In today’s news – explosive oil trains in Spokane, the fight to protect our schools from funding cuts, and the Senate Republicans stepping up their attacks on Obamacare.
Explosive Oil Trains in Spokane
More than a mile of elevated train tracks run through the heart of downtown Spokane, and travelling on those tracks are trains hauling oil cars loaded with highly volatile Bakken crude oil. This oil can explode or catch fire in case of an accident and while we’ve seen many tragedies and emergencies around train derailments, Spokane may be at even greater risk than other areas because of the elevated tracks and the greater harm that a derailment could cause.
Legislative Democrats are working on solutions for protecting Spokane residents from this risk. SB 5028 would let local cities set speed limits on trains to cut down on the possibility of a derailment. Currently the trains go as fast as 50 mph on these elevated tracks and lower speed limits can reduce the chance of a catastrophic derailment.
Currently the bill is awaiting a hearing in the Senate Transportation Committee, chaired by Sen. Curtis King. Call Sen. King’s office at 360-786-7626 and let him know – the residents of Spokane and cities across our state need to be safe from the risk of exploding oil trains!
Preventing Cuts to Local Schools
If Washington legislators don’t act soon, schools across Washington State will see millions of dollars in funding cuts and hundreds of teachers could lose their jobs. The “levy cliff” will reduce the voter-approved levies that school districts rely on for funding and the state hasn’t yet stepped up to provide money to help keep our schools whole. Now districts across the state could be forced to lay off teachers and make other cuts to classrooms.
Democrats are working to ensure that students and teachers continue to get the support they need to succeed. HB 1059 would prevent these cuts from going into effect – the bill was heard in the House Appropriations Committee yesterday, and people from across the state came to testify about the importance of defending schools from these cuts.
We know the importance of education and making sure that students and teachers have the resources they need to succeed. You can find your legislators’ contact information here – let’s make it clear that protecting schools and students from funding cuts should be one of the legislature’s first tasks this session!
Attacks on Health Care
At around 1:30 AM this morning, DC Republicans forced through the first vote in the Senate necessary to begin the repeal of the Affordable Care Act. We can’t let this attack on health care to stand!
The vast majority of Americans want the Affordable Care and Patient Protection Act to be kept, tweaked, or expanded. Only one in four Americans wants the law repealed. Most Americans who have received care through the Affordable Care Act live in Republican-led districts, meaning that Republicans are stabbing their own voters in the back with this middle-of-the-night repeal vote.
If Republicans in Congress get their way, as many as thirty million Americans are set to lose access to affordable health care. Americans with pre-existing conditions like asthma, heart disease, or diabetes could lose coverage and become uninsurable. The Affordable Care Act is literally the difference between living and dying for tens of thousands of Americans – without this insurance, 36,000 people a year could die before their time.
Republicans may have started the repeal process but we can still fight back! This coming Sunday, January 15th, please join us at a rally in Westlake Park in Seattle to say NO to taking health care away from hundreds of thousands of Washingtonians and millions more Americans. The rally will be from noon to 1 PM at Westlake Park at 401 Pine St, Seattle. There is a Facebook event through which you can RSVP here or just show up and be there!
Thanks for reading – you can reach us at [email protected] with your thoughts and feedback. Let’s keep a spotlight on the legislature this year and we’ll stay in touch with you about how we can work together to fight back, beat the Republicans, and deliver wins for the people of Washington!
The WA Democrats Communications Team