News

Senate passes Wilson bill to improve reentry services

Senate passes Wilson bill to improve reentry services

  OLYMPIA Today the Senate passed legislation that would improve public safety by ensuring access to services for formerly incarcerated or confined individuals reentering the community. SB 5304, sponsored by Sen. Claire Wilson, would provide a “warm handoff” when someone leaves custody and rejoins their community by allowing them to be covered by Medicaid upon their release from incarceration or confinement. It would also ensure that their managed care provider is notified of their release and provided the necessary information to initiate their benefits. Healthcare coverage during this transition will give people access to services they need to ...

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Kuderer bill to help renters and landlords during pandemic wins Senate approval

Kuderer bill to help renters and landlords during pandemic wins Senate approval

OLYMPIA – A bill that would create new eviction protections for renters and expand programs to help landlords recover losses from unpaid rent as a result of the COVID-19 public health crisis was approved by the Senate by a vote of 29-20 on Thursday. [TVW Link] Senate Bill 5160, sponsored by Sen. Patty Kuderer (D-Bellevue), aims to significantly reduce the number of immediate evictions that are expected if the governor’s moratorium is lifted without legislative action. The current eviction moratorium is scheduled to expire on March 31.

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Senate passes Nguyen bill to increase vital TANF investments

Senate passes Nguyen bill to increase vital TANF investments

OLYMPIA - Families that rely on Washington’s Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program could see an additional boost in benefits along with clarified expectations under legislation passed today by the Senate. Senate Bill 5214, sponsored by Sen. Joe Nguyen (D-West Seattle), would allow more families to continue using the vital social program during times of high statewide unemployment. The bill passed on a 29-19 vote and would allow for hardship extensions beyond the 60-month lifetime TANF limit if state unemployment is at or above 7 percent. “Even before the public health crisis we are currently in, it was ...

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Lovelett bill to expand mental health care clears senate

Lovelett bill to expand mental health care clears senate

A bill aimed at expanding community-based support systems for Washingtonians living with mental illnesses passed the Washington State Senate today. Engrossed Senate Bill 5328, sponsored by Sen. Liz Lovelett (D-Anacortes), would make funding available to establish Clubhouse services statewide. Clubhouses are voluntary programs that enable those struggling with mental illnesses to focus on their strengths in a collaborative setting. The program provides an opportunity for people in similar situations to recover and improve their lives through friendship, shared work, education and employment. The bill would also require the Department of Health to review and redesign the licensure and ...

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Salomon’s personal protective equipment bill passes the Senate

Salomon’s personal protective equipment bill passes the Senate

OLYMPIA – A bill to better protect workers during a public health crisis was approved by the Senate on a bipartisan vote of 40-7 on Tuesday. SB 5254, sponsored by Sen. Jesse Salomon (D-Shoreline), would bar employers from prohibiting employees from wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) when a public health state of emergency is declared because of an infectious disease.

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Senate passes Darneille relief bill for 64 serving life sentences

Senate passes Darneille relief bill for 64 serving life sentences

  OLYMPIA Today the Senate passed legislation that would require resentencing of individuals sentenced to life without parole due to a conviction for robbery in the second degree. In 1993, Washington became the first state to adopt a three strikes law that required courts to sentence people to life in prison without the possibility of parole (LWOP) upon conviction of a third “most serious offense.” But in 2019, the Legislature passed Senate Bill 5288, which removed robbery in the second degree from the list of most serious offenses, meaning it was no longer a three-strikes offense. However, ...

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Senate passes Saldaña’s HEAL Act to ensure environmental justice

Senate passes Saldaña’s HEAL Act to ensure environmental justice

  OLYMPIA Legislation passed today by the Senate would reduce environmental health disparities in Washington state and improve the health of all people in Washington using principles of environmental justice. Senate Bill 5141, also known as the HEAL Act, would address the disproportionate exposure of Black, Indigenous, and other communities of color, along with low-income communities to environmental hazards in neighborhoods across Washington state. Due to this exposure, there is a higher risk of adverse health outcomes for those communities, which is further amplified for communities with pre-existing economic barriers and environmental risks. The HEAL Act, sponsored ...

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Liias bill to improve health equity and access for transgender people wins Senate approval

Liias bill to improve health equity and access for transgender people wins Senate approval

SB 5313, also known as the Gender Affirming Treatment Act and is sponsored by State Sen. Marko Liias (D-Lynnwood), 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.

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Wilson bill to raise families’ awareness of Education Ombuds passes Senate

Wilson bill to raise families’ awareness of Education Ombuds passes Senate

  OLYMPIA Legislation passed today by the Senate would raise awareness among families in the public education system about the services of the Office of Education Ombuds in Washington (OEO). Senate Bill 5376, sponsored by Sen. Claire Wilson (D-Auburn), would require public schools to notify students and their families of the services available through OEO in at least one of two ways. Starting Sept. 1, 2021, schools would need to either include a link to OEO’s website on the school’s website or include contact information and a description of OEO services in annually shared materials such ...

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Frockt bill to protect election workers passes Senate with overwhelming bipartisan support

Frockt bill to protect election workers passes Senate with overwhelming bipartisan support

OLYMPIA — Frontline election workers would be protected from harassment in Washington state under a bill passed with overwhelming bipartisan support by the Senate late on Thursday. “Elections are meant to safeguard our democracy—they are our democracy,” said Sen. David Frockt (D-Seattle), the sponsor of SB 5148. “They are strengthened by our collective participation and trust in the systems that uphold it. “Many volunteers and workers lend their time to serve in our electoral process. This bill would afford them the same protections that elected and appointed election officials already have.” Frontline election workers and officials across the ...

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