This Week in Review – from the Washington State Democratic Party

This was a big week in national and Washington politics – but we’ll help you stay up to date on what’s going on, and what you can do to help out and advance the cause of progressive policies and politics.

1. Legislature Hard At Work

The state legislature is at work passing bills out of each chamber this week – while the Senate Republicans still continue to refuse to pass the “levy cliff” bill (HB 1059) that would prevent $358 million in school funding cuts across our state despite pleas from schools across our state, the Democratic House is hard at work.

Some of the bills already passed by the House include:

HB 1800 – the WA Voting Rights Act!

This is the fifth year in a row that the House has passed one of the most important bills in our legislature. The VRA would create a swifter and less costly path to justice for individuals who have been shut out of their local elections. By empowering cities, counties, and districts to more easily solve issues of discrimination in their electoral structures, the bill will also lower costs for local governments and taxpayers.

HB 1234 – 12 months of birth control

HB 1234 would allow pharmacies to give out 12 months of birth control at a time, making it easier for women to get consistent contraception. This will particularly help women in rural areas where they might be far away from a pharmacy or women who work several jobs, have unusual work hours, have demanding family responsibilities, or a combination of these, which could make it challenging to regularly visit a pharmacy at open hours.

HB 1440 – the student loan Bill of Rights

The student loan Bill of Rights would help students borrowing to attend college or university. The bill would protect students by preventing student loan services from taking advantage of students and families with misleading information or unfair fees.

HB 2097 – protecting immigrants from Trump

HB 2097 would limit the ability of government to collect information on a person’s religious affiliation, and would prevent law enforcement from enforcing or assisting with any registry that the federal government may create based on religious affiliation, while HB 2029 would create a telephone hotline and website managed through the Human Rights Commission to refer people to assistance for immigration and citizenship issues.

2. Jeff Sessions Lies To Congress

It’s now clear – Jeff Sessions outright lied to Congress about his interactions with Russian officials while acting as a surrogate for Donald Trump’s campaign.

Just weeks ago, Sessions sat in front of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, took an oath to tell the truth, and then proceeded to tell them he “did not have communications with the Russians” during the 2016 presidential campaign. That was a lie. As the Washington Post reported this week, Sessions met with the Russian ambassador twice — including once in his office.

Trump lied about this himself as well. Back in January, he flatly denied to NBC News that any of his staff were in contact with Russia during the campaign. Now we know that several were – Sessions, Michael Flynn who has since resigned in disgrace as National Security Advisor, and Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort.

Trump and his team’s efforts to conspire with Russia to fix our election – and their unabashed willingness to openly lie about it afterwards – are an embarrassment to our country.

Sessions must resign, plain and simple. Add your name to join the Washington Democrats in calling for Sessions’ resignation.

 

3. Obamacare Under Attack

We’re hearing news about the GOP health care plan, and Republicans are remarkably direct about what would happen – less health care for fewer people at higher premiums.

Republican lawmakers expect that their Obamacare replacement will result in fewer Americans covered by health insurance, a fact that’s likely to increase blowback amid growing support for the program.

New details of the plan are beginning to emerge, described by lawmakers and their aides. While still being worked out, it would do away with the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that all Americans have health coverage or pay a fine, and replace it with rules that let people choose not to buy insurance, instead paying higher premiums or penalties if they need it later. The result would be fewer people covered, said Republican lawmakers.

“Not everybody is going to have health care — some people just don’t care enough about their own care,” Representative Dennis Ross of Florida, a senior member of House Republicans’ vote-counting team, said in an interview Wednesday.

So Republicans are going to take away people’s health care, then blame the victims for it. This is heartless.

 

What you can do

1. Upcoming Legislative Town Halls

We’ve been encouraging people to call their legislators, but there’s nothing you can do more effective than speaking with them face to face at a town hall meeting.

We’re assembling a list of town hall meetings across the state being scheduled by state legislators, many of them on next Saturday March 11th. Click here to see the list! We’ll update it with more information as we get it.

At town hall meetings, voters can emphasize the importance of funding education, preventing school funding cuts by passing the “levy cliff” bill, protecting the rights of immigrants and minorities in the face of attacks by Trump’s administration, protecting health care, and other important issues.

Let’s stand up and be heard!

 

2. Support education funding!

More and more schools across the state are calling on the legislature to pass the “levy cliff” bill and protect schools from nearly $400 million in cuts statewide next year. Schools across the state, including on Whidbey Island and in Walla Walla, and the Seattle Public Schools African-American Male Advisory Committee are all begging the legislature to act.

The House Democrats have passed the bill but Senate Republicans led by three-time loser Dino Rossi are refusing to hold a vote! His inaction is creating the possibility for huge cuts to schools in his area and across the state.

We all know Dino Rossi, and we know that we’re going to have to FORCE him to act. Call Rossi’s office at 360-786-7672 and let him know that we need to avoid school funding cuts and students, teachers, and the superintendent of the schools in his own district are ALL calling on the Senate to allow a vote on the levy cliff bill, HB 1059!

 

3. Help fund our grassroots organizing – join the DEM club!

We’re looking to expand our communications program and hire organizers to help the grassroots activate against Donald Trump and the Republicans. Joining our Democrats Every Month club (the DEM club!) is a great way to make a small monthly commitment to support Democratic organizing and progressive politics.

If you’ve already signed up for the DEM club, send this link or forward this email to a friend and encourage them to join us! This is the most important thing we can do to build our Party and the progressive movement.

Thank you for your support!