Legislative Session Update

Pacific Islanders from across the state traveled to the state capital on Feb. 8 for the Children’s Alliance’s Have a Heart for Kids Day. The timing worked out great as they were able to view the State Senate pass Substitute Senate Bill 5683 by a vote of 46-2. The legislation, which moves to the House for consideration, would improve access to health care for Washingtonians from the Marshall Islands, Palau, and the Federated States of Micronesia. After the vote, Senator Saldaña, the bill’s prime sponsor, and her colleagues visited with the community. In the afternoon, Gov. Inslee spoke at a rally on the steps of the Legislative Building and met with community members.

Senator Saldaña and Senator Hasegawa met with community members after the the Senate passed Substitute Senate Bill 5683 by a vote of 46-2.


The 2018 legislative session is passed the halfway point. This weekend and into next week, lawmakers may hold floor sessions to consider and approve bills in order to meet the February 14 deadline for bills to move to the opposite chamber. Below is a brief summary of bills that have been sent to the opposite chamber for consideration that may be of interest to our communities:

  • Substitute House Bill 1186, concerning reimbursement for certain court interpreter services, passed the House 52-46.
  • 2nd Substitute House Bill 1298, which prohibits employers form asking about arrests or convictions before an applicant is determine otherwise qualified for a position, passed the House 52-46.
  • Senate Bill 6085, which would increase opportunities for veteran-owned businesses to access reduced interest rate loans and directs the Office of Minority and Women’s Business Enterprises to prioritize loans that create jobs in underserved communities, passed the Senate 48-0.
  • Substitute House Bill 2590, which would collect data needed to improve oversight of transitional bilingual instruction programs at public schools, passed the House 63-34.
  • Substitute House Bill 2748, which would provide flexibility for school districts to use Learning Assistance Program funds based on local needs, passed the House 93-5.
  • 2nd Substitute House Bill 1377, which would improve training for school counselors and other staff to recognize signs of emotional or behavioral distress in students, passed the House 63-34.

Bill Tracking

The Commission is tracking legislation that may be of interest to Asian and Pacific Islander communities that pertain to civil rights & justice, economic development, education, and health and human services. The Commission will periodically update its bill tracking list with the status of the bills.

View the bill tracking list.

Members of the Legislature welcome your feedback and messages. You can leave a message by contacting the Legislative Hotline at 1-800-562-6000. For limited English proficient callers, the Hotline offers interpreter services for many languages. Visit our webpage for additional ways to access the Legislature.

The Commission will be holding a public board meeting on March 17, 2018 at the Marshall Center in Vancouver, Washington from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM. Agenda items and details will be posted in the upcoming weeks.

Visit the Commission’s website to learn more about the Public Board Meeting.

2018 Legislative Report by the Educational Opportunity Gap Oversight and Accountability Committee

The Educational Opportunity Gap Oversight and Accountability Committee (EOGOAC) provided policy and strategy recommendations for decreasing racial disparities within the Washington state education system in their 2018 Legislative Report.

Since 2009, the EOGOAC has made recommendations on the basis of an holistic approach in closing educational opportunity gaps. This year, the recommendations include increasing school/district accountability measures and educator preparation program quality, addressing the school-to-prison pipeline and the diversity of the educator workforce, continuing to develop the use and collection of disaggregated data, and exploring the common roots of racial disproportionalities in interconnected systems.

The Commission extends our gratitude to both Sili Savusa, who is now co-chairing the committee, and Frieda Takamura for continuing to represent CAPAA and API communities on the EOGOAC since 2009.

To learn more about the committee and their recommendations, visit the website and view their 2018 Legislative Report.

The Asian Pacific Islander Community Leadership Foundation’s Community Leaders Program (CLP)

The Asian Pacific Islander Community Leadership Foundation (ACLF) is seeking individuals with a strong commitment to social justice, community empowerment, and public service for the 2018 Community Leaders Program (CLP). CLP is an intensive curriculum that provides training and mentorship to adults and prepares them for leadership positions and to advocate for social justice in all communities. Participants will have opportunities to meet multiple generations of inspirational API leaders and complete a group project that benefits a local organization. For information on applying to CLP, visit: https://aclfnorthwest.org/clp/clp-application/

Due date for applications is 11:59PM on Wednesday, February 28, 2018.

Upcoming Community Events & Opportunities