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23rd ld Democrats News

  • 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

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  • 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.


    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. 


    Simmons SIg

    Rep. Tarra Simmons


    Contact Me
     P.O. Box 40600, Olympia WA 98504

    (360) 786-7934 | Toll-free Hotline: (800) 562-6000 | (800) 635-9993 (TTY)

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

     Public Safety
    Civil Rights & Judiciary
    Healthcare & Wellness


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

    Friday Wrap Up.png

    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! 

    Screen Shot 2021-03-11 at 2.22.55 PM.png

    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!


    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,


    Paid For By Friends of Bob Ferguson (D)
    Re-election to Attorney General
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    United States

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  • 5 Mar 2021 5:45 PM | Douglass MacKenzie (Administrator)

    Friday Wrap Up.png

    In the hopes of coming together for an evening of civil discourse, I sat down with Town Hall Seattle & Seattle CityClub for an hour-long Civic Cocktail discussion with Washington GOP Chair Caleb Heimlich. What was set up to be a reconciling dialogue between parties turned into a battle of the facts vs. lies, and TRUTH prevailed through the night. Listen, I didn’t enter the discussion with the intention to make it heated, but the last thing I will do is let a Republican lie to my face and not call them out on it. When you have the time, please watch our discussion here or read the article recapping the event here. 

    The reality is Democrats are working with resolve to bring relief to the American people, while Republicans are using their age-old weapons to delay relief that ALL Americans so desperately need. In Congress, House Democrats led the charge to pass its version of the American Rescue Plan (ARP). Now, in the Senate, Democrats are working by any means necessary to do the same, but they are facing ruthless Republicans working overtime to prevent a vote on the bill (and I do mean overtime - watch the Senate this weekend for a 48-hour vote-a-palooza). Remember, Democrats in the House voted to deliver the relief Americans need now and not a single Republican joined them. It should come as no surprise that Senate Republicans are behaving the same way their party colleagues in the House did. Republicans like Senator Ron Johnson (TX) forced Senate clerks to read aloud the more than 600 pages to delay passage of the bill. At the same time, other Republicans are looking to propose amendment after amendment to add even more barriers to the process.  

    One thing that we know for sure is Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell are ready to fight for the American people to ensure we get relief FAST! Today on the Senate floor, Senator Murray spoke on the urgency of passing ARP. In a tweet, Sen. Murray stated, “Anyone who says the American Rescue Plan is too expensive needs to understand how much this pandemic has already cost our communities, how much it has already taken from families, and how much more is at stake if we don’t finally bring it to an end.”

    In the Evergreen State, we’ve already made great strides to getting Washington back to some sense of normalcy. It’s time to vaccinate everyone. It’s time to safely get kids back into classrooms, provide the economic relief that so many Washingtonians desperately need, and safely gather with family and friends again. For over a year now, communities across Washington have acted with caution and safety as their top priorities under the leadership of Governor Inslee and local Democratic officials. We must maintain this same level of diligence as many Washingtonians start and continue to put back together the pieces of their lives that were so devastated as a result of this pandemic. 

    In the House, Democrats voted to defend democracy;now the bill heads to the Senate, where we know Democrats will do the same. This is about protecting the constitutional right to engage in our political process. I am proud to say that every member of the Washington state Democratic Congressional delegation who voted to support HR 1! The For The People Act will make it easier for eligible voters to have their voices heard in our democracy. 

    In Olympia, the Washington State House passedHB 1078 to restore voting rights for convicted felons who are not in total confinement under the jurisdiction of the Department of Corrections. Introduced in the House by Representative Tarra Simmons (23rd LD), HB 1078 is scheduled for a public hearing in the Senate Committee on State Government & Elections on Wednesday, March 10! Let’s be sure to show Rep. Simmons and HB 1078 our support!  

    Also, Washington Democrats know that police reform is long overdue. This session, Democrats in the legislature introduced police reform bills that will bring severely delayed justice to Washingtonians, particularly those from Black and Brown communities, who are disproportionately impacted by police violence. This is the transformative action that will move Washington towards becoming the just and equitable state it needs to be; we must stand behind the lawmakers leading these efforts.  

    Back to DC, where the House passed the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, which would fundamentally transform policing in America by addressing systemic racism, curbing police brutality, and saving lives. This legislation includes bold yet common-sense reforms, including banning chokeholds and no-knock warrants, ending the court-created qualified immunity doctrine, combating racial profiling, and establishing strong standards to prevent police misconduct. 

    Democrats in both Washingtons share the American people’s hope that we can turn our moments of pain into action as we honor the lives of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Manuel Ellis, Charleena Lyles, and far too many more lives to count -- lives ended too soon by police brutality.


    Let’s keep up the support! 


    Finally, for those State Committee Members, Chairs, and Vice Chairs, I wanted to give you the “last call” to fill out your Census and Committee Preference Survey. As of this writing, we have 35 State Committee members (new, and returning, out of 174) who have not returned their committee preference and demographic survey - that’s about 20%. 

    We have sent the link four times over the last month - do let us know if you have not received it, you don’t understand it, or if life and a pandemic are getting in the way. Just let us know, as we want to make certain your voice, and the voices of the LD or county you represent, is heard! 

    We need to finalize committee co-chairs and members. We work hard to balance committees on a wide range of diversity factors and take your expressed committee preferences into consideration.  

    If we don’t hear from you by first thing Monday morning (March 8), we will just go ahead and proceed to balance and assign as we cannot wait any longer to do so. Again, just let us know what is happening in your particular situation as we are more than happy to help or work with you on it, but we can’t if we don’t hear from you.

    Here is the link again: https://forms.gle/D8Sy1s7NLphGUrQYA


    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! The Train the Trainer (T3) program is designed to train thousands of people at their own pace over six weeks, beginning March 16. Click hereto submit your registration for the 2021 T3 Training Program! Registration will close at 8:59 p.m. PT, on Sunday, March 14. 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 feel this form out so we can share your amazing work and stories! Please complete this form by Thursday, March 11: https://forms.gle/vf1EUEZrMgB61tvs9

    Something to watch:This week onDemocracy on Demand, we chatted with Senator Mona Das (47th LD) about legislation to help those impacted by high personal insurance rates as a result of their credit scores and policies to reduce waste and litter. 


    Something to read: This Small Town Shows How QAnon Is Quietly Going Mainstream - why we expect more QAnon and MAGA candidates in local races this year. And stay tuned for an exciting announcement next week about how we will partner with you to recruit even more candidates in 2021 local races.Click here to read!-- 
  • 4 Mar 2021 1:02 PM | Douglass MacKenzie (Administrator)

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    23rd-District Legislative E-News: Week 8

    Dear friends and neighbors,

    Mar. 4, 2021 -- Greetings from Virtual Olympia. The Legislature entered a new chapter of the session last week. February 22 was the final day for non-fiscal bills to be approved by policy committees and forwarded to the Rules Committee for possible floor votes. And vote we are! From now through March 9, the House will be debating and voting on policy bills from early morning throughout the day and into the evening.

    Among those bills . . . 

    I’m pleased to say that three of my bills passed off the House floor in the last few days. They still need to be fortunate enough to make it through the Senate before they can become law, but I’m feeling optimistic about their chances.

    My first bill, HB 1078, will restore the voting rights of persons who are no longer under the full custody of the state Department of Corrections. This bill, which was endorsed by prosecutors and victims’ rights groups alike, is an important civil-rights measure that has been proven in other states to reduce recidivism by giving recently released persons a foothold in society. That feeling of belonging, combined with a new sense of civic duty, can be a powerful motivator at exactly the time when motivation is so important.

    HB 1086 creates the state Office of Behavioral Health Consumer Advocacy to set rules, standards, and procedures for behavioral health advocates throughout the state. This vital function – sadly more vital now than ever – has been handled in the past by 10 different regional ombuds. Decentralization is effective in many endeavors, but consistency is crucial in the administration and delivery of behavioral health services.

    I introduced HB 1411 to help eliminate the shortage of home care workers, especially in cases where one family member is willing and fully qualified to be the paid caregiver for a relative but is automatically deemed ineligible because of a past criminal record. That denial eliminates about one in three adults from one of the most thankless but most essential jobs imaginable. Certainly, not every individual with a criminal record should be in a position of caring for a vulnerable person. But neither should everyone who doesn’t have a criminal record. There are other, more reliable ways of making that call, and my bill, which passed the House with a bipartisan majority, recognizes this.

    Building the budgets

    Not everything in the Legislature requires a formal, numbered bill. All three budgets – operating, capital, and transportation – are currently being written, and I’ve been working to ensure that Kitsap communities can benefit from the spending plans. The capital budget has received much of my focus, because this is the budget of acquisition and construction. 


    Here is an example: Through its Trust Lands Transfer program, the state has the chance this year to preserve a cherished piece of Kitsap County recreation land for future generations. I’m advocating for our capital budget, which is currently being written, to include $6.5 million to compensate the Department of Natural Resources for 640 acres the department currently owns near Eglon. Without this transfer, the department could one day log the property or sell it to developers to help fund its responsibilities, including school construction. That’s an important function, but the Eglon property, with its fragile wetlands, hike and bike trails, and irreplaceable stands of 130-year-old trees, should remain in the public’s hands, for public enjoyment. In return, the department will receive money to deposit into its school-construction account and to purchase more practical revenue-producing properties. The term “win-win” is overused, but in this case it fits, and this is one of my top agenda items for the capital budget.

    Banning private, for-profit prisons

    Last week, House members voted to ban private prisons in Washington, a decision I support. Even if this sort of facility were an effective corrections tool, it is wrong to profit off the misfortune of others. But the private-prison industry – and that’s what it is: an industry subsisting solely on taxes – is not effective. Corporate prisons cannot boast of reduced recidivism numbers, they are not cost savers when compared to facilities run by the Department of Corrections, and reports of abuse and poor conditions are rampant. There is currently only one private prison in Washington, the controversial, problem-dogged Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma. Under the terms of HB 1090, which I was proud to cosponsor, the center’s current contract will be allowed to run out, but it will not be renewed, and no other private prisons will be allowed to open in Washington. 

    Special healthcare enrollment period opens


    The Washington Health Benefit Exchange opened a special enrollment period on Feb. 15. This aligns with President Biden’s executive order to re-open the federal health insurance marketplace, giving additional time to Americans still seeking health coverage during the pandemic. The special enrollment will run for 90 days, ending May 15. During this time, those currently uninsured, seeking coverage, or enrolled in off-Exchange health insurance (such as health sharing ministries, short-term limited duration plans, or COBRA) can enroll. Current Exchange enrollees will not be eligible for this special enrollment. Visit the Washington Healthplanfinder here for more information

    Stepping up our fight against wildfires

    “Wildfire Destroys 80% of Town of Malden” . . . “It is Apocalyptic. Fear and Destruction” . . . “Everything Around Me is Gone.” These are real headlines from the waning days of last summer – that hot, dry time of year we’ve sadly come to know as “wildfire season” here in Washington and throughout the western United States. Every year Washington wildfires take out pastureland and prairies, forests, homes, and businesses. They kill people, wild and domestic animals, and entire ecosystems. And over time they cost our economy billions of dollars.


    The destructiveness of these annual fires, and the fact that many of them could be minimized or prevented, are behind my support of legislation to improve the way the state thinks about and deals with wildfires. HB 1168, sponsored by Rep. Larry Springer, is a bipartisan plan endorsed by firefighters, business owners, cities and counties, environmentalists, farmers and ranchers, unions, tribes, and Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz, under whose direction much of the newly prescribed work would take place. HB 1168 was recommended for passage by the House Rural Development, Agriculture & Natural Resources Committee and the House Appropriations Committee concurred. It’s now been placed on the House floor calendar and it could come up for a vote of the full House by the time you read this.

    We can turn the corner on COVID-19

    Masks and social distancing will likely be with us for a while, but as more people are vaccinated we should start to see life returning to something more like we’re accustomed to. The key to that future, though, is the vaccine. And I’m pleased that our Kitsap Public Health District is vaccinating as many as they can, as quickly as supplies allow. Here’s a snapshot from the District’s Monday, March 1, vaccine report. For more data as well as portals to reserve your vaccine, you can visit the District’s website here.

    vax data

    Thank you for reading this far. I hope you find these updates helpful, and I'd appreciate knowing if there is something that would add to their value. I know that everyone's time is precious, and I'd like to help you make the most of yours. Please be in touch, and above all please stay healthy and safe.


    Simmons SIg

    Rep. Tarra Simmons


    Contact Me
     P.O. Box 40600, Olympia WA 98504

    (360) 786-7934 | Toll-free Hotline: (800) 562-6000 | (800) 635-9993 (TTY)

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

     Public Safety
    Civil Rights & Judiciary
    Healthcare & Wellness

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  • 2 Mar 2021 8:59 AM | Douglass MacKenzie (Administrator)

    Dear Democrats,

    Last week, on behalf of the State party, I joined sexual assault and women's rights organizations from across Washington State, to publish an open letter opposing the recent appointment of former State Senator Joe Fain to the Washington State Redistricting Commission.

    Commissioner Fain, appointed by Senate Republican Leader John Braun, is widely known as the subject of serious allegations of rape. These must be thoroughly investigated - and Fain should resign. But he won't. At the very least, to protect all Washingtonians in this process, there must be a Code of Conduct established for Redistricting Commissioners, and Fain must be subject to it.

    I've made my voice heard on this matter by signing the letter with other progressive organizations across Washington. Now is the time for you to stand up and make your voice heard if you're in opposition to Fain's appointment to the Redistricting Commission. We need a groundswell of voices. The best way to make your voice heard is to provide public comment for the upcoming Washington State Redistricting Commission meeting that will take place on Sunday, February 21, beginning at 9 AM.

    Here's how you can get involved to support this effort - please:

    1. You can submit a written public comment by sending it to comment@redistricting.wa.gov. This will be taken into account, but there is currently no confirmation on if these will be addressed during the meeting on Sunday.

    2. If you would like to make a public comment during the meeting, you can sign up to join the zoom meeting here. We are not certain how long people will have for public comment. For every hour of the meeting, there is 15 min of public comment. Once you sign up for the Zoom call, you are submitting your name to be called on during the public comment portion of the meeting. The commission will track people signed up for public comment based on people registered for the zoom call.

    And, if you would like to watch the meeting but will not be presenting a public comment, you can watch the meeting live on tvw.org. The Washington State Redistricting Commission has not yet posted a public agenda for this meeting, but we expect they will discuss a code of conduct and the open letter addressed to the Commission.

    Thank you so much,


  • 26 Feb 2021 7:23 PM | Douglass MacKenzie (Administrator)

    Friday Wrap Up.png

    Republicans are working tirelessly to roll back voting rights and the progress that's been made to correct the extant injustices of voter suppression. Since the November election, Republicans across the country have introduced new state legislationto restrict voting rights and amend election laws as an attempt to course-correct their major losses. And it’s happening right here in Washington. 

    During the 2021 legislative session, Republicans in the State Senate introduced Senate Bill 5143, the “Free and Fair Elections Act of 2021,” aiming to bring back voting machines and in-person voting in Washington. Their desire to roll back our voting system is due to the progress Democrats have made to expand voting rights to those that have been disenfranchised and excluded from the electoral process for years, especially voters in rural areas and on Native American reservations.

    Republicans are losing elections because they fail to recognize that their ideologies and legislation have done nothing to support working families, create jobs, or uplift historically marginalized communities across the state -- or the country.

    It's not patriotic to attack American democracy. And it’s not patriotic to lie to Americans about facts.

    Republican extremism has led our country to disarray, and we are lucky to have President Joe Biden at the helm working to build back better by bringing our country together when it matters the most. When Republicans undermine the security of our elections, they undermine the voices of the people and the power of our votes. 

    GOP officials from the Presidency to Congress to local municipal leaders tried with all their might to obstruct our electoral processes. The anti-democratic attacks against our progressive efforts are ramping up with every passing day. Our commitment to protect fair elections must continue with even greater fervor. 

    In Olympia, Democrats are acting with resolve in taking every opportunity they can during the 2021 legislative session to ensure that the voting rights of every Washingtonian are protected and expanded in our state. This week, the Washington State House passed HB 1078 to restore voting rights for convicted felons. Introduced to the house by Representative Tarra Simmons(23rd LD), Washington’s first member of the legislature formerly convicted of a felony, HB 1078 will restore voter eligibility for all persons convicted of a felony offense who are not in total confinement under the jurisdiction of the Department of Corrections -- if passed by the Senate. 

    Restoring voting rights is the step we need to take to heal our nation and to ensure that democracy is protected and advanced for future generations to come. The divisiveness around the legitimacy of the 2020 election is a direct attack on the Civil Rights Movement and we must call on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to continue Congressman Lewis’ work as a civil rights activist and member of Congress. This will be the foundation to protect voters from unconstitutional voting procedures that are intended to harm the fair and free voting access that many Washingtonians have worked so hard to achieve.

    Democrats are focused on a brighter future! 

    This week, President Biden announcednew adjustments to the Paycheck Protection Programfocused on funding for small businesses that are so vital to communities all across America. Americans need economic relief now, and it starts with protecting the mom and pop shops that have withstood the test of time so they can continue to serve their neighborhoods. 

    In Washington, we're making quick strides to build back better. This week, Governor Inslee signed the $2.2 Billion COVID-19 Relief Billto get kids back in the classroom, ramp up testing and vaccines, and get economic relief to those who are struggling the most.  

    In light of the pandemic, the need for digital connectivity across the state has never been more clear. Democrats in the Washington state legislature are working to strengthen internet access for rural communities! This week, the legislature passedHB 1336, the Public Broadband act that will authorize public utility districts, port districts, cities and towns, and counties to provide retail telecommunications services. Democratic Representative Drew Hansen (23rd LD) led the charge for this bipartisan effort to bridge the digital divide that has stricken our rural communities. We have never seen a greater need for public broadband in our state's rural and underserved areas. Equipping our communities with access to public broadband will connect working-class families to more jobs and students of all ages to broader learning experiences.

    Finally, earlier this week I had a special opportunity to sit down with some amazing Black elected officials from across the state. During Black History Month and throughout the entire year, we must honor and celebrate Washington state's Black leaders who have paved the way for progressive action and those who are leading our communities right now as changemakers. Watch our candid discussion here!


    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. The Train the Trainer (T3) program is designed to train thousands of people at their own pace over six weeks,beginning March 16. Click hereto submit your registration for the 2021 T3 Training Program! Registration will close at 8:59 p.m. PT, on Sunday, March 14. It’s the best investment you’ll make in the future of organizing in Washington state!

    Something to watch:This week onDemocracy on Demand, we chatted with Representative Jesse Johnson (30th LD) about usage of permissible force by law enforcement and juvenile access to attorneys when contacted by law enforcement.

    Something to read: Latino Voters have Higher than Average Ballot Signature Rejection Rates in Washington State: Click here to read!


  • 26 Feb 2021 1:54 PM | Douglass MacKenzie (Administrator)

    Senator Christine Rolfes

    Dear Friends and Neighbors,

    We are about one-third of the way through the 2021 legislative session and continue to focus on helping households and businesses survive and recover during this difficult time. I know the fastest, shortest path to getting our state back open is to contain the pandemic. I also know people need help immediately. Last week Gov. Inslee signed a $2.2 billion measure (HB 1368) to expand testing and vaccine distribution, provide support to schools, make grants available for small businesses, and meet basic needs with rental and food assistance.

    We are working to get this relief distributed quickly and this newsletter will focus on ways people can find help. You can also call 211 or click here to find information about a wide range of assistance programs. I have also listed a number of local resources here on my website. As always, if you have questions or feedback, please email Christine.Rolfes@leg.wa.gov or call (360) 786-7644.

    Available resources

    The last year has been difficult for everyone here in Kitsap, and I want to share a list of resources that are currently available or will be available soon for those in need of relief:

    • VACCINATIONS: We have invested an additional $618 million to boost testing, contact tracing, and to quickly distribute vaccines as soon as they become available. Visit the Kitsap Public Health District’s website for the latest information on vaccine distribution and where vaccines are being given, or call 1-800-525-0127. We are still in Phase 1B-Tier 1 and those eligible include all people 65 years or older and all people 50 years or older living in multigenerational households. Check your eligibility status here.
    • HOUSING: We have added $365 million for emergency eviction, rental and utility assistance. People seeking help can contact 2-1-1 or call Kitsap Community Resources at 360-473-2035 for more information.
    • BUSINESS ASSISTANCE: Another $240 million will be coming online soon to help small businesses impacted by the pandemic. The grants are expected to be available in late March and information will be available at the state Department of Commerce website here. In addition, we approved HB 1095 to exempt businesses from paying B&O taxes on emergency assistance grants from the state or federal government. This will provide up to $210 million in tax relief for Washington businesses impacted by the pandemic.
    • FREE WI-FI HOT SPOTS: Free high-speed internet hotspots are available throughout Kitsap County to provide internet connections to anyone in need, thanks to Kitsap Public Utility District’sDrive-In Wi-Fi.
    • CHILDCARE: The relief package included an additional $50 million for licensed childcare providers to help keep these critical businesses open. In the coming weeks, the state Department of Children, Youth & Families will have updated grant information.
    • IMMIGRANT ASSISTANCE: The bill signed last week sets aside about $60 million for the state’s immigrant relief fund. People can find out more information and sign up for alerts on when the new grants will be available here for working Washingtonians who are not eligible for either unemployment insurance or stimulus payments.

    Strengthening our consumer protection laws

    This week the Senate passed a major overhaul of our state’s consumer protection laws. Senate Bill 5025, which I sponsored, represents a significant advance in consumer protections for Washingtonians and gives the Attorney General the authority to properly penalize businesses who attempt to scam or defraud our residents. The new laws will especially help older adults and other vulnerable groups, who are disproportionately impacted by fraudulent activities.

    Update on employment security breach

    I wanted to share an update on a recent security breach that may have impacted people who filed unemployment benefits claims last year. As you may have heard, the Washington State Auditor was recently made aware of a data security incident involving a third-party provider. This week the Auditor’s office will begin notifying people whose unemployment benefits claims information may have been affected. The notifications will be sent by e-mail during the next two weeks to people who filed an unemployment insurance claim in 2020. The e-mail will contain information about identity theft protection and an individual code for 12 months of free credit monitoring and instructions on how to enroll and request assistance. You can also visit https://sao.wa.gov/breach2021/ for updated information.


    Sen. Christine Rolfes
    State Senator, 23rd Legislative District

    Executive Assistant 
    Linda Owens: Linda.Owens@leg.wa.gov

    Legislative Assistant 
    Haylee Anderson: Haylee.Anderson@leg.wa.gov



    Direct: 360.786.7644 | Toll free: 800.562.6000 | TTY: 800.833.6388

    Olympia Office 
    303 Cherberg Building | PO Box 40423 | Olympia, WA 98504

    Ways & Means (Chair)
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