Monday will mark the first day of the 2013 legislative session, a session that I expect will bear little resemblance to the other legislative sessions in my career. As you know, even though voters elected Democrats to a 26-23 majority, Republicans have enlisted two disaffected conservative Democrats to seize control of the Senate with a one-vote majority. This 25-member cabal has announced plans to radically revamp rules that have guided the Senate for more than 100 years of Democratic, Republican and bipartisan rule. Their proposals are unprecedented and untested, so the potential for dysfunction, division and gridlock are high.
As always, I hope for constructive engagement and I will do whatever I can to urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to put the interest of the people of our state ahead of their own political interests. However, despite the Republican majority’s calls for collaboration and power sharing, their actions so far have been to insist on a structure that will give them a stranglehold on power and control. That’s a recipe for confrontation, not collaboration.
We’ll learn more as their methods play out, and I will keep you updated throughout session via my periodic e-newsletters.
The fight against human trafficking continues
I’ll be speaking later this week on the topic of “Human Trafficking in an Era of Globalization: Forced Labor, Involuntary Servitude, and Corporate and Civic Responsibility” at a two-day conference this week hosted by the University of Washington (UW) Women's Center, UW School of Law and Seattle University School of Law.
Held at UW’s Husky Union Building, the conference will focus on root causes of the human trafficking industry and develop strategies to prevent and ultimately eradicate the trade. Topics will include: Forced Migration and Labor Rights; International Trade Agreements; Human Rights; Public Health; Improving Human Trafficking Survivor Services; Ethical Sourcing and Sustainable Development; and Humanizing the Impacts of Human Trafficking.
In an attempt to make the conference as accessible to as many interested people as possible, I have worked with Velma Veloria and Dr. Sutapa Basu to solicit funds to help defray the cost of attendance. If you wish to attend but the $150 attendance fee is beyond your means, there may be limited opportunities to attend for an adjusted fee of $50.
As always, I extend my warmest regards and hopes for a positive and productive new year,
Senator Jeanne Kohl-Welles
Chair - Senate Labor, Commerce & Consumer Protection Committee
36th Legislative District
Washington State Senate
(360) 786-7670 (206) 281-6854