Dear friends and neighbors,
I hope you all enjoyed the holidays with your friends and family. The 2023 legislative session has begun and I am officially sworn in and ready to continue working for our community. I am deeply honored to serve you as state senator for the 37th district for another term.
This is the first fully in-person session since the pandemic. As we begin the 2023 session, I want to update you on some recent happenings and provide some resources to help you stay involved.
Here are some notable events from the 2022 interim:
Our office partnered with community organizations to host the Redlining, Resiliency and Hope Legislative Cultural Exchange in Seattle. Thanks to the Wing Luke Museum, McKinney Center, Puget Sound Sage and Historic South Downtown for organizing this amazing event. The purpose was to build relationships and deepen our understanding of the Central District and Chinatown-International District (CID)’s history of systematic and institutional environmental racism.
I had the pleasure of attending the Clean Vehicle Showcase event in Wenatchee to support the implementation of our unprecedented Move Ahead transportation package which focuses on investments in a clean fueled economy. This includes investing in electric school busses and public transportation, as well as creating high quality career opportunities by investing in electrical apprenticeships across our state.
I loved running into CISC at the annual Jam Fest that activates alleyways in International/Chinatown District and learning about their leadership in bridging cultures and centering community safety.
It was such an amazing experience to join this group of teachers and support their right to organize, and we know we have much to do this session to better fund special education, transportation and support services in our schools.
My Legislation this Session
Here’s a look at some of the legislation I’ve introduced so far this session. There is more to come, so keep an eye out for my e-mail updates!
- New Wage Replacement Program
SB 5109 would create a wage replacement program that will help those who lose their job and are not eligible to receive unemployment insurance benefits. Many immigrant workers are not eligible for unemployment insurance and have been left out of many social safety net programs due to their immigration status. This bill recognizes the essential contributions from Washingtonian immigrant workers and provides them and their local community essential access to unemployment support regardless of immigration status.
- Postconviction Access to Counsel
SB 5046 would ensure meaningful and timely access to legal counsel to challenge unjust convictions and to help with resentencing when the Legislature or courts authorize it for individuals still incarcerated.
- Expanding and Improving Social Equity in Cannabis
SB 5080 amends the definitions of disproportionately impacted area, social equity applicant, and social equity plan in the Cannabis Social Equity Program. This bill incentivizes current cannabis licensees to submit a social equity plan to the Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB) by providing a one-time, one-license annual fee reimbursement.
I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge and share my appreciation for the hard work and dedication of my legislative assistant, Sha’Niya Black. Sha’Niya has worked tirelessly with me since July 2022 and has proven to be a passionate public servant and a tremendous asset to me and my team. Sha’Niya will be venturing on to another career opportunity and will be greatly missed. I wish her the absolute best in her future endeavors.
Consequently, I would like to welcome Raman Khanna as my new legislative assistant. Raman attended Seattle University and obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science. Raman’s previous work experience includes working as a session aide for the Washington State Senate in addition to working as an engagement specialist, constituent services director and racial equity engagement advisor.
I’m so grateful for everyone on my amazing team that works hard behind the scenes to make sure your voices are being heard by the Legislature. They’ll be answering your calls, tracking my bills, helping resolve case work, communicating my legislative priorities, and much more. For more information on how to contact my office click here.
This 2023 session, it is my pleasure to serve on several committees and in several caucus roles. Here are my assignments for this session:
- Caucus Vice Chair
- Labor & Commerce Committee Vice Chair
- Housing Committee member
- Ways & Means Committee member
- Rules Committee member
- Members of Color Caucus (MOCC) member
Get involved! Be engaged! Make your voice heard!
To make a difference for our community on the issues you care about, here’s how you can get involved:
- Learn how a bill becomes a law.
- Find legislation on the issues important to you.
- Watch broadcasts and archived videos of your democracy in action at tvw.org.
- Testify before legislative committees remotely or in person. If you do not want to testify in a committee hearing, you can still submit written testimony on a bill for the archived legislative record.
- Reach out using the contact information on my website.
- Stay in touch.
As always, please feel free to reach out to my office directly with any questions or concerns. Let’s talk about how to best meet the needs of our communities.