioral health crisis continuum: A Place to Call, Someone to Come, A Safe Place to Be,” said Sen. Manka Dhingra (D-Redmond), chair of the Senate Law & Justice Committee and sponsor of the legislation. “The 988 system is the place to call. Mobile rapid response crisis teams and community-based crisis teams are the someone to come. The crisis relief system is the safe place to ...

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WA LGBTQ Caucus responds to recent raids at Seattle-area gay bars

WA LGBTQ Caucus responds to recent raids at Seattle-area gay bars

The Washington State Legislative LGBTQ Caucus released the following statement Friday: “As members of the Washington State Legislature’s LGBTQ Caucus, we were deeply impacted by the unacceptable actions taken by the Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB) on Jan. 26 and 27 at Seattle-area gay bars many of us have visited over the years. The manner of the Board's enforcement inspections caused immediate fear and trauma to the patrons, shattering their sense of safety. Without immediate action, this breach of trust risks doing lasting harm between our community and the LCB. This enforcement tactic spread fear and impacted ...

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Senate passes Keep Our Care Act

Senate passes Keep Our Care Act

OLYMPIA – The Keep Our Care Act to ensure hospital mergers don’t limit access to critical health care  passed the Senate 28-21 on Thursday.   Senate Bill 5241, sponsored by Sen. Emily Randall (D-Bremerton), would ensure hospital mergers and acquisitions don’t restrict patients’ access to critical health care, such as end-of-life, reproductive and gender-affirming care.   Research has shown hospital consolidations commonly result in price increases for patients of up to 20% or more.   Washington state has seen multiple consolidations that restrict access to these critical health ...

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Stanford bill to protect solar power consumers heads to House

Stanford bill to protect solar power consumers heads to House

OLYMPIA – People planning on installing solar panels at their homes or businesses would receive added consumer protections under legislation passed unanimously yesterday by the Senate. SB 6256 would prevent deceptive sales tactics, ensure that contracts are clear and contain all necessary provisions, require work be done by licensed electricians, and provide for enforcement under the state Consumer Protection Act. “The solar industry is one of the cornerstones of a greener future in Washington state,” said Sen. Derek Stanford (D-Bothell), the bill’s prime sponsor. “As solar installations continue to grow, we need to ensure that consumers can be ...

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Senate passes Nobles bill continuing program to improve active transportation connectivity in overburdened communities

Senate passes Nobles bill continuing program to improve active transportation connectivity in overburdened communities

OLYMPIA — A bill to continue a statewide program to improve active transportation connectivity in overburdened communities unanimously passed the Senate Thursday.  Senate Bill 6283, sponsored by Sen. T’wina Nobles (D-Fircrest), would eliminate the expiration date for the Sandy Williams Connecting Communities Program, which is set to end in 2027. Williams, a Black community organizer and advocate, worked to address historic injustices created by highway projects in the mid-century. She led the effort to reconnect her Spokane neighborhood after Interstate 90 geographically split it in half.  "Sandy dedicated ...

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Keiser’s Employee Free Choice Act passes Senate

Keiser’s Employee Free Choice Act passes Senate

OLYMPIA – Workers would gain protection against employers who seek to force them to attend meetings where they are required to listen to the employer’s opinions on religious or political matters, under legislation passed by the Senate today. SB 5778 would make Washington the sixth state in the nation to prohibit employers from disciplining or firing employees who refuse to attend such meetings. “Workers are hired to do a job. Going to work should not obligate a worker to listen to their employer's views on religious and political matters,” said Sen. Karen Keiser (D-Des Moines), chair of the ...

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Stanford bill to crack down on predatory loans clears Senate

Stanford bill to crack down on predatory loans clears Senate

OLYMPIA – The Senate today unanimously passed legislation to block unscrupulous lenders who are partnering with out-of-state banks to evade Washington’s limits on interest rates. SB 6025, sponsored by Sen. Derek Stanford (D-Bothell), makes any attempt to evade the provisions of Washington’s Consumer Loan Act a violation of the act. “Our state’s Consumer Loan Act does a good job of protecting consumers and making sure there is clarity for lenders and borrowers,” said Stanford. “But some companies are partnering with out-of-state banks and using structures that allow them to get around the act. This bill makes sure our ...

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Stanford bill limiting noncompetition contracts passes Senate

Stanford bill limiting noncompetition contracts passes Senate

OLYMPIA – Workers in Washington state would gain protections against employer-imposed noncompetition agreements, under legislation passed on a 29-20 vote in the Senate. SB 5935, sponsored by Sen. Derek Stanford (D-Bothell), provides a range of protections to workers in response to real-life situations that have arisen since the passage of landmark 2019 legislation restricting the use of noncompete clauses in Washington.  Consumers benefit too, as they will be able to follow their favorite car mechanic, doctor, or other service provider who moves to a new location. “Noncompete clauses in contracts hurt workers and stifle competition,” said Stanford. “Workers ...

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House, Senate Members of Color Caucus chairs issue statement on rent stabilization

House, Senate Members of Color Caucus chairs issue statement on rent stabilization

Our communities are begging for housing stability. It is time to listen.  This is why both the Senate and House Members of Color caucuses have prioritized stabilizing rent increases (HB 2114/SB 5961) as our top housing policy for the 2024 legislative session.  As chairs of our respective caucuses, we are the first to recognize we are not a monolith and don’t aim to become one. We represent diverse interests and districts. As elected leaders of color, we carry multiple truths born of our varied lived experiences. We hold the perspectives of the constituents we ...

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Trudeau bill prohibiting hog-tying by law enforcement passes Senate 

Trudeau bill prohibiting hog-tying by law enforcement passes Senate 

OLYMPIA — A bill carrying the weight of lives lost and the hopes of a community yearning for justice passed the Senate on Tuesday on a 49 to 0 vote.  SB 6009, sponsored by Sen. Yasmin Trudeau (D-Tacoma), prohibits the dangerous and inhumane practice of hog-tying, a practice unfortunately still allowed by some law enforcement jurisdictions.  Four years ago, Manuel Ellis, a 33-year-old Black man from Tacoma, died after spending the final moments of his life hog-tied and pleading for breath. Trudeau was motivated by the impact the story of his death has ...

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