Meet our Intern
The Washington State Legislature provides an opportunity for Washington State juniors and seniors attending 4-years colleges and universities to serve in Olympia as an intern during the legislative session. This year, we are working with Edlawte Sentayehu (Ed-La-wit Sen-tae-ew), a junior at Washington State University (WSU) majoring in Political Science and minoring in Global Studies. At WSU, she is involved in leadership with her dormitory. In our office, she writes briefs for meetings with stakeholders and constituents, assists with constituent correspondence, and helps keep our office running. In her free time, she enjoys volunteering in her community, running, reading, cooking, and learning about other cultures.
A graduate of Edmonds-Woodway High School, Edlawte moved to the United States in 6th grade from her native Ethiopia. Her deep interest in international law and human rights motivated her to pursue a degree in Political Science. She aspires to pursue a Master’s in International Relations and dreams of one day working at the United Nations for Ethiopia.
Protecting Consumer Personal Data
The people of Washington State have a right to their privacy. That includes data privacy. Currently, companies are collecting the data we leave behind on the internet and apps to either target advertising towards us or sell it directly to other companies. This session my colleagues on the Innovation, Technology, and Economic Development Committee and I have been focusing on this issue. House Bill 2741, the Washington Privacy Act, defines basic consumer rights for personal data collected by technology companies. This bill is designed to give consumers more control over their own data by creating the right to decide what data is collected, for what purpose it can be used, who can use it, and when it must be deleted. As consumers we should have the right to see what data is being collected on us and to restrict its use.
Washington would be among the first states in the country to establish these protections. In a state where technology drives the economy, it is critical that companies are accountable to the consumers whose data they collect and store.
This bill requires great nuance and we are working with stakeholders and our colleagues in the Senate to ensure that we strike the right balance. We must establish clear rules for the collection and use of our personal data.
Protecting Access to Special Needs Transportation
The passage of I-976 meant a loss of more than $450 million in revenue for our state’s transportation budget. Because of the way that our budget is structured we cannot simply move money from the rainy-day fund or the operating fund to back fill this loss of revenue. Unfortunately, the other main source of revenue for our transportation budget is our state’s gas tax which is constitutionally required to be spent on road repair. This leaves our public transportation, walking and biking infrastructure, and especially programs that help people with special needs get around particularly vulnerable.
As a member of the Transportation Committee, I have fought hard to ensure that these cuts do not fall the hardest on our special needs community. Transportation programs provide a vital link for those with special needs to the rest of our community. We must stand up for the most vulnerable in our community and ensure that this vital link is not severed.