Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Many people are concerned, worried and confused with everything that is happening surrounding the coronavirus. I sent out some information a couple weeks ago, but since then we have put together a great website with helpful resources and information. Click: Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information and Resources to access it. We plan to keep this website updated frequently. Subsections include:
- General information
- Contact information
- Recent announcements
- Employers & employees
- House Bill 2965
- RCW 43.06.220
- In the news
- National resources
- Global perspective
It should also be noted, one of the last bills we passed this session directs $200 million to help with the coronavirus crisis. House Bill 2965 takes $175 million from the rainy day fund for state and local agencies to fight the disease and another $25 million to aid businesses that have shut down because of the outbreak.
The legislation also allows the state Board of Education to grant emergency waivers to high school students who won't be able to meet certain graduation requirements if their schools are closed for an extended time period.
These are difficult and uncertain days for so many but if at all possible, during this time, be a leader in your neighborhood and community. If you know of someone who needs help, reach out to them. If you know of someone who is isolated, find out if they need food or supplies, and deliver it to their porch. Small acts of kindness go a long way. Please also remember to have compassion for those affected by the illness. We will get through this together.
Salmon hatchery clarification
In my last email update I mentioned we were able to get $775,000 for a pilot project to be launched at the Bellingham waterfront to increase salmon hatchery production on Puget Sound. Unfortunately, while this was in the budget passed by the Senate, it was stripped out in the final hours of budget negotiations between the House and Senate and I was not made aware of that.
It is extremely disappointing. The funding would have given us a great opportunity to do something to enhance the salmon population for our Southern resident orcas, as well as our recreation commercial and tribal fisheries. It would have followed Alaska's self-sustaining model. Instead, we leave Olympia without doing anything for our orcas or to increase our salmon population.
Please let me know if you have any questions.
It is an honor to represent Whatcom County.
Luanne Van Werven