February 3, 2021
Dear friends and neighbors,
We are just about halfway through this year’s short legislative session! There is so much to do in a very short time. I am excited to be able to work on some issues that are very important to me, including good governance and ensuring that the progressive policies we’ve passed over the last several years to advance access to democracy, environmental and economic justice, and racial and health equity are being implemented properly.
Continue reading to see the progress we’ve made in the first few weeks:
Legislating in the spirit of MLK
Both the spirit and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. have guided me this legislative session. For the first time, the 37th LD Senator was not prime sponsor of our annual floor resolution, but I was honored to support the leadership of the 28th LD Senator T’wina Nobles this year. Since Sen. Nobles joined our chamber in 2021, we have doubled the number of Black members in the Senate and grown our Members of Color Caucus to a historic nine members. I am grateful to have the opportunity to serve alongside these members.
You can watch my full remarks from MLK Day (as well as those of my distinguished colleagues) here.
My 2022 legislation
Here’s a look at some of my legislative priorities for this session. Keep an eye out for my e-mail updates to hear how these bills are progressing in the short session!
Strengthening the Washington Voting Rights Act – SB 5597
SB 5597, my bill strengthening the Washington Voting Rights Act, was voted out of committee last week. With the federal government failing to act, now more than ever it is urgent that we protect the right to vote for all Washingtonians in our local elections. The testimony from community members who are directly impacted was very powerful. You can watch the hearing here.
Expanding access to post-conviction legal resources for all Washingtonians – SB 5772
As we improve our laws and make our state more just, we MUST ensure people who are currently incarcerated also have access to the legal resources they need to pursue the justice they deserve. That’s why I introduced SB 5772, my bill to expand access to post-conviction legal representation – which was voted out of committee last week. To hear the public testimony and to hear why this bill is so important to me, click here.
Reinvesting in communities impacted by the War on Drugs – SB 5796 and SB 5706
We have a moral obligation to invest in communities, specifically Black and Brown communities, where people have been disproportionately affected by the War on Drugs. I’m sponsoring two important bills, SB 5706 to create a Community Reinvestment Fund and SB 5796 for more transparency and accountability in cannabis revenue tracking, because we must provide better resources to the people who need it most. Both were voted out of committee last week.
Improving driver and pedestrian safety – SB 5707
My bill to extend the automated traffic safety camera pilot program in Seattle, SB 5707, was passed out of committee last week.
Traffic-related injuries and deaths in our state were higher in 2021 than we’ve seen since 2006. By extending out the date for this pilot program, we will get back valuable information about how traffic cameras can be a key strategy for turning these numbers around by increasing pedestrian safety, improving reliability of bus rapid transit, and providing safety for drivers.
Vaping and tobacco possession in minors – SB 5129
This bill was brought forward by advocates who work with students in middle school and high school. SB 5129 would eliminate civil infractions against youth under age 18 for purchasing or possessing tobacco or vapor products, aligning the treatment of minors with that of young adults between 18 and 21. That would decrease unnecessary contact with police, which disproportionately impacts communities of color and the LGBTQ community.
Ways to participate in the legislative session
There are all kinds of ways you can participate in the legislative process. Fortunately, last year we enabled constituents to testify remotely, and we’re continuing with that more accessible system this year! Here is a list of participation options:
- Testify remotely at Senate or House committee hearings. Find committee schedules and agendas here.
- Submit written testimony to a committee. Click here for more information. Written testimony is directed to committee members and staff in addition to your district’s legislators.
- Get your position on a bill noted for the legislative record: The Committee Sign In – Remote Testimony page on the Legislature’s website allows you to select a chamber, committee, and bill, then indicate you wish to have your position noted for the archived legislative record.
- Send me an e-mail at Rebecca.Saldaña@leg.wa.gov or call my office at 360-786-7688 to tell me about your position on issues that are important to you and your community.
- Track the progress of bills of interest here.
I look forward to hearing what you have to say about the legislative priorities for yourself, your family, and your community!
Sen. Rebecca Saldaña
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