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Inside Olympia – Senate Majority Leader, plus a COVID Update

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For our first episode of 2022, host Austin Jenkins sits down with Senator Andy Billig of Spokane, the leader of majority Democrats in the Washington State Senate, plus we get a COVID update from the state’s epidemiologist for communicable diseases, Dr. Scott Lindquist.

Sen. Billig is one of several legislators who have gotten COVID in recent weeks. However, because the Legislature is largely virtual again this year, most legislators who have come down with the virus are continuing to work while they quarantine at home.

Billig discussed some of the priorities of Senate Democrats, including a delay of the state’s Long-Term Care program, addressing homelessness and housing, making strategic investments in government services via the supplemental budget, following up on police reform bills passed by the 2021 Legislature, and approving a transportation package.

Linquist said with the Omicron variant, the current pandemic is a whole different pandemic than we were in just 4 months ago. The less-deadly but more-transmissible variant is stretching hospitals to their breaking point, with a key challenge being health care staff, who are burnt out and many of whom have contracted COVID themselves. He says COVID will likely morph again into another variant.

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