Rep. Slatter’s Newsletter: Economic recovery, new COVID variant & transportation package

Join us this coming Thursday!

Join your 48th District legislators for a live telephone town hall on Thursday, February 4th at 6:00 pm. We will answer your questions and give you an update on how the legislative session is going.

You can submit questions ahead of time:

Or call in during the live event to submit a question. We’ll post the link to join in the discussion tab of this Facebook event.

And we will also send you an invite with all the details on Wednesday.

48th LD TTH

Step One for Washington’s Community and Economic Recovery

We are taking the first step toward Washington’s community and economic recovery, starting with the allocation of $2.2 billion in federal funds to provide assistance to Washington families and businesses who have been most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. This package will ease the financial hardship of struggling renters and landlords, small restaurants and other neighborhood businesses, school districts, uninsured and underinsured individuals, and Black and Brown communities, which have been disproportionately hurt during the pandemic.

Click here to read more about this bold proposal and track the bills that reflect these investments: HB 1367 and HB 1368 and their companion bills, SB 5343 and SB 5344.

Additionally, we just passed an Unemployment Insurance tax relief bill

Because of the thousands of COVID-19 layoffs last year, now many employers are facing unprecedented hikes (up to 500 percent in some cases!) in their Unemployment Insurance premium tax bills due in April. And many workers, who are still out of a job, are struggling to make ends meet with their UI checks.

IU Tax ccut

To address both issues, the Senate passed SB 5061 on Wednesday and we passed it on Friday in the House, in both chambers with strong bipartisan support, so we could quickly send it to the governor.

This measure cuts UI tax bills for employers and increases benefits for the state’s hardest-hit lowest-wage workers.

For the details and information on how the bill will better prepare our state for the next health emergency, as well as rebuild Washington’s Unemployment Insurance trust fund, please go here.

Tried and true tactics to fight the new variant of COVID-19

The new variant of COVID-19, which spreads more easily, has reached our state. The good news is that we know how to fight it. The Department of Health recently wrote about how to protect ourselves. Find their advice here in English and aquí en Español.

Bottom line, we all need to continue to wear masks, keep gatherings small and outside, and wash our hands.

covid vaccine

Washington just passed the threshold of vaccinating over 500,000 people.  However, vaccine demand has so far outstripped supply.  We hope to see the tide turning with deliveries of vaccines from the federal government ramping up and the launch of mass vaccination sites.

To help in this effort, we recently introduced a state emergency pandemic relief bill that includes $618 million to facilitate Washington’s vaccine distribution plan and prepare for future federal action to get vaccines to our state. The Department of Health will be able to use these funds for vaccine distribution, contact tracing, and testing—with an emphasis on vaccinating individuals needed for school re-opening and ensuring that outreach is accessible, culturally and linguistically appropriate, and includes community-driven partnerships and strategies.

Watch my Ask Vandana video below for a brief response/segment on vaccines distribution.

Ask Vandana

In this edition of Ask Vandana I discuss vaccines distribution and the transportation package we introduced earlier this month.

Ask Vandana Cover

Transportation Package

Ten days ago, we rolled out our transportation package proposal, which includes maintenance and preservation, as well as investing in frontline communities and the restoration of fish passages.

Last summer, members of the House Transportation Committee hosted around 90 statewide remote sessions where we heard from constituents and stakeholders. They told us they want transparency and a clear connection to transportation investments. A good example is the carbon fee, with all of those revenues dedicated to multi-modal transportation along with carbon reduction and electrification investments. This will give people more transportation choices while moving our state toward a green transportation future. 

To check out the details, watch the press conference here, or read the press release here.

In my Ask Vandana video above I also provide information on the transportation package.

As always, thank you so much for your interest in my legislative activity. If you’d like more information on any of these issues, please contact my office. Also, visit my Official Facebook page and don’t forget to join our telephone town hall this Thursday.