Dear Friends and Neighbors,
I wanted to take this opportunity to check-in with everyone as we continue to maneuver through these challenging times. I want to also say thank you to everyone who continues to reach out to my office with your questions and concerns surrounding COVID-19. I encourage you to keep it up, and I will do my best to provide you with the information and resources you need.
Public comment open until April 13 on the future of our dams
Before I provide an update on COVID-19, I want to cover an important topic for our district, and state. Our entire region relies on the power and water our dams provide. The public comment period on the future of our dams, and the draft EIS, is open until April 13. Let your voices be heard. Click on this link to provide your input.
Here are some recent highlights surrounding our region, and state, due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
- Gov. Inslee extended his “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order until May 4.
- Gov. Inslee vetoed 147 separate expenditures in the 2020 supplemental operating budget. The vetoes will reduce state spending by nearly $445 million over the next three years – $235 million in the current budget and $210 million in the next biennium.
- Superintendent of Public Instruction, Chris Reykdal, has closed all schools, public and private, for the remainder of the school year. Distance learning will continue to meet state educational requirements.
- If you haven't already done so, you may sign-up for daily COVID-19 updates. Please click here to sign-up.
- If you don't have access to the internet, you can call (800) 525-0127, or text 211-211, with your questions or to receive current information on COVID-19. Someone is available to help between the hours of 6:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m.
For additional information on COVID-19:
General information and resources:
Washington State Department of Health
Centers for Disease Control (CDC)
Benton-Franklin Health District
Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI)
BUSINESS AND EMPLOYEE RESOURCES:
Current 'essential business' list
Employment Security Department
The Employment Security Department has been receiving record numbers of new claims for unemployment insurance. At the same time, they are experiencing extremely high numbers of phone calls and emails. Additionally, I know many people have questions about the recent federal stimulus package and the enhancements to eligibility and available benefits for individuals. To address your questions and to find out more information, please do not call their toll-free numbers first. Instead, please visit their website at esd.wa.gov. There you can sign up for their action alerts to receive the most recent information possible about these benefits, view their Frequently Asked Questions for Workers and for Businesses and use their checklist before applying for benefits. Again, please do not call their toll-free numbers for information. Those need to be reserved for individuals who need assistance with their claims. Instead, check their website. It has answers to most questions you may have.
Telephone town hall
I would like to invite you to join me, and my seatmate Rep. Matt Boehnke, for a telephone town hall on Thursday, April 23 from 4-5 p.m.
This is an opportunity for you to directly ask us questions relating to COVID-19, and the 2020 legislative session, all from the comfort of your home. Simply call (509) 207-7114 at the start of the call at 4:00 p.m., and you will be connected to the telephone town hall. We hope you will join us.
Again, if there's anything else I can do to help you, please don't hesitate to contact my office at (360) 786-7882. You can also email me at Brad.Klippert@leg.wa.gov. I'm here for you. Together, we'll get through these challenging times.
May God richly bless you all! It is indeed an honor to serve you!