Each week during the legislative session, we join the Senate Majority Coalition Caucus to meet with reporters and answer questions. You can watch these 30-minute media availability events below: January 11, 2017 January 24, 2017 January 31, 2017 (Senate only | Education Equality Act) February 7, 2017 February 13, 2017 February 20, 2017 February 27,... Read more »
BORDER STATES Children left in unsafe homes by Oregon social workers nearly half the time, report says (The Oregonian) Oregon Democrats say abortion bill still on table (AP/The Columbian) Without evidence, Oregon GOP pins violent crime on Portland undocumented immigrants (The Oregonian) Republican-linked nonprofit downplays ties to Big Tobacco while fighting smoking age increase (The... Read more »
OLYMPIA—Washington State’s transportation network would receive $8.7 billion in funding under the proposed budget released by the House of Representatives.
“Every family and business in our state relies on our highways, ferries, trains and buses,” said Rep. Judy Clibborn (D-Mercer Island), chair of the House Transportation Committee. “A budget like this is about more than numbers—it’s about giving people more options to get to work or school and getting goods to markets around the world.”
The capital budget portion of the proposal includes:
“The construction side of the transportation budget is important to keep up with our state’s rapidly growing population,” Rep. Clibborn said. “The other half of the budget is the operating side, which is everything from the State Troopers responding to crashes on I-5, the state workers who issue driver’s licenses and the captains who pilot our ferries.”
Highlights of the operating part of the transportation budget include:
A public hearing on the proposed budget was held Monday, March 27.
“Transportation is a bipartisan issue that affects everyone,” Rep. Clibborn said. “I’m confident we can work together, in the House and the Senate, to pass a transportation budget that moves Washington state forward.”
210 House Capitol Visitor Center
Chairman Ratcliffe, Ranking Member Richmond, and members of the Committee, thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today. Cybersecurity remains one of the most significant strategic risks to the United States. The past several years have seen a steady drumbeat of cybersecurity compromises affecting the Federal Government, state and local governments, and the private sector. Working with Congress, we have focused on a range of actions to confront this evolving challenge. By bringing together all levels of government, the private sector, international partners, and the public, we are taking action to protect against cybersecurity risks, improve our whole-of-government incident response capabilities, enhance sharing of information on best practices and cyber threats, and strengthen resilience. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), through the National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD), leads the federal government’s efforts to secure our Nation’s critical infrastructure and protect federal civilian networks from malicious cyber activity.
Over the past few years, the federal government has made significant progress in improving agency cybersecurity, establishing a common baseline of protection, and codifying roles and responsibilities to effectively manage cybersecurity risks and incidents. Through engagements with state, local, tribal, and territorial (SLLT) governments, and the private sector, we have provided technical assistance upon request and expanded information sharing capabilities to improve situational awareness of threats, vulnerabilities, incidents, mitigation, and recovery actions. Today, I will discuss the roles of NPPD in protecting the federal civilian executive branch networks.
Under the Federal Information Security Modernization Act of 2014 (FISMA), agencies have primary responsibility for their own cybersecurity, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) generally develops and oversees agency implementation of information security policies and practices, and DHS administers the implementation of those policies and practices. As part of securing their own systems, agencies must comply with OMB policies, DHS directives, and National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) standards and guidelines. DHS, pursuant to its various authorities, provides a common set of security tools across the civilian executive branch and helps agencies manage their cyber risk. NPPD’s assistance to agencies includes (1) providing tools to safeguard civilian executive branch networks through the National Cybersecurity Protection System (NCPS), which includes EINSTEIN, and Continuous Diagnostics and Mitigation (CDM) programs, (2) measuring and motivating agencies to implement policies, directives, standards, and guidelines, (3) serving as a hub for information sharing and incident reporting, and (4) providing operational and technical assistance, including threat information dissemination and risk and vulnerability assessments, as well as incident response services. DHS’s National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center (NCCIC) is the civilian government’s hub for cybersecurity information sharing, asset incident response, and coordination.
EINSTEIN refers to the suite of intrusion detection and prevention capabilities that protects agencies’ unclassified networks at the perimeter of each agency. EINSTEIN provides situational awareness of civilian executive branch network traffic, so threats detected at one agency are shared with all others providing agencies with information and capabilities to more effectively manage their cyber risk. The U.S. Government could not achieve such situational awareness through individual agency efforts alone.
The first two phases of EINSTEIN – EINSTEIN 1 and 2 – allow DHS to identify potentially malicious activity and to conduct critical analysis after an incident occurs, as well as to detect known malicious traffic. In 2015, DHS estimated these capabilities screened over 90 percent of all federal civilian Internet traffic. On a typical day, EINSTEIN 2 intrusion detection sensors generate approximately 30,000 alerts about potential malicious cyber activity. These alerts are evaluated by DHS cybersecurity analysts to determine whether the alert represents an active threat and potential compromise, and if further mitigation or remediation is needed.
EINSTEIN 3 Accelerated (EINSTEIN 3A) is the intrusion prevention capability, which blocks known malicious traffic. Intrusion prevention is provided as a service by Internet service providers (ISPs) serving the federal government. The initial implementation of EINSTEIN 3A involves two intrusion prevention security services by the ISPs: domain name server (DNS) sinkholing and email filtering. DHS is working with the ISPs to add further protections. EINSTEIN 1 and 2 use only unclassified cyber threat indicators, while EINSTEIN 3A uses unclassified and classified indicators. These signature-based capabilities use indicators of compromise to detect and block known malicious traffic.
In the Cybersecurity Act of 2015, Congress directed each executive branch civilian agency to apply available EINSTEIN protections to all information traveling to or from an agency information system by December 18, 2016. Agencies have made significant progress in implementing available EINSTEIN protections. Prior to passage of the Act, EINSTEIN 3A covered approximately 38 percent of federal civilian users. Today, EINSTEIN 3A is protecting a significant percentage of the executive branch civilian workforce at the 23 largest agencies and most agencies have at least one of its two intrusion prevention capabilities. DHS continues to work with all remaining federal civilian agencies to facilitate their full participation in EINSTEIN. At the same time, our NCPS program is also developing new capabilities and conducting a strategic review of the program architecture that will provide even more protections for federal agencies.
Today, EINSTEIN is a signature-based intrusion detection and prevention capability that takes action on known malicious activity. Leveraging existing investments in the ISP infrastructure, our non-signature based pilot efforts to move beyond current reliance on signatures are yielding positive results in the discovery of previously unidentified malicious activity. DHS is demonstrating the ability to capture data that can be rapidly analyzed for anomalous activity using technologies from commercial, government, and open sources. The pilot efforts are also defining the future operational needs for tactics, techniques, and procedures as well as the skill sets and personnel required to operationalize the non-signature based approach to cybersecurity.
SLTT governments are able to access intrusion detection and analysis services through the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center (MS-ISAC). MS-ISAC’s service, called Albert, closely resembles EINSTEIN 2. While the current version of Albert cannot actively block known cyber threats, it can alert cybersecurity officials to an issue for further investigation. DHS worked closely with MS-ISAC to develop the program and considers MS-ISAC to be the principal conduit for sharing cybersecurity information with state governments.
EINSTEIN, our tool to address perimeter security will not block every threat; therefore, it must be complemented with systems and tools working inside agency networks—as effective cybersecurity risk management requires a defense in depth strategy that cannot be achieved through only one type of tool. CDM provides cybersecurity tools and integration services to all participating agencies to enable them to improve their respective security postures by reducing the attack surface of their networks as well as providing DHS with enterprise-wide visibility through a common federal dashboard. CDM is divided into four phases:
Significant progress has been made in the deployment of CDM. DHS has assessed the needs of the executive branch civilian agencies and has completed the purchasing of most CDM Phase 1 tools. Agencies are now installing the tools across their networks, including six agencies that have fully deployed all Phase 1 tools as well as the agency dashboards, which give network administrators visibility into the current state of their networks to better identify and prioritize areas of cyber risk. DHS has also awarded two CDM Phase 2 contracts, focusing on strong authentication for administrative users as well as general users, making the associated tools available to all participating agencies.
This summer, CDM will begin supplementing the existing CDM agency dashboards by introducing the federal CDM Dashboard, which will provide the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center (NCCIC) with greater insight into the federal enterprise cybersecurity posture. The summary data available at the federal level presents a view of the relative risk and network health across the federal government to inform policy decisions and operational guidance, provide timely reporting for addressing critical issues affecting multiple agencies, and enable cost-effective and efficient FISMA reporting.
CDM will help us achieve two major advances for federal cybersecurity. First, agencies will have visibility, often for the first time, into the extent of cybersecurity risks across their entire network and gain the ability to prioritize identified issues based upon their relative importance. Second, the NCCIC will be able to identify systemic risks across the civilian executive branch. An example is illustrative. Currently, when a vendor announces a major vulnerability, the NCCIC tracks government-wide progress in implementing critical patches via agency self-reporting and manual data calls. CDM will allow the NCCIC to immediately view the prevalence of a given device or software type across the federal government so that the NCCIC can provide agencies with timely guidance on their risk exposure. Effective cybersecurity requires a robust measurement regime, and robust measurement requires valid and timely data. CDM will provide this baseline of cybersecurity risk data to drive improvement across the civilian executive branch.
CDM tools are currently available through blanket purchase agreement negotiated by the General Services Administration on DHS’s behalf. This agreement leverages the government-wide volume to provide the best value and cost savings to the Federal Government. For example, by grouping agency requirements in Phases 1 and 2, we have saved the federal government millions of dollars on product purchases. Many SLTT governments are also able to purchase tools from this purchase agreement. By purchasing commercial CDM tools, SLTT governments can take advantage of bulk purchasing cost savings and invest those savings in their own cybersecurity resilience.
DHS conducts a number of activities to measure agencies’ cybersecurity practices and work with agencies to improve risk management practices.
The Cybersecurity Framework, is voluntary guidance, based on existing standards, guidelines, and practices to help organizations better manage and reduce cybersecurity risk and was developed by NIST through collaboration with diverse parts of industry, academia, and government, including DHS. TDHS promotes the use of NIST standards, guidelines, minimum information security requirements, including the Cybersecurity Framework.
FISMA provided the Secretary of Homeland Security with the authority to develop and oversee implementation of binding operational directives to agencies. In 2016, the Secretary issued a binding operational directive on securing high value assets (HVA), or those assets, federal information systems, information, and data for which unauthorized access, use, disclosure, disruption, modification, or destruction could cause a significant impact to the United States’ national security interests, foreign relations, economy, or to the public confidence, civil liberties, or public health and safety of the American people. DHS works with several interagency partners to prioritize HVAs for assessment and remediation activities across the federal government. For instance, DHS conducts security architecture reviews on these HVAs to help agencies assess their network architecture and configurations.
As part of the effort to secure HVAs, DHS conducts in-depth vulnerability assessments of prioritized agency HVAs to determine how an adversary could penetrate a system, move around an agency’s network to access sensitive data, and exfiltrate such data without being detected. These assessments include services such as penetration testing, wireless security analysis, and “phishing” evaluations in which DHS hackers send emails to agency personnel and test whether recipients click on potentially malicious links. DHS has focused these assessments on federal systems that may be of particular interest to adversaries or support uniquely significant data or services. These assessments provide system owners with recommendations to address identified vulnerabilities. DHS provides these same assessments, on a voluntary basis upon request, to private sector and SLTT partners. DHS also works with GSA to ensure our industry partners can provide assessments that align with our HVA initiative to agencies, if necessary.
Another binding operational directive issued by the Secretary directs civilian agencies to promptly patch known vulnerabilities on their Internet-facing devices. The NCCIC conducts Cyber Hygiene scans to identify vulnerabilities in agencies’ internet-accessible devices and provides mitigation recommendations. Agencies have responded quickly in implementing the Secretary’s binding operational directive and have sustained this progress. When the Secretary issued this directive, NPPD identified over 360 “stale” critical vulnerabilities across federal civilian agencies. By “stale” I mean the vulnerabilities had been known for at least 30 days and were still not patched. Since December 2015, DHS has identified an average of less than 40 critical vulnerabilities at any given time, and agencies have addressed those vulnerabilities rapidly once they were identified.
By conducting vulnerability assessments and security architecture reviews, DHS is helping agencies find and fix vulnerabilities, and secure their networks before an incident occurs.
By sharing information quickly and widely, we help all partners block cyber threats before damaging incidents occur. Equally important, the information we receive from other partners helps us understand emerging risks and develop effective protective measures.
Congress authorized the NCCIC as the civilian hub for sharing cyber threat indicators and defensive measures with and among federal and non-federal entities, including the private sector. As required by the Cybersecurity Act of 2015, we established a capability, known as Automated Indicator Sharing (AIS), to automate our sharing of cyber threat indicators in real-time. AIS protects the privacy and civil liberties of individuals by narrowly tailoring the information shared to that which is necessary to characterize identified cyber threats, consistent with longstanding DHS policy and the requirements of the Act. AIS is a part of the Department’s effort to create an ecosystem in which as soon as a company or federal agency observes an attempted compromise, the indicator is shared in real time with all of our partners, enabling them to protect themselves from that particular threat. This real-time sharing limits the scalability of any attack techniques, which increases the costs for adversaries and should reduce the impact of malicious cyber activity. An ecosystem built around automated sharing and network defense should enable organizations to enhance their defenses against the most common cyber-attacks, freeing their cybersecurity staff to concentrate on the novel and sophisticated attacks. Over 129 agencies and private sector partners have connected to DHS’s AIS capability. Notably, partners such as information sharing and analysis organizations (ISAOs) and computer emergency response teams further share with or protect their customers and stakeholders, significantly expanding the impact of this capability. AIS is still a new capability and we expect the volume of threat indicators shared through this system to substantially increase as the technical standards, software, and hardware supporting the system continue to be refined and put into full production. As more indictors are shared from other federal agencies, SLTT governments, and the private sector, this information sharing environment will become more robust and effective.
Another part of the Department’s overall information sharing effort is to provide federal network defenders with the necessary context regarding cyber threats to prioritize their efforts and inform their decision making. DHS’s Office of Intelligence and Analysis (I&A) is continuously assessing the specific threats to federal networks using traditional all source methods and indicators of malicious activity observed by NCCIC sensors so that the NCCIC can share with federal network defenders in collaboration with I&A. I&A personnel sit on the NCCIC watch floor.
Cybersecurity is about risk management, and we cannot eliminate all risk. Partners that implement best practices and share information will increase the cost for malicious actors and stop many threats. But ultimately, persistent adversaries will find ways to infiltrate networks in both government and the private sector. In Fiscal Year 2016, the NCCIC received reports of 30,899 impactful incidents across the eight attack vectors at federal agencies, according to the FISMA Annual Report to Congress. When an incident does occur, the NCCIC offers assistance upon request to find the adversary, drive them out, and restore service.
At all levels, the federal government continues to be targeted by a wide range of malicious cyber actors attempting to gain access to sensitive systems. We have made significant progress over the past year: we have provided a baseline of CDM Phase 1 tools, we have expanded the coverage of EINSTEIN 3A, we have expanded risk and vulnerability assessments, we have operationalized the automated indicator sharing capability, and we have established a useful architecture for coordinating the Federal Government’s response to significant cyber incidents. But there is more to be done. This Administration will make significant investments in cybersecurity. In the recently-released budget blueprint, the President requested $1.5 billion for DHS to safeguard cyberspace by protecting federal networks and critical infrastructure from an attack. Through a suite of advanced cybersecurity tools and more assertive defense of government networks, NPPD would share more cybersecurity incident information with other Federal agencies and the private sector, leading to faster responses to cybersecurity attacks.
We must also ensure that DHS is appropriately organized to address today’s and tomorrow’s cybersecurity threats, and we appreciate the Chairman of the Committee’s leadership in working to reauthorize the Department. As the committee considers these issues, we are committed to working with Congress to ensure that this effort is done in a way that ensures a homeland that is more safe, secure, and resilient.
Thank you for the opportunity to testify, and I look forward to any questions you may have.
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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
WASHINGTON— On Wednesday, March 22, Secretary Kelly met with Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez to discuss bilateral and regional security and economic issues of mutual interest. During the meeting, President Hernandez outlined his administration’s recent successes in increasing citizen security, strengthening law enforcement institutions, and strengthening the Honduran economy. President Hernandez specifically mentioned several achievements, to include falling rates of violent crime, job creation and growth, and the extradition of criminals to the United States, and thanked Secretary Kelly for his support in reaching these goals.
Secretary Kelly highlighted the importance of joint collaboration to combat transnational crime, reduce narcotics trafficking, share information, and promote economic opportunity in the region. Both leaders emphasized the close relationship between DHS and the Government of Honduras and expressed enthusiasm for their shared partnership going forward. The Honduran delegation included the Secretary General Coordinator General of the Government, Special Envoy to the United States, and Minister of Economic Development. Key DHS officials, to include U.S. Customs and Border Protection Acting Commissioner Kevin McAleenan, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Acting Director Thomas Homan, and U.S. Coast Guard Commandant Paul Zukunft, were also present.
At the end of the meeting, President Hernandez and Secretary Kelly signed an agreement to share aviation information that will augment the Honduran Government’s ability to identify criminals and potential terrorists entering or transiting Honduras.
Secretary Kelly meets with President of Honduras Juan Orlando Hernandez to discuss bilateral and regional security and economic issues of mutual interest. (DHS Photo/Barry Bahler)
# # #
For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
WASHINGTON - The Department of Homeland Security stands in solidarity alongside our friends in the United Kingdom in condemning the terrible attack at Parliament today. With our partners in federal law enforcement, we are in close contact with our British counterparts to monitor the tragic events and to support the ongoing investigation. At this time our domestic security posture remains unchanged. However, our frontline officers and agents continue to stay vigilant in safeguarding the American people and our homeland.
ABORTION In Centralia, demonstrators rally for and against access to abortions (The Chronicle) BORDER STATES Oregon unemployment rate drops to 4 percent, a record low (The Oregonian) No criminal charges filed against police officer who fatally shot teen (The Oregonian) Draining Oregon: Lawmakers plan hearings on 3 water bills (The Oregonian) OPINION: We must improve... Read more »
OLYMPIA–Rep. John Lovick (D-Mill Creek) will host his first Coffee Chat of the year this weekend in Mill Creek.
“This is a chance to meet with people in a small group, or one-on-one,” Rep. Lovick said. “I appreciate every chance I get to listen to the people that I’m honored to represent, whether it’s in a big town hall meeting at a high school gym, a telephone town hall or in small groups, like these coffee chats.”
The first coffee is set for 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, March 25 at the Mill Creek Community Association, 15524 Country Club Drive, Mill Creek.
Two weeks later, the second Coffee Chat is scheduled for the same time and place on Saturday, April 8.
“Whenever I meet a person, I learn something,” Rep. Lovick said. “I look forward to learning more about your family’s story, your questions and your ideas about how to make a difference here in the beautiful 44th District and in the great state of Washington.”
If you plan on attending either coffee chat, please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org
OLYMPIA—How can we create jobs in rural counties with persistently high unemployment?
Rep. Mike Chapman (D-Port Angeles) says part of the answer is greater access to higher education.
“This is about revitalizing timber country and farm country,” Rep. Chapman said. “Research tells us one year of education beyond high school is the tipping point for people to get family wage jobs. We also know local businesses need workers with advanced skills. This legislation brings those two things together.”
Roughly a third of all jobs are predicted to be what’s referred to as mid-level—more than a high school degree but less than a four-year bachelor’s degree. And by the year 2020, experts say 70 percent of all jobs in Washington state will require at least some college education.
“A one-year degree or certificate is the best possible investment in our small towns and counties,” Rep. Chapman said. “Those mid-level jobs are a ticket to the middle class, the kind of job that lets you buy a house and has benefits like health care and retirement.”
A report by the state’s Workforce Training Board listed examples of mid-level jobs in high-demand fields, including firefighters, auto and diesel mechanics, law enforcement, machine tool technicians, teaching assistants, early childhood educators, accounting and computer science.
House Bill 2177 would offer the free year of tuition for high-demand fields in small counties (population of 80,000 or below) with an unemployment rate greater than 8 percent or a median wage of under $18 an hour.
|County||Population (2016)||Unemployment rate (Dec ’16)||Median wage (2015)|
|* State data is preliminary, and seasonally adjusted. County rate is not seasonally adjusted.|
253 Russell Senate Office Building
Good afternoon Mr. Chairman and distinguished members of the Subcommittee. I appreciate the opportunity to testify today and thank you for your enduring support of the United States Coast Guard.
As the world’s premier, multi-mission, maritime service, the Coast Guard offers a unique and enduring value to the Nation. The only branch of the U.S. Armed Forces within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), a federal law enforcement agency, a regulatory body, a first responder, and a member of the U.S. Intelligence Community – the Coast Guard is uniquely positioned to help secure the border, combat transnational criminal organizations (TCO), and safeguard America’s economic prosperity.
Indeed, the Coast Guard’s combination of broad authorities and complementary capabilities squarely align with the Administration’s priorities, and I am proud of the return on investment your Coast Guard delivers on an annual basis.
I appreciate the unwavering support of this Subcommittee to address our most pressing needs. I will continue working with Secretary Kelly, the Administration, and this Congress to preserve momentum for our existing acquisition programs and employ risk-based decisions to balance readiness, modernization, and force structure with the evolving demands of the 21st century.
Appropriately positioned in DHS, the Coast Guard is a military Service and a branch of the Armed Forces of the United States at all times.1 We are also an important part of the modern Joint Force,2 and a force multiplier for the Department of Defense (DoD). I am proud of our enduring defense contributions to Combatant Commanders around the globe.
In addition to the six cutters operating as part of Patrol Forces Southwest Asia (PATFORSWA) since 2003, other defense operations include:
Like the other military Services, the Coast Guard supports all efforts to rebuild the Armed Forces.
Secretary Kelly leads the Department’s efforts to secure our borders, and the Administration’s strategy “to deploy all lawful means to secure the Nation’s southern border…”3 relies on the Coast Guard supporting a comprehensive security strategy. The Coast Guard protects the maritime border – not just here at home, but also off the coast of South and Central America. As Secretary Kelly has stated, “…the defense of the southwest border really starts about 1,500 miles south…”4
We continue to face a significant threat from TCOs, and the Coast Guard is positioned to attack these criminal networks where they are most vulnerable, at sea. We leverage over 40 international maritime law enforcement bilateral agreements to enable partner nation interdictions and prosecutions, and employ a robust interdiction package to seize multi-ton loads of drugs at sea before they can be broken down into small quantities ashore.
In close collaboration with partner Nations and agencies, the Coast Guard works to engage threats as far from U.S. shores as possible. In 2016, Coast Guard and partner agencies interdicted more cocaine at sea than was removed at the land border and across the entire nation by all federal, state and local law enforcement agencies – combined. A service record 201.3 metric tons of cocaine (7.1% of estimated flow)5 was removed from the western transit zone, 585 smugglers were detained, and 156 cases were referred for prosecution.
Coast Guard readiness relies on the ability to simultaneously execute our full suite of missions and sustain support to Combatant Commanders, while also being ready to respond to contingencies. Your Coast Guard prides itself on being Semper Paratus – Always Ready, and predictable and sufficient funding is necessary to maintain this readiness in the future. Prudence also demands we continue investing in a modernized Coast Guard. Indeed, recapitalization remains my highest priority, and today’s activities will shape our Coast Guard and impact national security for decades. Your support has helped us make tremendous progress, and it is critical we build upon our successes to field assets that meet cost, performance, and schedule milestones. I am encouraged by our progress to date.
In 2016, we awarded a contract to complete build out of our fleet of 58 Fast Response Cutters – at an affordable price – and the last four ships (numbers 19 through 22) were delivered by Bollinger Shipyards with zero discrepancies. In September, we achieved a monumental goal with the award of a contract for Detail Design and Construction of the Offshore Patrol Cutter (OPC). These cutters will eventually comprise 70 percent of Coast Guard surface presence in the offshore zone. OPCs will provide the tools to more effectively enforce federal laws, secure our maritime borders by interdicting threats before they arrive on our shores, disrupt TCOs, and respond to 21st century threats. With the continued support of the Administration and Congress, we anticipate ordering long lead time material for the first OPC later this year, and plan for its delivery in 2021.
We also generated momentum to build new polar icebreakers. In July of last year, we made a commitment to partner with the Navy to establish an Integrated Program Office to acquire new heavy icebreakers. This approach leverages the expertise of both organizations and is delivering results. The recent award of multiple Industry Studies contracts – a concept the Navy has utilized in previous shipbuilding acquisitions to drive affordability and reduce schedule and technical risk – is an example of the positive results of this partnership. We will continue refining the system specification and prepare to release a request for proposal for Detail Design and Construction in FY 2018.
We are also making progress with unmanned aerial systems. A recent small Unmanned Aerial System (sUAS) proof of concept aboard a National Security Cutter (NSC) validated this capability and will enhance the effectiveness of these cutters. In its inaugural month underway, STRATTON's sUAS flew 191 flight hours, providing real-time surveillance and detection imagery for the cutter, and assisting the embarked helicopter and law enforcement teams with the interdiction or disruption of four go-fast vessels carrying more than 5,000 pounds of contraband. In addition, we are exploring options to build a land-based UAS program that will improve domain awareness and increase the cued intelligence our surface assets rely upon to close illicit pathways in the maritime transit zone. While long-term requirements are being finalized, I can fully employ a squadron of six platforms outfitted with marine-capable sensors now and am moving out to field this much-needed capability.
In addition to the focus on recapitalizing our surface and aviation fleets, we are also mindful of the condition of our shore infrastructure. Investments in shore infrastructure are also critical to modernizing the Coast Guard and equipping our workforce with the facilities they require to meet mission.
America’s economic prosperity is reliant on the safe, secure, and efficient flow of cargo through the Maritime Transportation System (MTS), which sees $4.5 trillion of economic activity annually. The Nation’s maritime industry and the MTS face many challenges, including growing demands, a global industry-driven need to reduce shipping’s environmental footprint, and the ever-increasing complexity of systems and technology.
Coast Guard marine safety programs employ our unique capabilities to ensure a safe, secure, and environmentally sound MTS. We do this by developing risk-based standards, training and employing a specialized workforce, and conducting investigations into accidents and violations of laws so standards can be improved. We are mindful of the need to facilitate commerce, not impede it, and remain committed to our prevention missions.
While readiness and modernization investments will improve current mission performance, the right force is central to success. I am incredibly proud of our 88,000 active duty, reserve, civil service, and auxiliary members. I am working aggressively to validate a transparent and repeatable model to identify the appropriate force structure required for the Coast Guard to simultaneously respond to global, national, and regional events.
Funding 21st century Coast Guard platforms and people is a smart investment, even in this challenging fiscal environment. Modern assets bring exceptional capability, but our greatest strength will always be our people. Coast Guard operations require a capable, proficient, and resilient workforce that draws upon the broad range of skills, talents, and experiences found in the American population. Together, modern platforms and a strong, resilient workforce will maximize the Coast Guard’s capacity to meet future challenges.
History has proven that a responsive, capable, and agile Coast Guard is an indispensable instrument of national security. With the continued support of the Administration and Congress, the Coast Guard will continue to live up to our motto. We will be Semper Paratus – Always Ready. Thank you for the opportunity to testify before you today and for all you do for the men and women of the Coast Guard. I look forward to your questions.
ABORTION COLUMN: Planned Parenthood braces for a fight over GOP health-care bill (Nicole Brodeur/The Seattle Times) AGRICULTURE & WATER OPINION: Fixing the Hirst problem (Rep. Jim Walsh, 19th District/The Daily News) EDITORIAL: Protect farmland (The Columbian) BORDER STATES Oregon State tuition hike vote postponed due to protesters (AP/The Columbian) Ignore the label: Oregon bottle deposit... Read more »
UPDATED: March 24, 2017 5:00 p.m. EST
Office of the Press Secretary
A1: The U.S. Government is concerned about terrorists' ongoing interest in targeting commercial aviation, including transportation hubs over the past two years, as evidenced by the 2015 airliner downing in Egypt, the 2016 attempted airliner downing in Somalia, and the 2016 armed attacks against airports in Brussels and Istanbul. Evaluated intelligence indicates that terrorist groups continue to target commercial aviation, to include smuggling explosive devices in various consumer items.
Based on this trend, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), in consultation with relevant Departments and Agencies, has determined it is prudent to enhance security, to include airport security procedures for passengers at certain last point of departure airports to the United States. These enhancements include more stringent measures applied to 10 specific airports.
The enhancement in security will require that all personal electronic devices (PEDs) larger than a cell phone or smart phone be placed in checked baggage. These items will no longer be allowed to be carried onto aircraft at 10 select airports where flights are departing for the United States. Approved medical devices may be brought into the cabin after additional screening.
This security enhancement will be implemented through a Security Directive (SD)/Emergency Amendment (EA) process, which includes industry notification, to affected air carriers that will implement the requirements.
A2: The Department of Homeland Security, in close cooperation with our intelligence community partners, continuously assesses and evaluates the threat environment. While a number of existing security measures remain in place, others will be modified, as deemed necessary to protect travelers. DHS will continue to adjust its security measures to ensure the highest levels of aviation security without unnecessary disruption to travelers.
A3: We have reason to be concerned about attempts by terrorist groups to circumvent aviation security and terrorist groups continue to target aviation interests. Implementing additional security measures enhances our ability to mitigate further attempts against the overseas aviation industry.
A4: Yes, intelligence is one aspect of every security-related decision. The record of terrorist attempts to destroy aircraft in flight is longstanding and well-known. We continually re-assess old intelligence and collect new intelligence.
A5: DHS, in close cooperation with our intelligence community partners, selected these airports based on the current threat picture. The affected overseas airports are: Queen Alia International Airport (AMM), Cairo International Airport (CAI), Ataturk International Airport (IST), King Abdul-Aziz International Airport (JED), King Khalid International Airport (RUH), Kuwait International Airport (KWI), Mohammed V Airport (CMN), Hamad International Airport (DOH), Dubai International Airport (DXB), and Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH).
A6: As threats change, so too will TSA’s security requirements.
A7: The new procedures remain in place until the threat changes. These are risk-based decisions and TSA continuously assesses security risks and seeks to balance necessary security requirements with their operational impact on the industry.
A8: See above.
A9: The size and shape of smart phones varies by brand. Smartphones are commonly available around the world and their size is well understood by most passengers who fly internationally. Please check with your airline if you are not sure whether your smartphone is impacted.
A10: TSA seeks to balance risk with impacts to the traveling public and has determined that cell phones and smart phones will be allowed in accessible property at this time.
A11: Yes. Today, all air travelers are subject to a robust security system that employs multiple layers of security, both seen and unseen, including:
In combination, these layers provide enhanced security creating a much stronger and protected transportation system for the traveling public. TSA continually assesses and evaluates the current threat environment and adjusts security measures as necessary to ensure the highest levels of aviation security without unnecessary disruption to travelers.
A12: TSA conducts assessments of foreign airports and inspections of airlines to ensure all U.S. regulations and International security standards are being met at last point of departures to the United States. TSA directly assesses the security posture of last points of departure airports under the Foreign Airport Assessment Program (FAAP) and evaluates the implementation of the internationally recognized International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) standards. TSA also utilizes its regulatory authorities over the air carriers which serve the United States to implement enhanced security measures at foreign locations. As an element of each air carrier’s legally binding approval to operate to and from the United States, the airline agrees to meet all security requirements stipulated by TSA.
A13: All passengers flying through and from these locations will have to place electronic devices that are larger than a cell phone/smart phone in their checked bags regardless of the passenger’s citizenship.
A14: This applies to all passengers traveling from 10 specific airports overseas.
A15: Electronic devices will still be allowed on all flights originating in the United States. Security procedures, both seen and unseen, are in place to mitigate the risk to flights in the United States.
A16: No additional TSA personnel are needed because TSA does not conduct screening at airports outside the United Sates.
A17: A number of those implemented security measures remain in place while others may be modified as deemed necessary to protect travelers. Since July 2, 2014, a number of foreign governments have themselves enhanced aviation security, buttressing and replacing our own measures at these airports when it became routine at overseas airports for security officials to ask some passengers to turn on their electronic devices, including cell phones, before boarding flights to the United States.
A18: This will only impact flights from 10 of the more than 250 airports that serve as last points of departure to the United States. This will only impact a small percentage of flights to the United States. The exact number of flights will vary on a day to day basis.
A19: These measures will apply to all passengers on flights from the 10 last points of departure airports, a small fraction of passengers traveling to the United States by air each day.
A20: These measures will apply to all passengers on flights from certain locations regardless of trusted traveler status.
A21: Passengers should pack large personal electronic devices in checked bags and contact their air carrier with additional questions.
A22: Generally, passengers will be instructed to place large electronic devices in their checked bags when traveling from one of the last point of departure airports. We provided guidance to the airlines who will determine how to implement and inform their passengers.
A23: TSA recommends passengers transferring at one of the 10 affected airports place any large personal electronic devices in their checked bags upon check-in at their originating airport.
A24: Although the U.S. has instituted robust aviation security measures since 9/11, our information indicates that terrorist groups’ efforts to execute an attack against the aviation sector are intensifying given that aviation attacks provide an opportunity to cause mass casualties and inflict significant economic damage, as well as generate overwhelming media coverage.
We note that disseminated propaganda from various terrorist groups is encouraging attacks on aviation, to include tactics to circumvent aviation security. Terrorist propaganda has highlighted the attacks against aircraft in Egypt with a soda can packed with explosives in October 2015, and in Somalia using an explosives-laden laptop in February 2016.
Terrorists have historically tried to hide explosives in shoes in 2001, use liquid explosives in 2006, and conceal explosives in printers in 2010 and suicide devices in underwear in 2009 and 2012. Within the last year, we have also seen attacks conducted at airports to include in Brussels and Istanbul.
A25: USG officials coordinated with their foreign counterparts to inform them of the changing threat. TSA has a formal process for notifying airlines through the EA/SD process. This process was used to notify affected airlines of the needed changes.
A26: The Airlines will have 96 hours to implement. The manner of an EA/SD is to tell an airline the end result required (no electronic devices larger than a cell phone allowed in the cabin) and allow them the flexibility to implement within their business model.
A27: No. U.S. government employees in the affected countries have the option, but are not required, to modify their travel routes. The new routes must comply with all U.S. government travel regulations.
A28: No. At this time, evaluated intelligence says that the threat exists at the 10 last point of departure airports.
A29: Airlines were notified on March 21st at 3:00 a.m. EDT. They have 96 hours within which to comply.
A30: These measures will be in effect indefinitely. However, DHS and TSA continue to evaluate our aviation security processes and policies based on the most recent intelligence.
A31: TSA will increase explosives detection screening of passenger luggage on select international inbound flights upon domestic arrival. The screening will occur prior to releasing the luggage back to passengers. It is possible that this process may result in delays for connecting luggage.
A32: Contact your connecting airline on how best to rebook to your final U.S. destination. Additionally, consider contacting your airline prior to your flight to inquire about your connection time.
A33: Atlanta (ATL), Boston (BOS), Chicago O’Hare (ORD), Dallas-Ft. Worth (DFW), Ft. Lauderdale (FLL), Houston Intercontinental (IAH), Los Angeles (LAX), Miami (MIA), Orlando (MCO), New York Kennedy (JFK), Philadelphia (PHL), San Francisco (SFO), Seattle-Tacoma (SEA), and Washington Dulles (IAD).
A34: Regardless of where you are flying to/from or what airline you are flying on, you should always contact your airline if there is an issue with your checked baggage.
A35: The limits on the size of electronics in carry-on bags apply to all passengers, including U.S. government employees with U.S. government-issued laptops.
A36: TSA partners with local law enforcement officials at each airport and has protocols in place for proper response when a bag triggers an alarm during screening.
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Office of Public Affairs
Evaluated intelligence indicates that terrorist groups continue to target commercial aviation and are aggressively pursuing innovative methods to undertake their attacks, to include smuggling explosive devices in various consumer items. Based on this information, Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly and Transportation Security Administration Acting Administrator Huban Gowadia have determined it is necessary to enhance security procedures for passengers at certain last point of departure airports to the United States.
These enhancements apply to 10 specific airports. The affected overseas airports are: Queen Alia International Airport (AMM), Cairo International Airport (CAI), Ataturk International Airport (IST), King Abdul-Aziz International Airport (JED), King Khalid International Airport (RUH), Kuwait International Airport (KWI), Mohammed V Airport (CMN), Hamad International Airport (DOH), Dubai International Airport (DXB), and Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH).
The aviation security enhancements will include requiring that all personal electronic devices larger than a cell phone or smart phone be placed in checked baggage at 10 airports where flights are departing for the United States.
These enhanced security measures will only affect flights from 10 of the more than 250 airports that serve as last points of departure to the United States. A small percentage of flights to the United States will be affected, and the exact number of flights will vary on a day to day basis. Airlines will know in advance which flights are affected by these measures
Electronic devices larger than a cell phone/smart phone will not be allowed to be carried onboard the aircraft in carry-on luggage or other accessible property. Electronic devices that exceed this size limit must be secured in checked luggage. Necessary medical devices will be allowed to remain in a passenger’s possession after they are screened.
The approximate size of a commonly available smartphone is considered to be a guideline for passengers. Examples of large electronic devices that will not be allowed in the cabin on affected flights include, but are not limited to:
There is no impact on domestic flights in the United States or flights departing the United States. Electronic devices will continue to be allowed on all flights originating in the United States.
For more information and travel tips, please visit www.TSA.gov.
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2123 Rayburn House Office Building
Chairman Murphy, Ranking Member DeGette, and distinguished members:
Thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today to discuss the heroin and fentanyl crisis in the United States and the efforts of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to target, investigate, disrupt, dismantle and bring to justice the criminal elements responsible for the manufacturing, smuggling, and distribution of dangerous opioids.
As the largest investigative agency within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), ICE Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) investigates and enforces more than 400 federal criminal statutes to include the Immigration and Nationality Act (Title 8), U.S. customs laws (Title 19), general federal crimes (Title 18), and the Controlled Substances Act (Title 21). HSI special agents use this authority to investigate all types of cross-border criminal activity and work in close coordination with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in a unified effort with both domestic and international law enforcement partners, to target Transnational Criminal Organizations (TCOs) that are supplying heroin and fentanyl to the United States.
Today, I would like to highlight our efforts to reduce the supply of heroin and fentanyl to the United States and the operational challenges we encounter.
Before we can discuss illicit fentanyl targeting and supply reduction, we need to understand what fentanyl is and how it is produced.
The United States is in the midst of an illicit fentanyl crisis that is multi-faceted and deadly. Fentanyl is a Schedule II synthetic opioid, used medically for severe pain relief in patients that are already opioid tolerant, and it is 50-100 times more potent than morphine. For reference, as little as two milligrams of pure fentanyl can be fatal. Based on investigations, United States law enforcement has identified two primary sources of the US illicit fentanyl threat: China and Mexico.
China is a global supplier of illicit fentanyl and the precursor chemicals used to manufacture the drug. Additionally, Chinese laboratories openly sell fentanyl, to include fentanyl analogues, and other fentanyl-related substances. In China, criminal chemists work around their government’s control efforts by modifying chemical structures ever so slightly to create substances not recognized as illicit in China but having the same deadly effects. Although there is ongoing collaboration with China, the lack of current Chinese laws that prohibit analogue manufacturing or export is one of the challenges we face in stemming the flow of illicit fentanyl from China.
China-sourced illicit fentanyl is primarily used by counterfeit tableting organizations in Mexico and the United States that focus on supplying people who misuse prescription pain pills. Counterfeit tablet suppliers often purchase powdered fentanyl through the anonymity of the internet and can access open source and dark web marketplaces for the tools needed for manufacturing. Fentanyl, pill presses and binding agents are then shipped into the United States primarily via international mail services and express consignment couriers. Illicit fentanyl products attributed to China are generally unadulterated.
Mexican drug cartels also obtain illicit fentanyl and precursor materials required to manufacture fentanyl-related substances from China and primarily use fentanyl as an adulterant in heroin that is produced in Mexico. The cartels have discovered that manufacturing fentanyl is much more cost effective, efficient, and draws less law enforcement attention than cultivating opium poppies to produce heroin. Because of the potency of fentanyl, only microgram quantities are needed to produce an effect. Fentanyl can be diluted and adulterated with other agents to produce dozens of kilograms of heroin-like substitute and can be added to heroin to create a synergistic effect. The adulterated heroin can sell at the traditional heroin street price or much higher if it is advertised as having a stronger effect. When smuggled adulterated heroin is discovered and seized by law enforcement, it has a much lower cost of replacement to the organization. Fentanyl seized at our Southwest Border Region is typically 5-10 percent in purity with the balance being diluents, such as dipyrone, mannitol or lactose.
Once illicit fentanyl is distributed in local American drug markets, many people who use drugs (whether heroin or prescription pain pills) are unaware of the presence of the more potent fentanyl in their narcotic. As fentanyl used in suspected heroin or counterfeit pills is more potent than the drugs they resemble, it readily leads to overdosing. Alternatively, the improper mixing of fentanyl can easily lead to batches of pills with a higher concentration of fentanyl, what is known as “hot spots”, leading to overdose and death. These batches may then be distributed within a specific geographic area and result in an increased number of overdose occurrences and deaths in that area. This is often how law enforcement learns that fentanyl or an analogue has been introduced into a local drug market.
The addictive nature and demand for opioids paired with the low cost/high potency of fentanyl used in counterfeit opioid production has led TCOs to compete for a portion of the U.S. illicit drug market.
In accordance with the President’s February 9, 2017, Executive Order on Enforcing Federal Law with Respect to Transnational Criminal Organizations and Preventing International Trafficking, HSI will be working to reduce the supply of Fentanyl.
In response to the dramatic increase in the availability of opioids, the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), in close coordination with Federal departments and agencies, developed the Heroin Availability Reduction Plan (HARP) to reduce the supply of heroin and illicit fentanyl in the United States market through supply chain disruption and in detection and intelligence collection as outlined in the plan’s strategy. ICE has been involved in supporting the HARP since its inception.
Pursuant to the HARP, ICE is targeting supply chain networks, coordinating with domestic and international partners, and providing field training to highlight officer safety, trends, and collaboration benefits.
In support of the detection and analysis effort, ICE is fully engaged with the DEA Special Operations Division (SOD) and the CBP National Targeting Center, to identify shipment routes; targeting parcels that may contain heroin, illicit fentanyl, fentanyl- related substances and manufacturing materials; and fully exploiting financial and investigative analyses.
The DEA's Special Operations Division (SOD) Heroin and Fentanyl Task Force (HFTF) is supported by ICE, CBP, DEA, and several other federal agencies. The SOD-led, interagency task force exploits electronic communications to proactively identify, disrupt, and dismantle the production, transportation, and financial networks behind the heroin and illicit fentanyl distribution organizations that impact the United States.
The HFTF focuses on the collaborative authorities and efforts of each invested agency’s resources, in order to better share and deconflict information. The HFTF works together to target international and domestic organizations by proactively working with field office. The taskforce also assists in coordinating and linking investigations from the street level dealer to the international source of supply.
ICE supports field investigations related to heroin and illicit fentanyl and the overdoses that occur as a result of use. ICE and the HFTF are currently coordinating with the Department of Justice’s Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) Program, its Fusion Center and ONDCP’s High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) taskforces to exploit communication data and social media information that are associated with reports of overdoses within a geographical area. This is in direct support of the OCDETF National Heroin Strategy. Coordination with OCDETF and HIDTA has proven helpful in multi-jurisdictional investigations and in their successful prosecutions.
HSI special agents actively pursue the financial networks used to sustain the heroin and illicit fentanyl trade. As with sources of supply, the financial methods used by smugglers and traffickers have also adapted with current trends. The wholesalers and end users utilize Money Service Businesses (MSBs), Bank to Bank wire transfers, PayPal, and virtual currencies (such as Bitcoin), to name a few, to successfully finance the supply chain and remit illicit proceeds. ICE continues to engage financial industry partners, specifically MSBs, to better identify the movement of illicit proceeds tied to fentanyl.
ICE recognizes that the private sector represents America’s first line of defense against money laundering. Through our Illicit Finance and Proceeds of Crime Unit (IFPCU), ICE partners with the U.S. financial industry, along with state and federal agencies, to combat financial and trade crimes associated with heroin and fentanyl smuggling and distribution.
In targeting virtual currency transactions of heroin and illicit fentanyl, ICE uses blockchain analysis to track transactions between criminal parties. Blockchain is a digital ledger in which transactions made in bitcoin or another cryptocurrency are recorded chronologically and publically. ICE has seen a substantial increase in cases in which private parties are acting as money service businesses to exchange digital currencies into fiat currency to enjoy the illicit proceeds of narcotics smuggling. The IFPCU also utilizes resources provided by the Treasury Executive Office for Asset Forfeiture’s Third-Party Money Laundering Initiative to support complex financial investigations. ICE’s Bulk Cash Smuggling Center also supports investigations through counter money laundering efforts that target TCOs that supply heroin and fentanyl.
The sources, brokers, and U.S. distributors of heroin and illicit fentanyl often communicate via dark web marketplaces, internet chat rooms, Peer to Peer applications, emails, skype, or other means of electronic communication. ICE’s Cyber Division further exploits these methods of communication in furtherance of field initiated criminal investigations. Moving forward, ICE’s Cyber Division will focus on exploiting the digital footprints left by the criminal parties. These exploitations will provide additional investigative avenues and exponentially increase targetable data points.
ICE has seen heroin and illicit fentanyl supply chains that are not only engaged in the importation of raw powder from foreign sources and counterfeit pills but also in the importation of the precursor chemicals used to produce finished product in the United States. The flow continues to transit through postal systems, express consignment couriers, and land borders. The finished product appearance can vary based on demand and the target market. In addition to the chemicals and/or binding agents, regional distributors often procure pill making implements (pill presses, fillers, cleaners and dyes) to effectively produce finished product clandestinely. ICE currently works with DEA, CBP, and United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) to target and investigate these precursor and manufacturing imports.
Support to CBP Targeting and Interdiction
Every day, CBP’s National Targeting Center (NTC) works quickly and quietly to identify people and products that pose potential threats to our nation’s security, and to stop them from entering the United States. The NTC employs highly skilled targeting specialists using state-of-the-art technologies to identify high-risk people and cargo in the air, land, and sea environments that enter and leave the United States. The NTC carefully targets and coordinates examination of shipments and travelers who may be associated to transnational criminal organizations and/or the smuggling of heroin and fentanyl.
ICE participates at CBP’s NTC through the National Targeting Center – Investigations (NTC-I) program, which leverages intelligence gathered during ICE investigations and exploits it using CBP holdings to target the flow of drugs into the United States. The NTC-I works to share information between CBP and ICE entities world-wide.
NTC-I conducts post seizure analysis based on ICE seizures in the field and CBP seizures at the ports of entry. The analysis is critical to identifying networks that transport heroin and illicit fentanyl-related substances into and throughout the United States. A key component of the post seizure analysis is the financial investigation. The NTC-I focuses on the financial element of the smuggling organization by exploiting information gathered from multiple financial databases.
The NTC-I works closely with CBP to target illicit shipments imported into the United States from abroad for interdiction at international mail facilities. CBP works to target parcels based on numerous characteristics and provides investigative information on past seizures and active smuggling networks to aid in the targeting effort. Partnering with express consignment couriers has proven valuable in identifying additional data sets for targeting and exploitation.
The recent partnership and consistent collaboration between ICE, CBP, USPIS, and DEA has greatly contributed to the success in combatting illicit shipments of heroin and fentanyl-related substances. Sources in China frequently utilize the international mail services to ship fentanyl in small parcels to avoid detection by CBP. The NTC-I leverages the working relationship with USPIS target these shipments for interdiction at U.S. airport hubs and local post offices. The NTC-I has been instrumental in coordinating interdiction and extended border searches on illicit fentanyl-related shipments leading to multiple seizures in the United States and abroad.
International Partners and Cooperation
ICE works closely with our domestic and international law enforcement partners to disrupt and dismantle transnational criminal organizations.
ICE, in support of DEA and the Department of State, has met with law enforcement counterparts from China, Mexico, and South American countries for the purposes of sharing targeting information regarding known sources of heroin, illicit fentanyl, and precursor supply, for interdiction and effective organization dismantlement.
We have traveled with DEA and CBP to China in pursuit of the successful identification and nomination of fentanyl Consolidated Priority Organization Targets (CPOTs) on several occasions, have hosted China counterparts in the United States at the Special Operations Division, and will return to China for continued coordination in April.
CPOT is the command and control element of a major transnational criminal organization and/or money laundering enterprise that significantly impacts the United States illicit drug supply and is designated by the Attorney General and Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) member agencies. CPOTs represent the “most wanted” transnational criminal and money laundering organizations.
The successful identification and nominations of heroin and illicit fentanyl CPOT targets provide a first step into the designation of fentanyl “kingpins” under the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act, and the ultimate imposition of economic sanctions against CPOTs and their business networks through the Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).
ICE has also met with Canadian officials to share trends and targeting strategy in fentanyl-related investigations. Like the United States, our Canadian counterparts have expressed that a fentanyl crisis is also occurring within Canada. ICE has traveled with DEA to Canada on at least three (3) occasions to compare heroin and fentanyl trends, case models, and known targetable data sources. Further, command and control structures, communications, distribution routes, and the logistical movement of fentanyl-related shipments have been shared.
Illicit fentanyl is not only dangerous for people who use drugs, but for law enforcement, public health workers and first responders who could unknowingly come into contact with it in its different forms. Working dogs are also at risk of exposure.
Law enforcement is presented with several challenges when dealing with fentanyl. Accidentally inhaling the substance during law enforcement activity or during field testing of the substance is one of the biggest dangers with fentanyl. A secondary safety threat, the absorption through the skin, may also produce a response; however, severity of skin absorption for most forms of illicit fentanyl is debated in the scientific and medical communities. In either exposure case adverse health effects can include disorientation, coughing, sedation, respiratory distress or cardiac arrest
Field testing proves to be difficult, because fentanyl is not one of the classic drugs that are familiar to law enforcement. Undercover activities and controlled purchases are also risky, as many regional distributors themselves are unaware of the presence of fentanyl in their heroin product. This leads narcotics officers to believe they are conducting a controlled purchase of heroin or cocaine, when in fact, they may be purchasing illicit fentanyl. Additionally, delays in laboratory testing due to drug seizure volumes are also problematic in quickly identifying fentanyl.
Naloxone is an antidote for opioid overdoses, including those caused by fentanyl. When quickly and properly administered, it can restore normal breathing and consciousness to individuals experiencing an opioid overdose/accidental exposure.
ICE is currently in the process of obtaining and distributing naloxone kits and other Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to trained special agents in order to prevent fentanyl overdose exposure to law enforcement and is working to develop interim guidance and policy on the handling and transporting of fentanyl evidence.
Thank you again for the opportunity to appear before you today and for your continued support of ICE and its law enforcement mission. ICE is committed to battling the U.S. heroin and illicit fentanyl crisis through the various efforts I have discussed today. I would like to reiterate that this problem set is an epidemic that demands urgent and immediate action across law enforcement interagency lines in conjunction with experts in the scientific, medical, and public health communities. I appreciate your interest in this important issue and look forward to your questions.
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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
WASHINGTON – The Department of Homeland Security today issued the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Declined Detainer Outcome Report required by President Donald J. Trump’s Executive Order, Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States, signed on January 25. This report will be issued weekly to highlight jurisdictions that choose not to cooperate with ICE detainers or requests for notification, therefore potentially endangering Americans. ICE places detainers on aliens who have been arrested on local criminal charges or who are in local custody and for whom ICE possesses probable cause to believe that they are removable from the United States, so that ICE can take custody of the alien when he or she is released from local custody.
“When law enforcement agencies fail to honor immigration detainers and release serious criminal offenders, it undermines ICE’s ability to protect the public safety and carry out its mission,” said Acting ICE Director Thomas Homan. “Our goal is to build cooperative, respectful relationships with our law enforcement partners. We will continue collaborating with them to help ensure that illegal aliens who may pose a threat to our communities are not released onto the streets to potentially harm individuals living within our communities.”
The Declined Detainer Outcome Report is a weekly report that lists the jurisdictions that have declined to honor ICE detainers or requests for notification and includes examples of criminal charges associated with those released aliens. The report provides information on declined detainers and requests for notification for that reporting period. A jurisdiction’s appearance on this report is not an exclusive factor in determining a jurisdiction’s level of cooperation with ICE. This report is intended to provide the public with information regarding criminal actions committed by aliens and any jurisdiction that ignores or otherwise failed to honor any detainers or requests for notification with respect to such aliens.
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A: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) issues detainers to federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies to provide notice of its intent to assume custody of a removable alien detained in federal, state, or local custody. A detainer requests that the law enforcement agency notify ICE as early as practicable—ideally at least 48 hours—before a removable alien is released from criminal custody and briefly maintain custody of the alien for up to 48 hours to allow DHS to assume custody for removal purposes.
A: When law enforcement agencies fail to honor immigration detainers and release a criminal alien onto the streets, they have declined an ICE detainer. This undermines ICE’s ability to protect public safety and carry out its mission. Federal immigration laws authorize DHS to issue detainers and provide ICE broad authority to detain removable aliens.
A: When an individual is booked into custody by a law enforcement agency, his or her biometric data is automatically routed through federal databases to the FBI. The FBI shares this information with ICE. If ICE has probable cause to suspect the individual is a removable alien, ICE sends a detainer to the law enforcement agency.
A: The president’s Executive Order 13768, Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States, and DHS Secretary Kelly’s memorandum on the implementation of the same, instructs the ICE Director to make this report public.
A: In some cases, state or local laws, ordinances, or policies restrict or prohibit cooperation with ICE. In other cases, jurisdictions choose to willfully decline ICE detainers and release criminals back into the community. The results in both cases are the same: aliens released onto the streets to potentially reoffend or harm individuals living within our communities.
A: If jurisdictions do not honor ICE detainers, criminals are released into communities, where they can commit more crimes and are subject to at-large arrests which may be disruptive to communities. Three examples of criminal aliens who are subject to removal but were released despite the issuance of an active detainer within the last few months follow; all have been re-arrested and are currently in custody:
A: Yes. ICE is committed to maintaining and strengthening its relationships with local law enforcement. ICE continues to collaborate with all law enforcement agencies to help ensure that individuals who may pose a threat to our communities are not released onto the streets to potentially reoffend and harm individuals living within our communities.
A: ICE maintains records for each detainer or request for notification that is issued and updates those records when a detainer or request for notification is declined. The list is generated from this data.
A: When criminal aliens are released from local or state custody, they have the opportunity to reoffend. There are also many risks and uncertainties involved when apprehending dangerous criminal aliens at-large in the community. It takes careful planning and extensive resources to mitigate those risks and make a safe apprehension in a community setting. It is much safer for everyone—the community, law enforcement, and even the criminal alien—if ICE officers take custody of the alien in the controlled environment of another law enforcement agency as opposed to visiting a reported alien’s residence, place of work, or other public area.
A: ICE is committed to using its unique enforcement authorities and available resources and tools to promote national security, uphold public safety, and preserve the integrity of our immigration system. The use of detainers is an efficient, effective and safe means to carry out ICE’s mission.
A: ICE places detainers on individuals whom ICE has probable cause to suspect are removable aliens in state and local law enforcement agency custody on criminal charges.
A: The Declined Detainer Outcome Report (DDOR) is intended to provide the public with information regarding criminal actions committed by aliens and any jurisdiction that ignores or otherwise failed to honor any detainers or requests for information with respect to such aliens. As set forth in Executive Order 13768, Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States, the Secretary has the authority to designate, in his discretion and to the extent consistent with law, a jurisdiction as a sanctuary jurisdiction. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) continues to evaluate the appropriate criteria for such designation.
A: The president’s Executive Order, Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States, requires publication of this report. The report lists locations that have ignored or otherwise failed to honor an immigration detainer or request for notification. As set forth in the Executive Order, the Secretary has the authority to designate, in his discretion and to the extent consistent with law, a jurisdiction as a sanctuary jurisdiction. DHS continues to evaluate the appropriate criteria for such designation.
A: The DDOR is intended to provide the public with information regarding criminal actions committed by aliens and any jurisdiction that ignores or otherwise failed to honor any detainers or requests for notification with respect to such aliens. ICE does not administer grants, and inclusion on the DDOR will not automatically result in ineligibility for grants. Section 9(a) of the Executive Order recognizes the authority of the Attorney General and the Secretary of Homeland Security, in their discretion and consistent with law, to ensure that jurisdictions that willfully refuse to comply with 8 USC § 1373 are not eligible to receive federal grants, except as deemed necessary for law enforcement purposes by the Attorney General or the Secretary. DHS is currently working to develop a process, in coordination with the Department of Justice and other interagency partners, to address this requirement of the EO.
A: Yes. The Request for Voluntary Notification (Form I-247N) is one of the tools ICE has used to notify law enforcement agencies of its interest in taking custody of an alien in state or local custody. The declination of Requests for Voluntary Notification also result in the release of criminal aliens, which provides an unnecessary risk to public and officer safety as ICE personnel are forced to arrest such aliens in an at-large setting. Although this report includes information relating to Form I-247N, DHS will be replacing Forms I-247D, I-247N, and I-247X in the near future. Information related to the superseding detainer form and its predecessors will be documented and reported by ICE going forward. Until fully vetted, reviewed, and approved, ICE will utilize the existing detainer and notification forms as an interim measure.
A: Lack of sufficient advance notification is based on the judgment of immigration officers, taking into consideration geographic limitations, response times, and other local logistical details. Advance notification is sufficient when ICE is given enough time to mobilize its resources to effectuate a safe transfer into ICE custody. Sufficient advance notice is a commonly understood standard for law enforcement jurisdictions working closely together.
A: Detainers and Requests for Notification are not honored for a variety of reasons, as noted in the Declined Detainer Outcomes Report. ICE documents non-honored Detainers and Requests for Notification once discovered by ICE personnel during their enforcement activities. In instances of insufficient notification to ICE, these are generally cases in which the law enforcement agency did not provide ICE with enough time to mobilize its resources to effectuate a safe custody transfer.
A: DHS has not retreated from its position that detainers serve as a legally-authorized request, upon which a law enforcement agency may rely, to continue to maintain custody of the alien for up to 48 hours so that ICE may assume custody for removal purposes.
A: DHS is in the process of creating a new detainer form to more effectively communicate with recipient law enforcement agencies. Although this report includes information relating to Form I-247N, DHS will be replacing Forms I-247D, I-247N, and I-247X in the near future. Information related to the superseding detainer form and its predecessors will be documented and reported by ICE going forward. Until fully vetted, reviewed, and approved, ICE will utilize the existing detainer and notification forms as an interim measure.
A: Regardless of the reason for which a jurisdiction does not honor ICE detainers or requests for notification, such action by the jurisdiction nonetheless adversely impacts public safety. When a jurisdiction declines to honor an ICE detainer or request for notification, a criminal alien is released into the community, where he or she has the opportunity to commit additional crimes, rather than being safely detained and processed for removal by ICE.
A: “Notable criminal activity” documents egregious charges and convictions of the alien for whom a detainer was not honored. This report includes criminal charges contained in local, state, and federal indexes and recorded in ICE's database.
A: Concerns from the community can be relayed to a local community relations officer who may be contacted via a local ICE field office, which can be found at: https://www.ice.gov/contact/field-offices
A: This report is inclusive of declined detainers that were not honored by a law enforcement agency, discovered by ICE personnel during their enforcement activities as not being honored, and documented in ICE systems during the reporting period specified.
A: Members of the public may submit requests for information to ICE’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Office. Each request will be evaluated under the disclosure provisions of FOIA.
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Office of Public Affairs
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) issues detainers and requests for notification to law enforcement agencies (LEAs) to provide notice of its intent to assume custody of an individual detained in federal, state, or local custody. Detainers are placed on aliens arrested on criminal charges for whom ICE possesses probable cause to believe that they are removable from the United States.
A detainer requests that a LEA notify ICE as early as practicable—ideally at least 48 hours—before a removable alien is released from criminal custody and then briefly maintain custody of the alien for up to 48 hours to allow DHS to assume custody for removal purposes. A request for notification requests that a LEA notify ICE as early as practicable – ideally at least 48 hours –before a removable alien is released from criminal custody.
These requests are intended to allow a reasonable amount of time for ICE to respond and take custody of the alien. When LEAs fail to honor immigration detainers or requests for notification and release serious criminal offenders, it undermines ICE’s ability to protect public safety and carry out its mission. The Declined Detainer Outcome Report (DDOR), which meets the requirement outlined in the president’s Executive Order, Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States, is a weekly report that lists the LEAs that declined ICE detainers or requests for notification and includes criminal charges associated with those released aliens.
The DDOR may reflect instances in which the LEA may have technically provided notification to ICE in advance of an alien’s release, but where the LEA did not provide sufficient advance notification for ICE to arrange the transfer of custody prior to release due to geographic limitations, response times, or other logistical reasons. In these instances, ICE records the detainer or request for notification as declined by the LEA.
This report only reflects the data related to the release of criminal aliens that is available to ICE. In uncooperative jurisdictions like Cook County, Illinois, and the City of Philadelphia, ICE is barred from interviewing arrestees in local custody. Therefore, in these communities a large number of criminals who have yet to be encountered by ICE are arrested by local authorities and released in these communities without any notification to ICE.
ICE continues to collaborate with all law enforcement agencies to help ensure that aliens who may pose a threat to our communities are not released onto the streets to potentially reoffend and harm individuals living within our communities. However, in some cases, state or local laws, ordinances or policies restrict or prohibit cooperation with ICE. In other cases, jurisdictions choose to willfully decline ICE detainers or requests for notification and release criminals back into the community.
When criminal aliens are released from local or state custody, they have the opportunity to reoffend. There are also many risks and uncertainties involved when apprehending dangerous criminal aliens at-large in the community. It takes careful planning and extensive resources to mitigate those risks and make a safe apprehension in a community setting. It is much safer for all involved—the community, law enforcement, and even the criminal alien—if ICE officers take custody in the controlled environment of another law enforcement agency.
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Rep. John Lovick (D-Mill Creek, center) on the floor of the House of Representatives with Rep. Mike Pellicciotti, Rep. Kristine Reeves, Transportation Chair Rep. Judy Clibborn (seated), Rep. Shelley Kloba and Rep. Christine Kilduff. The five standing lawmakers introduced a package of legislation in the House to address Sound Transit 3 car tab issues. Photo courtesy of the House of Representatives.
OLYMPIA—Rep. John Lovick (D-Mill Creek) announced that he’s one of five lawmakers introducing five separate reforms to address the controversy surrounding how Sound Transit 3 is handling car tabs.
Here’s a summary of legislation introduced this week in the House of Representatives:
“When I pay for something, I expect to know what I’m getting in return,” said Lovick. “Let’s clear up the confusion about what these car tabs are paying for by providing information directly to our constituents every time they get their renewal and registration. Drivers deserve to know what they are getting for their money.”
Rep. Judy Clibborn (D-Mercer Island), chair of the House Transportation Committee, is reviewing the committee schedule to include a work session on Sound Transit to discuss these and other issues and ideas to address the public’s concern.
OLYMPIA—The Equal Pay Opportunity Act was the last bill considered on the House floor this evening. It passed on a 61-36 vote and is on its way to the Senate. This is the third year in a row that the House sends a version of this legislation to the other chamber.
“Washington passed equal pay protections ten years before the federal government did,” said Rep. Tana Senn (D-Mercer Island), the bill’s sponsor and longtime equal pay advocate. “Unfortunately, without any updates since then, we have fallen behind.”
The Equal Pay Opportunity Act, aimed at helping close the gender pay gap, addresses income disparities, employer discrimination and retaliation practices, and reaffirms Washington’s longstanding pursuit of equality in the workplace.
Rep. Senn’s legislation prohibits pay secrecy policies, allows discussion of wages, bans retaliation against workers that ask for equal pay, and offers administrative options as well as damages if private action is pursued.
“My granddaughter is one year older than she was the last time we voted on equal pay in this chamber,” said Rep. Mike Sells, Chair of the House Labor and Workplace Standards Committee. “I said it was outrageous then that I couldn’t look at her in the eye and assure her that hard work will result in fair compensation. That we have been unable to right that wrong continues my sense of outrage. We can do better, and this bill does it.”
The gender pay gap affects women from the day they begin working until they reach old age. In Washington, over the course of 40 years of work, the average woman will make $497,280 less than her male counterpart. Due to this disparity, women can save less toward retirement, which means more women end up living in poverty in their senior years.
Women are almost half of the workforce. They are the sole or co-breadwinner in 40 percent of American families with children, yet, on average, dollar for dollar, women are earning twenty percent less than men. African American and Latina women fare worse, making $.61 and $.46 respectively, for every dollar paid to white men.
While women are taking home smaller paychecks to provide for their families, many don’t know it because, currently, many businesses actively discourage or even ban employees from discussing earnings with co-workers. Lacking the freedom to talk about their own pay makes it impossible for women to know if they are being underpaid. By allowing workers to discuss their wages, the Equal Pay Opportunity Act will help all employees to better understand their positions and determine if their pay is fair.
“This bill has moved forward in baby steps, getting farther through the process each year. There’s been progress, but now it’s time to take a ‘mama step’ and get this to the Governor’s desk,” said Senn.
If passed by the Senate, Rep. Senn’s bill will update the existing Washington State Equal Pay Act, bringing our state in line with more than 30 other states, such as California, Idaho, Massachusetts and Tennessee, offering greater protections for women.
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In response to the call for an independent investigation into the cause of Ben Moussa Keita’s death in Lake Stevens, nine House Democrats from Snohomish County issued the following written statement:
“Our hearts continue to be with the family of Ben Moussa Keita, who was found lifeless in early January near his home in Lake Stevens.
“His family and friends are in our prayers, and we strongly support their quest for answers, especially now that the cause of his death is officially ‘undetermined’.
“Ben, an African American Muslim, was only 18 years old and had a bright future. He was in the Running Start program at Everett Community College and his goal was to become a physician. He was happy and he had plans. He had a purpose.
“Although Lake Stevens officers are conducting an investigation, we support the family’s request for an FBI investigation. The family and the community need to get as many facts as possible.
“Regardless of the findings, there is so much divisiveness, so much hate speech and anti-immigrant sentiment in our nation at this time, that it’s impossible to hear about this and not see it in light of the current climate. That is not what Snohomish County or our state stand for, in fact, we always come together at a time of loss.
“Washington’s highest asset is its people. We value diversity, fairness and inclusion in this state. There is no room for prejudice and hateful rhetoric here. As legislators elected to speak and act for you, we continue working on legislation to fight for our young people and address concerns that range from mental illness to protection of civil liberties to ensure Washington is a safe place for all.
“We urge anyone with information to come forward and collaborate with law enforcement to shed light on the very sad loss of this young man’s life.”
Rep. Lillian Ortiz-Self, 21st LD
Rep. Strom Peterson, 21st LD
Rep. Mike Sells, 38th LD
Rep. June Robinson, 38th LD
Rep. Cindy Ryu, 32nd LD
Rep. Ruth Kagi, 32nd LD
Rep. Derek Stanford, 1st LD
Rep. Shelley Kloba, 1st LD
Rep. John Lovick, 44th LD
OLYMPIA – Legislators in the state House of Representatives voted today to advance legislation that strengthens current distracted driving laws and supports law enforcement protecting the public from dangerous habits behind the wheel.
Rep. Jessyn Farrell, D-Seattle, has pushed the Driving Under the Influence of Electronics Act, saying the law has to reflect how people actually use their electronic devices today.
“This bill is about saving lives,” Farrell said. “We love our phones, and we are just not putting them down. This bill updates our current laws so our police officers can enforce those laws and our roads can be safer for everyone.”
The Driving Under the Influence of Electronics Act prohibits the operation of a phone or other personal electronic device while driving if it requires more than one finger. This means even if the device isn’t held up to the ear, it can no longer be held and operated in one hand. The bill also increases the fine for distracted driving, nearly doubling it for repeat offenses. A repeat distracted driving citation would be reported to a driver’s insurance company, potentially triggering a rate increase.
Public testimony in the House Transportation committee included heart-wrenching stories by family members of loved ones whose lives were lost due to distracted driving-related accidents. These types of deaths have risen sharply in the state since 2014.
“This is about increasing public safety. Statistics show we are going in the wrong direction when it comes to fatal and serious injury collisions,” said Washington State Patrol Chief John R. Batiste. “Distracted driving is one of many factors that contribute to tragedies on our roadways. I am encouraged by the level of community support this bill has received.”
The bill number is HB 1371. It now heads to the Senate for the consideration.
The Seattle Times also published an article on today’s passage of the Driving Under the Influence of Electronics Act.
OLYMPIA – Described during floor debate as “the pre-eminent patient safety bill of the session,” a measure guaranteeing meal and rest breaks for nurses passed the House today. It would provide for uninterrupted meal and rest breaks, and prohibit the use of prescheduled on-call time to fill foreseeable staff shortages.
Rep. Marcus Riccelli, D-Spokane, sponsored the bill to address both patient safety and worker fairness.
“You shouldn’t have to think about whether the hospital you or your loved is admitted to gives its workers enough breaks,” Riccelli said. “There’s a reason nursing is one of the most trusted professions. But fatigue and burnout are taking a toll on the profession. Too many nurses are working too many hours without breaks, putting patient safety at risk.”
The bill addresses what has been an ongoing issue for frontline nursing staff in hospitals, many of whom work 12+ hour shifts without uninterrupted breaks. While the issue is often raised in collective bargaining, employers don’t always comply with the agreements. One nurse’s association had to file a lawsuit in order to be able to take breaks.
Riccelli’s bill would put guaranteed breaks into statute.
“Every person who goes into a hospital should feel confident they’ll get the best care possible,” Riccelli said. “When those who provide that care get breaks, the likelihood of medical errors is reduced. This is a win for both workers and patient safety.”
HB 1715 is now headed the Senate for consideration.
OLYMPIA—Rep. John Lovick (D-Mill Creek) will host two town hall meetings this Saturday, March 11, to meet with 44th district constituents to give them an update on the current session and listen to their questions, concerns and ideas.
“I want to hear about the problems families are facing, and I will do my best to provide answers and information on the issues we are working on in Olympia like funding our public schools and improving traffic gridlock,” said Lovick, who is back in the House of Representatives after serving as Snohomish County Sheriff and Snohomish County Executive.
44th Legislative District Town Hall Meetings on Saturday, March 11, 2017:
“These town halls are about giving every citizen a chance to be heard,” Lovick said. “I’ve always enjoyed getting the chance to come back home in the middle of the session to listen to the people of the 44th District.”
OLYMPIA – The state House gave near-unanimous approval Friday to a bill requiring an increase in the amount Medicaid clients in community residential settings and assisted-living facilities can keep for their personal needs. The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Sherry Appleton (D-23rd, Poulsbo), said it was a move to respect the dignity of the low-income seniors and persons with disabilities who would benefit from the legislation.
Medicaid recipients in these situations essentially are required to turn over their modest incomes in return for Medicaid picking up the tab for the residence or facility to which they move when they can no longer live independently. They are allowed to retain a monthly “personal needs allowance” of $62.79 if they are in a community setting, or $57.28 in an assisted-living facility. Unless they are aided by family members or others, this is all they have to spend on their personal needs, a category that includes everything from toiletries to birthday presents for grandchildren.
Appleton’s bill requires the personal needs allowance to increase annually at a rate determined by the consumer price index – a minuscule expense for the state that can have a significant impact on the quality of life for affected persons.
“The small amount they are allowed to retain has to cover so many purchases that most of us would consider necessities,” Appleton said. “Deodorant, toothpaste, greeting cards . . . all of that has to come from the personal needs allowance. And we haven’t raised these rates in years. They’ve taken care of us. It’s time for us to take care of them.”
The legislation, HB 1772, passed on a 96-1 vote in the House and will be taken up in the Senate next. If approved in that chamber and signed by Gov. Jay Inslee, the Medicaid personal needs allowance increase would take effect July 1 of this year.