NORTHWEST ASIAN WEEKLY
The Asian Pacific Islander Coalition (APIC) of King, Pierce, Snohomish, Yakima, and Spokane counties met with Gov. Jay Inslee and state legislators in Olympia on Jan. 23, as part of the 2018 APA Legislative Day.
This is an annual event and an opportunity for the state’s Asian American and Pacific Islander communities to voice their concerns and highlight issues important to the AAPI community.
One of the top concerns was education. As the Legislature works to fund basic education in accordance with the McCleary court order, APIC said it must, at the same time, begin to address the opportunity gap.
“Our state has one of the worst opportunity/achievement gaps in the country that must be addressed by driving more targeted resources — financial and talent — to school and students that have been historically underserved,” it said in a combined statement.
APIC also condemned the Trump administration’s anti-immigrant policies. It urged the Legislature to pass SB 5689/ HB 1985 — which would establish a statewide policy supporting Washington state’s economy and immigrants’ role in the workplace.
APIC also wants the Legislature to provide adequate funding for 2020 census outreach to ensure cultural and linguistic accessibility for all Washington residents, and publicly oppose the inclusion of a question about citizenship status.
The group commended Inslee’s affirmation that Washington state welcomes refugees and immigrants, and applauded Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s aggressive legal challenges against the Trump administration’s executive orders.
A bill to change a 100-year-old state law that partially prevented the families of international students in the fatal Ride the Ducks crash in 2015 from receiving wrongful death compensation, got a mention.
Two amendments correcting the law have been sponsored by Rep. Sharon Tomiko Santos and Sen. Bob Hasegawa, HB 2262 and SB 6015, respectively.
APIC also urged the Legislature to correct what it calls “one of the gravest injustices which prohibit many Pacific Islanders, including residents from the Marshall Islands, from being eligible for the Medicaid program.” It wants the Legislature to enact a state funded subsidy program for these Pacific Islanders.
APIC also touched on climate change, funding for mental health, and reestablishing affirmative action in Washington state.