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23rd ld Democrats News

  • 2 Apr 2021 7:12 PM | Douglass MacKenzie (Administrator)

     

    Friends-

    Currently we are in the middle of the legislative session, but I wanted to send you a quick update. 

    Last month, we saw the horrific consequences of gun violence and anti-Asian hate in our country. My heart goes out to the families of the eight people, six of whom were of Asian descent, whose lives were taken on March 16th in the Atlanta metropolitan area. The tragic shooting last month was a horrific example of the racism and bigotry our AAPI community lives in fear of every day. 

    I am committed to using my role as State Representative to stand up to racism and fight for responsible gun laws and reform.

    Since January, I’ve focused on creating positive changes for the most marginalized in our region. Here’s what I’ve been working on: 

    • Automatically restoring the right to vote to formerly incarcerated individuals. 
    • Creating the state office of behavioral health consumer advocacy. 
    • Expanding healthcare workforce eligibility for thousands of qualified Washingtonians by prohibiting the Department of Social and Health Services from automatically disqualifying persons with criminal convictions from certain caregiver jobs

    Last week we made history in Washington State. One of the first bills I sponsored was approved by the Senate and it’s now heading to the Governor's desk-- automatically restoring the right to vote to formerly incarcerated individuals.
     
    As the first formerly incarcerated person elected to public office in the country, this is a personal victory for me. 

    I’m beyond proud to have sponsored this historical legislation and am full of gratitude for my colleagues, my team, and my supporters who have made this possible. This effort took many years with the hard work of so many advocates, activists, legislators, lobbyists, survivors, prosecutors, impacted people and more. 

    You can read more about this historical legislation HERE.

    It is an honor to represent the 23rd District. Thank you for all of your support and please reach out if you have any questions or feedback so I can be better at my job!

    Tarra

    www.ElectTarraSimmons.com


  • 31 Mar 2021 11:31 AM | Douglass MacKenzie (Administrator)


    Consumer Reports  

    Dear Douglass,

    Consumer Reports’ members helped test tap water across the country as part of our nine-month investigation into the nation’s drinking water. And the results being released today are disturbing:

    Nearly every drinking water sample had measurable levels of PFAS, a group of compounds known as ‘forever chemicals’ because they don’t easily break down in the body or the environment. And more than a third of the samples exceeded the maximum safety threshold recommended by CR scientists.

    Despite mounting evidence of potential health risks from PFAS — including cancer, learning delays in children, and interference with vaccine efficacy — federal regulators have failed to set an enforceable limit for these chemicals in our drinking water. That means your tap water could be contaminated with PFAS and you likely won’t even know it.

    Americans deserve safe drinking water, and it is beyond time our leaders make that happenSign our petition to the Biden Administration to regulate PFAS in our drinking water now!

     
    Sign the petition
     

    We’re joined in this petition effort by our allies, Natural Resources Defense Council and Environmental Working Group, because they also believe that our drinking water must be as clean and safe as possible. PFAS exposure is especially concerning, as more evidence comes to light at just how widespread this contamination has become.

    Manufacturers use PFAS to make stain-resistant fabrics, nonstick cookware, food packaging and hundreds of other common products. The compounds can seep into water from factories, landfills, and other sources — and they don’t break down easily once ingested. It’s been estimated that 97 percent of Americans may have PFAS in their bodies. 

    Our latest test results confirm just how pervasive these chemicals are: we found them in 117 of the 120 tap water samples. We need bold, decisive action right now to get these dangerous contaminants out of our water! Sign the petition to regulate PFAS — and please share it with friends and family!

     
    Sign the petition
     

    Thank you for joining this important fight. And a special thanks to those who volunteered to join our tap water-testing project! We will have more volunteer opportunities coming soon.

    Meg Bohne
    Consumer Reports

    The above links take you to a joint petition with our allies, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and Environmental Working Group (EWG), which operate under their own privacy policies. Information you submit is shared with Consumer Reports, NRDC and EWG.



  • 26 Mar 2021 1:43 PM | Douglass MacKenzie (Administrator)


    FRIDAY HEADER.png

    It’s heartbreaking that, yet again, we must open this email discussing another terrible mass shooting, this time in Boulder, Colorado. As we honor and remember the 10 lives lost in this horrific event, we must redouble our commitment to preventing such tragedies that threaten our livelihoods daily. Remember that gun violence is preventable, and our children and grandchildren shouldn’t have to grow up in a world where these tragedies are acceptable. Republicans are working to sustain the cycle of gun violence that keeps us in fear and harm’s way. Just 10 days before this shooting, an NRA lawsuit blocked a ban on assault rifles and high-capacity magazines passed by the city of Boulder. 

    Voters in Washington have spoken again and again on this issue and we know that stopping gun violence is the necessary thing to do. Americans deserve better than an epidemic of gun violence in our homes, schools, and communities, and Democrats aren’t giving up.

    Here in Washington, we want to highlight the good work some of our local parties are doing by stepping up to hold accountable an out-of-control sheriff in Pierce County. You may have read already about Pierce County Sheriff Ed Troyer, who confronted a Black newspaper carrier late at night while off-duty and called up a massive police response after he repeatedly lied and claimed that the carrier was threatening to kill him. After the news reported this racist confrontation, our Pierce County and Tacoma legislative district Democrats unanimously passed a resolution denouncing the sheriff, demanding his resignation, and calling for a recall effort should he not resign. 

    “Simply put, there are big problems with law enforcement in Tacoma. After the events of January 2021 that could have left another Black man dead at the hands of police, our membership believes it’s clear that Sheriff Troyer is unfit to hold his position and should resign immediately. The Democratic Party platform calls for accountability and courageous conversations about policing in our communities, and that’s why this resolution passed unanimously among elected precinct committee officers and other civic leaders in Tacoma,” said Justin Camarata, Chair of the 27th Legislative District and Cassandra Brown, Chair of the 29th Legislative District in a joint statement.

    We’re all proud of our Pierce County Democratic leaders for stepping up and calling out Sheriff Troyer. And since we worked hard, won some elections, and Democrats took control of the Pierce County Council majority in this past year’s elections, the council is able to hire an investigator to probe Troyer’s conduct and find out the whole story here. 

    Troyer’s conduct is shameful, but it’s fantastic to see Democrats standing up to hold him accountable. Bravo to our Pierce County and Tacoma Democrats!

    In the legislature, we’ve got about a month left until the session ends on April 25th and Democrats are still hard at work on our priorities. Legislative Democrats in the House and Senate are releasing their budget proposals and included key items from our state party advocacy agenda in Thursday’s proposal:

    Health care and pandemic response The budget includes $1 billion for vaccinations and bolstering our testing and tracing efforts. It also makes significant investments in public health, including investments to expand our public health workforce and major subsidies to reduce insurance rates for those who purchase health insurance on the Washington Health Benefit Exchange. 

    Stronger rural Washington The budget includes money to fund firefighting resources, improve fire-susceptible forests, and cut fire risk at the expanding juncture of urban areas and forests. The capital budget would also expand access to broadband internet throughout the state in rural areas and create thousands of construction jobs through projects like school construction, weatherizing homes, and investing in the Housing Trust Fund to build affordable housing, all across the state.

    Balancing our tax code The budget includes a capital gains tax on the investment returns of the richest 1% of Washingtonians and invests the money into our child care system to fund the Fair Start for Kids act - improving the futures of children in need with high quality early learning and helping working families get access to care for their kids. It also funds the Working Families Tax Credit, which gets cash back in the pockets of low-income families.

    Climate action and environmental protection The budget would fund the Climate Commitment Act, which would place an enforceable, declining limit on climate pollution from the largest-emitting sectors of our economy.As well, the capital budget proposal would spend hundreds of millions of dollars on green energy projects, electric grid modernization grants, salmon recovery, clean-up of toxic waste sites, and more. 

    Social justice and racial equity The budget proposal would fund the HEAL Act, which would reduce environmental health disparities by using principles of environmental justice, create a state Office of Internal Investigations to bring a neutral, objective perspective to the investigation of police brutality, and invest in Immigrant Relief Fund payments to individuals who might not be eligible for federal aid.

    This is on top of the many policy bills passing in the legislature on issues like police accountability, electoral reform, housing and labor rights, and more. We’ll keep you up to date on the progress coming from the legislature this year, but we’re very excited by what we’re seeing from our Democratic champions!

    Something to do: Our organizing department is continuing our work towards the 2021 elections. Our Contest Every Race candidate recruitment program kicked off with a great discussion call with local party chairs on Monday night with attendance that blew away similar Contest Every Race launches in other states. Chairs have a deadline of Sunday night to provide their feedback. Through Contest Every Race, we will reach out to Democrats across Washington and connect folks interested in running for office with races and elections in their local districts to make sure that every district, school board, and city and county council can have Democrats running to represent our party and our values. 

    For the 700+ (over 20% of the national cohort!) Washington State participants in the Train The Trainer (T3) program we’re running in concert with the Best Practices Institute, please note that we are now through week two out of six of the program. All registered participants should be sure to locate your training recordings, catch up on anything you may have missed so far, and submit your quizzes. The winning local parties of the $1,000 T3 competition will be determined based on who can get the highest portion of participants through the full program, so make sure your local party is in it and active! 

    Something to watch:This week onDemocracy on Demand, we talked with Rep. Monica Stonier from Vancouver who gave us an update on the legislative session and some of the good bills that Democrats are working on for us. It was fun to hear about legislation focused on improving and expanding healthcare centers within schools, providing students with the care that they need to thrive, especially in rural and/or lower-income areas that don’t have as many healthcare options. This is important work and we’re glad to have Rep. Stonier and our other Democratic legislators taking it on! 

    Something to read: The Washington Post printed an excellent article this week about the importance of down-ballot races and how they boosted the Biden campaign in 2020. They highlighted the importance of investing in state parties across the country in order to ensure that we’re competing and building the party in all 50 states. We’re taking on that same challenge here in Washington and working to help elect Democrats in every county throughout the state. This broad-based organizing is how we will win!

    -- 
  • 22 Mar 2021 12:31 PM | Douglass MacKenzie (Administrator)


    Things are looking up for the planet.  After a devastating four years of a treacherous administration hell bent on destroying our planet we have a president that understands and is acting swiftly to not only redress a multitude of decisions guaranteed to speed us to extinction but promise real and necessary change that the climate emergency requires.

    Our race against extinction isn’t just putting our species at risk but  entire ecosystems are failing as a mass extinction is underway. Every year 8 million metric tons of plastic end up in our oceans.   One million seabirds die due to plastic pollution annually.  91% of plastic isn’t recycled.  The US creates three times more waste than the global average and we only represent 4% of the population. This miracle of a planet needs all hands on deck now.  

    Sometimes when the big picture is so overwhelming we can’t imagine what one individual can accomplish but there’s a lot.  Our planet is drowning in plastic and our recycling programs are breaking down as China is no longer taking our mountains of plastics.  

    Here are a few ways we can help:

    Terracycle will repurpose plastic and turn it into something useful.

    There are many companies that have committed to a free service where you will get a return label and when you are finished with the plastic you ship it directly back and they will reuse it.  You can also buy a box to fill up and then send back to Teracycle.  There are many categories everything from empty printer ink cartridges to plastic toys.  The one I purchased was for plastic packaging from food packaging to bubble wrap. 

    Loop:  Order your favorite participating company products and they will send it to you in stainless steel reusable containers.  When they’re empty just return them to be refilled.  You’ll initially put down a deposit then will simply reuse your container over and over again.  

    Tru Earth:  Instead of plastic bottles of laundry detergent you get a small thin paper package of detergent strips that you put into your washing machine.  Spoiler alert, most of the volume in laundry detergent is filler.  They also make Eco strips for multi surface cleansers

    Compost:  It’s easy and there are countless ways to do it and your plants will love it.

    Other: 

    Consider an electric car.  It’s in our near future as price (starting at $30K) and range (250 miles average) are no longer an issue.  Autonomous driving will make everyone safer as most accidents are due to human error and distracted driving,  Governor Jay Inslee has set the most aggressive agenda in the country by eliminating all new ICE (internal combustion engines) by 2030.  That’s less than 10 years from now.  If you’re in the market for a new car it doesn’t make sense not to as it will be hard to resale an ICE car that will be phased out in a short while.  Plus they are amazing. Cutting edge in technology and as I said, much safer.  Also, your home is your main recharging station so you aren’t always waiting in line for the next pump, just plug in when you get home. I figure it only costs me $1.50 in electricity to go 80 miles.  

    Speaking of electricity, Puget Sound Energy has the option to match some or all of your electricity usage with green power that is 100% renewable.  

    If everyone pitched in it would make a huge difference.

    Hallette Salazar

    https://petpedia.co/recycling-statistics/

    https://www.terracycle.com/en-US/

    https://loopstore.com

    https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/politics/gov-inslees-national-climate-plan-calls-for-banning-sales-of-new-gas-powered-cars-by-2030/

    https://cars.usnews.com/cars-trucks/cheapest-electric-cars

    https://www.pse.com/green-options/Renewable-Energy-Programs/green-power

  • 21 Mar 2021 2:04 PM | Douglass MacKenzie (Administrator)





     Chair’s Message – 3-18-21

    I honestly don’t know where to start or what to say. The recent attack on members of the Asian-American community in Atlanta is another very sad reminder of how far we have to go to create a world of respect for each other and appreciation for the unique characteristics that make up our fellow human beings.

    It seemed in 2008 that we were actually starting to make some headway in that regard and then the outrage of 2016 happened. I have never been more appalled to see the miserably horrible attitudes and demeanor of the former occupant of the White House become the public face of our country. The last four years set us back years, if not decades, in how we view and treat the non-white people residing in our country.

    It is bad enough that fascism has claimed a public place in our society but it is outrageous that it has taken hold of the other major political party. There has been an exodus of “classical conservatives” such as George Will, David Brooks and Chris Vance (former Republican state chair) from the other party in protest of what their former party has become. The cult of personality has come to rule them and their individual has nothing to offer except hate, misogyny, racism et al and outspoken support for all the tenets of white supremacy.

    I am so glad that our party is going in the opposite direction. Our E-Board is currently starting down the path of a strategic plan that we hope will address the issues of diversity, equity and inclusion. I will discuss that at another time because I do not want detract from the horrendous event that happened earlier this week. 

    The families of Delaina Ashley Yaun, Paul Andre Michels, Xiaojie Tan, Daoyou Feng, Julie Park and Hyeon Jeong Park have suffered a major loss. Dealing with death is always hard but when it comes under such circumstances it can seem totally incomprehensible. I hope that they are able to find some comfort in the national condemnation of such a horrific act and support from their families and friends. From my Jewish faith, I say to them, may the memory of their loved ones be for a blessing,

    Val

    Chair, 23rd LD Dems



  • 19 Mar 2021 1:54 PM | Douglass MacKenzie (Administrator)


    The murder of eight innocent people, six of whom were of Asian descent, in the Atlanta metropolitan area is an unimaginable tragedy — our hearts go out to the victims' families and Asian and Asian-American communities. But let's call this what it is: a racist attack on the AAPI community by a domestic terrorist. If we are going to progress and heal as a society, our nation must reckon with the hate and discrimination rooted in American history and American life, as well as the escalation in xenophobia that has stemmed from the COVID-19 pandemic. From March 19, 2020 to February 28, 2021, StopAAPIHate.org received almost 3,800 reports of anti-Asian hate incidents, which we know is an undercount. Asians, Asian-Americans, and Pacific Islanders have long been vital and influential members of our country's development and cultural fabric, as well as that of Washington state. Washington Democrats stand with AAPI communities in Washington state and across the country calling for an end to anti-Asian violence!

    As we’ve seen, this past year has tested the bonds that hold together our nation's seams, stretching and breaking these bonds and exposing numerous crises that we must deal with. In order to put these pieces back together, we must defeat each crisis -- one by one. Building back better begins with defeating the virus that has ravished our country, exposing the failings and wrongs that have plagued us since the beginning. It is going to take ambitious policies to overcome the coronavirus and finally become a nation that lives up to its values of fairness and freedom; that is exactly what the American Rescue Plan puts us on the path to do. Democrats must spread the message of what’s included in the American Rescue Plan far and wide and tell everyone why it’s so important. The Help is Here Guide and ARP Impact Breakdown walks through the dollars and programs coming to Washington thanks to this historic legislation. 

    Washington Democrats in the U.S. House and Senate worked tirelessly to pass a relief package that has broad support from the people - Democrats, Republicans, and Independents across the country.  Millions of people, regardless of political party, stand to benefit from the ARP and yet Washington Republicans still opposed it, and continue to denigrate it (or, oddly enough, claim credit!). It’s a damn shame that Washington Republicans rejected sweeping relief to assist struggling Washingtonians during this pandemic. We need your help to put pressure on Republicans for voting against the American Rescue Plan. Let them know that neglecting struggling Washingtonians won’t win them any elections or get us out of this pandemic anytime soon! 

    If we’re going to turn out the vote in 2022 and beyond, our work begins RIGHT NOW. If we’re going to flip these seats from Red to Blue, we need to make sure we have the means to distribute this information far and wide! You’ve been in the trenches with us for some time now, and that’s why I’m extending an invitation to join Blue Washington by becoming a monthly contributor. Blue Washington is a new opportunity for Democrats across Washington state to come together and make a collaborative effort to invest in and support year-round organizing and build long-term relationships with underrepresented communities. Winning back “red” communities across Washington State requires collective action, so please consider joining us and click on the link to learn more. 

    Washington Democrats are showing up and showing out! The 2021 Train the Trainer (T3) program officially kicked off with its first class on Tuesday. T3 is a free, 6-week, 12-part training course offered by the Washington State Democrats in partnership with the DNC and ASDC Best Practices Institute. 

    We are thrilled to announce that, after weeks of working with local parties, Coordinated Campaign alumni, and community leaders across the state, Washington leads the nation with the most participants of any state or territory in the country for the Association of State Democratic Committees’ Best Practices Institute 2021 Train the Trainer (T3) program! 

    In total, 783 Washington Democrats are enrolled in the T3 program! For anyone who missed the registration window, it’s not too late to get trained! While unregistered participants are not eligible to receive certification this time around, with approval from a local party chair, they can still sign up to view the live presentations and receive forwarded weekly wrap-up emails that include the recording and slides from each session.

    Chairs that have unregistered members who are interested in T3 should reach out to organizing@wa-democrats.org to get set up with everything you need to onboard late participants.

    _______________________________

    Something to read: As facts from the Tuesday night’s tragedy continue to emerge, it is important that we educate ourselves on the spike in anti-AAPI hate incidents during the COVID-19 pandemic. You can read StopAAPIHate.org’s incident report here: https://stopaapihate.typeform.com/to/zhMP3fUx

    Something to do: Build with us now to ensure that we flip seats from Red to Blue in Washington and turnout the vote in 2022 and beyond. Join Blue Washington by becoming a monthly contributor.

    Something to watchFor this week’s episode of Democracy on Demand, we chatted with Representative My-Linh Thai (41st LD) about her bills that were recently passed in the House legislature and are now progressing through the Senate. Rep. Thai believes in fighting for working families. We do, too; that’s why we need to support HB 1297 to expand the Working Families' Tax Exemption and HB 1009 to require that certain student health plans provide coverage for the voluntary abortion of a pregnancy. Rep. Thai’s work is an exceptional reminder of why we need to elect more AAPI people to office and fight for working families! 

    Something else to watch: We cannot stress enough how important it is to spread the word about the American Rescue Plan, so here’s a video I recorded just for you that you can use and post. This video should help inform you about how the ARP will impact our daily lives and what you can do to ensure we continue spreading the message about the ARP’s impact far and wide! 

    -- 

  • 19 Mar 2021 1:46 PM | Douglass MacKenzie (Administrator)


    Hansen Banner

    Small Business Grants and an Update on Public Broadband and the Worker Protection Act


    COVID relief from state and federal legislation has been flowing into communities and another wave of small business grants are now available. The Kitsap Economic Development Alliance and the City of Bainbridge Island are administering a small business grant program with up to $200,000 for eligible small businesses, cooperatives, and non-profits. That means those that qualify could receive between $5,000 and $10,000. The deadline to apply is Sunday, March 28th so please take a look at their website and see if you qualify and apply as soon as possible.

    Last time I wrote to you, I promised an update on two of my major bills, the Public Broadband Act and the Worker Protection Act. I’m happy to report back that both passed the House and are now in the Senate: this is good news for expanding broadband access and helping workers enforce their rights.

    Finally, we continue to see encouraging news on the coronavirus. Vaccines are rolling out statewide, but we’re in what the Department of Health has characterized as a “race between vaccines and variants”—that is, the new, more infectious variants that other countries have seen. This means our job is simple: wear a mask, keep your distance, and get vaccinated when you can. This really does feel like we’re near the end of all of this, so let’s all keep acting responsibly. We don’t want to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory here: keep that mask on, keep your distance, and go get that shot when it’s your turn.

    Thank you!

    Representative Drew D. Hansen

     

    Please feel free to contact my office with any concerns or suggestions you may have

    E-Mail Rep. Hansen

    Phone Rep. Hansen's office: (360) 786-7842


    GovDelivery logo

     

  • 17 Mar 2021 2:49 PM | Douglass MacKenzie (Administrator)


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    Tarra Simmons banner

    23rd-District Legislative E-News: Week 10

    Dear friends and neighbors,

    Session is nearly two-thirds over!

    As I write this there are 40 days left in the 105-day legislative session. This is the time in a long session when dead bills are stacked up like cordwood; that is the fate, in fact, of most bills introduced in either the House or Senate. There are so many hurdles that any piece of legislation must clear before reaching the governor’s desk that I’ve heard it said, only half-jokingly, that the purpose of the Legislature is to keep bills from becoming law.

    Considering that, I’m somewhat surprised and very grateful that as of today, four of the six bills I introduced this year are still alive and moving through the process. Each of those four has cleared at least some of the hurdles I mentioned, and a few are nearing the finish line. I’m told that, for a first-term lawmaker, this is an unusual degree of success, and as I said, I’m grateful.

    I’ve written in detail about each of my bills in previous newsletters, so I won’t repeat that here. But a quick summary of where the four survivors stand would be:

    • HB 1078, automatically restoring the right to vote to formerly incarcerated individuals, passed the House and is in the Senate Rules Committee awaiting a vote of the full chamber. It was not amended during the Senate policy committee consideration so if it is approved by the full Senate without a floor amendment, it will go to the governor for his signature.
    • HB 1086, creating the state office of behavioral health consumer advocacy, had a public hearing in the Senate last week and will be voted on by the Senate Behavioral Health Subcommittee this Friday, March 19.
    • HB 1282, modifying the earned release time for certain offenses currently used by the Department of Corrections, is exempt from ordinary cut-off dates for bills and is now under consideration by the House Appropriations Committee.
    • HB 1411, expanding healthcare workforce eligibility for thousands of qualified Washingtonians by prohibiting the Department of Social and Health Services from automatically disqualifying persons with criminal convictions from certain caregiver jobs, is awaiting a hearing in the Senate Health & Long Term Care Committee.

    Washington is number one . . . again

    Best States

    That’s right, we’ve been here before or, rather, we haven’t left since we hit first place last year. Washington is the first state in the nation to occupy the number one spot two years in a row. U.S. News & World Report, considered an unbiased authority in rankings and civic journalism, evaluated all 50 states across a range of categories to capture how states best serve their residents.

    Washington is among the top 10 states in infrastructure, education, economy, fiscal stability, and health care. Adding it all up puts us above all the other states for overall well-being. Click here to learn more about why we’re at the top. To ensure that the Best States rankings are objective and fair, U.S. News weighted eight categories based on results from a representative survey to determine the factors that most influence Americans’ satisfaction with their home states.

    The latest on COVID and vaccines

    The CDC is out with new guidance for people who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Here’s the latest: Those who have gotten the vaccine can gather indoors with other fully vaccinated people without wearing a mask and with non-vaccinated people from one other household without masks, as long as they don’t have a high risk for serious illness from COVID-19.

    Masks

    People are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after their second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or two weeks after their single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Whether you’re vaccinated or not, the CDC is still urging people to keep taking precautions in public, like wearing a mask, staying 6 feet apart from others and avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated spaces.

    Check out the Phase Finder tool to see if you’re eligible for the vaccine. Information about the next vaccine phases is also available in English at this link and in Spanish (en Español) at this link.

    I know that many of us are eager to get vaccinated and frustrated by the distribution process. I understand; I’m still waiting myself. But consider that in just 12 months, we’ve come together, developed multiple vaccines, and given more than 2 million doses in Washington state. We're on the right track and we’re not turning back.

    Working Families Tax Credit

    The Working Families Tax Credit, or Recovery Rebate, is our promise to the people of Washington that when they work hard to achieve their dreams, their community will rise up to support them. I am so overjoyed by the collective hope and resilience of everyone who has advocated for this policy since 2008. This is our chance to reclaim the American Dream as a tool for economic recovery, racial equity, and community health. Our state is known for our upside-down tax structure, where those who make the least pay the most in taxes. Putting people first means recognizing our wrongs to make them right. The Recovery Rebate is a lifeline for the immigrants, refugees, people of color, and low-income workers who have always kept our communities strong. It’s our turn to lift them up and give everyone a chance at a healthy, happy life.

     

    Fair Start for Kids Act

    child care

    Accessible, affordable, high-quality childcare is the key to restarting our economy, getting parents back to work, and giving our kids a fair start in life.⁠⁠ The House passed HB 1213, the Fair Start for Kids Act, because our economy and our children's success begins with childcare!⁠⁠ I’m proud to be a cosponsor of the Fair Start for Kids Act, because we urgently need strong support for childcare and early learning programs so families and businesses can thrive. And we need to ensure livable wages for our childcare providers, who are overwhelmingly women of color going without sufficient pay.⁠⁠ Children are our most precious resource. Investing in them is an investment in the future of Washington.⁠⁠

    Prioritizing de-escalation and limiting unnecessary use of force

    After months of work by the families of victims of excessive police violence, law enforcement organizations, elected officials, and community groups, the House of Representatives passed HB 1310. This bill sets the clear expectation that de-escalation should be an officer’s first instinct and that deadly force should only be an absolute last resort. Current law allows police to complete an arrest “by any means necessary,” a broad authorization that essentially allows an unlimited amount of force. When determining use of force, officers would now be required to consider circumstances, such as a person having a disability, experiencing a mental health crisis, pregnancy, or the presence of children. By setting that new standard, deadly force would be a last resort after de-escalation efforts failed.

    HB 1310 is one of a series of bills brought forward by members of the Policing Policy Leadership Team in the House Democratic Caucus. Already, the House has passed HB 1267 to establish an independent agency to investigate police uses of deadly force and HB 1054 to ban dangerous and unacceptable police tactics. None of these bills limit the ability of our law-enforcement professionals to protect the public. All evidence, in fact, points the other way, as they help communities perceive police as the public servants they should be, rather than as occupying forces. HB 1310 is now awaiting a vote by members of the Senate Law & Justice Committee, which is scheduled to come this week.

    As always, thank you

    I'm very grateful for the trust you've placed in me. Please help me to do my job better by sharing your thoughts about these and other legislative issues. 

    Sincerely,

    Simmons SIg

    Rep. Tarra Simmons

     

    Contact Me
     P.O. Box 40600, Olympia WA 98504
    tarra.simmons@leg.wa.gov

    (360) 786-7934 | Toll-free Hotline: (800) 562-6000 | (800) 635-9993 (TTY)
    housedemocrats.wa.gov/simmons

    Legislative Assistant
    Shannon Turner | shannon.turner@leg.wa.gov

    Committees
     Public Safety
    Civil Rights & Judiciary
    Healthcare & Wellness

     

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  • 12 Mar 2021 6:42 PM | Douglass MacKenzie (Administrator)

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    On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization declared the spread of the coronavirus a global pandemic. Over the course of the last year, despite the amazing efforts from first responders, healthcare professionals, local public health officials, and elected leaders like Governor Jay Inslee, we still saw this virus take more than 5,000 lives here in Washington.As COVID-19 swept through our country with no action from the Oval Office, more than half a million people died nationwide. We know that it didn't have to be like this and we can never forget the lives of those that were lost due to COVID-19 – it totals more than World War I, World War II, the Vietnam War, and 9/11 combined. Americans have sacrificed a lot over the last year and communities and families across the country have suffered grievous losses in so many ways.  

    "While it was different for everyone, we all lost something." -President Joe Biden

    But on March 11, 2021, President Joe Biden signed the American Rescue Plan into law, 50 days into his presidency, help is on the way. Democrats in the U.S. House and Senate have worked strenuously to pass a relief package that meets this formidable crisis with an equal and historic level of impact! 

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    Democrats united to pass the American Rescue Plan, which 75% of Americans across the political spectrum support, while not a single Republicans joined to vote for this critical legislation. They should be held accountable. 

    But first, we need to spread the message far and wide of what’s included in the American Rescue Plan and why it’s so important. Open, read, use, and review the Washington State: Help is Here Guide and ARP Impact Breakdown. Please use this messaging guide that we developed with the DNC to post, tweet, write letters to the editor, and op-ed the heck out of, well, the truth. The GOP is already trying to muddle the truth and claim credit – when, again, not a single member of their party voted for the plan – and dismiss and discredit the most progress legislation to come out of Congress in a decade. Need something more or have a question? Just email us! 

    Remember, as Democrats, we always have to tell the truth, follow the science, restore trust in government after four years of GOP failures, and protect ALL of the American people. 

    Justice delayed is NOT justice denied. There are so many breakthroughs to be excited about this week; one of those developments is the full-circle confirmation of Merrick Garland as Attorney General of the United States. On March 10, Garland's nomination to be U.S. Attorney General passed in the Senate Judiciary Committee and was confirmed by the full Senate in a 70–30 vote. Many of you may recall that President Barack Obama nominated Garland to serve as an associate justice of the Supreme Court in March 2016 to fill a vacancy due to the passing of Antonin Scalia. However, the Republican Senate Majority, led by Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY),  refused to hold a hearing or vote on his nomination. Well, isn't this sweet vindication? 

    Finally, we are excited to announce a new program that will enable us to build a strong foundation of Democratic values across Washington State and help win elections for years to come!Blue Washington is a new opportunity for Democrats across Washington State to come together and make a collective effort to support year-round organizing and build long-term relationships with underrepresented communities! Whether you join as a Grassroots supporter or a Partner, solidifying Democratic values in every race and every place is only possible by working alongside our sustainable supporters. Winning back “red” communities across Washington State requires collective action -- and now is the time to establish powerful party infrastructure, recruit terrific candidates, and deploy innovative training and organizing techniques to help make the Democratic Party even more successful in the future. Come join us!

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    Something to read (and use!): On the campaign trail, President Biden promised to deliver relief to the American people and that promise was kept. Help is here! The Washington State: Help is Here Guide will give you the tools you need to amplify the American Rescue Plan and inform your friends and neighbors about how it will impact lives in every part of our great state. Read it here: wa-democrats.org/arphelpishere 

    Something to do: The Washington State Democrats are excited to announce that we're partnering with the ASDC Best Practices Institute to ensure we're getting the most thorough and comprehensive training for ALL of our Local Party Leaders, PCOs, and amazing volunteers. This is Rise and Organize SUPERSIZED! Over 500 Washingtonians have already signed up – why not you? The Train the Trainer (T3) program is designed to train thousands of people at their own pace over six weeks, beginning March 16. Click here to submit your registration for the 2021 T3 Training Program! Registration will close at 8:59 p.m. PT, on Sunday, March 14… that’s this Sunday! It's the best investment you'll make in the future of organizing in Washington state! 

    Something else to do: We would like to honor our female Local Party and Caucus Chairs by highlighting them on social media during Women's History Month. Please be sure to fill out this form so we can share stories of the amazing work that’s done under the leadership of powerful Washington women! Nominate yourself or a Democratic woman you admire! Please complete this form by Tuesday, March 16:https://forms.gle/vf1EUEZrMgB61tvs9

    Something to watch: This week onDemocracy on Demand, we chatted with Representative Tarra Simmons (23rd LD) about her voting rights bill that could impact the lives of formerly incarcerated people and reduce recidivism by restoring their right to vote.


  • 8 Mar 2021 3:49 PM | Douglass MacKenzie (Administrator)





    Corporations that fire pregnant workers because they are pregnant — or force them to work without making reasonable changes to accommodate their pregnancy — are violating the law.

    Today, on International Women’s Day, I am reminded how cruel and unfair our system can be towards women — and I am inspired to demand better.

    As the People's Lawyer, I will continue to stand up for the health and safety of women.

    Let me give you an example. A pregnant Washingtonian asked her manager for a reprieve from lifting 150-pound boxes. In response, her boss fired her by text: “Don’t give me that crap that you can’t work because you’re pregnant.”

    This is outrageous. Add your name to denounce this treatment of pregnant women.
     

    I'm proud that my team took this case to trial — and won.

    While we achieved justice for this employee, we all must work to ensure that pregnant workers do not face undue obstacles and harassment. I am committed to fighting for equal treatment and gender equity — today and every day.

    Sign on to join me: https://go.bobferguson.com/a/pregnant-workers

    Thank you,
    Bob





      
        

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