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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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Senate passes $1.7 billion in unemployment insurance tax relief

Senate passes $1.7 billion in unemployment insurance tax relief

All businesses in Washington would see significant relief from unemployment taxes, including reductions in bills due in April, if SB 5061 is passed by the Legislature by mid-February. The bill, which passed on the Senate floor today with an overwhelming bipartisan majority, has an emergency clause and would take effect as soon as Governor Inslee signs it into law. [TVW link] SB 5061, sponsored by Sen. Karen Keiser (D-Des Moines), targets relief to the most affected businesses and helps low-wage workers by raising their benefits. “This issue is urgent,” said Keiser. “Employers are seeing increases of 300 ...

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Senate committee considers Kuderer bill to ban open carry weapons at public demonstrations and legislative buildings

Senate committee considers Kuderer bill to ban open carry weapons at public demonstrations and legislative buildings

OLYMPIA – The Senate Law & Justice Committee held a public hearing on SB 5038 today, which would prohibit the open carry of firearms or other weapons at public demonstrations and the state capitol  grounds. [TVW Link] SB 5038, sponsored by Sen. Patty Kuderer (D-Bellevue), would also prevent open carry weapons within 1,000 feet of public demonstrations. Similar restrictions exist in Maryland, Alabama, and Washington, D.C. “The purpose of openly carrying a weapon at a protest is to intimidate people who are exercising their First Amendment rights,” said Kuderer testifying in support of ...

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Democrats unveil pandemic relief package

Democrats unveil pandemic relief package

Democrats in the Washington State Legislature released a $2.2 billion COVID-19 relief package today that would expand testing and vaccine availability, extend support to schools, provide grants for small business, and help thousands meet basic needs with housing and food assistance. The proposals are scheduled to receive hearings in the House and Senate next week. The overall relief package includes separate legislation that provides unemployment insurance relief for employers and workers across the state. “Getting this money out the door is a key part of our state’s battle against the pandemic, and this package will ensure that federal funding ...

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Walkinshaw sworn in as Senate Democrats' representative on Redistricting Commission

Walkinshaw sworn in as Senate Democrats' representative on Redistricting Commission

Former state representative Brady Piñero Walkinshaw was sworn in Friday morning as the Senate Democratic Caucus representative on the Washington State Redistricting Commission. Walkinshaw, who was sworn in by Supreme Court Justice Mary Yu, joins Secretary Treasurer of the Washington State Labor Council (WSLC) AFL-CIO April Sims, who will represent the House of Representatives on the Commission and took the oath of office Monday. "I'm honored to be serving our state in this once-in-a-decade effort that's so vital to our democratic process," said Walkinshaw. "I look forward to partnering with my fellow commissioners to lay the foundation for ...

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The Senate Members of Color Caucus Co-Chairs Honor MLK, Jr.'s Legacy

The Senate Members of Color Caucus Co-Chairs Honor MLK, Jr.'s Legacy

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Jan. 18, 2021 The Senate Members of Color Caucus co-chairs – Sen. Rebecca Saldaña (D-Seattle) and Sen. Joe Nguyen (D-White Center) today issued a statement on behalf of the Members of Color Caucus in honor of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the legacy he has left the nation.  “Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a radical liberator. He was both defender and builder of American democracy. He was an enemy of white supremacy and a champion of justice. He fought against the immorality of inequity, he organized against generations ...

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Senate blueprint for economic recovery calls for small business support, childcare expansion, broadband deployment

Senate blueprint for economic recovery calls for small business support, childcare expansion, broadband deployment

SEATTLE — The bipartisan Senate Special Committee on Economic Recovery today released recommendations for rebuilding a post-pandemic economy that works for all Washingtonians. “Washington’s economy has been stretched in unparalleled ways as the public health crisis began, leveled off, and then hit us again,” said Sen. David Frockt (D-Seattle), the committee’s chair. “To go from 3.8% unemployment to nearly 16% in a month, and then back down to our current rate, demonstrates how volatile this economic situation has been in the last 10 months. “The pandemic recession has not hit all workers and groups equally. Our first steps toward ...

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Billig: I condemn any violence, intimidation and destruction

Billig: I condemn any violence, intimidation and destruction

Washington State Senate Majority Leader Andy Billig (D-Spokane) released the following statement on Wednesday's events in Washington D.C. and Olympia: “We all have the right to protest, but we all also have a responsibility to not cross the line into intimidation or violence. Today at our state capital and in our nation’s capital, we have seen that line crossed. I condemn any violence, intimidation and destruction in the strongest terms possible. “I ask all elected officials, at all levels and of every political affiliation to join me in denouncing today's actions and to fully support a smooth and peaceful ...

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Senate Members of Color Caucus express support for governor's equity package

Senate Members of Color Caucus express support for governor's equity package

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Dec. 14, 2020

Senate Members of Color Caucus co-chairs support governor’s equity package

The Washington State Senate Members of Color Caucus (MOCC) co-chairs today issued the following statements concerning Gov. Jay Inslee’s Equity Proposal.

“Our communities have long been calling out for leadership that takes a hard look at inequity in our state and steps forward with bold action to respond to these needs,” said Sen. Rebecca Saldaña (D-Seattle). “I look forward to partnering with the governor in this work to serve every ...

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Sen. Andy Billig’s statement on Sen. John Braun’s election as Republican Minority leader

Sen. Andy Billig’s statement on Sen. John Braun’s election as Republican Minority leader

“Congratulations to Sen. John Braun. This is a well-earned honor for someone who has been at the center of many of the key decisions that have impacted our state in recent years.

“I have frequently found myself in deep policy debates with Sen. Braun on the Senate floor and at numerous negotiating tables. And although we have had differences of opinion on many issues, he has always shown himself to be a thoughtful, honest, and hard-working legislator.

“As we enter a critical moment in our state’s history, I look forward to working ...

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