We are excited to welcome more than 200 of you to Olympia next Thursday, February 9, for Interfaith Advocacy Day! If you’ve been meaning to sign up, you must register for IFAD by Monday, February 6, since space is limited. We are still working to arrange meetings with your legislators or their aides, but Monday is the cutoff for new appointments. We are delighted that Interfaith Works and the Washington State Poor Peoples’ Campaign will be joining us for the day!
If you are interested in joining a carpool to Olympia, or can offer rides to others in your area, please use this link to organize and connect with others. We have several people who need rides. This is also the last call for overnight stays at Gwinwood Retreat Center in Lacey on February 8—please reserve your room by Monday February 6 by emailing FAN@fanwa.org.
Volunteer! We can use your help starting at 8am Thursday for set up and registration, and between 3-4pm for cleanup. Consider joining the team and let us know at FAN@fanwa.org.
Sign in “Pro” and Testify
- Monday: HB 1181 Planning for a Climate Friendly Future will have a public hearing in Appropriations on February 6 at 4:00pm. This bill would improve the state’s climate response by updating the growth management act, requiring counties and cities to address climate change and plan for resiliency. Sign in PRO here.
- Monday: HB 1177 Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women & People (MMIWP) Cold Case Unit will have a public hearing in Appropriations on February 6 at 4:00pm. This bill would create a cold case investigations unit within the Attorney General’s office. Sign in PRO here.
- Tuesday: SB 5651 Environmental Justice in the Growth Management Act will have a public hearing in the Senate Committee on Local Government, Land Use, & Tribal Affairs on February 7 at 8:00am. This bill, led by Front and Centered, would ensure 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. Sign in PRO here.
- Wednesday: SB 5566 Hunger Free Campus will have a public hearing in the Senate Higher Education & Workforce Development Committee on February 8 at 8:00am. This bill would outline a comprehensive approach to providing students with the 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. Sign in PRO here.
EXECUTIVE SESSIONS: This is when committees decide whether to pass a bill out of committee to the next steps. Please contact the legislators serving on these Senate committees and House committees urging them to vote YES, especially if you are their constituent.
- SB 5236 Safe Staffing in Healthcare Facilities. Senate Labor & Commerce Committee on Tuesday, February 7, at 10:30am.
- SB 5109 Unemployment Insurance for Undocumented Workers. Senate Labor & Commerce Committee on Tuesday, February 7, at 10:30am.
- HB 1477 Temporary Aid to Needy Families (TANF) Improvements would strengthen the ability of TANF to meet foundational needs of children and families. House Finance Committee on Tuesday, February 7, at 1:30pm.
- HB 1238 Free School Meals. House Education Committee on Tuesday, February 7, at 4:00pm.
- HB 1388 Stop Excessive Rent Hikes and HB 1389 Rent Stability. Housing Committee on Thursday, February 9, at 8:00am.
- HB 1586 Vehicular Pursuits Model Policy. House Community Safety, Justice, & Reentry Committee on Thursday, February 9, at 8:00am.
- HB 1579 Independent Prosecutor for criminal conduct arising from police use of force. House Community Safety, Justice, & Reentry Committee on Thursday, February 9, at 8:00am.
- HB 1075 WFTC Age Expansion and HB 1477 WFTC Administrative and Technical Fixes. House Committee on Finance on Thursday, February 9, at 1:30pm.
- HB 1329/SB 5366 Extreme Heat Utility Shutoff Moratorium. House Environment & Energy Committee on Thursday, February 9, at 8:00am. Senate Environment, Energy, & Technology Committee on Friday, February 10, at 8:00am.
Legislative Session Week 4
There were many hearings on our bills again this week. On Monday, FAN Policy Engagement Director Kristin Ang testified in favor of SB 5533 Creation of Vehicular Pursuits Model Policy. Current data shows that fewer innocent people have been killed or injured due to the current vehicular pursuits policy. Any change to the vehicular pursuits policy should be done deliberatively and strategically. Creation of a vehicular pursuits policy by a workgroup made of various stakeholders would be a prudent approach. This bill would also create a law enforcement technology grant program related to modern vehicle pursuit management technology.
HB 1513 Traffic Safety for All was heard on Monday in the House Committee on Community Safety, Justice, & Reentry. Rep. Chipalo Street, the bill’s sponsor, said it would improve community safety and build trust between law enforcement and communities of color. The bill would reduce disproportionate impacts on communities of color and low-income people by reducing unnecessary low-level stops and other interactions that often lead to criminal system entanglement, debt, bankruptcy, and interpersonal violence. The bill would prevent officers from pulling people over for equipment failures and expired tabs unless there’s a safety risk. It would also restrict irrelevant questioning and voluntary searches for low-level offenses while allowing officers to stop people for impaired driving, distracted driving, speeding, and unrestrained passengers – the leading causes of traffic accidents. The bill would also create a grant pool to help people comply with the law and fix their vehicles to avoid low-level violations. This solution-oriented fund would ensure safer vehicles on the road, support low-income drivers, and fix vehicles to improve road safety. See today’s supportive opinion piece in The Seattle Times.
Monday was a good day for HB 1238 Free School Meals for all students and HB 1240 Ban on the Sale of Assault Weapons, both of which passed out of their committees, and for HB 1024 Real Labor Real Wages Act for incarcerated workers to be paid minimum wage, which had a hearing in Appropriations.
FAN and our coalition partners testified on a large number of bills on Tuesday. The House Finance committee heard two Working Families Tax Credit bills that would improve access to the program, HB 1075 WFTC Age Expansion and HB 1477 WFTC Administrative and Technical Fixes. The current Working Families Tax Credit statute excludes young adults 18-24 and seniors 65+ who are supporting themselves but do not have a qualifying child. Adolescents and young adults face the highest poverty rates of any age group in the nation. Also, more seniors are working to supplement their income while struggling with housing, health, and food costs. HB 1075 would ensure every low-income working Washingtonian can access this groundbreaking tax credit, regardless of their age.
SB 5427 Bias Incidents Hotline was heard in the Senate Law & Justice Committee. The creation of a statewide centralized hotline to report hate and bias incidents would provide better data and tracking of incidents, as well as provide support and assistance for those persons targeted. According to the FBI’s 2019 Hate Crime Statistics Report, almost 60% of hate-incident survivors were targeted based on their perceived race, ethnicity, or ancestry. Religion was the second biggest category at 20%, followed by sexual orientation at 16%. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been an increase of hate crimes against Asian and Pacific Islander Americans. In Tacoma, there were numerous attacks on houses of worship in 2021 including arson at the Islamic Center of Tacoma, the only mosque in the county.
SB 5366 Extreme Heat Utility Shutoff Moratorium was heard in the Senate Environment & Energy Committee. This bill is ultimately about saving lives and preserving dignity during times of extreme heat. Having clean water and energy is critical during extreme heat emergencies. The 2021 heat wave claimed 157 lives in Washington State. Since Washington will experience more and more extreme weather events, this bill is necessary for public health and safety.
The Washington Coalition for Police Accountability (WCPA), of which FAN is a member, testified against HB 1363 which would roll back the current vehicular pursuit policy. The WCPA favors HB 1586 Creation of Vehicular Pursuits Model Policy. Our state law currently reserves vehicular pursuits for the most serious crimes against persons, such as murder, rape, arson, kidnapping, drive-by shootings, vehicular assault, sexual offenses, DUI, etc. WCPA strongly opposes changes to the current pursuit law because the number of deaths due to pursuits dropped by 70% when it was implemented. Any change should require study and input from stakeholder groups. Professor Martina Morris testified that there is no evidence that the current pursuit law is the cause of crime problems and rolling back pursuit laws will not fix these problems. Please see the WCPA factsheet: Common Sense Limits on Vehicular Pursuits Are Saving Lives.
HB 1559 Hunger Free Campus was heard in the House Postsecondary Education & Workforce Committee. Our Anti-Hunger Nutrition Coalition partners and students testified in favor. This bill would outline 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.
We celebrated a significant victory on Wednesday as SB 5087 Repealing Unconstitutional Statutes from State Law including the Death Penalty passed out of the Senate with 34 yeas and 14 nays. The bill is headed for the House!
Please see our Bill Tracker for how other bills on our agenda are progressing. We update the Bill Tracker every Friday morning.
This week on February 1, after years of work with our coalition partners, the Working Families Tax Credit (WFTC) was launched! There are already over 10,000 WFTC applications received by the Dept. of Revenue. This is huge news; now it’s time to make sure people get their credits, up to $1,200 per year. Over 400,000 Washington households are eligible for this new cash rebate every year.
You can help get the word out! We have posters and fliers available to share in your communities. Contact FAN@fanwa.org or call 206-625-9790. Faith communities that host a food bank, shelter, or other social services can post them in places where people gather. Include a blurb in your newsletters or bulletins every week in February and March. Share the coalition link for more information or the Department of Revenue application link on your website or social media.
Your advocacy helped this law pass in 2021, and now we want to help implement it. This will help Washingtonians put food on the table and pay for emergencies. It is not a loan. Undocumented immigrants and mixed status families are also eligible for the WFTC.
Here are some of this week’s articles on the launch:
- The Seattle Times covered yesterday’s press event and how to apply.
- The Olympian.
- Tacoma News Tribune.
- KIMA TV (Yakima).
Friday, February 3, 6:00pm, online. Virtual Civil Detention Forum, hosted by La Resistencia. Come learn what civil detention is from many different groups that are making efforts to create a safe place and environment for all communities in Washington State. Register here.
Saturday, February 4, 1:00pm, Interfaith Feast at Interfaith Community Sanctuary, Seattle. Gather together with friends and enjoy a homemade vegetarian meal. Share personal stories of interfaith harmony and beauty! Buy tickets here.
Saturday, February 4, 3:30pm, Justice for Tyre Nichols March at North Bank Park, Spokane. This event is co-sponsored by the Dorothy Day Labor Forum and several local faith groups. The march route will begin walking west on Mallon, turn left on Post, walk south on Post, turn right on Broadway, and walk west on Broadway until Spokane County Courthouse is reached. Find out more info here.
Tuesday, February 7, 6:00-7:30pm, online. Advocacy with JCIJ: Legislative Priorities & Telling Our Jewish Stories, presented by the Jewish Coalition For Immigrant Justice. Learn from Sasha Wasserstrom, Washington Immigrant Solidarity Network (WAISN) policy director, about their top legislative priorities, followed by a storytelling training on how to tell your own story to legislators to strengthen your advocacy for immigrant justice. Register here.
2023 LOBBY DAYS (that we know so far):
Monday-Wednesday, February 6-8, online, Washington Low Income Housing Alliance’s Housing and Homelessness Advocacy Days. Register here.
Thursday, February 9, 9:00am-3:00pm, in Olympia, FAN’s Interfaith Advocacy Day, Register here.
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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