State Rep. Pollet stresses fighting COVID-19 as legislature completes first week of 2021 session

Sunday, January 17, 2021

Rep. Gerry Pollet D-46
By Evan Smith 

State Rep. Gerry Pollet has stressed the fight against COVID-19 as the legislature has completed the first week of its 2021 session.

“As your Representative for the 46th District and as a faculty member in the UW School of Public Health, my top priorities are to protect our families and communities from COVID-19” Pollet said Wednesday. 
“I've been working with other public health experts to improve our State's vaccination rate and contact tracing programs. We need to protect our seniors, long-term-care and assisted-living residents, health-care workers and teachers with much more rapid vaccinations.”

Much of what Pollet does is related to his interest in public health.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us exactly how important public health is to our nation, our state, and our communities,” he said. 
“Whether we are talking about a global pandemic, lead in water, or the effects of vaping, public health emergencies make our families sick and hurt our economy. That is why I am sponsoring several bills to prevent public-health crises and mitigate the damage the COVID-19 pandemic is having on our local governments.”

Pollet is chairman of the Local Government Committee in the State House of Representatives.

He has introduced a bill to protect local governments that have lost revenue during the pandemic.

“Our local governments such as Lake Forest Park, Kenmore, Shoreline and Seattle are all struggling to provide essential services to residents after losing large amounts of their revenues because of the effects of the Pandemic,” he said. 
“Funding is threatened for the very services our communities depend on. That is why I have worked with our local governments to introduce House Bill 1069 to give local governments flexibility with their revenues to help them provide the services our friends and family need and to help them keep our small businesses open.”

The bill allows revenue from criminal justice sales taxes, the criminal justice assistance account, and certain King County property tax levies to supplant existing funds through 2023; it removes exemption for motor vehicle sales and leases in voter-approved criminal justice sales tax; it broadens the allowed use of funds from criminal justice sales taxes, lodging taxes, and real estate excise taxes through 2023; and it increases the amount of time a water and electricity or sewage lien can be applied after the declaration of an emergency by the Governor that prevents collection.

Pollet also said that he had been engaged in moving the state toward safely reopening schools “so our children and teachers are protected while we try to undo the serious harm done from a year without being in the classroom,” adding, “This is especially true for children with disabilities, who have lost a year of therapy or services. 
“I have always fought to ensure our kids can learn in a safe and nurturing environment. Unfortunately, a huge proportion of our children’s schools have unsafe levels of lead in their drinking water,” he said. 
“When our children return to school, we should be ensuring that they are not exposed to levels of lead in the water that lower their IQ and cause serious behavioral and health effects.”

Pollet has introduced House Bill 1139, which, he said, will make sure that public schools’ drinking water is safe and that dangerous faucets are replaced.

“Public health affects everything we do, and our kids need to understand why,” he said. 
“I’ve introduced House Bill 1149 to make public health a part of the high school curriculum. 
"And, I will be taking on the e-cigarette/vaping industry and big tobacco to stop them from continuing to addict our teens and young adults to nicotine. Last year, about 30 percent of our high school seniors were ‘vaping.' 
"Many are unaware that they have been addicted to nicotine. Youth who use e-cigarettes or vape are eight times more likely to also start smoking cigarettes.”

Pollet is a Democrat representing the 46th Legislative District, including Lake Forest Park, Kenmore and northeast Seattle neighborhoods, including Lake City.

In addition to being chairman of the Local Government Committee, Pollet is a member of the Appropriations Committee and the College and Workforce Development Committee.

Evan Smith can be reached at schsmith@frontier.com



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