State and local leaders push for coordinated response to homelessness
On Thursday, Gov. Jay Inslee made the case for a coordinated statewide response to homeless encampments on state rights-of-way. The state has more than tripled its investments in shelter and housing options since 2017 and is bringing more than 9,600 new units online throughout the state, but there are gaps in coordination when it comes to helping people living on state-owned rights-of-way.
The governor was joined at his media avail by King County Executive Dow Constantine, Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell, Tacoma Mayor Victoria Woodards, Seattle City Council President Debora Juarez, and Spokane Councilmember Betsy Wilkerson.
"I proposed this bill because our homelessness crisis – a sad reality affecting every corner of our state – demands urgent action. We must move more quickly to compassionately serve the thousands of people who are living under bridges, on sidewalks and state public-rights-of-way to transition to safer places now and, ultimately, into permanent housing while receiving the important services they need," Inslee said.
Senate Bill 5662, the legislation that would establish a coordinated effort, is on its way to the Senate Ways & Means Committee.
Ecology hits critical milestone in efforts to dispose of Hanford waste
On Wednesday, Gov. Jay Inslee praised the Department of Ecology's significant progress in cleaning up dangerous waste at the Hanford Site. For the first time, radioactive and chemical waste at the site is being pretreated and conditioned for disposal through vitrification, a process that turns waste into glass.
Hanford’s Tank-Side Cesium Removal System (TSCR) is the first step in treatment of the site’s dangerous radioactive and chemical tank waste, with the goal of treating at least 1 million gallons of waste this year. The system will remove cesium and solids from tank waste, and the remaining liquid waste will be staged for treatment in Hanford’s Low-Activity Waste Facility for vitrification, followed by permanent disposal at the Hanford Integrated Disposal Facility.
The Department of Ecology oversaw the process of getting TSCR operational including participation in the system’s design, permitting, construction, commissioning, and certification. Waste is expected to begin going through TSCR this year, with expected vitrification of the waste at the Low-Activity Waste Facility starting in 2023.
February is Black History Month
“History matters. As difficult as it may be to confront our nation’s past, we cannot allow the continual erasure and rewriting of the Black experience in America. There are countless Black artists, inventors, leaders and icons whose dedication and passion for equality and justice have ignited change and paved the way for future generations. Black History Month is a time to celebrate their many contributions, while also seeking greater understanding of how we can each help prevent injustice and inequality from continuing into our future.” – Gov. Jay Inslee
The Legislature in 2020 approved funding for the Washington State Historical Society to launch a Washington Black History Project. Learn more about their work to connect Washingtonians to Black history in our state.
Learn more about the Washington Black History Project.
Students can now apply for STEM scholarships
Washington State Opportunity Scholarship applications are now open for 2- and 4- year STEM degrees (STEM refers to science, technology, engineering or math).
The Career and Technical Scholarship, which closes next week on Feb. 6, provides $1,500 per quarter and is aimed at those pursuing an eligible associate degree, certificate, or apprenticeship in a trade, STEM or health care field. Learn more about this two-year scholarship opportunity.
The Baccalaureate Scholarship provides up to $22,500 in financial aid for those pursuing a bachelor’s degree in eligible high-demand STEM and health care fields. Deadline for this scholarship is March 2. Learn more about this four-year scholarship opportunity.