by John Stafford
“The Legislature has just wrapped up an historic and truly extraordinary session. It has been the most innovative, having produced unprecedented and legacy making advances as all-encompassing as any session in the last 25 years.”— Governor Jay Inslee, April 25, 2021
The Washington State Legislature has just completed its 2021 session — a 105-day event charged with passing three state budgets (operating, transportation and capital) and hundreds of policy bills, conducted exclusively online. From a liberal perspective, this has been an exciting and momentous session, with major legislative achievements in a wide range of areas.
I’ll evaluate the 2021 Legislative Session in 14 different areas: state budgets, tax reform, pandemic response, economic relief, housing and homelessness, K–12 education, health care, racial justice, criminal justice, gun control, labor, climate change, growth management act, and other, and give the session an overall grade.
Continue reading A Highly Compelling Session: An Evaluation of the 2021 Washington State Legislature
by Ben Adlin
A year into a pandemic that has killed half a million people in the U.S. and magnified deep inequities in the country’s core institutions, it’s extraordinary that Vicky Navarro and Thyda Ros aren’t more exhausted.
A typical week might find Navarro crisscrossing King County with boxes of face masks and public health pamphlets in three different languages — English, Spanish, and Tagalog — while Ros plans a socially distanced dinner dropoff of deep-fried fish and green mango salad to a Khmer community elder. Then it’s off to the next webinar, the next worried call from a neighbor, the next social media rumor to bat down.
Continue reading Helping Under-Served Communities Navigate Health Barriers During the Pandemic
by John Stafford
The Washington State legislature is in the middle of its 2021 session, a 105-day session that convened on Jan. 11 and will end on April 25. This year’s session is being conducted via Zoom and will generate three budgets — an operating budget, a transportation budget, and a capital budget. These budgets are two-year documents. They will be created this year (2021) and then again in 2023. In addition to the budgets, more than 1,000 bills are being introduced and debated for potential passage. There are a series of cutoff dates for bills, and we have just passed the Mar. 9 deadline for bills (other than revenue bills) to pass their chamber of origin in order to remain alive.
Continue reading The 2021 Washington State Legislative Session: A Midway Review
by Marilyn Watkins
COVID-19 has hit the hardest smack at the intersection of racial, gender, and economic disparities, disproportionately impacting the most vulnerable amongst us. Black and Brown communities have been much more likely than whites to suffer illness and financial hardship due to COVID-19. The closure of schools and childcare facilities has put a whole generation of kids at risk while throwing a double whammy at women of all races, who provided the bulk of unpaid family care pre-COVID-19, and are now struggling to juggle work with full-time childcare plus supervision of schooling.
We need both our state and federal governments to commit to investments and policies that build health, economic security, and educational opportunity for women and children, with special emphasis on families of Color.
Continue reading OPINION: ‘Building Back Better’ Requires Big New Investments in Women and Caregiving
by Shasti Conrad
It is the best of times and the worst of times. A time to celebrate the inauguration of a new president and a history-making vice president. Yet this is also a time of insurrection, impeachment, and a Republican party that continues to fail to take any accountability for lies and inaction in our nation’s capital and here at home.
This is a tale of two pandemics.
Continue reading A Tale of Two Pandemics
by Alexa Peters
Before COVID-19, Ballard resident Gracey Cockram lived the busy, fulfilling life of a stay-at-home mom. On a typical day, she’d wake up early, get her 15-year-old daughter up for swim practice, shuttle her to the pool with friends, come home, check the news, take a shower, do the laundry, go to the gym, go to the grocery store, walk the dogs, drive her daughter to a part-time babysitting gig, then begin to prepare dinner.
These days, despite living in a 900-square-foot condo with her fiancé and daughter, Cockram spends a lot of time alone, feeling “defeated” — and it’s no wonder. Her once-active 15-year-old now remains in her room for nearly twelve hours a day studying for her AP classes, and has since become prone to anxiety and worrying emotional outbursts. After holding out for months, Cockram and her fiancé were forced to reschedule their June 2021 wedding due to the pandemic. Cockram’s extended family in Florida has stopped talking to them due to disagreement about how to handle COVID-19. And now, she can’t even get out of the house for a trip to the gym for an important kick of endorphins.
Continue reading As Pandemic Drags On, Parents Cope With Mental Health Challenges
by Carolyn Bick
In an effort to better support people who either are or may be infected with the novel coronavirus who would not be able to quarantine themselves at home without risking financial hardship, Public Health – Seattle & King County will be rolling out a financial support program for people infected with the novel coronavirus.
The program has not yet been formally announced, but Public Health – Seattle & King County (PHSKC) Health Officer Dr. Jeff Duchin briefly talked about it in a press conference on Nov. 6, as he was answering the Emerald’s question about the driving factors behind the rapid and concerning rise in COVID-19 cases in South King County, and how — aside from encouraging behavior modification — PHSKC plans to try to combat this rise.
Continue reading As COVID-19 Cases Skyrocket in South King County, PHSKC Plans to Unveil New Financial Relief Program
by Sharon Maeda
Cuba is one of many countries that has successfully addressed the COVID-19 coronavirus despite the U.S. embargo that prohibits the sale of ventilators and other medical equipment to Cuba.
Cuba is well known for its medical education and premiere medical school, the Latin American School of Medicine, commonly referred to as ELAM, and for sending medical teams to epidemic and disaster sites around the world. Cuban medical teams were dispatched to early COVID-19 hotspots, including China, Italy, and South Africa.
Continue reading What Cuba Can Teach the U.S. About Confronting the COVID-19 Pandemic