Last chance to register for Interfaith Advocacy Day in Olympia on Thursday, February 9, 9am-3pm. Please register by next Friday, February 3, at this link; after that we will not be able to schedule legislative meetings for you.
Overnight accommodations are available at Gwinwood Retreat Center in Lacey for those traveling from a distance. Cost for a single room and shared bathroom is $35. Please indicate your interest in your registration, or email email@example.com for more information.
You can study up in preparation for IFAD! Our Issue Fact Sheets page is being updated with background information on bills as we receive them, and our Bill Tracker is updated every Friday with the progress of the bills through committees. Make sure you know who your legislators are and what committees they serve on at leg.wa.gov. Follow our legislative agenda here.
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.
ECONOMIC JUSTICE and FOOD SECURITY
Next week is important again for many of our bills, especially these economic justice bills:
HB 1075 Working Families Tax Credit (WFTC) Expanding Age Eligibility and HB 1477 WFTC Administrative and Technical Fixes are scheduled for a public hearing in the House Finance Committee on Tuesday, January 31, at 8:00am. The age expansion bill, HB 1075 would give everyone 18 and older access to the WFTC. The administrative and technical fixes in HB 1477 include extending eligibility to Married Filing Separately tax filers, which would help survivors of domestic violence; expanding the time families have to claim their payments from 1 year to the IRS’s standard of 3 years; and creating a biennial legislative reporting requirement for the Dept. of Revenue. Sign-in PRO: for HB 1075 here and for HB 1477 here.
PUBLIC SAFETY and GUN RESPONSIBILITY
SB 5427 Bias Incident Hotline is scheduled to have a public hearing in the Senate Committee on Law & Justice on Tuesday, January 31, at 10:30am. This bill would create a reporting hotline for hate crimes and bias incidents, and would also provide services and assistance to victims. Sign-in PRO here.
HB 1513 Traffic Safety for All is scheduled for a public hearing in the House Committee on Community Safety, Justice, & Reentry on Monday, January 30, at 1:30pm. This bill would help law enforcement officers focus on traffic stops related to road safety issues such as impaired/distracted driving and reckless driving. The bill would create a pool of grant money for cities, counties, tribes, and nonprofits to create pilot programs to help people comply with the law and fix their vehicles to avoid low-level violations. Programs might include repair vouchers, taillight installation workshops, helmet vouchers, and fee waivers for expired tabs. This solution-oriented fund would ensure safer vehicles on the road; support low-income drivers, including cyclists; and fix vehicles to improve road safety. Simultaneously, it would reduce the disproportionate impact on communities of color and low-income people of unnecessary low-level stops and other police 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 was also a safety risk. Sign-in PRO here.
CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM
HB 1024 Real Labor, Real Wages Act is scheduled for a public hearing in the House Appropriations Committee on Monday, January 30, at 1:30pm. This bill would mandate that incarcerated workers be paid state minimum wage. Sign-in PRO here.
SB 5366 Extreme Heat Utility Shutoff Moratorium will have a public hearing in the Senate Environment & Energy Committee on Tuesday, January 31, at 1:30pm. This bill would prohibit utility providers from discontinuing electricity or drinking water services to customers during extreme heat. Sign-in PRO here.
Legislative Session Week 3
Bills that passed out of their committees this week:
- HB 1045 Evergreen Basic Income Pilot Program.
- SB 5125 WA Future Fund “Baby Bonds.”
- HB 1087 Solitary Confinement Reform.
- HB 1024 Real Labor, Real Wages.
- HB 1177 Missing & Murdered Indigenous Women and Persons Cold Case Unit.
- HB 1181 Planning for a Climate Friendly Future.
- SB 5082 Repealing Statewide Advisory Votes.
- HB 1124 Six-months’ Notice of Significant Rent Increases and Cap on Late Fees.
- HB 1240 Ban on Sale of Assault Weapons.
- HB 1143 Firearms permit process.
On Monday, FAN policy engagement director, Kristin Ang, testified in strong support of SB 5339 Free School Meals for All Students. This bill would be a giant step toward ENDING CHILD HUNGER. It would end school food stigma, lunch shaming, and lunch debt. The bill would also address learning loss and strengthen the health of our students with healthy meals. Data shows that universal free school meals have both academic and behavioral benefits. Georgetown University professor Krista Ruffini, who has studied universal free school meals and student achievement, observed “We see that expanding the school meals program to all kids, regardless of their families’ income, leads to improvements for kids and families: math test scores go up, exclusionary discipline — basically out-of-school suspensions — goes down, and the use of food bank services also falls.” California and Maine started permanent universal school meal programs this school year, while Colorado passed a state ballot measure with overwhelming support by both Republican and Democratic voters in 2022.
Also on Monday, HB 1329/SB 5366 Extreme Heat Utility Shutoff Moratorium was heard in the House Environment & Energy committee. This legislation would protect human health and safety by preventing electricity and water shutoffs during extreme heat. The 2021 heat wave was Washington’s deadliest extreme weather event on record, with 157 lives lost. As extreme weather events occur more often, this bill would save lives and provide security.
Tuesday was Reproductive Justice Day, with many rallying on the Capitol steps in support of the reproductive justice bills heard that day, including:
- HB 1469 Shield Law, which would protect patients and providers of reproductive and gender-affirming care in Washington from retribution by other states, ensuring that care remains available to those who require it in Washington state.
- HB 1340 Protecting Health Care Providers would ensure that Washington’s health care providers cannot be disciplined as a result of providing reproductive or gender-affirming care in accordance with Washington state law, regardless of where their patients reside.
- SB 5241 Keep Our Care Act would create public oversight of future health entity mergers in Washington and ensure that they benefit patients in terms of cost, access to reproductive and gender-affirming care, and end-of-life dignity.
Also on Tuesday, HB 1388 Stop Excessive Rent Hikes and HB 1389 Rent Stabilization had a crowded public hearing in the Housing Committee. Hundreds signed up to testify and thousands signed in Pro or Con for the legislative record. While realtors’ and developers’ associations opposed the bills, proclaiming that no one would want to build new rental homes with these laws, those affected by predatory rent practices shared their struggles, including some who became homeless due to significant rent increases. Housing advocates noted how the bills were crafted to be fair to both landlords and tenants by providing exemptions for landlords experiencing economic hardship or making improvements, and for those offering income-based rental rates.
On Wednesday, HB1025 Access to Fairness Act was heard in the House Committee on Civil Rights & Judiciary. This bill would create a private right of action for harm from violations of the state Constitution or state law by peace officers. It would prevent Washington courts from applying the qualified immunity shield for state-law civil rights violations. The bill’s sponsor, Rep. My-Linh Thai, said that this bill is about protecting the constitutional rights of our community members, increasing public safety, and facilitating access to justice. This bill is similar to ones passed in Colorado and New Mexico that provide a legal remedy to people whose rights have been violated by law enforcement. The Committee also heard HB 1445 AG Investigations & Reform. This bill would strengthen and clarify the Washington Attorney General’s authority to investigate and bring suit where there are systemic failures at police agencies or departments, that result in violations of the Washington constitution or state laws. It would help ensure a fundamental baseline of quality policing across Washington. The bill follows recent legislation in California, Colorado, Virginia, and Nevada, and is similar to the U.S. Department of Justice’s (DOJ’s) consent decree authority.
On Thursday, SB 5109 Unemployment Insurance for Undocumented Workers had a public hearing in the Senate Committee on Labor & Commerce. The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Saldaña, shared how much we all rely on and benefit from the essential work done by those who are undocumented. A Fair Work Center representative stated that the bill would create stability across our workforce. When undocumented workers lack the ability to pay for childcare, housing, and other necessities, their families and the broader community are affected. The Farm Bureau, the Washington Hospitality Association, and the Building Industry Association opposed the bill, despite their industries relying on this labor. Their concerns were that there were no safe harbors for employers from the federal government, that employers could not rehire workers once they had constructive knowledge of undocumented status, and that the cost of the new unemployment insurance may burden their industries.
Today, Friday, HB 1240 Ban on Sale of Assault Weapons and HB 1143 Firearms Permit Process passed out of committee. HB 1240 would prohibit the sale, manufacture, transport, and import (but not possession) of assault weapons. HB 1143 would require a comprehensive background check, safety training, and a waiting period to purchase a firearm in Washington.
To connect more about FAN’s policy work, please contact Policy Engagement Director Kristin at Ang@fanwa.org.
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.
Tuesday, February 7, in Olympia, Hunger Action Day at Temple Beth Hatfiloh. 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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