WA Long-Term Care Trust Act first in the Nation!
This is great news—with the Senate passing the Long-Term Care Trust Act earlier this week, Washington will become the very first state with an insurance benefit to help pay for the costs of long-term care.
You may think long-term care is covered under Medicare, but that’s only true for low-income people, so in order to qualify for those services, you’d need to deplete your entire lifetime savings first. That does not make good economic-sense.
The Long-Term Care Trust Act is a benefit that you, as a worker, will pay into during your productive years that will keep you out of poverty in your golden years.
The benefit will first be payable in 2025. Workers will begin paying a premium of 58 cents per $100 of income in 2022, and vest after five years. The total benefit available would be nearly $37,000, which could be used toward a comprehensive array of long-term care services and supports. This includes in-home care, assisted living, a skilled nursing facility, or even paying a family member to help care for them. The benefit could also pay for meal delivery or construction of a wheelchair ramp.
Like the rest of the nation, Washington’s age demographics are shifting. The number of people needing long-term care services and supports continues to grow, while the number of family caregivers able to provide that care continues to shrink. As one of the sponsors of this legislation, I am convinced that The Long-Term Care Trust Act is the best way for our state to address this looming crisis.
100% Clean Energy State
In 2008, the Legislature committed Washington to reducing overall greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels.
Now, another historic measure committing the Evergreen state to 100-percent clean energy from renewable and zero-emission sources is very close to becoming law.
Last week, the House passed Senate Bill 5116, which requires all electric utilities in Washington to transition to a 100-percent, carbon-neutral electricity supply by 2030 and to 100-percent carbon-free electricity by 2045. Electricity remains the largest source of carbon emissions worldwide and is the third-highest emitting sector in Washington, after transportation and buildings.
This bill was negotiated with all of the stakeholders and I was pleased to be one of the sponsors of the House companion bill because I strongly believe we can build a thriving economy beyond coal and beyond fossil fuels. The people of Washington deserve a healthy and clean quality of life for generations to come.
Workforce Education Investment Act: Jobs and Opportunities for Washington Students
The Washington Workforce Education Investment Act, approved by the Finance Committee this morning, renames the State Need Grant as the Washington College Grant and expands the program dramatically to increase eligibility. There is still some more work to be done on this bill, however it makes important investments in services that connect students with degrees, certificates, and apprenticeships, leading to high-demand jobs like nursing, engineering, and computer science.
The bill funds these investments with a targeted surcharge on specific sectors that depend on higher education such as law, engineering, technology, and more. Some business leaders from these sectors, including Microsoft President Brad Smith, support and endorse this revenue package as a way to develop a skilled work force for high-demand and high-wage jobs.
Improving behavioral health is one key to alleviating homelessness
The House Democrats’ state operating budget proposal addresses behavioral health by making some of the most significant investments in a generation, which will make a noticeable impact on the ground in our state.
The budget prioritizes substance use disorder housing and recovery supports because the facts and research are clear: providing stable housing first is essential to health and recovery in the long-term. We couple those investments with funding for diversion and alternatives to jail programs, community and inpatient treatment, support for families, and investments in educational and employment opportunities for people in recovery.
Here’s a highlight of our behavioral health housing investments:
This legislative session will adjourn on April 28, that’s just in a couple of weeks, and this is when things move really quickly between chambers.
Remember you can keep up with everything we’re doing in Olympia through TVW, not only on your TV, but also online. Click on the image or scan the code for more information on how to access this great resource.
Thank you for reading my newsletter. I appreciated receiving all the feedback from all of you through the session. If you need more information on any of the issues discussed here, or on any other legislative matter, please don’t hesitate to contact my office.