March 12, 2021
Dear Neighbors, I hope this message finds you healthy and safe. Things continue to move along in the Legislature, as we put people first by prioritizing bills that address Washington’s most pressing needs this year. I’m happy to announce that we are planning a virtual town hall this month, so please save the date!
Please join myself, Rep. Sharon Tomiko Santos and Rep. Kirsten Harris-Tally for the 37th Legislative District virtual town hall meeting on March 31, 2021 at 6:00 p.m. It will be available on Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter accounts for the Senate Democratic Caucus and the House Democratic Caucus. The easiest way to join will be at my Facebook page. Stay tuned for more details as the event approaches!
Legislation that survived cutoff
This week we wrapped up an important phase of the legislative session. Tuesday was the deadline for bills to pass out of the chamber where they were introduced. Only these bills will move forward as the session advances. In Olympia, we call this the “house of origin cutoff.” Today I’d like to share with you the bills I prime sponsored that passed out of the Senate, as well as bills that passed out of the House of Representatives that were companions to Senate bills I prime sponsored. SB 5141 (HEAL Act) would implement recommendations from the Environmental Justice Task Force – established by the Legislature last year – on how state agencies should incorporate environmental justice principles to reduce environmental health disparities when implementing policies and programs. SB 5439 would expand broadband access to underserved communities by increasing opportunities to coordinate with transportation infrastructure development. SB 5354 would allow professional flaggers to control event traffic without a police presence. SB 5267 would require electrical work associated with flipping property to be performed by a licensed electrician. HB 1443 (SB 5388) would expand the purpose of the Task Force on Social Equity in Cannabis, expand eligibility for technical assistance grants, and create a pilot program to provide technical assistance to cannabis retail licensees who meet social equity applicant criteria. HB 1514 would expand eligibility for ride-sharing and commute-trip-reduction programs. I look forward to continuing to usher these bills, and many others, through the rest of the legislative process. The next phase of the legislative session is already underway. On Wednesday we started holding public hearings on House bills that were passed to the Senate for consideration, and soon we will start voting on the bills that pass out of their respective committees!
Fixing our unbalanced tax code
Did you know low-income Washingtonians pay 17 percent of their income in taxes and middle-income Washingtonians pay 11 percent, while the wealthiest Washingtonians pay just 3 percent? I’m excited to announce that on Saturday the Senate passed SB 5096, which would create an excise tax on capital gains of over $250,000 from the sales of stock and bonds. This will ensure that the wealthy begin to pay their fair share – an important first step toward fixing our state’s upside-down tax system. Even better, the money raised by this tax would provide relief to low and middle income taxpayers, as well as funding the historic improvement and expansion of our state’s childcare and early learning systems. I want to hear what you think about these and other issues affecting our community. My office will continue to welcome your thoughts and concerns, so please let us know what issues are important to you and your loved ones. Sincerely, Sen. Rebecca Saldaña
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