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04/06/2020   Washington State Governor's Information Feed
04/06/2020   Department of Homeland Security

WASHINGTON – The Department of Homeland Security’s efforts across its components last week have facilitated a speedy, whole-of-government response to confronting COVID-19 and slowing the spread to keep Americans safe. FEMA is leading the way by carrying out an approach that is locally executed, state managed, and federally supported.

“Protecting both the health and national security of the American people continues to be the top priority for the Department of Homeland Security.” said Acting Secretary Chad F. Wolf. “I want to thank the men and women of the DHS workforce for their resilience as they put themselves at risk every day to protect the American people.”

Below is a list of some of DHS’s efforts against COVID-19 last week:

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)

Total Obligations to States. As of April 5th, FEMA has obligated nearly $4.1 billion in support of COVID-19 response efforts.

Project Air-Bridge. FEMA is expediting movement of critical supplies from the global market to medical distributors in various locations across the U.S. This historic partnership with the private sector is named Project Air-Bridge:

  • From March 30th to April 5th, 10 flights arrived to the U.S with critical supplies.
  • The cargo moved so far totals almost 83.5 million gloves, almost 5 million surgical masks, and 1.2 million gowns.
  • Upon arrival, the PPE is provided, in varying quantities, first to medical distributors in areas of greatest need; then, the remainder will be infused into the broader U.S. supply chain. Prioritization is given to hospitals, health care facilities, and nursing homes around the country.
  • 23 additional flights are currently scheduled through April 18.

Ventilator Distribution. FEMA is distributing ventilators to hard hit states. From March 30th to April 4th, FEMA and HHS delivered ventilators from the Strategic National Stockpile to Michigan, New Jersey, Illinois, Connecticut, and Louisiana.

Customs and Border Protection (CBP)

Keeping Critical Cargo and Trade Moving. CBP continues to process commercial cargo. Approximately $21B worth of goods crossed back and forth over the borders of U.S, Mexico, and Canada from March 30th to April 5th  .

Working to Reduce Illegal Entries. CBP agents encountered nearly 4,200 migrants crossing illegally at the U.S. Southern border weekly, compared to nearly 10,000 encounters weekly prior to the current containment efforts.

Facilitating Critical PPE Deliveries. CBP lifted a Withhold Release Order that had barred importation of disposable rubber gloves which our health care workers and law enforcement personnel so desperately need right now.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)

Bringing Americans Home. Working with the Department of State, ICE continues to bring Americans home on the return leg of removal flights to Central America. As of April 5th, ICE has flown 853 U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents home on removal flights from Colombia, El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua since the first flight on March 22.

Transportation Security Administration (TSA)

Keeping Air Travelers Secure. Due to the pandemic and travel restrictions, TSA continues to screen a significantly reduced number of passengers. From March 27th  to April 2nd, TSA successfully screened 1,124,145 travelers ensuring individuals reached their destinations safely.

Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA)

Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers. CISA recently updated its list of essential critical infrastructure workers. As of April 5th, 20 states and territories have published Essential Business Designations.

Election Security Work Continues. CISA coordinated calls between the election community and the United States Postal Service (USPS) and Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to ensure that election officials have the most up to date information and advice from the experts at these agencies regarding COVID-19.

Helping the Private Sector Assess Risk. CISA released a guide titled Risk Management for Novel Coronavirus to assist executives in thinking through physical, supply chain, and cybersecurity issues that may arise from the spread of COVID-19.

United States Coast Guard (USCG)

Facilitating the Offload of Cruise Ships. On April 2nd, the Coast Guard facilitated the offload of more than 1,200 passengers from cruise ships Zaandam and Rotterdam in Port Everglade, FL after it was reported that crewmembers and passengers were infected with COVID-19.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)

Making Extensions for Employment Authorization Easier. On March 30th , U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced that it will reuse previously submitted biometrics in order to process valid Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, extension requests due to the temporary closure of Application Support Centers (ASC) to the public.

Target Date to Reopen Offices. On April 1st, USCIS announced offices temporarily suspended will begin to reopen on May 4th unless the public closures are extended further to help slow the spread of COVID-19.

Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction (CWMD)

Medical Screening at Airports. CWMD contract personnel are continuing to support CDC with enhanced screening at 13 airports. From March 29th to April 5th, CBP referred 7,565 travelers to CWMD for enhanced screening. As of April 5th, over 265,647 travelers have been referred to CWMD for screening.

Science and Technology (S&T)

Coronavirus Research. S&T’s National Biodefense Analysis and Countermeasures Center (NBACC) continued researching the impact of environmental conditions, such as temperature and humidity, to determine the virus’s survivability in the air, in respiratory fluids, and on various types of surfaces. Additional research includes decontamination methods to determine the most effective materials to clean and disinfect surfaces to rid them of the virus.

Consolidating COVID-19 Data for Government Officials. On April 1st, the NBACC updated the Master Question List (MQL), a compilation of available research and information on operationally-relevant questions.

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Note: The previous version of this press release read that the number Southern border crossings were daily, it should have read weekly. 

Keywords: Coronavirus (COVID-19), Public Health
Topics: Border Security, Citizenship and Immigration Services, Critical Infrastructure Security, Cybersecurity, Economic Security, Homeland Security Enterprise, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Science and Technology, Secretary of Homeland Security
04/06/2020   Washington Attorney General News

First sexual assault kits submitted for testing through AG Ferguson’s grant program

OLYMPIA — The Attorney General’s Office today launched a website to keep the public up to date and provide comprehensive information about Washington’s Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI) program, part of a statewide initiative to end Washington’s rape kit backlog. The Attorney General’s SAKI grant is now funding additional rape kit testing to help clear the backlog even faster.

04/06/2020   Washington House Republicans

CORONAVIRUS CASE COUNTS & COUNTY UPDATES Washington passes 7,900 COVID-19 cases, reaches 338 deaths (The News Tribune) Pierce County reports 68 new COVID-19 cases, two deaths (The News Tribune) Thurston County COVID-19 cases grow to 67 after three more announced Sunday (The Olympian) First Thurston County resident dies of COVID-19 complications (The Olympian) Bellingham nursing... Read more »

The post Capitol Buzz: April 6, 2020 appeared first on Washington State House Republicans.

04/05/2020   Washington State Governor's Information Feed

Gov. Jay Inslee today, recognizing the dire situation in other states, announced the state of Washington will return more than 400 ventilators received from the Strategic National Stockpile to the SNS inventory to help states facing higher numbers of COVID-19 cases.

04/03/2020   Washington State Governor's Information Feed
04/03/2020   Washington State Governor's Information Feed
04/03/2020   Washington State Senate Democrats

Rep. Timm Ormsby (D-Spokane) and Sen. Christine Rolfes (D-Kitsap County) issued the statement below in support of Gov. Jay Inslee’s decision to veto parts of the 2020 supplemental operating budget to better reflect the state’s current economic situation:

“We support Gov. Inslee’s decision to veto sections of the 2020 supplemental operating budget along with a number of policy bills that also drove additional costs. While these reductions may be difficult, they are necessary to help address the sudden and dramatic change to our state’s fiscal situation and to maintain focus on the state’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

“The health and safety of all Washingtonians is paramount, and these reductions will help our state remain nimble as we face declining revenues. Our shared goal is to align our state for an economic recovery and we have a strong foundation on which to rebuild.

“We will continue to take a collaborative, bipartisan approach in addressing the health and economic impacts of this pandemic, as we did at the end of the session with a $200 million emergency funding package.

“It will be hard, but Washington will get through this. We will do everything in our power to emerge quickly from this crisis, help people get back to work and reignite our economy.”

04/03/2020   Washington State Governor's Information Feed

El Gobernador Jay Inslee anunció hoy directrices adicionales relacionadas con la orden "Stay Home, Stay Healthy" (Quédate en Casa, M

04/03/2020   Washington State Governor's Information Feed

Hoy, el Gobernador Jay Inslee y Charlie Clark, director del Departamento de Instituciones Financieras del Estado de Washington (DFI, por sus siglas en inglés) anunciaron que el estado está tomando medidas para ayudar a los propietarios del Estado de Washington

04/03/2020   Washington House Republicans

CORONAVIRUS CASE COUNTS & COUNTY UPDATES Coronavirus cases in Washington up to 6,585 with 262 total deaths (The Olympian) Clark County records two more COVID-19 deaths (The Columbian) 2 more deaths in Tri-Cities area linked to coronavirus. Known cases jump 18% (Tri-City Herald) 17 hospitalized for coronavirus in Yakima County, cases rise to 240 (KAPP-TV/KVEW-TV)... Read more »

The post Capitol Buzz: April 3, 2020 appeared first on Washington State House Republicans.

04/02/2020   Washington State Governor's Information Feed
04/02/2020   Washington House Republicans

CORONAVIRUS CASE COUNTS & COUNTY UPDATES Clark County hits 130 COVID-19 cases (The Columbian) West Pierce firefighter tests positive for coronavirus; 19 quarantined (The News Tribune) Only 3.9% of COVID-19 tests in Spokane County are positive, but that rate is likely to rise (The Spokesman-Review) Three new confirmed cases of COVID-19 pushes Thurston County total... Read more »

The post Capitol Buzz: April 2, 2020 appeared first on Washington State House Republicans.

04/01/2020   Washington State Governor's Information Feed

Gov. Jay Inslee appointed Elisabeth Tutsch today to the Yakima County Superior Court. She replaces Judge Michael McCarthy, who resigned in February 2020, due to serious health issues.

04/01/2020   Washington House Republicans

CORONAVIRUS CASE COUNTS & COUNTY UPDATES Pierce County COVID-19 cases at 377; state data struggles continue (The News Tribune) Clark County confirmed COVID-19 cases climb to 116 (The Columbian) Thurston County announces five new COVID-19 cases Tuesday, total now 48 (The Olympian) Lewis County now has 10 confirmed cases of COVID-19 (The Olympian) Volume of... Read more »

The post Capitol Buzz: April 1, 2020 appeared first on Washington State House Republicans.

04/01/2020   Washington State Governor's Information Feed

Gov. Jay Inslee appointed Cindi Port today to the King County Superior Court. She replaces Judge John Erlick, who is retiring on April 30.

04/01/2020   Department of Homeland Security

Due to continued circumstances related to COVID-19 and newly-issued guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security have determined to extend the temporary postponement of Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) hearings scheduled through Friday, May 1, 2020. All presently scheduled hearings will be rescheduled. The Departments will continually review conditions related to COVID-19 and will make further determinations as necessary in order to ensure that all MPP hearings can proceed as expeditiously as possible when appropriate.

Any individual with an MPP hearing date through Friday, May 1, 2020 should present themselves at their designated port of entry on their previously scheduled date to receive a tear sheet and hearing notice containing their new hearing dates.

Keywords: Coronavirus (COVID-19), Department of Justice (DOJ), Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP)
Topics: Border Security
03/31/2020   Washington State Governor's Information Feed

Para español presione aquí.

03/31/2020   Washington Attorney General News

Letters warn sellers they risk consumer protection lawsuit if price gouging continues

OLYMPIA — Attorney General Bob Ferguson is warning Amazon sellers who significantly raised prices on coronavirus-related products like hand sanitizer and N95 masks that continuing their conduct could result in a lawsuit under the state Consumer Protection Act.

Ferguson sent letters to five Washington-based independent sellers so far who significantly raised prices on coronavirus-related items, in one case by more than 600 percent.

03/31/2020   Washington House Republicans

CORONAVIRUS CASE COUNTS & COUNTY UPDATES More than a dozen COVID-19 cases at psychiatric hospital (AP/The Columbian) Eastern Washington COVID-19 cases climb; 4 deaths due to the virus reported in Spokane County (The Spokesman-Review) New coronavirus tests bring the number of COVID-19 cases in Kitsap to 63 (Kitsap Sun) Coronavirus hits Tri-Cities senior and nursing... Read more »

The post Capitol Buzz: March 31, 2020 appeared first on Washington State House Republicans.

03/31/2020   Washington Attorney General News

Scammers already targeting COVID-19 payments

OLYMPIA — Attorney General Bob Ferguson is warning Washingtonians about scams related to stimulus payments from the federal government to help people get through the COVID-19 pandemic.

The federal government will not ask to confirm your personal or banking details by email, phone or text message, or demand a “processing fee” to obtain or expedite your stimulus payment. Do not click on links in email or text messages relating to the stimulus checks and do not provide your personal information.

03/30/2020   Washington House Republicans

CORONAVIRUS CASE COUNTS & COUNTY UPDATES Hospitalized prisoner tests positive for COVID-19 (The Everett Herald) 42 test positive for COVID-19 at Whidbey Island nursing home (The Everett Herald) Eight more people test positive for COVID-19 in Clark County (The Columbian) Pierce County confirms 36 new COVID-19 cases, up to 317 total (The News Tribune) Weekend... Read more »

The post Capitol Buzz: March 30, 2020 appeared first on Washington State House Republicans.

03/27/2020   Washington House Republicans

CORONAVIRUS CASE COUNTS & COUNTY UPDATES UW model says social distancing is starting to work — but still projects 1,400 coronavirus deaths in the state (The Seattle Times) Clark County more than doubles COVID-19 cases, reports fifth death (The Columbian) Pierce County deaths tied to coronavirus now at four; total cases jump by more than... Read more »

The post Capitol Buzz: March 27, 2020 appeared first on Washington State House Republicans.

03/27/2020   Washington Attorney General News

Employment and consumer protections exist so service members can focus on the mission at hand

OLYMPIA — As Washington National Guard soldiers and airmen face potential mobilization to help with the COVID-19 outbreak, Attorney General Bob Ferguson is working to raise awareness about their legal rights if they are mobilized, some of which are relatively new.

03/26/2020   Washington House Republicans

CORONAVIRUS CASE COUNTS & COUNTY UPDATES New COVID-19 cases bring Clark County total to 20 (The Columbian) 5 workers, 2 patients at Washington psychiatric hospital have coronavirus (AP/The Columbian) Pierce County sees second death in coronavirus outbreak; total COVID-19 cases now 155 (The News Tribune) 5 more Community Transit workers test positive for COVID-19 (The... Read more »

The post Capitol Buzz: March 26, 2020 appeared first on Washington State House Republicans.

03/26/2020   Department of Homeland Security

“Due to circumstances resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic and the national emergency declaration, the Department of Homeland Security, as directed by President Donald J. Trump, is extending the REAL ID enforcement deadline beyond the current October 1, 2020 deadline. I have determined that states require a twelve-month delay and that the new deadline for REAL ID enforcement is October 1, 2021. DHS will publish a notice of the new deadline in the Federal Register in the coming days.

“The federal, state and local response to the spread of the Coronavirus here in the United States necessitates a delay in this deadline. Our state and local partners are working tirelessly with the Administration to flatten the curve and, therefore, we want to remove any impediments to response and recovery efforts. States across the country are temporarily closing or restricting access to DMVs. This action will preclude millions of people from applying for and receiving their REAL ID. Extending the deadline will also allow the Department to work with Congress to implement needed changes to expedite the issuance of REAL IDs once the current health crisis concludes.

“Protecting both the health and national security of the American people continues to be the top priority for the President of the United States and the Department of Homeland Security.”

Keywords: Coronavirus (COVID-19), REAL ID Act of 2005
Topics: REAL ID, Secretary of Homeland Security, Transportation Security
03/25/2020   Washington Attorney General News

La gente de Washington debe tener cuidado con lo que se dice sobre el virus

OLYMPIA — El procurador general Bob Ferguson emitió una nueva advertencia a los residentes de Washington sobre los estafadores que intentan sacar provecho del miedo que genera el COVID-19.

03/25/2020   Washington House Republicans

CORONAVIRUS CASE COUNTS & COUNTY UPDATES Coronavirus deaths reach 123 in Washington state Tuesday as confirmed cases climb to 2,469 (The News Tribune) Bellingham nursing home reports five more employees test positive for coronavirus (The Bellingham Herald) Confluence Health now has 16 positive COVID-19 cases (The Wenatchee World) AGRICULTURE & WATER Expert says impact of... Read more »

The post Capitol Buzz: March 25, 2020 appeared first on Washington State House Republicans.

03/25/2020   Department of Homeland Security

Washington – The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) is conducting ongoing research that will help scientists better understand the coronavirus that causes the disease known as COVID-19, and methods to prevent its spread. In the Trump Administration’s whole of government effort, this work is being done at the National Biodefense Analysis and Countermeasures Center (NBACC) laboratory in cooperation with the DHS Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction Office. As results become available, NBACC will provide updates on their findings to DHS and response agencies, especially those that may immediately impact efforts to mitigate transmission.

“With this critical research, we are advancing the country’s top priority in helping to stop the spread of COVID-19,” said William N. Bryan, DHS Senior Official Performing the Duties of the Under Secretary for Science and Technology. “This will help us understand many of the factors that influence the persistence of the virus on surfaces or in the air, and what methods are most effective for disinfecting potentially contaminated surfaces.” 

There is currently only limited information available about the virus, so researchers at the NBACC are working very aggressively to answer the many questions experts have about its survivability and transmission. Using the lab’s unique capabilities, the researchers are evaluating the impact of a range of conditions, like temperature and humidity, to determine the virus’s survivability in the air, in respiratory fluids and on various types of surfaces.

The results of this work will provide essential information to protect those responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, including first responders and health care providers, as well as provide best practices for individuals to reduce potential for contamination. A disinfectant study will also provide information on the most effective materials to clean surfaces to rid them of the virus.

NBACC has a unique combination of capabilities in Virology and Aerobiology that operate together at high biocontainment levels, and its aerosol scientists can develop unique solutions to address complex questions, such as those posed during the COVID-19 situation. NBACC’s established ability to evaluate the stability of viruses and the effectiveness of decontamination methods previously enabled it to provide actionable information in mitigating spread of the Ebola virus.

NBACC was established specifically to conduct research for responses to biological events, to characterize emerging or novel biothreats, and develop response tools and information that enables effective responses and mitigation techniques to stem the impact of such events.

Additional Information

Keywords: Coronavirus (COVID-19), Research
Topics: Science and Technology
03/24/2020   Washington House Republicans

CORONAVIRUS CASE COUNTS & COUNTY UPDATES Kittitas County issues stay-at-home order, six positive COVID-19 cases confirmed in county as of Monday (Daily Record) Pierce County COVID-19 cases total 126 (The News Tribune) Lummi announces two more positive tests for coronavirus, as Whatcom’s total rises to 50 (The Bellingham Herald) 32 new coronavirus cases at Shuksan... Read more »

The post Capitol Buzz: March 24, 2020 appeared first on Washington State House Republicans.

03/23/2020   Department of Homeland Security

Due to circumstances resulting from COVID-19, all Migrant Protection Protocol (MPP) master calendar and merit hearings presently scheduled through April 22 will be rescheduled. Neither the MPP program nor any hearings will be cancelled.

Any individual with an MPP hearing date through April 22 should present themselves at their designated port of entry on their previously scheduled date to receive a tear sheet and hearing notice containing their new hearing dates. DHS and EOIR are deeply committed to ensuring that individuals ‘have their day in court’ while also ensuring the health and safety of aliens, our frontline officers, immigration court professionals, and our citizens.

Keywords: Homeland Security, Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP)
Topics: Border Security
03/23/2020   Washington State Senate Democrats

Senate Majority Leader Andy Billig (D-Spokane), Speaker of the House Laurie Jinkins (D-Tacoma), Senate Minority Leader Mark Schoesler (R-Ritzville) and House Minority Leader JT Wilcox (R-Yelm) released the following statement in support of Gov. Inslee’s ‘Stay Home, Stay Healthy’ steps to slow the spread of COVID-19 in Washington state.

* * *

“We encourage all Washingtonians to follow the new guidance of Gov. Jay Inslee. The guidance in “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” is critical to limiting the spread of COVID-19 and helping flatten the curve of infections. Our behavior could mean life or death for Washingtonians.

“We have already lost Washingtonians to this virus. We grieve with their families and stand alongside the people who are currently battling this illness.

“We recognize the impact these decisions have on businesses, families, and individuals across the state. There is no way to overstate the challenge facing our state and our nation. The weeks and months to come will test our will, our values and our courage but our state is resilient. We will get through this. We must work together, support each other and stay positive.

“Ultimately we will emerge from this challenge more united than ever, prepared to build an even stronger Washington.”

03/23/2020   Department of Homeland Security

En español

In order to limit the further spread of coronavirus, the U.S. has reached agreements with both Canada and Mexico to limit all non-essential travel across borders. Working closely and collaboratively, the Department of Homeland Security is part of a North American approach to stop the spread of the virus.

Additionally, CBP will no longer detain illegal immigrants in our holding facilities and will immediately return these aliens to the country they entered from – Canada or Mexico. Where such a return is not possible, CBP will return these aliens to their country of origin.

These measures will be implemented on March 21, 2020 and will be in place for 30 days, at which point it will be reviewed by both parties.

The U.S., Mexican, and Canadian governments are taking necessary action to fight against this pandemic together.

Northern Border

US-Canada Joint Initiative: The United States and Canada are temporarily restricting all non-essential travel across their borders, effective March 21. Essential commercial activity will NOT be impacted and we will continue to maintain a strong and secure economic supply chain. Both government are taking action to prevent the further spread of coronavirus. | Suspended Travel: Tourism, Recreational | Unaffected Travel: Essential Commerce, Essential Trade/Travel
DOWNLOAD IMAGE (311KB JPG)

The US-Canada land border serves as an economic engine that supports over $1.7 billion (USD) dollars in daily cross-border trade. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the United States and Canada are temporarily restricting all non-essential travel across its borders. In each of our countries, we are encouraging people to exercise caution by avoiding unnecessary contact with others. This collaborative and reciprocal measure is an extension of that prudent approach.

“Non-essential” travel includes travel that is considered tourism or recreational in nature.
The United States and Canada recognize it is critical we preserve supply chains between both countries. These supply chains ensure that food, fuel, and life-saving medicines reach people on both sides of the border. Supply chains, including trucking, will not be impacted by this new measure. Americans and Canadians also cross the land border every day to do essential work or for other urgent or essential reasons, and that travel will not be impacted.

This decision will be implemented on March 21, 2020, at which time the US and Canada will temporarily restrict all non-essential travel across the US-Canada land border. The measure will be in place for 30 days, at which point it will be reviewed by both parties.

Southern Border

US-Mexico Joint Initiative: The United States and Mexico are temporarily restricting all non-essential travel across their borders, effective March 21. Essential commercial activity will NOT be impacted and we will continue to maintain a strong and secure economic supply chain. Both government are taking action to prevent the further spread of coronavirus. | Suspended Travel: Tourism, Recreational | Unaffected Travel: Essential Commerce, Essential Trade/Travel
DOWNLOAD IMAGE (320KB JPG)

The strong partnership and close cooperation between the United States and Mexico has allowed us to maintain a productive border environment. We value the health and safety of our citizens and keep that at the forefront of joint decisions made by our respective leaders regarding cross-border operations.

Recognizing the robust trade relationship between the United States and Mexico, we agree our two countries, in response to the ongoing global and regional health situation, require particular measures both to protect bilateral trade and our countries’ economies and ensure the health of our nations’ citizens. We agree to the need for a dedicated joint effort to prevent spread of the COVID-19 virus and address the economic effects resulting from reduced mobility along our shared border.  

The U.S. and Mexican governments further recognize critical services such as food, fuel, healthcare and life-saving medicines must reach people on both sides of the border every day. Essential travel must therefore continue unimpeded during this time.  In order to ensure that essential travel can continue, the United States and Mexico are also temporarily restricting all non-essential travel across its borders.

“Non-essential” travel includes travel that is considered tourism or recreational in nature. Additionally, we are encouraging people to exercise caution by avoiding unnecessary contact with others.

This collaborative and reciprocal initiative is an extension of our nations’ prudent approach that values the health and safety of our citizens in the joint decisions made by our respective leaders regarding cross-border operations.

This joint initiative will commence at 00:01 Saturday March 21 throughout the US-Mexico land border for a period of 30 days subject to extension upon review.

Detention Facilities

CBP is the first line of defense of our nation’s borders. To help prevent the introduction of COVID-19 into our border facilities and into our country, aliens subject to the order will not be held in congregate areas for processing by CBP and instead will immediately be turned away from ports of entry.
Those encountered between ports of entry after illegally crossing the border similarly will not be held in congregate areas for processing and instead, to the maximum extent feasible, will immediately be returned to their country of last transit. These aliens are processed in stations designed for short-term processing, where distancing is not a viable option, creating a serious danger of an outbreak.  
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has determined that these conditions present a serious infection control challenge and are a risk to public health. Should an outbreak occur at these facilities, local medical facilities would be forced to devote extensive resources and may become overwhelmed.   

This action will also protect the health of our country’s dedicated border agents and other law enforcement personnel, who are vital to the security of our Nation.

Apprehension of illegal immigrants along both borders between POEs:

  • Migrants from Coronavirus Impacted Areas: Since the beginning of the FY20 fiscal year in October 2019 through the end of February 2020 (over the period of October 1, 2019 to February 29, 2020), foreign nationals from 122 separate countries have been apprehended or denied entry (inadmissible) at the U.S. Southwest border, for a total of over 190,000 apprehended or inadmissible migrants from countries currently with confirmed COVID cases.
  • Size and Scale: Every week, CBP apprehends between 7,000 – 9,000 individuals between ports of entry —the equivalent of 2.5 Diamond Princess cruise ships per week.
  • Human-to-human Spread: The spread of coronavirus is exacerbated by human-to-human transmission and the need for detention. CBP law enforcement facilities are for short-term holding and do not provide for needed large-scale isolation, diagnosis, or treatment of such a novel disease.
  • CBP Facilities: CBP facilities are not structured or equipped to effectively quarantine an infected population. CBP would be forced to rely on state and local hospitals to provide longer-term medical care for individuals who fall ill, further burdening our strained healthcare system and depriving Americans of key medical resources.

Although CBP has policies and procedures in place to handle transmittable diseases, COVID-19 will impact already strained holding capacities and place an extreme burden on what is forecasted to be a stretched healthcare system and the nation’s critical medical professionals who are needed to attend to U.S. citizens and legal residents.  

Migrants should shelter-in-place in their homes and communities, rather than attempting a long and dangerous journey to the United States borders at the hands of traffickers and smugglers.

U.S. Citizens:

U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents and certain other travelers are exempt from this action. They will receive the same processing, evaluation and potential CDC medical screening that all entrants undergo at U.S. Ports of Entry.

Authority:

Effective at March 21, 2020 at 12:00 a.m. EDT, CBP will, as authorized, implement CDC authority under 42 U.S.C. § 265 to prohibit entry of certain persons into the United States. CBP will assist the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to protect against the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) by implementing the emergency authorities under 42 U.S.C. § 265 at the nation’s land borders to prohibit the introduction of certain persons in the interest of public health.

Additional Information

Keywords: Border Security, Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Topics: Border Security
03/20/2020   Washington Attorney General News

SEATTLE — Attorney General Bob Ferguson and Secretary of State Kim Wyman warn Washingtonians looking to make charitable donations during the COVID-19 crisis to be wary of scams.

“In this unprecedented situation, many of us are searching for ways to help,” Ferguson said. “Unfortunately, scammers look for ways to prey on Washingtonians’ good will. Washingtonians should know that my office is on the lookout for individuals preying on our generosity during this crisis. If you see any suspicious or fraudulent solicitations, file a complaint with my office.”

03/20/2020   Department of Homeland Security

En español

The strong partnership and close cooperation between the United States and Mexico has allowed us to maintain a productive border environment. We value the health and safety of our citizens and keep that at the forefront of joint decisions made by our respective leaders regarding cross-border operations. 

Recognizing the robust trade relationship between the United States and Mexico, we agree our two countries, in response to the ongoing global and regional health situation, require particular measures both to protect bilateral trade and our countries’ economies and ensure the health of our nations’ citizens. We agree to the need for a dedicated joint effort to prevent spread of the COVID-19 virus and address the economic effects resulting from reduced mobility along our shared border.  

The U.S. and Mexican governments further recognize critical services such as food, fuel, healthcare and life-saving medicines must reach people on both sides of the border every day. Essential travel must therefore continue unimpeded during this time.  In order to ensure that essential travel can continue, the United States and Mexico are also temporarily restricting all non-essential travel across its borders.

“Non-essential” travel includes travel that is considered tourism or recreational in nature. Additionally, we are encouraging people to exercise caution by avoiding unnecessary contact with others.

This collaborative and reciprocal initiative is an extension of our nations’ prudent approach that values the health and safety of our citizens in the joint decisions made by our respective leaders regarding cross-border operations.

This joint initiative will commence at 00:01 Saturday March 21 throughout the US-Mexico land border for a period of 30 days subject to extension upon review.

Additional Information

Keywords: Border Security, Coronavirus (COVID-19), Department of Homeland Security (DHS)
Topics: Border Security
03/20/2020   Department of Homeland Security

The US-Canada land border serves as an economic engine that supports over $1.7 billion (USD) dollars in daily cross-border trade. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the United States and Canada are temporarily restricting all non-essential travel across its borders. In each of our countries, we are encouraging people to exercise caution by avoiding unnecessary contact with others. This collaborative and reciprocal measure is an extension of that prudent approach.

“Non-essential” travel includes travel that is considered tourism or recreational in nature.

The United States and Canada recognize it is critical we preserve supply chains between both countries. These supply chains ensure that food, fuel, and life-saving medicines reach people on both sides of the border. Supply chains, including trucking, will not be impacted by this new measure. Americans and Canadians also cross the land border every day to do essential work or for other urgent or essential reasons, and that travel will not be impacted.

This decision will be implemented on March 21, 2020, at which time the US and Canada will temporarily restrict all non-essential travel across the US-Canada land border. The measure will be in place for 30 days, at which point it will be reviewed by both parties.

Additional Information

Keywords: Border Security, Coronavirus (COVID-19), Department of Homeland Security (DHS)
Topics: Border Security
03/19/2020   Washington Attorney General News

Washingtonians should be skeptical of claims about virus

OLYMPIA — Attorney General Bob Ferguson issued a new warning to Washingtonians about scammers looking to capitalize on fears around the COVID-19.

03/19/2020   Washington Attorney General News

Government statement “utterly fails” to encourage coverage, testing

OLYMPIA — While the COVID-19 public health crisis continues, the Trump Administration refuses to confirm that accessing health coverage will not impair lawful immigrants’ ability to stay in the country, Attorney General Bob Ferguson asserts in a new letter.

03/18/2020   Washington State Senate Democrats

OLYMPIA – Senate Majority Leader Andy Billig said the Legislature took steps before adjourning last week to swiftly support coronavirus response efforts by Gov. Jay Inslee, including the release of $200 million in emergency funds appropriated by the Washington State Legislature to help fund the state’s COVID-19 response.

The funds will be used for hospital surge capacity, testing, and other efforts at local health departments. The Legislature also authorized immediate funding that may be used for shelter needs related to COVID-19, which the Department of Commerce is already in the process of distributing to counties and cities.

“Leaders in the Legislature will continue to coordinate with the governor’s staff and our partners in local governments to mitigate both the health emergency and the economic crisis that is unfolding in our state,” Billig said. “I admire the work of the governor and his staff under difficult circumstances, and his important warning for all of us to do our part to stay away from public gatherings and slow the spread of coronavirus. In concert with his efforts, state leaders will continue to take any and all actions we can to protect the people of our state.”

Before the Legislature adjourned last week, lawmakers approved other key measures to protect Washingtonians during the coronavirus outbreak:

  • Ensuring people receiving unemployment insurance can continue to do so even if they can’t meet the work search requirement due to quarantine.
  • Supporting businesses that rehire employees who had to go on unemployment insurance because of the coronavirus emergency.
  • Reimbursing nursing homes that aid in the coronavirus response.
  • Allowing school employees to maintain health insurance eligibility for the rest of the school year even if they come up short of required work hours because of the coronavirus state of emergency.
  • Giving flexibility to the State Board of Education to allow high school seniors to graduate this year if they were on track before the emergency declaration.

“Public health is our first priority, with mitigating the economic impacts from this outbreak not far behind,” Billig said. “I know Washingtonians will remain resilient during this difficult time, while at the state level we’ll continue to do our part to deliver all the resources necessary to slow the spread of the virus and keep people safe.”

Primary state response websites:

Washington State’s official COVID-19 site: www.coronavirus.wa.gov
Washington State Department of Health: https://www.doh.wa.gov/Emergencies/Coronavirus
Washington Employment Security Department: https://esd.wa.gov/newsroom/covid-19

 

03/17/2020   Department of Homeland Security

Original Release Date: March 13, 2020


  • American citizens, legal permanent residents, and their immediate families who are arriving from impacted area must travel through one of 13 airports where DHS has established enhanced entry screening capabilities.
  • All American citizens, legal permanent residents, and their immediate families who are returning from the impacted area must self-quarantine for 14 days after their arrival.
  • For more information on the coronavirus, please visit Coronavirus.gov

Summary

In furtherance of Presidential Proclamations 9984, 9992, 9993, and 9994, which bans the entry of non-U.S. citizens who are from or recently been in China, Iran, or certain European countries, the Department of Homeland Security issued a Notice of Arrival Restrictions requiring American citizens, legal permanent residents, and their immediate families who are returning home to the U.S. to travel through one of 13 airports upon arrival to the U.S., submit to an enhanced entry screening and self-quarantine for 14 days once they reach their final destination.

Coronavirus Travel Restrictions: To safeguard the homeland against the further spread of the coronavirus, President Trump has suspended the entry of foreign nationals who have been in China, Iran, and certain European countries at any point in the 14 days before their scheduled arrival to the US. | Affected: Foreign Nationals.  The ban applies to foreign nationals of any country with qualifying travel within the impacted countries listed. | Countries impacted: Asia/Middle East: China and Iran. Europe: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the U.K. | Not affected: American Citizens: U.S. citizens, legal permanent residents, and their immediate family members can travel to the US but are subject to a 14-day self-quarantine; Travelers from the US: Passengers, regardless of nationality, traveling to Europe or Asia are not impacted; Cargo Shipments: Air and maritime cargo are not impacted.
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Background

On March 11, 2020, President Trump determined that the potential for widespread transmission of the coronavirus by infected individuals seeking to enter the United States threatens the security of the homeland.  The President issued Proclamations 9984, 9992, and 9993, which suspends entry to nearly all foreign nationals who have been in China, Iran, and certain European countries at any point during the 14 days prior to their scheduled travel to the U.S.

These European countries, include: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.

Implementation

The order is now effective. Americans returning from the affected countries will now be required to travel through 13 airports:

  • Boston-Logan International Airport (BOS), Massachusetts
  • Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD), Illinois
  • Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW), Texas
  • Detroit Metropolitan Airport (DTW), Michigan
  • Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL), Hawaii
  • Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL), Georgia
  • John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), New York
  • Los Angeles International Airport, (LAX), California
  • Miami International Airport (MIA), Florida
  • Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR), New Jersey
  • San Francisco International Airport (SFO), California
  • Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA), Washington
  • Washington-Dulles International Airport (IAD), Virginia

Screening & Quarantine

Upon arrival, travelers will proceed to standard customs processing. They will then continue to an enhanced entry screening where the passenger will be asked about their medical history, current condition, and asked for contact information for local health authorities.  Additionally, some passengers will have their temperature taken.

After the enhanced entry screening is complete, passengers will be given written guidance about COVID-19 and be allowed to proceed to their final destination.

Once home, individuals must immediately self-quarantine in their home and monitor their health in accordance with CDC best practices.

In order to ensure compliance, local and State public health officials will contact individuals in the days and weeks following their arrival.

Americans Returning From Restricted Countries: To safeguard the homeland against the further spread of the coronavirus, US citizens, legal permanent residents, and their immediate families returning home to the US after visiting qualifying affected areas with 14 days of their scheduled arrival will undergo enhanced entry screening at one of 13 airports and then undergo a 14-day self-quarantine. | US citizens, legal permanent residents, and their immediate family members that traveled to affected ares within 14 days of scheduled arrival in the US [map of China, Iran, and Europe] You will be redirected into one of 13 US airports for enhanced entry screening: BOS, ORD, DFW, DTW, HNL, ATL, JFK, LAX, MIA, EWR, SFO, SEA, IAD. | Upon arrival, you will proceed with CBP customs process with an enhanced medial interview. If not symptomatic for coronavirus, You will be permitted to reach your final destination, but must self-quarantine for 14 days. If symptomatic for coronavirus, you will be referred to CDC for medical evaluation.
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Additional Information

Keywords: Aviation Security, Coronavirus (COVID-19), Transportation
Topics: Secretary of Homeland Security, Transportation Security
03/16/2020   Department of Homeland Security

WASHINGTON – Effective Monday March 16th at 11:59PM flights from the United Kingdom and Ireland will also be added to the previously announced arrival restrictions that are in effect for the Schengen Area, China, and Iran. DHS will soon publish a Notice of Arrival Restrictions in the Federal Register outlining specifics.

In order to help prevent the spread of travel-related cases of coronavirus in the United States, today the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Acting Secretary Chad F. Wolf issued a Notice of Arrival Restrictions outlining the process for American citizens, legal permanent residents, and their immediate families who are returning home after recently visiting certain European countries (listed below), China, and Iran.

Effective for flights taking off at 11:59 PM EDT on Friday, March 13th, Americans returning from all restricted countries will now be required to travel through the following 13 airports:

  • Boston-Logan International Airport (BOS), Massachusetts
  • Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD), Illinois
  • Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW), Texas
  • Detroit Metropolitan Airport (DTW), Michigan
  • Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL), Hawaii
  • Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL), Georgia
  • John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), New York
  • Los Angeles International Airport, (LAX), California
  • Miami International Airport (MIA), Florida
  • Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR), New Jersey
  • San Francisco International Airport (SFO), California
  • Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA), Washington
  • Washington-Dulles International Airport (IAD), Virginia 

Upon arrival, travelers will proceed to standard customs processing. They will then continue to enhanced entry screening where the passenger will be asked about their medical history, current condition, and asked for contact information for local health authorities. Passengers will then be given written guidance about COVID-19 and directed to proceed to their final destination, and immediately home-quarantine in accordance with CDC best practices.

“While the overall risk of serious infection from the coronavirus to the general public remains low at this time, the Trump administration is taking these aggressive measures to keep the risk low, requiring all Americans returning from affected areas in Europe to be funneled through 13 airports for screening upon their return to the U.S.,” said Acting Secretary Wolf. “To minimize disruptions to travelers, TSA, CBP, and air carriers are working to identify qualifying passengers before their scheduled flights. These passengers will be rerouted to one of the 13 airports by their airline at no cost to them.”

Wolf continued: “I understand this new process will be disruptive to some travelers, however this action is needed to protect the general public from further exposure and spread of the coronavirus. Once back in the U.S. it is imperative that individuals honor self-quarantine directives to help protect their loved-ones and communities.”

President Trump determined that the potential for widespread transmission of the coronavirus by infected individuals seeking to enter the United States threatens the security of the homeland.  Therefore, the Department is taking action in furtherance of the public health interests advanced by the March 11th presidential proclamation which suspends entry to nearly all foreign nationals who have been in certain European countries, China and Iran at any point during the 14 days prior to their scheduled travel to the U.S.

These European countries, known as the Schengen Area, include: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland. This Presidential Proclamation does not apply to U.S. citizens, legal permanent residents, nor their family members under the age of 21, and other individuals who are identified in the proclamation. Nor does it apply to cargo and economic shipping. Beginning at 11:59 PM passengers from the United Kingdom and Ireland will also be added.

Additional Information

Keywords: Acting Secretary Chad Wolf, Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Topics: Secretary of Homeland Security
03/13/2020   Washington Attorney General News

Money a result of Ferguson’s lawsuit against seven manufacturers

OLYMPIA — Attorney General Bob Ferguson announced nearly $20 million in checks will begin going out today to nearly 8,400 Washington consumers as a result of Ferguson’s recovery in price-fixing lawsuits against seven manufacturers of cathode ray tubes, or CRTs. The minimum check to consumers will be for $25. The median check will be for $52.

03/12/2020   Washington State Senate Democrats

“I am so proud of the work we’ve done on behalf of the people of this state, but all of our thoughts right now are with the people and communities across Washington impacted by the coronavirus and with the public health professionals who are working around the clock to stop its spread.

“The budget we passed today addresses the needs we saw coming into session as well as those that unfolded in recent weeks. The steps we have taken this year, and really for the past three years, leaves our state in a strong position to combat this outbreak.

“We finished our work on time for the third year in a row – marking only the third time in the last 79 years the Legislature has accomplished that.

“This budget invests heavily in public health, including $200 million in emergency funding to the State Department of Health and local public health organizations so the people working to keep us safe and healthy have the resources they need. We also invested in accessible health care, behavioral health, affordable housing, education, early learning, the environment and other areas important to the people of this state. This budget leaves more than $3.5 billion in reserves – an extraordinarily important figure in these unprecedented and unpredictable times.

“We will continue to do everything in our power as legislators to invest in the future of our state and keep Washingtonians safe during this crisis.”

03/12/2020   Washington State Senate Democrats

OLYMPIA – As the 2020 Legislative session came to a close, lawmakers increased emergency coronavirus funding from $100 million to $200 million.

With the passage of House Bill 2965, a total of $175 million will be directed to state and local public health agencies and the remaining $25 million will be transferred into the newly created COVID-19 unemployment account to help businesses and workers disrupted by the pandemic.

“It’s crucial that the people of Washington have the full support of the Legislature behind them during these challenging times,” said Sen. Christine Rolfes, chair of the Senate Ways & Means Committee. “Even after we leave Olympia today, we will be collaborating closely with Gov. Inslee’s office to ensure they have the resources and authority they need.”

The COVID-19 unemployment account will mitigate costs for businesses due to an expected increase in unemployment insurance claims.

The Legislature finished its work on time for the third straight year and is scheduled to return next January for a 105-day session.

03/11/2020   Washington State Senate Democrats

The City of Aberdeen will receive $700,000 for the US 12 Highway-Rail Separation Project, thanks to a provision added to the Legislature’s final transportation budget by Sen. Dean Takko (D-Longview).

The money will fund preliminary work for an overpass and roundabout to raise South Chehalis Street above US 12 and Puget Sound & Pacific Railroad, where train traffic regularly causes congestion and backups on US 12.

The number of freight trains traveling along this corridor has significantly increased over the past 15 years and is predicted to continue growing in the coming decades.

The Port of Grays Harbor, at the western end of the Puget Sound & Pacific Railroad, is the closest port to Seattle with direct access to the ocean and is crucial for transporting timber, agricultural products, and autos, among other goods.

“This funding is crucial because it keeps this project moving and positions us competitively for big federal transportation grants,” said Takko. “Having more freight trains on the tracks is a sign of a strong economy — a good problem to have — but we need the overpass to cut down on traffic jams when those trains come through town.”

Without this funding, the project would miss a key deadline and the planning process would need to be restarted, setting the work back by months and costing an additional $300,000. The state’s $700,000 will help get the project construction ready by 2023, which will make it more competitive for federal INFRA and BUILD grant programs.

Local support for the project is strong. The City of Aberdeen, Grays Harbor County, and the Port of Grays Harbor together have committed $700,000 to match the state’s appropriation.

A 2019 cost-benefit analysis calculated that this project will return a benefit of $1.72 for every $1.00 invested.

03/11/2020   Washington State Senate Democrats

OLYMPIA – The Legislature approved the 2020 supplemental operating budget today as the 60-day legislative session ended on time. In a late addition, lawmakers increased emergency coronavirus funding from $100 million to $200 million.

With the passage of House Bill 2965, a total of $175 million will be directed to state and local public health agencies and the remaining $25 million will be transferred into the newly created COVID-19 unemployment account to help businesses and workers disrupted by the pandemic.

“It’s crucial that the people of Washington have the full support of the Legislature behind them during these challenging times,” said Sen. Christine Rolfes, chair of the Senate Ways & Means Committee. “Even after we leave Olympia today, we will be collaborating closely with Gov. Inslee’s office to ensure they have the resources and authority they need.”

The COVID-19 unemployment account will mitigate costs for businesses due to an expected increase in unemployment insurance claims.

The increased coronavirus funding was the only major change from the budget agreement reached between the House and Senate on Wednesday (see original press release immediately below). The Legislature finished its work on time for the third straight year and is scheduled to return next January for a 105-day session.

ORIGINAL RELEASE:

OLYMPIA – Budget leaders in the House and Senate today unveiled a $1 billion, 2020 supplemental operating budget that provides an additional $160 million to address housing and homelessness as well as $100 million to support the state and local response to the coronavirus outbreak.

The budget plan includes no new general taxes and complies with the state’s four-year balanced budget requirement. It leaves $3 billion in total reserves at the end of the biennium, the largest balance in state history. Over the four-year outlook, the reserves are expected to grow to $3.6 billion.

The budget includes significant new investments in childcare and early learning programs to address the immediate needs of working households.

“This budget will make progress on urgent needs across our state — public health, housing, childcare and climate resilience,” said Sen. Christine Rolfes, (D-Bainbridge Island), chair of the Senate Ways & Means Committee. “It’s a plan that balances our needs with fiscal discipline. We’ve done our best to prepare our state for an uncertain, volatile economy.”

The budget adds a just over $1 billion in new spending to the $52.4 billion, two-year budget passed by lawmakers last April.

“This budget makes prudent and responsible investments where they are needed most. We confront the scourge of homelessness and commit significant resources to combat the coronavirus outbreak,” said Rep. Timm Ormsby (D-Spokane), chair of the House Appropriations Committee.

The additional $100 million in coronavirus funds fulfills a request by the state Department of Health.

“We continue to strengthen our foundational public health investments. This budget ensures our health departments have the resources they need to respond to any public health threat,” Rolfes said.

More than $150 million will target the immediate shelter needs of the state’s growing homeless population and support new affordable housing programs.

“Across our state, too many people are living in their cars or on the street. This budget ensures that more of our neighbors will be able to find and maintain safe, affordable housing,” said Rep. June Robinson (D-Everett), vice chair of the House Appropriations Committee.

Other highlights of the budget include additional funding for K-12 education, climate resilience, rural health clinics and nursing homes.

Highlights of the 2020 Supplemental Budget Proposal

  • $100 million to cover costs associated with the coronavirus outbreak, including a dedicated call center, monitoring, testing and support for local health jurisdictions.
  • $160 million to address homelessness and affordable housing, including:
    • $60 million in one-time funding to shelter homeless adults, families and youth across the state.
    • $15 million (per year) for the state’s Housing and Essential Needs program.
    • $40 million for the state’s Housing Trust Fund.
    • $10 million in rapid-response funding to help more individuals stay in their homes.
    • $15 million (per year) for permanent supportive housing.
    • $5 million for maintenance and preservation.
  • $50 million to address the climate crisis by investing in communities and projects to enhance mitigation and resilience.
  • $153 million to the state Department of Children and Families to reduce childcare rates for working families ($65M), strengthen the foster care system ($52M), expand early learning programs ($15M), and other increases.
  • $172 million for K-12 education in the form of local levy assistance ($46M), counselors in high poverty schools ($32M), special education ($2M), pupil transportation ($41M), paraeducator training ($14M), student mental health and safety ($3M), and other increases.
  • Health care: Investments in primary care physician rate increases ($10M), rural health clinics ($34M), family planning ($8M), foundational public health ($17M), and other increases.

Other budget items of note include:

  • $51 million to help meet the increasing demand for the state new Paid Family Leave Program
  • $18 million to support struggling nursing homes by increasing Medicaid reimbursement rates.
  • $25 million for wildfire suppression and prevention.
  • $24 million for operations at the state Department of Fish and Wildlife.
  • $2 million for enhanced election technology and security.
  • $4 million for state parks.

About the Supplemental Budget
Supplemental budgets are passed in even years and allow the state to make mid-course corrections to the two-year budgets passed in odd years. It gives the state the opportunity to adjust spending to keep families safe, provide high-quality education, and address other emergent needs like public health.

03/09/2020   Washington Attorney General News

Defendants gave false information to state investigators

OLYMPIA — As a result of Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s campaign finance case, a former Grant County Superior Court judge and a Moses Lake business owner will pay $250,000 in civil penalties, costs and fees.

03/09/2020   Washington Attorney General News

Federal judge found previous attempt unlawful

SEATTLE — A federal judge has granted Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s request to block the Trump Administration’s latest effort to allow 3D-printed gun files to be released on the internet. These files would allow plug-and-play access to 3D-print unregistered, untraceable firearms that can also be very difficult to detect, even with a metal detector. Untraceable firearms are sometimes called “ghost guns.”

03/07/2020   Washington State Senate Democrats

A bill requiring comprehensive sexual health education (CSHE) in all public schools by the 2022-23 school year received final approval from the Washington State Senate on Saturday, and now heads to Gov. Jay Inslee’s desk to be signed into law.

The Senate had previously passed the bill, but because the House passed the bill with an amendment, it required another vote from the Senate. The Senate concurred with the House’s changes with a 27-21 vote.

Senate Bill 5395, sponsored by Sen. Claire Wilson (D-Auburn), would:

  • Require age-appropriate, medically accurate CSHE to be taught once from kindergarten to 3rd grade, once from 4th to 5th, twice in 6th to 8th, and twice in 9th to 12th.
  • Teach the concept of affirmative consent to older students so they can better recognize inappropriate behavior and their right to reject it.
  • Define CSHE and specify that curricula for kindergarten to 3rd grade must meet social and emotional learning standards.
  • Uphold the right of parents to review the curriculum and opt their children out of any portion of the instruction.
  • Require schools to notify parents when CSHE will be taught.
  • Establish new requirements for the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) to provide technical assistance so that districts can effectively implement the new standards.
  • Require CSHE curriculum to include information about affirmative consent.

“The hard work that we put into this bill — in both the House and Senate — is well worth it because it will improve safety for children statewide,” Wilson said. “We must ensure that our kids have the tools and knowledge they need to recognize and resist inappropriate behavior. This important education will help prevent younger kids from being targeted by pedophiles, and help teens who feel pressured to have sex.”

“It also helps students stay healthy in consensual relationships,” Wilson added. “Studies consistently show that the most effective programs include comprehensive sexual health or HIV education — or both — and the comprehensive approach is proven to reduce unintended pregnancy and STIs.”

Wilson noted that young people ages 15–24 represent one-fourth of the sexually active population but acquire half of all new STIs.

SB 5395 does not mandate any statewide curriculum. Instead, the bill gives local school districts the flexibility to determine what will best meet the needs of their students and families. All information must be appropriate and must meet existing state K-12 Health and Physical Education Learning Standards.

The goal of this legislation, Democrats argued during floor debates, is to give Washington students the tools they need to engage in safe, consensual relationships as adults, in addition to teaching them skills to identify and prevent sexual abuse.

The bill initially passed the Senate on Jan. 22 with a 28-21 voted, and passed in House on March 4 with a 56-40 vote. Now that the Senate has concurred on the House amendments, the bill is eligible for signing by the governor.

 

03/06/2020   Washington Attorney General News

OLYMPIA — Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s agency-request legislation to ban solitary confinement as a punitive practice for juveniles passed the Washington State Legislature today, in a strong bipartisan vote of 36-13.

03/06/2020   Washington Attorney General News

Rule discourages people from accessing health care