Interfaith Advocacy Day in Olympia Energizes FAN Action!
We are grateful to the amazing advocates who made the trek to Olympia yesterday for Interfaith Advocacy Day (IFAD) – a joyful return to in-person advocacy! We are also grateful to those who viewed online and took action remotely. With the sun shining, there was a palpable spirit of connection and passion for justice. From Bellingham to Vancouver, Port Angeles to East Wenatchee and Yakima, and all along the I-5 corridor, 207 people from 36 districts attended over 87 meetings with their legislators. They brought their experiences, knowledge, and passion for justice to decisionmakers.
We started the morning at United Churches of Olympia, welcomed by United Churches’ staff person Jane Appling and Interfaith Works’ colleague Rev. Corey Passons. Lutheran Bishops Shelley Bryan Wee of ELCA Northwest Synod and Rick Jaech of ELCA Southwestern Synod shared reflections on how we are called by our faith traditions to learn and to act for justice. FAN staff provided overviews of the day and our legislative agenda. We were delighted to be visited by 41st District Rep. My-Linh Thai, whose passionate message resonated with ours: that love guides her policymaking decisions as she calls on her colleagues to do what is right. Workshops on each category of our legislative agenda were expertly presented by our coalition partners and FAN leaders. Advocates caucused with others from their legislative district and planned their afternoon meetings. Lunch was served, sunny-day photos taken on the Capitol steps, and legislators dropped by Cherburg conference room to say hello during the afternoon. More photos by Mark White Photography will be added to our Facebook album in the days ahead!
We are grateful to the WA Poor Peoples’ Campaign for bringing members to advocate with FAN, as we echoed their chant: “Forward Together! Not One Step Back!” Let’s keep the momentum going through the rest of session and throughout the year.
Sign in “Pro” and Testify
Please Note: For your sign-in choice to be counted, you need to sign in more than an hour prior to the beginning of the hearing. Also, if you are interested in signing in PRO on other bills, the general link for Committee Hearing Sign-Ins is https://app.leg.wa.gov/csi.
Many of our bills have passed their house policy committees. If the bill has a fiscal note, it must also pass the Appropriations Committee to move forward.
Before Monday, 2/13, 3:00pm: HB 1784 Concerning Hunger Relief will have a public hearing in the House Appropriations Committee on February 13 at 4:00pm. This bill would provide $20 million for supplying food to food banks, $6 million for senior meals, and $2 million for fruit and vegetable incentives, to be disbursed between the bill’s passage and June 30 of this year. This is a stopgap measure for immediate hunger needs throughout the state. Federal emergency food allotments ended in February, which has resulted in cuts to federal food benefits equal to $93 million per month for our state. Throughout our nation, states are facing a hunger cliff. “Food stamp ‘hunger cliff’ looms as 32 states set to slash benefits” – CBS News. Sign in PRO here.
Before Monday, 2/13, 3:00pm: HB 1087 Solitary Confinement Reform and HB 1024 Real Labor, Real Wages Act are scheduled for executive session in the House Appropriations Committee on February 13 at 4:00pm. Please contact the legislators serving on this committee and urge them to vote YES, especially if you are their constituent.
Before Tuesday, 2/14, 7:00am: HB 1473 Extreme Wealth Tax will have a public hearing in the House Finance Committee on February 14 at 8:00am. Washington has the most unfair tax code in the nation. People with the lowest 20% of incomes pay a portion of their income six times greater than people with the top 1% of incomes. A state wealth tax would collect a 1% property tax from multi-millionaires and billionaires by taxing wealth held in stocks, bonds, and other intangible financial property that is currently untaxed by Washington’s revenue system. Only the wealthiest in our state, those with over $250 million in assets (fewer than 0.01% of Washingtonians) would ever pay it. This tax would raise billions of dollars to fund the programs we need to make Washington a healthier state. Sign in PRO here.
Before Wednesday, 2/15, 3:00pm: HB 1260 Aging, Blind, & Disabled (ABD) Fix will have a public hearing in the House Appropriations Committee on February 15 at 4:00pm. This bill would end the requirement that extremely low-income disabled people pay back ABD cash assistance when they qualify for federal assistance, which they are required to apply for. Sign in PRO here.
Before Wednesday, 2/15, 3:00pm: HB 1131 Washington Recycling and Packaging Act (WRAP) Act will have a public hearing in the House Appropriations Committee on February 15 at 4:00pm. This bill would modernize our recycling system. Sign in PRO here.
Before Thursday, 2/16, 3:00pm: HB 1445 AG Investigations & Reform will have a public hearing in the House Appropriations Committee on February 16 at 4:00pm. This bill would strengthen and clarify the Washington Attorney General’s authority to investigate and bring suit where there are systemic failures at an agency or department, resulting in violations of the Washington constitution or state laws. This bill would help ensure a fundamental baseline of quality policing across Washington. The bill follows California, Colorado, Virginia, and Nevada, and is similar to the U.S. Department of Justice’s consent decree authority. Sign in PRO here.
Legislative Session Week 5 in Review
On Monday, HB 1181 Addressing Climate Change and Resiliency had a public hearing in the House Appropriations Committee. This bill would require all counties planning under the Growth Management Act (GMA) to plan for resilience and address the impacts of climate change in land use plans. It would also update the transportation element of the GMA by incorporating transit and bike/pedestrian planning. Also heard on Monday in Appropriations was HB 1177 Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women & People (MMIWP) Cold Case Unit, which would create a cold case investigations unit within the Attorney General’s office.
On Tuesday, SB 5651 Environmental Justice in the Growth Management Act was heard in the Senate Committee on Local Government, Land Use, & Tribal Affairs. Building on Healthy Environment for All (HEAL) Act requirements for state agencies, this bill would require that both environmental justice and climate change are explicitly addressed in local comprehensive planning with specific goals, progress reports, and measures to reduce impacts and disparities. This includes more equitable public participation requirements and funding. This bill would enhance HB 1181 by ensuring that overburdened communities and populations vulnerable to climate change are specifically considered in comprehensive plans as a priority, not as an afterthought or sacrifice. This GMA update is led by our coalition partner Front and Centered.
On Wednesday, SB 5566 Hunger-Free College Campus was heard in the Senate Committee on Higher Education & Workforce Development. This bill outlines a comprehensive approach to providing students with resources to access nutritious food and meals, including a single campus resource for assistance with identifying and applying for public benefits, a skilled navigator on community college campuses to connect students on SNAP with supportive services, and an administrative body that is inclusive of students’ lived experience in defining and implementing a hunger outreach program.
Thursday was FAN’s Interfaith Advocacy Day at the Capitol. Over 200 participants came together in Olympia and advocated with their legislators. Deputy Majority Leader Rep. My-Linh Thai enthusiastically addressed our morning gathering. Rep. Thai has been a champion of many of FAN’s legislative bills, including the Working Families Tax Credit (WFTC), Healthcare Equity for Immigrants Campaign, and support for refugees. Rep. Thai observed that “we are all here advocating today because of love of neighbor.” Our two bills sponsored by Rep. Thai, HB 1075 WFTC Age Expansion and HB 1477 WFTC Administrative and Technical Fixes were passed out of committee on Thursday.
Connect with Kristin Ang, FAN Policy Engagement Director, at email@example.com.
Please see our Bill Tracker for how other bills on our agenda are progressing. We update the Bill Tracker every Friday.
Monday, February 13, 5:00-7:00pm, online. People’s Hearing to Stop GTN XPress. Join the Stop GTN Xpress Coalition and Earth Ministry/WAIPL to tell FERC to stop the pipeline expansion. There will be opportunity to give testimony and hear from community leaders and organizers across the Northwest, including Earth Ministry/WAIPL board member Naghmana Sherazi. Learn more and register here.
Sunday, February 26, Noon-1:00pm, online. Criminal justice reform, racism, and mass incarceration, hosted by Meaningful Movies at First Church Seattle. Discussion about criminal justice reform and dismantling the U.S. system of mass incarceration, featuring a panel of speakers including Tiarra Dearbone, Program Director for Seattle/King County’s Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion program, which provides community-based care for people who commit law violations related to behavioral health issues or extreme poverty. Event will also include a discussion of the film True Justice: Bryan Stevenson’s Fight for Equality, which highlights Stevenson’s work with the Equal Justice Initiative and efforts to address systemic racism in the U.S. criminal justice system. Register here.
2023 LOBBY DAYS (that we know so far):
Wednesday, February 15, online, Multi-Faith Restorative Justice Coalition. Register here.
Thursday, February 16, 9:00am-5:00pm, in Olympia, Washington Immigrant Solidarity Network’s (WAISN’s) Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Day. More information here.
February 20, 9:00am, online, Children’s Alliance’s Have a Heart for Kids Day. Register here.
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