News & Information       http://info.owt.com

Government

09/22/2021   Department of Homeland Security

Today, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas and Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo released a joint statement on the issuance of preliminary cybersecurity performance goals as directed by President Biden’s National Security Memorandum, “Improving Cybersecurity for Critical Infrastructure Control Systems.” 

“Today, we are delivering on the first step of the President’s National Security Memorandum (NSM) objectives to strengthen the cybersecurity of our Nation’s critical infrastructure control systems.  DHS’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), in coordination with the Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), developed preliminary cybersecurity performance goals based on nine categories of best practices.  These goals are part of a long overdue, whole-of-government effort to meet the scale and severity of the cybersecurity threats facing our country.  It is vital that critical infrastructure owners and operators immediately take steps to strengthen their cybersecurity posture toward these high-level goals.  The safety and security of the American people relies on the resilience of the companies that provide essential services such as power, water, and transportation.  We look forward to further engaging with key industry stakeholders to promote these efforts to protect our national and economic security.” 

Read the preliminary performance goals and objectives on CISA.gov.

Keywords: Critical Infrastructure, Cybersecurity, Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas
Topics: Cybersecurity
09/22/2021   Washington State Governor's Information Feed

Gov. Jay Inslee released a statement today regarding the U.S. Department of Justice’s petition for review in the U.S. Supreme Court against state law protecting Hanford workers.

09/22/2021   Washington House Republicans

AGRICULTURE & WATER A dry year: Irrigators in the Columbia Basin were saved by snowpack, but dryland farmers took a hit (Columbia Basin Herald) BUSINESS, ECONOMY & LABOR Construction worker dies at Convention Center job site (The Seattle Times) Local demand for DoorDash could ‘explode’ after announcement that company is delivering alcohol in Washington (iFiberOneNewsRadio-KMAS)... Read more »

The post Capitol Buzz: September 22, 2021 appeared first on Washington State House Republicans.

09/21/2021   Washington House Republicans

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASESeptember 21, 2021 Redistricting Commissioner Paul Graves today released a newly drawn map that seeks to make legislative districts more competitive. “Our politics are polarized, and a major reason is non competitive districts. By making more districts competitive, more Washingtonians get to vote in up-for-grabs races, candidates and parties must work harder for... Read more »

The post New map increases overall number of competitive districts; better reflects Washington’s diversity appeared first on Washington State House Republicans.

09/21/2021   Washington House Republicans

AGRICULTURE & WATER 2021 a record-breaking drought year in parts of Washington (AP/The Seattle Times) BUSINESS, ECONOMY & LABOR Labor board: Fred Meyer, QFC ban on Black Lives Matter buttons violated law (MyNorthwest) CONGRESS House to vote on government funding, debt as GOP digs in (KOMO TV) CORONAVIRUS Gov. Inslee requests federal assistance for Washington... Read more »

The post Capitol Buzz: September 21, 2021 appeared first on Washington State House Republicans.

09/21/2021   Washington State Senate Democrats

 

OLYMPIA – After over two decades of service in the Washington State Legislature, Sen. Jeannie Darneille (D-Tacoma) announced her retirement today after giving notice to Gov. Jay Inslee of her resignation. Her resignation will be effective this fall on a date to be determined.

Darneille departs the Legislature to serve in the newly created position of Assistant Secretary — Women’s Prison Division for the Department of Corrections.  Her work will focus on the development of gender responsive programs that will better address the unique needs of women who are incarcerated at the Washington Corrections Center for Women (Purdy) and the Mission Creek Corrections Center for Women (Belfair).

“It has been a true honor and pleasure to represent the people of the 27th legislative district for the last 21 years,” said Darneille. “I ran for office because after almost 30 years of work experience in the nonprofit sector, I was very familiar with the issues facing the most marginalized people in our community, and I was determined to make a difference. I thank my community wholeheartedly for giving me the opportunity to go to Olympia and advocate for my constituents and for those whose voices often go unheard.”

Prior to joining the Legislature, Darneille had a 30-year career in higher education administration and management of nonprofit organizations offering social services. She served as Executive Director of the Pierce County AIDS Foundation when she initially ran for office in 2000.  Her work extended across poverty reduction programs, early learning, homelessness, immigrant and refugee assistance, and women’s programs, to name a few.

“Jeannie Darneille has spent a lifetime advocating for Washingtonians who have been left behind,” said Senate Majority Leader Sen. Andy Billig, D-Spokane. “Her compassion and hard work on behalf of the most marginalized in our communities is nothing short of inspiring. Sen. Darneille has worked tirelessly to reduce poverty, strengthen behavioral health, and reform juvenile justice. She has long been a champion for people in the most need of one and our state is better for it.

“I have known Sen. Darneille since I first engaged with the Legislature years before I was elected, and she was one of the first people I talked with when I thought about running for office. She has been a mentor ever since. We will miss her in the Senate but she is clearly going to continue serving our state in a very meaningful way.”

In the Legislature, Darneille has a well-earned reputation as a determined fighter for social justice issues. As chair of the Senate Human Services, Reentry & Rehabilitation Committee, she has sponsored and/or facilitated the passage of landmark bills to expand our social safety net, improve the child welfare system, reform the juvenile justice and criminal legal systems, reduce racial disproportionality in those systems, and expand services and opportunities for people who are returning to their communities after experiencing incarceration.

Through other legislation, committee work, and service on numerous task forces and commissions, Darneille has also worked to improve the accessibility and quality of behavioral health services, expand opportunities for accessible and affordable housing for all, increase education funding for all learners; expand health care for children, families, and people with disabilities; develop a safe environment for children and adults to learn, grow, and thrive; safeguard civil liberties; and promote economic opportunities for all people of Washington.

In a letter to her colleagues in the Senate on September 21st, Darneille wrote, “I will deeply miss working alongside my colleagues to implement policies that save and improve the quality of life for people in Washington.  The opportunity to launch the new Women’s Prison Division at the Department of Corrections is a rare transition in the life of a legislator.  I will have the unique opportunity to continue my work in criminal justice reform while pivoting to lead this transformative new division.”

Her four-year Senate term that began in January 2021 will be filled by a temporary appointee, who will serve through the November 2022 election. The appointee will be chosen by the Pierce County Council from a list of three names submitted by the district’s Democratic Precinct Committee Officers.

 

09/20/2021   Washington State Governor's Information Feed

In case you missed it: Gov.

09/20/2021   Washington House Republicans

AGRICULTURE & WATER 2020-21: The water year of surprises (The Daily World) Washington farmers continue to persevere despite back-to-back challenging years (Pacific Northwest Ag Network) Stats show Skagit County farms produced $314 million in crops in 2020, weathered a pandemic (Skagit Valley Herald) BUSINESS, ECONOMY & LABOR Criminal indictment imminent for former Boeing 737 MAX... Read more »

The post Capitol Buzz: September 20, 2021 appeared first on Washington State House Republicans.

09/20/2021   Department of Homeland Security

 

Nearly $10 Million Awarded to Expand Citizenship Preparation Services in 25 States

WASHINGTON— Today, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) awarded nearly $10 million in grants to 40 organizations in 25 states to help prepare lawful permanent residents (LPRs) for naturalization.  The fiscal year (FY) 2021 grants will run through September 2023 and provide funding to organizations that prepare LPRs for naturalization and promote civic integration through increased knowledge of English, U.S. history, and civics.

“DHS is proud to support organizations that help individuals prepare to become citizens and promote their successful integration in our communities,” said Secretary Mayorkas.  “These organizations help strengthen our identity as a welcoming nation of immigrants.”

“USCIS is committed to providing information about the benefits, responsibilities and opportunities of citizenship, and the naturalization process,” said USCIS Director Ur M. Jaddou.  “Through the USCIS grants program, we ensure that community organizations can equip the immigrants they serve with the tools they need to be successful.”

USCIS awarded the grants through two competitive funding opportunities.  The first funding opportunity supports organizations that provide citizenship instruction and naturalization application assistance to LPRs.  The second funding opportunity supports organizations that provide extended integration services to LPRs who have entered the United States as refugees or who have been granted asylum.  In making final award decisions, USCIS considered grantees’ past performance, when applicable.  

USCIS seeks to expand availability of high-quality citizenship and integration services throughout the country under the Citizenship and Integration Grant Program:

  • Citizenship Instruction and Naturalization Application Services: This opportunity will fund public or nonprofit organizations that offer both citizenship instruction and naturalization application services to LPRs.  USCIS has awarded 39 organizations up to $250,000 each for two years through this opportunity.
  • Refugee and Asylee Integration Services Program: This opportunity will provide extended integration services with a focus on individualized programming to former refugees and asylees to attain the skills and knowledge required for successful citizenship.  The program will also provide other services that help foster a sense of belonging to the United States.  The grantee must design an integration support program that provides a suite of services to program beneficiaries to promote long-term civic integration and citizenship.

USCIS received support from Congress through appropriations to make these funding opportunities available to communities.  The Citizenship and Integration Grant Program has awarded approximately $112 million through 513 competitive grants to immigrant-serving organizations in 39 states and the District of Columbia since it began in 2009.  Now in its 13th year, the program has helped more than 290,500 LPRs prepare for citizenship.

For additional information on the Citizenship and Integration Grant Program for fiscal year 2021, visit www.uscis.gov/grants.

Keywords: Immigration, Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
Topics: Citizenship and Immigration Services, Secretary of Homeland Security
09/20/2021   Department of Homeland Security

Mayorkas Outlines Steps DHS Has Taken to Continue Advancing Equity for Members of the AANHPI Community

WASHINGTON – On Friday, September 17, 2021, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas and members of the DHS Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Task Force met with leaders of the AANHPI community to reiterate the Department’s commitment to racial equity and civil rights and civil liberties.  

“Six months ago, following the tragic events that unfolded in Atlanta, I had the opportunity to hear from members of the Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander community,” said Secretary Mayorkas.  “It is a priority for me to meet with community leaders and discuss the important work we have done to combat domestic violent extremism and targeted violence in communities across the country.  While we have made progress, these accomplishments are just the first step as we continue the important work of keeping our communities safe for all.”  

“It was devastating to see the violence against members of the Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander community in Atlanta in March,” said Deputy Secretary John Tien.  “The Department of Homeland Security is committed to protecting all Americans, and I am proud to be a part of the team working tirelessly to combat domestic violent extremism and targeted violence.” 

Secretary Mayorkas previously met with AANHPI community leaders in Atlanta in March 2021 and, following that meeting, formed the DHS AANHPI Task Force to coordinate DHS efforts in advancing equity for members of the AANHPI community. 

During Friday’s meeting, Task Force members outlined the Department’s actions on preventing and addressing domestic violent extremism, including:  

  • Release of two threat assessments conducted by the DHS Office of Intelligence and Analysis that address threats specific to the AANHPI community. 
  • Engagement by the DHS Center for Prevention Programs and Partnerships (CP3) to increase engagement with regional and local AANHPI community partners and integrate AANHPI community leaders into broader local community-based prevention efforts. 

Task Force members also outlined steps the Department has taken to increase the level trust between members of the community and the Department, including:  

  • Release of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ (USCIS) Bona Fide Determination policy for U Visa Petitioners that enables USCIS to address the five-year backlog by issuing work permits and deferred action to U visa applicants with bona fide petitions. 
  • Translation of DHS materials into diverse languages of the AANHPI community. 

Additionally, the Task Force outlined the ways the Department has, and will continue to, increase targeted outreach efforts to the AANHPI community, including by expanding efforts to inform the community about the Department’s work in supporting them.  This includes, among other things, collaboration with FEMA in addressing equity issues in the Nonprofit Security Grant Program.  

Led by the Officer for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties and her team, Task Force members include leaders from across the Department and its Components including the Office of Strategy, Policy, and Plans (PLCY); Office of the Secretary (OS); Office of Intelligence and Analysis (I&A); Office of Partnership and Engagement (OPE); Office of Public Affairs (OPA); Office of Legislative Affairs (OLA);  Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA); U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE); and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).  

Keywords: Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (CRCL), Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas
Topics: Civil Rights and Civil Liberties
09/18/2021   Department of Homeland Security

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is immediately implementing a new, comprehensive strategy to address the increase in migrant encounters in the Del Rio sector of South Texas.  It has six key components.

First, within the next 24-48 hours, U.S. Customs and Border Protection will have surged 400 agents and officers to the Del Rio sector to improve control of the area.  If additional staff is needed, more will be sent. The Del Rio Port of Entry has temporarily closed, and traffic is being re-routed from Del Rio to Eagle Pass to more effectively manage resources and ensure uninterrupted flow of trade and travel.

Second, U.S. Border Patrol (USBP) is coordinating with Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the U.S. Coast Guard to move individuals from Del Rio to other processing locations, including approximately 2,000 yesterday, in order to ensure that irregular migrants are swiftly taken into custody, processed, and removed from the United States consistent with our laws and policy. 

Third, DHS will secure additional transportation to accelerate the pace and increase the capacity of removal flights to Haiti and other destinations in the hemisphere within the next 72 hours.

Fourth, the Administration is working with source and transit countries in the region to accept individuals who previously resided in those countries. 

Fifth, DHS is undertaking urgent humanitarian actions with other relevant federal, state, and local partners to reduce crowding and improve conditions for migrants on U.S. soil.  DHS has already taken a number of steps to ensure the safety and security of individuals as they await processing, including having Border Patrol emergency medical technicians on hand and providing water, towels, and portable toilets.

Finally, the White House has directed appropriate U.S. agencies to work with the Haitian and other regional governments to provide assistance and support to returnees. 

The majority of migrants continue to be expelled under CDC’s Title 42 authority.  Those who cannot be expelled under Title 42 and do not have a legal basis to remain will be placed in expedited removal proceedings.  DHS is conducting regular expulsion and removal flights to Haiti, Mexico, Ecuador, and Northern Triangle countries.

Beyond the six steps outlined above, the Biden Administration has reiterated that our borders are not open, and people should not make the dangerous journey.  Individuals and families are subject to border restrictions, including expulsion.  Irregular migration poses a significant threat to the health and welfare of border communities and to the lives of migrants themselves, and should not be attempted.

Keywords: Southwest Border
Topics:
09/17/2021   Washington House Republicans

AGRICULTURE & WATER OPINION: Adding more regulations further burdens Washington farmers (Pam Lewison, fourth-generation farmer in Eastern Washington and agricultural research director for Washington Policy Center Initiative on Agriculture/The Seattle TImes) BUSINESS, ECONOMY & LABOR Religious exemptions for Covid shots pose thorny issue for employers (Puget Sound Business Journal) These are the thousands of Washingtonians... Read more »

The post Capitol Buzz: September 17, 2021 appeared first on Washington State House Republicans.

09/16/2021   Washington House Republicans

AGRICULTURE & WATER Drought haves, have-nots test how to share water in the West (AP/Yakima Herald-Republic) Twin Cities move forward with agreement portioning 8 million daily gallons of TransAlta water rights (The Chronicle) ‘Going on pure hope’ | Following low harvest, wheat farmers face tough conditions for winter crop (The Wenatchee World) BUSINESS, ECONOMY &... Read more »

The post Capitol Buzz: September 16, 2021 appeared first on Washington State House Republicans.

09/15/2021   Washington Attorney General News

SEATTLE — Attorney General Bob Ferguson offers the following statement on joining a coalition of 24 attorneys general in filing an amicus, or “friend of the court,” brief asking the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas to put Texas’ law banning virtually all abortions on hold pending appeals:

09/15/2021   Washington House Republicans

AGRICULTURE & WATER New pipeline will deposit treated water from ex-uranium mine directly into Lake Roosevelt (The Spokesman-Review) $3 million settlement for Stemilt workers who sued over unpaid wages (NCW Life Channel) BUSINESS, ECONOMY & LABOR Thousands of construction workers to start strike Thursday (MyNorthwest) Amazon boosting pay, adding incentives as it looks to hire... Read more »

The post Capitol Buzz: September 15, 2021 appeared first on Washington State House Republicans.

09/14/2021   Washington State Governor's Information Feed

Gov. Jay Inslee today updated the wildfire state of emergency proclamation. The update extends the driver hours rules of service suspension.

09/14/2021   Washington House Republicans

ABORTION Providers urge Supreme Court to reject 15-week abortion ban (AP/The Seattle Times) BUSINESS, ECONOMY & LABOR Looking past today’s steep downturn, Boeing projects a rosy future of growth (The Seattle Times) U.S. aerospace companies to get $482 million in payroll support, $41 million in Washington state (The Seattle Times) OPINION: Mexico and Washington state... Read more »

The post Capitol Buzz: September 14, 2021 appeared first on Washington State House Republicans.

09/14/2021   Washington Attorney General News

Biden administration continues Trump-era challenge to Washington’s law

SEATTLE — Attorney General Bob Ferguson offers the following statement on the Biden administration’s continuation of a Trump administration challenge to Washington’s law strengthening workers compensation access for sick Hanford workers:

09/13/2021   Washington State Governor's Information Feed
09/13/2021   Washington State Governor's Information Feed

Gov. Jay Inslee announced the appointment of Thurston County Superior Court Judge Erik Price to the Court of Appeals, Division Two. Price will replace Judge Lisa L. Sutton, who will retire at the end of September.

09/13/2021   Washington House Republicans

ABORTION COLUMN: How Texas is a frightening bellwether for all 49 other states (Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood covering Alaska, Hawai‘i, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, and Western Washington/The Seattle Times) BUSINESS, ECONOMY & LABOR Vaccine mandate spawns new fear: finding and keeping workers (AP/The Spokesman-Review) Here are Pierce County businesses that would fall under federal... Read more »

The post Capitol Buzz: September 13, 2021 appeared first on Washington State House Republicans.

09/13/2021   Department of Homeland Security

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is closely monitoring the potential impact of Tropical Storm Nicholas. Our highest priority remains the preservation of life and safety.

Absent exceptional circumstances, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will not conduct immigration enforcement at locations where disaster and emergency relief related to this storm is being provided, such as along evacuation routes, sites used for sheltering or the distribution of emergency supplies, food or water, or registration sites for disaster-related assistance or the reunification of families and loved ones.

DHS officials do not and will not pose as individuals providing emergency-related information as part of any enforcement activities.

Keywords: Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (CRCL)
Topics: Civil Rights and Civil Liberties
09/11/2021   Washington State Governor's Information Feed

"My fellow Washingtonians, today marks the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people in this country on September 11, 2001.

09/10/2021   Washington House Republicans

ABORTION ‘Roe baby’ whose conception sparked landmark abortion ruling comes forward to share her name — and her story (The Washington Post/The Seattle Times) Justice Dept. sues Texas over state’s new abortion law (AP/The Seattle Times) AGRICULTURE & WATER Schoesler worries vaccine mandate will hurt 4-H programs (Pacific Northwest Ag Network) Easterday estate farm equipment... Read more »

The post Capitol Buzz: September 10, 2021 appeared first on Washington State House Republicans.

09/10/2021   Washington State Governor's Information Feed

Gov. Jay Inslee announced today that Serve Washington, the state’s commission on national and community service, has been awarded $17.6 million in federal AmeriCorps funding.

Tags: 

09/09/2021   Department of Homeland Security

WASHINGTON - Today, the Department of Homeland Security’s Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will increase the range of civil penalties that may be imposed on individuals who violate the federal mask mandate at airports, on commercial aircraft, and in various modes of surface transportation, including passenger railroads, intercity bus services, and other public transportation.  The federal mask mandate for transportation, which was implemented by TSA on February 2, 2021, will remain in effect until January 18, 2022. 

The new range of penalties, which take effect Friday, September 10, 2021, will be $500-$1000 for first offenders and $1000-$3000 for second offenders. 

“Wearing a mask protects the traveling public and all of the personnel who make the travel experience safe, secure, and comfortable,” said Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas.  “We will continue to enforce the mask mandate as long as necessary to protect public health and safety.”

“We appreciate the majority of travelers each day who voluntarily follow the requirement, but find this action necessary to maximize the protections for those who use and work within the transportation system, and to contain COVID-19,” said TSA Administrator David Pekoske. “By doubling the range of penalties, we seek to reinforce the importance of voluntary adherence.”  

TSA will provide updated signage at airports regarding these increased civil penalties.  For more information about the federal face mask requirement, visit the TSA Coronavirus webpage.

These federal mask mandate-related civil penalties are separate from the civil penalties the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issues for individuals who engage in unruly and unsafe behavior.

Keywords: Coronavirus (COVID-19), Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, Transportation Security Administration (TSA)
Topics: Secretary of Homeland Security, Transportation Security
09/09/2021   Washington State Senate Democrats

• The Senate reserves the right to remove any posts which are unrelated to legislative discourse, or which are defamatory, obscene, personally abusive or threatening, or which incite lawless action or illegal conduct.

• Ethics laws prohibit the use of any legislative resource to support or oppose any candidate or ballot measure. Posts related to election campaigns will be removed.

• Comments are not open to the promotion or advertisement of a business or commercial transaction or charitable solicitation.

• Comments posts to this page are publicly accessible. Comments containing sensitive personal information, such as social security numbers, phone numbers, home addresses are prohibited.

• Questions specific to a legislator should be submitted directly to that member’s office.

• This site does not, and cannot provide legal advice. In order to understand your rights under the law, and how those rights are affected by your particular factual situation, you must consult with an attorney.

• Comments posted to social media pages in no way constitute legal service of any demand, legal notice or official communication to the Senate or any official or employee for any purpose.

• This comment policy is subject to amendment or modification at any time to ensure its continued use is consistent with state ethics laws, Senate rules, and its intended purpose as a limited forum.

09/08/2021   Washington Attorney General News

Full restitution to 1,400 Washingtonians who made payments for old, legally unenforceable debts

09/03/2021   Washington State Governor's Information Feed
09/03/2021   Department of Homeland Security

WASHINGTON – In executing the Department of Homeland Security’s leadership role in Operation Allies Welcome – the  ongoing all-of-government effort to resettle vulnerable Afghans in the United States, including those who worked on behalf of the United States – Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas met yesterday with more than 20 leaders of the Afghan-American community to hear their views and recommendations for how to successfully accomplish this resettlement.

Yesterday’s meeting follows another recent engagement that Secretary Mayorkas held with leaders of more than 35 national organizations to discuss ongoing resettlement operations. Participants in these wide-ranging discussions included Afghan-American organizations, resettlement agencies, domestic and international human rights organizations, and others.  Participants spoke of the need for timely communication, individuals’ needs assessments, cultural competency, language access, access to counsel, provisions of supplies, financial assistance, and other critical resources to support this challenging undertaking. 

During these engagements, Secretary Mayorkas heard directly from members of the Afghan-American community about how the federal government can continue working closely with this community to ensure Operation Allies Welcome is undertaken efficiently and in a way that is informed by cultural competency.  The Secretary also spoke with participants about the moral imperative to protect vulnerable Afghans, while protecting our national security and preserving our public safety.  All participants recognized the unprecedented and complex nature of this resettlement effort. Secretary Mayorkas recognized that this historic Operation reflects our Nation’s commitment to supporting those who assisted our country often at great risk to themselves and their families.  Secretary Mayorkas expressed his commitment to executing Operation Allies Welcome through collaborative and transparent partnerships with community leaders and others to achieve the shared goal of successfully resettling vulnerable Afghans in the United States. 

Yesterday, Secretary Mayorkas also visited Dulles International Airport and Ft. Lee to observe operations underway for Operation Allies Welcome.  At these sites, the Secretary observed the initial continuum of domestic resettlement efforts, which includes COVID-19 testing, immigration processing, counseling, and other medical services.

Secretary Mayorkas continues to frequently engage with partners and stakeholders at every level of government, including state and local leaders, Members of Congress, leaders in the private sector and non-government organizations, and other groups that are working around the clock to support this whole-of-America effort.

In each of these engagements, Secretary Mayorkas reiterates the Department of Homeland Security’s close and ongoing coordination with agencies across the federal government – including the Departments of Defense and State, the FBI, and other federal agency partners – to ensure that all Afghans are appropriately screened and vetted prior to entering the United States. Secretary Mayorkas also continues to reiterate his appreciation for many governors’ willingness to welcome vulnerable Afghans to our communities. 

Operation Allies Welcome is the federal government’s domestic initiative to resettle vulnerable Afghans.  On August 29, 2021, President Biden directed the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to lead the coordination of these ongoing efforts across the federal government. In coordination with the Departments of State and Defense and other federal agencies, DHS continues working closely with private sector, non-governmental, and international partners to streamline arrival processes and resettlement efforts as part of this historic operation, which has the dual goals of supporting those who have supported our Nation while protecting our national security and preserving our public safety.  

For more information about Operation Allies Welcome, visit dhs.gov/allieswelcome.

Keywords: Operation Allies Welcome, Partnership, Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas
Topics: Secretary of Homeland Security
09/02/2021   Washington State Governor's Information Feed

Gov. Jay Inslee announced updates to one proclamation in response to the continuing COVID-19 pandemic.

09/02/2021   Washington Attorney General News

Các cơ quan dịch vụ có thể ngừng cung cấp năng lượng, nước cho người dân Washington từ ngày 30 tháng 9

OLYMPIA — Tổng Chưởng Lý Bob Ferguson đang cung cấp hướng dẫn cho các khách hàng sử dụng dịch vụ tiện ích có các khoản nợ quá hạn và đang gặp nguy cơ bị ngừng dịch vụ tiện ích. Lệnh tạm hoãn ngừng cung cấp dịch vụ tiện ích trên toàn tiểu bang sẽ hết hiệu lực vào ngày 30 tháng 9.

09/02/2021   Washington Attorney General News

Las empresas de servicios públicos pueden cortar la energía y el agua a los ciudadanos de Washington el 30 de septiembre

OLYMPIA — El Procurador General Bob Ferguson está ofreciendo orientación para los clientes de servicios públicos que tienen cuentas atrasadas y que podrían estar en riesgo de que les corten los servicios. La moratoria estatal sobre las desconexiones de servicios públicos finaliza el 30 de septiembre.

09/02/2021   Washington Attorney General News

Коммунальные предприятия могут отключить электричество и воду жителям штата Вашингтон с 30 сентября.

OLYMPIA: генеральный прокурор Bob Ferguson предлагает рекомендации для потребителей коммунальных услуг, у которых есть просроченные счета и которые могут подвергнуться риску отключения коммунальных услуг. Действие моратория штата на отключение коммунальных услуг заканчивается 30 сентября.

09/02/2021   Washington Attorney General News

公用事業單位可能在 9 30 日停供華盛頓州民眾的能源、用水

OLYMPIA — 總檢察長 Bob Ferguson 將要向有欠費帳戶並且可能面臨公用事業停供的公用事業客戶提供指導意見。全州範圍的公用事業停供暫停令於 9 月 30 日結束。

根據公用事業檔案,在 6 月份,本州的五家投資者所有的公用事業單位有超過 280,000 戶欠費。該總數相當於 2020 年 3 月份時的數字。但是在 2020 年 3 月,民眾拖欠的金額總計才剛過 3,900 萬美元。截至 6 月份,該數字已翻兩倍多,超過了 8,000 萬美元。在該總數中,將近 5,400 萬美元來自欠費 90 天或更久的帳單。

截至 6 月份,該五家能源公司的欠費客戶數量如下:

09/02/2021   Washington Attorney General News

公用事业单位可能在 9 30 日停供华盛顿州民众的能源、用水

OLYMPIA — 总检察长 Bob Ferguson 将要向有欠费账户并且可能面临公用事业停供的公用事业客户提供指导意见。全州范围的公用事业停供暂停令于 9 月 30 日结束。

根据公用事业档案,在 6 月份,本州的五家投资者所有的公用事业单位有超过 280,000 户欠费。该总数相当于 2020 年 3 月份时的数字。但是在 2020 年 3 月,民众拖欠的金额总计才刚过 3,900 万美元。截至 6 月份,该数字已翻两倍多,超过了 8,000 万美元。在该总数中,将近 5,400 万美元来自欠费 90 天或更久的账单。

截至 6 月份,该五家能源公司的欠费客户数量如下:

09/02/2021   Washington Attorney General News

Utilities can shutoff Washingtonians’ energy, water on Sept. 30

OLYMPIA —  Attorney General Bob Ferguson is offering guidance for utility customers who have past due accounts and may be at risk of a utility shutoff. The statewide moratorium on utility disconnections ends on Sept. 30.

09/02/2021   Department of Homeland Security

FEMA will now accept additional forms of documentation to verify occupancy and ownership requirements, improving access to disaster assistance for underserved communities

WASHINGTON – DHS today announced three immediate steps FEMA is taking to reduce barriers to access experienced by underserved populations through programs that provide individual assistance to disaster survivors.  FEMA will now accept a broader range of homeownership and occupancy documentation, and expand the forms of assistance offered to survivors.  These changes to FEMA’s Individual Assistance program will help to ensure equal access is available to all survivors through FEMA programs.

“Our Department has an obligation to ensure we provide equal access to disaster relief and assistance to all survivors who are in need,” said Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas.  “Equity is a cornerstone of our homeland security mission and in all of our work we must reach minority communities, the disadvantaged, and the otherwise disenfranchised.  The changes we are announcing today reflect our commitment to always do better in achieving this moral imperative.”

“This is a culture shift for the agency and we are only just beginning,” said Administrator Deanne Criswell.  “These new changes reduce the barriers to entry for our Individual Assistance program and will help us to provide more equitable disaster support to all survivors, specifically for underserved populations.  Heading into the peak of hurricane season with 12 named Atlantic storms to date, and as wildfires strengthen out west, FEMA continues to put equity at the forefront of how we support survivors before, during, and after disasters.”

To better support survivors seeking disaster relief, FEMA is:

1. Expanding forms of documentation to prove ownership/occupancy for homeowners and renters.

FEMA is required by law to verify a survivor’s home occupancy or ownership before it provides certain types of assistance.  To confirm occupancy, FEMA will now accept motor vehicle registrations, court documents, and additional forms of documentation, including letters from local schools (public or private), federal or state benefit providers, and social service organizations (such as community assistance programs and non-profits).  Survivors may also now use a signed statement from a commercial or mobile home park owner and provide self-certification for mobile homes and travel trailers. 

For homeowners, FEMA will now accept a public official’s letter, receipts for major repairs or improvements, and will allow survivors with heirship properties, mobile homes, or travel trailers, who do not have the traditional documentation of ownership verification, to self-certify ownership and qualify for assistance.

This expansion includes reducing administrative burdens for the hardest hit survivors.  If survivors have successfully verified occupancy to FEMA from a previous disaster within the past two years, then they will not need to verify occupancy again.  Homeowners with the same address from a previous disaster only need to verify ownership one time.  FEMA has also expanded the date of eligible documents from 3 months to 1 year before the disaster.

Finally, to provide real-time feedback to survivors, FEMA has also trained staff to verify documentation on-site while conducting home inspections.  This will significantly decrease the burden on survivors by allowing FEMA to verify documents at the time of inspection instead of requiring the survivor to appeal a decision in writing.

2. Providing expanded housing assistance and other needs assistance funding

FEMA will now provide Other Needs Assistance (ONA) grants for a limited amount of financial assistance to renters and homeowners with disaster-caused real property damage that did not render the home uninhabitable.  This will help survivors who are not typically eligible for assistance from FEMA to begin the application process, helping to prevent additional losses and potential health and safety concerns for those remaining in homes damaged by the disaster.

FEMA has also revised inspection procedures and training to better identify and address disaster-caused mold.

3. Expanding financial assistance for disaster-caused disability.

FEMA is amending its current policy to provide assistance to survivors who incurred a disaster-related disability and now require special components, such as ramps or grab bars, to make their damaged home safe and functional for them, regardless of whether those components were in the survivor’s home before the disaster. 

These improvements are additional policy changes to FEMA’s recently published Individual Assistance Program and Policy Guide 1.1.  These new policy changes are effective for the recent Tennessee flooding (FEMA-DR4609-TN), the current California wildfire (FEMA-DR4610-CA), and all disasters declared thereafter, including Hurricane Ida in Louisiana (FEMA-DR4611-LA).  

Keywords: Disaster Relief, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell, Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas
Topics: Disasters
09/01/2021   Washington State Governor's Information Feed

Gov. Jay Inslee released a statement today in response to the U.S. Supreme Court declining to hear a challenge to an anti-abortion law in Texas that represents one of the most extreme attacks on reproductive rights since the Roe v. Wade ruling.

Tags: 

09/01/2021   Washington Attorney General News

Flawed plan gives Sackler family lifetime legal shield

OLYMPIA — Attorney General Bob Ferguson announced today he will appeal Purdue Pharma’s flawed bankruptcy plan. Ferguson asserts that the plan is inadequate, and that a bankruptcy court doesn’t have the authority to prevent attorneys general from enforcing state law, including the decision to pursue the company’s owners, the Sackler family, for their illegal conduct.

08/29/2021   Department of Homeland Security

Secretary Mayorkas Announces Robert J. Fenton, Jr. as Senior Response Official  

WASHINGTON – President Biden has directed the Secretary of Homeland Security to have his department serve as the lead agency coordinating ongoing efforts across the federal government to resettle vulnerable Afghans, including those who worked on behalf of the United States.   

Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas announced that Robert J. Fenton, Jr. will lead the interagency Unified Coordination Group. The Unified Coordination Group will report directly to Secretary Mayorkas and will include a broad range of services throughout the resettlement process, from initial immigration processing, COVID-19 testing, and isolation of COVID-positive individuals for anticipated quarantine, to resettlement support for individuals who are neither U.S. citizens nor lawful permanent residents. The resettlement support will include initial processing at pre-designated U.S. military bases prior to being resettled into communities.  

“The Department of Homeland Security is prepared to serve as the lead federal agency coordinating efforts across the federal government to welcome vulnerable Afghans to our Nation in a way that is consistent with our laws and our values,” said Secretary Mayorkas. “This mission reflects the best of who we are as a country and our Department is honored by the trust the President has placed in us. There is no one better than Bob Fenton to help lead our efforts. Bob has dedicated his career to public service and has decades of experience managing complex and critically important missions. He will help lead this interagency effort with incredible adeptness and the highest standards of honor and integrity.” 

The Unified Coordination Group will ensure federal resources, authorities, and expertise are utilized in a unified and synchronized manner to support the goals of the operation. This initiative will be undertaken in close collaboration with DHS partners in state and local government and with non-governmental organizations and the private sector.  

“I am honored by the confidence placed in me and I am privileged to be able to contribute to this vital mission,” said Fenton. 

Fenton has served as FEMA’s Regional Administrator for Region IX since 2015. During the presidential transitions of 2017 and 2021, Fenton served as Acting FEMA Administrator. Since joining FEMA in 1996, Fenton has played a significant and senior role in numerous large-scale response and recovery operations in the United States and has responded to more than 100 federal disasters, including Hurricane Katrina, the four Florida Hurricanes of 2004, Southern California Wildfires of 2003 and 2007, Super Typhoon Pongsona in Guam, and the 9/11 World Trade Center terrorist attacks.

Keywords: Afghanistan, Operation Allies Welcome, Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas
Topics: Secretary of Homeland Security
08/27/2021   Department of Homeland Security

Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas released the following statement on DHS publishing the Cybersecurity Talent Management System (CTMS) rule in the Federal Register:    

“DHS is launching the Cybersecurity Talent Management System (CTMS) to establish an innovative way to hire and retain the very best cyber talent. We are doing so through a new regulation, as we re-envision how the federal government recruits, develops, and retains a top-tier cybersecurity workforce. The regulation also creates the DHS Cybersecurity Service, which will increase access to public service careers in cybersecurity.”

“Cybersecurity is a national security and economic security imperative. Joining the DHS Cybersecurity Service will provide opportunities for better compensation, exciting career development, and the ability to shape the future of the field. The CTMS rule will be effective on November 15, 2021 and DHS will begin accepting applications for the Cybersecurity Service shortly thereafter. Cybersecurity professionals at any stage in their career can visit DHS.gov/CybersecurityService to learn more about this opportunity.” 

“Earlier this week, I joined President Biden, Secretary Raimondo, Secretary Granholm, and other senior government officials for a summit at the White House with private sector, education, and workforce development leaders to discuss how we can work together to protect critical infrastructure and the American people from cyber threats. During that discussion, several participants made concrete commitments to support our shared goals, including initiatives to strengthen the Nation’s cybersecurity workforce. The cyber threats we face require a whole-of-society approach to keep our communities safe and secure. Under the Biden-Harris Administration, the Department of Homeland Security will remain committed to strengthening our Nation’s cyber resilience." 

Keywords: Cybersecurity, Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, Workforce, Workforce Development
Topics: Cybersecurity, Homeland Security Careers, Secretary of Homeland Security
08/26/2021   Washington Attorney General News

Ending exclusive contracts with area medical clinics saves patients money