Dear friends and neighbors,
We’ve hit the half-way point of session, which means my colleagues and I have been hard at work to pass bills off the Senate floor. We’ve passed some exciting bills, like improving maternal health outcomes (SB 5068), strengthening consumer protection (SB 5025), establishing tribal representation on the emergency management council (5101), and so many other priorities with which our neighbors have sent us to Olympia.
We’ve hit some exciting milestones in my office too, including the successful passage of my first bill as a state senator! Last week, the Senate unanimously passed SB 5322 – simplifying coverage options for employers by prohibiting SEBB/PEBB dual enrollment. This bill doesn’t impact folks’ coverage, but it does a lot to ease the administrative burden for employers and could prevent complications down the road. Right now especially, it’s important that lawmakers do what we can to help out employers, and this is a way to do so.
And earlier this week, the Senate passed my bill to expand access to the Paid Family and Medical Leave program. SB 5097 expands the definition of family member, for the purposes of family leave, to include anyone with a relationship that creates an expectation and actual dependence on care. Because only 11% of PFML usage in 2020 was for caring for a family member, this change has a small fiscal impact but a huge, positive impact on equitable access to PFML coverage. It’s about honoring all families – diverse, intergenerational, chosen families – and providing PFML support no matter what.
This important work wouldn’t happen without the hard work and incredible public service of legislative staff. So, I want to introduce my awesome team – the folks who are the first to welcome neighbors to the office, to take your calls and make sure all stories are heard, and to help advance our community’s priorities.
Meet Kate Armstrong, my outstanding legislative aide. She fills a “Chief of Staff” role – coordinating with members of our community and with stakeholders as we work on legislation, scheduling meetings, and overseeing correspondence. She gets our team where we all need to go, and if you reach out to our office, she’s likely the first person you’ll interact with!
This is my session aide, Skyla Sorenson. She joined our office in January, at the start of session, and we’re thrilled we get to work with her this year. She provides incredible support wherever needed – chatting with constituents, tracking bills, helping with communications – and is always available to help us serve LD 38.
Excited to introduce Tiana Warren, my intern this session. Tiana is in her senior year at the University of Washington and is part of the history-making class of 2021 interns who are the first to ever intern during a remote legislative session! She’s been such a help this year as we navigate an unusual session and we’re glad she’s part of our team.
Lastly, meet Hannah Sabio-Howell, my communications specialist. Hannah oversees things like social media and newsletters, press releases and interviews, and talking points and town halls. She helps us communicate the work we’re doing on behalf of our neighbors and share info that may be useful to folks in our community.
You can read more about each of my fantastic team members in the days to come over on my Facebook! I’ll be dropping staff features and further updates about what we’re up to over in the Senate. You can also send me an email at June.Robinson@leg.wa.gov, or give me a call at (360) 786-7674. Let’s set up a Zoom meeting or connect in writing.
My work in Olympia is always informed by the voices of my neighbors, and I’m eager to hear yours.