News from the Skagit County Democrats
Skagit County Democrats Action Newsletter for March 13, 2023
1. UPDATED – Legislative Committee Report for March 13
With the State Legislature in session our Legislative Committee is hard at work going through as many bills as possible to make sure we keep you well informed. Each week we will feature bills that we need your help getting passed. So far, the following bills we have supported are through their house of origin
- SB5371 – sponsored by Senator Liz Lovelett – Protecting southern resident orcas from vessels.
- SB5189 – Establishing behavioral health support specialists.
- HB1355 – Updates property tax exemptions for service-connected disabled veterans and senior citizens.
- ESHB1042 – Creation of additional housing units in existing buildings.
You are all doing a fantastic job helping make a positive impact in our state! Thank you so much for contacting your legislators, please continue the good work! Read through the bills below, click the “email your legislators” link below the bill information, copy and paste the recommended text (or write your own) then send it to your state legislatures.
Here are this week's featured bills-
- SB5371 – sponsored by Senator Liz Lovelett. Protecting southern resident orcas from vessels. Currently in the Senate Rules Committee. Increases the distance a vessel must maintain away from a southern resident orca from 400 yards to 1000 yards.
- Protections need to be fortified to allow the SRKW ("Southern Resident Killer Whale" is the federal Endangered Species Act designation for the southern resident orca) time and space to find food. The SRKW population is the most endangered mammal in the world. This bill enables the Department of Fish and Wildlife to hold recreational boaters to the same distance standards for SRKW as commercial whale watching boaters.
- Email Your Legislators to Support SB5371 – Contact your House Representatives
- -Recommended text-
- “Please support SB5371 and increase the distance a vessel must maintain away from a southern resident orca from 400 yards to 1000 yards. This will allow Orcas the time and space necessary to find food that is in dwindling supply. The Southern Resident Killer Whale population is the most endangered mammal in the world. I urge you to support SB5371.”
- SB5189 – Establishing behavioral health support specialists.
- There is a need in our communities for increased behavioral health access. This bill has strong bi-partisan support. A similar bill passed the Senate last year and did not make it through the house. Requires the Department of Health to develop rules for the certification of behavioral health support specialists, a new type of behavioral health professional certification available to individuals with a bachelor's degree who meet other requirements. It requires the Health Care Authority to ensure that services by this new profession type are covered under the Medicaid program.
- Email Your Legislators to Support SB5189 – Contact your House Representatives
- -Recommended text-
- “The new classification of Behavioral Health Support Specialists established in SB5189 will be a great benefit to the healthcare system in Washington. Please give your full support to this bill and help ensure we have well qualified individuals certified by the state to care for our residents.”
- SB5102 – Would ensure that every board of directors will provide school library information and technology programs for school children.
- This bill has moved to the House after approval in the Senate, and with your support we can move SB5102 closer to passing. Letters from Skagit County Democrats and from other Democrats across Washington have brought this bill forward. There should not be a question of students having access to library and technology education. Washington school children need us to step up to support them in receiving a 21st century education.
- Email Your Legislators to Support SB5102 – Contact your House Representatives
- -Recommended text-
- “We need to ensure that every Washington school student has access to library and technology education within their schools. The 21st century work world in which our children will need to compete will necessitate advanced information and technology education preparation. SB5102 will require all school districts to provide library and technology education that has become key to success. A higher education and work ready high school graduate is imperative to guaranteeing an accelerated educationally competitive Washington. Please support SB 5102.”
Thank you for taking the time to help affect positive change!
2. The Fidalgo Democrats meet Tuesday, Mar 14, 7:00pm, Anacortes Public Library, 1220 10th Street, Anacortes
Please join us for an important meeting to learn about the upcoming Public Safety Levy Lid on the April ballot. This will be an opportunity to hear about the needs in Anacortes and to ask questions. Presenters: Dave Floyd, Chief of Police and Bill Harris, Fire Chief will focus on the current status of the Police and Fire Departments as an overall public safety update for the City of Anacortes. The meeting will be posted on YouTube within a few days. If you have any questions call Barbara Cooper at 360 293-4123.
3. NEW – The 10th Legislative District Democrats Executive Board Meets Saturday, Mar 18, 10:00am, via Zoom
Click Here to Register in Advance for this meeting. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.
4. NEW – 40th Legislative District Community Town Hall, Saturday, Mar 18, 11:00am – 12:00pm, Skagit PUD, 1415 Freeway Drive, Mount Vernon
Join your 40th District legislators for a live in-person community town hall in the PUD Aqua Room. Senator Liz Lovelett, Representative Debra Lekanoff and Representative Alex Ramel will share their legislative priorities and answer your questions on the issues important to you. Follow this link to submit a question to your legislators ahead of this event.
5. NEW – The 40th Legislative District Democrats will conduct a General Meeting Sunday, Mar 26, 6:00pm, via Zoom
Zoom connection information will be forthcoming.
6. NEW – The 39th Legislative District Democrats Executive Board meets Tuesday, Mar 28, 7:00pm – 08:30pm, via Zoom
Click Here for the Zoom link.
7. UPDATED – Spring Garage Sale, Friday and Saturday, Apr 7 and 8, 9:00am – 4:00pm, Skagit County Fairgrounds, 501 Taylor Street, Mount Vernon
Thanks to all of you who have donated for our space at the garage sale. We are filling our storage areas with fun, interesting, and in some cases unidentifiable, items. Please keep them coming! The deadline for donations is Tuesday, 4/4.
We cannot take everything, so here are some guidelines:
- Clothing accessories (i.e., hats, gloves) are fine but no clothing (dresses, suits, coats, etc)
- We don't have space for large pieces of furniture.
- Please make sure any mechanical or electronic donation works
We are accepting donations at our office – location above. Our hours are Mon-Thu, 12:00-4:00. Please call 360-336-1555 with questions or to arrange an off-hour time to drop off donations.
8. NEW – Indivisible Skagit is recruiting possible School Board candidates
"It is that time of year to be looking for candidates to run for your local School Board. The following is from our friends at Indivisible. The Nonpartisan Guide to Running For School Board – A Pro-Public School Approach was conceived, edited, rewritten, reorganized and made beautiful by a small team of "Totally Grassroots Patriotic Pro Public School Pals". This guide is meant to appeal to anyone who believes in and cares about public school (as opposed to those trying to take over school boards who want public funds to go to private or religious schools, ban books, or stop educators from teaching honest history). Please share freely with anyone who might be thinking of serving, or anyone wanting to help someone run for school board. If that person is running in a bluer area, and is more progressive, there are also some resources to serve that type of candidate in a "Slightly Spicy Addendum for our Progressive Friends". Please take a look at both of these and share where appropriate."
9. Skagit County Commissioner Assignments
Understandably the Skagit County Commissioners divvy up the work required by the Board of Commissioners. Click Here to view the list of boards and responsibilities of the respective commissioners.
10. Skagit County Democrats is again requesting anyone visiting our Headquarters to "mask up"
11. NEW – Links of the Week
The Links of the Week provide in-depth pieces and resources the Editor has found to be relevant, insightful, and thorough on important issues of the day.
- Democracy Isn’t Just About Voting – Precolonial kingdoms challenge our beliefs about people power and monarchies
- Food insecurity remains high in Washington, UW-WSU survey shows
- MMR vaccine rates are lagging amid a rise in measles cases. Experts blame a discredited study
- The tide may be turning in the fight between democracy and autocracy
- A neuroscientist explains the problem of ignorance and how we can fight it
1. UPDATED – The monthly Planned Parenthood sign-waving rallies are planned Saturdays, Mar 18 and Apr 1, 11:00am – 12:00pm, AND Wednesday Mar 22, 5:00pm – 6:00pm on the sidewalk in front of the Mount Vernon Health Center, 1805 East Division Street
This is to counter the "40 Days of Life" campaign of the choice opponents. Rain or shine! Bring your energy, your signs, your friends and your family! We're looking for a big show of support for Planned Parenthood!
2. NEW – Northwest Regional Job Fair, Tuesday, Mar 14, 3:00pm – 6:30pm, Northwest Career & Technical Academy, 2205 West Campus Place, Mount Vernon
"Businesses are hiring and ready to help you make a career move! You're invited to the FREE Northwest Regional Job Fair where 50 businesses will be in attendance from Skagit, Whatcom and Island counties. The March 14 event runs from 3-6:30 p.m., with the first half-hour reserved for veterans. Join us at the Northwest Career & Technical Academy, 2205 W. Campus Place, Mount Vernon for the opportunity to meet with employers face to face." Click Here for more information.
3. NEW – The La Conner Daffodil Festival 2023 runs all month
Click Here for more information.
4. NEW – The Daffodil Pet Parade, Saturday, Mar 18, 11:25am – 1:00pm, downtown La Conner
"Join us at the La Conner Daffodil Festival's 2st Pet Parade! Brought to you by the La Conner Chamber of Commerce. The parade route will start at the La Conner Marina and move down 1st St to Gilkey Square where we will conduct a "Red Carpet" pet walk with photos. Prizes will be awarded for best Daffodil costume. Please make sure your domestic pet is well adjusted and can handle other pets and crowds, please pick up after your pet."
5. March is Women's History Month
Here are some resources from the American Library Association
- About Women’s History Month
- Library of Congress Resources
- National Committee on Pay Equity
- National Women’s History Museum
- National Women’s History Project
- Smithsonian Institution
6. No More Bombs continues to protest on the 1st and 3rd Fridays of the month at the overpass above I-5 near the Skagit Valley Food Co-op
Winter hours are 3:00pm – 4:00pm. We’ll have our “NO NUKES” banner plus American, Ukrainian, and Peace flags. Join us! Ample parking is available on Fulton Street near the old YMCA. If the weather is inclement, we cancel. Write to email@example.com if in doubt about weather.
7. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Cuts in Washington State
"In March, 32 states and Washington, D.C., will end emergency Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program aid that helped individuals and families cope with food insecurity during the pandemic. The average person is projected to receive about $90 less in SNAP benefits per month." The Helping Hands program distributes food assistance from Anacortes to Marblemount. With the cuts in the SNAP program, more families become dependent on food banks. Click Here if you can donate to help.
8. The National Women’s Political Caucus of Washington is hosting their Annual Candidate Training for Women and Non-Binary Individuals
"National, state, and local campaign experts will help current, and future candidates, campaign managers, and community leaders learn the ins and outs of running for office. This training is perfect for anyone planning or thinking about running for office as well as for those who prefer to be the heroes behind the scenes as campaign staff or volunteers! Please share with your members and network to help increase the number of pro-choice candidates in public office by supporting our mutually crucial political work."
Links to training registration pages are below! We hope to see some great candidates there!
- Tacoma Campaign Training – Saturday, March 18, 2023 – 9 am – 5 pm
- Everett Campaign Training – Saturday, April 1, 2023 – 9 am – 5 pm
- Online Campaign Training – Saturday, April 15, 2023 – 9 am – 5 pm
9. The Skagit County AARP TaxAide Program provides FREE tax preparation
"The Skagit AARP TaxAide program offers free tax return preparation, and tax consultation for most low- and middle-income tax situations. [Including for seniors] It is an all-volunteer community operation, sponsored by the AARP Foundation with Spanish language support from Goodwill. Your tax return is prepared by IRS certified tax preparers (called counselors), who must recertify annually. If you are interested in accessing our free tax preparation service, familiarize yourself with our process and call one of the sites for an appointment. Due to the pandemic, access to Skagit AARP TaxAide services will be limited so be sure to make your appointment early! Once we run out of appointments, you will have to find another way to get your tax return done." Click Here for more information.
10. COVID-19 Information
Click Here for the most current report and resources.
1. Anacortes Sunday Demonstrations
Democrats are again demonstrating in Anacortes each Sunday, 12:00pm – 1:00pm at the corner of 12th Street and Commercial Avenue. "We carry signs for Dem candidates, get out and vote signs, women's right-to-chose in healthcare and so on and so on. We need more people to show up."
2. Coffee & Cards, Wednesdays, 10:00am – 12:00pm, Skagit County Democrats Headquarters, 2021 East College Way, Suite 104, Mount Vernon
Coffee and Cards meets on Wednesdays from 10:00am – 12:00pm. This is the group that was previously led by Carol Sullivan and is now lead quite capably by Judy Farrar. The group is a way for us to express ourselves about issues of importance to us all.
We will write messages of encouragement and support to people who are making positive contributions as well as messages of concern and opposition to people who are negatively impacting our world. This includes legislators on the local, state, and federal level as well as CEOs of corporations and other people having a significant impact in our world. We will share ideas for people to write to and issues to address.
Postcards and stamps will be provided, but we ask that people bring money to cover the cost of the postcard stamps which are currently $.44. Coffee will be provided or bring your own. As Carol always reminded us, “We are stronger together.” Our office is located at 2021 East College Way, Suite 104, Mount Vernon, 360-336-1555."