E-Newsletter: Legislative Session & COVID-19 Update

Dear friends and neighbors,

The COVID-19 pandemic is unlike any public health emergency we’ve experienced in over a century. I am proud of the bipartisan work our Legislature has done to address this crisis so far, including passage of several policies and investment of $200 million into critical emergency response funding before the end of the Legislative session. This investment will help to increase capacity in hospitals, streamline the process of hiring health care workers, expand testing and help support impacted families, small business owners and workers as we weather this crisis.

The information related to COVID-19 is changing rapidly, so it’s best to only use resources from official sources like the official Washington state COVID-19 website.

During this time, I’m doing everything I can to help keep people informed and share concerns from our community with the decision makers. Please reach out to me if I can be of any help. We are in this together.

In Service,


Rep. Alex Ramel

Providing local governments tools to address our housing crisis

Everyone should be able to afford a home and still have enough to pay for the basic necessities, like groceries and childcare. Unfortunately, that’s become further and further out of reach for far too many people in Washington. Cities and counties are on the front lines of this crisis, and I heard clearly from many local leaders – mayors, council members and commissioners – that they have solutions for their communities, but they need resources. I supported legislation to give local governments the authority to raise the funds they need to implement solutions. Working together, we can help many more people maintain the safety and security of an affordable home.

Getting clean cars on Washington roads

Taking action to confront climate change is one of my top priorities. This year I was eager to adopt zero emission vehicle (ZEV) standards to increase availability and selection of electric vehicles in Washington. By adopting these standards, we are asking auto manufacturers to increase the percentage of electric and other clean vehicles sold in our state. It’s an important step to improving the sustainability of our transportation system.

Making college affordable for everyone

Whether it’s a four year-degree, community college or trade school, education is a path to prosperity and success for many people. I was proud to vote to fully fund our promise to over 100,000 Washington students to improve access to a higher education. The Washington Workforce Education Investment Act will give students with an annual family income of less than $50,000 a full-tuition scholarship to college or apprenticeship training through the Washington College Grant – an expansion of the State Need Grant. Partial tuition scholarships for families earning up to $97,000 annually will also be available. In Washington, we’re committed to helping each other succeed. Click here to find out more information, or apply for the Washington College Grant (formerly the State Need Grant).

Identification for youth experiencing homelessness

Official government identification is vital to accessing education, jobs and social services, including food and housing. Youth experiencing homelessness often face barriers when obtaining Washington state identicards, which is why I supported legislation to provides an accessible pathway for individuals 25 and under experiencing homelessness to get identification.

Gun violence prevention

Gun violence is a national public health crisis that brings long lasting trauma to individuals, families and communities. In my first term, I supported numerous gun safety measures, including establishing the nation’s first Office of Firearm Safety and Violence Prevention. This office will improve data collection on gun violence, create intervention and prevention strategies, support victims of gun violence and provide grants to community-based organizations. They will also work closely with law enforcement, county prosecutors, researchers, public health agencies and community-based organizations to determine what systems work for individual communities.

Keeping our courts open to all

The impartiality of our justice system is the cornerstone of our democracy. Our system is built on the promise of justice for all, but when members of our community fear going to the courthouse, our entire society suffers. People go to court for all kinds of reasons – to seek protection orders, to serve as witnesses, or to plead their innocence. I proudly supported legislation to prevent federal immigration officials from conducting civil arrests in and around courthouses and court facilities, except when made pursuant to a valid court order or to prevent an imminent risk to public safety. It also prohibits judges and court personnel from inquiring about immigration status or sharing nonpublic information with immigration officials. All members of our community should be free to seek justice.

Helping our salmon and orca

Cleaning up our rivers helps grow our salmon population, something that Southern Resident Orcas desperately need. In 2019, the Legislature passed critical legislation to protect clean water and support our salmon and orca populations. This year, we continued that work
by prohibiting suction dredge mining in critical endangered species habitat areas, which include spawning beds for salmon and places that the Washington Dept. of Fish and Wildlife has deemed too fragile to even fish.