2012 Legislative End-of-Session Report

 

Recording Fee Bill

This was the only bill (HB2048) during this session that will raise revenue in an immediate way this biennium. The source is the established fee set a few sessions ago on real estate documents filed in county auditor offices. The money raised will go to support homeless prevention support services (Home Security Fund) with a 60/40 local/state split. FAN worked with the Low Income Housing Alliance and many housing advocates to secure passage.

 

Housing Trust Fund

FAN worked with numerous community and religious partners to reach a very good appropriation level of $67 million from the capital budget that will help provide housing assistance and housing services around our state. With a $500 million budget gap this session, this successful effort shows the importance of grassroots advocacy and strong legislative leadership.

 

Jobs Now/Jobs Tomorrow

This bill (SB5127) was the combined effort of Sen. Derek Kilmer and Rep. Hans Dunshee. Though they are tough negotiators, the bill was held up often and not passed until the final hours of the extended special session. Through the sale of state bonds ($1.1 billion), which will then leverage $500 million, this project will generate 18,000 jobs. Two examples are building infrastructure in our public schools (energy efficiency), and local sewage and water systems efficiencies and pollution prevention. FAN worked with the Washington State Labor Council and its many allies to see this finally adopted.

 

Marriage Equality

This was the historic bill (SB6239) of the 2012 session! With this legislation (signed by the governor on February 13), Washington became only the 7th state to pass a law that allows same gender marriages. FAN, the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle, and the Unitarian Universalist Voices for Justice were the main religious groups backing this bill.

 

Human Trafficking Reforms

FAN supported the strong leadership of Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles and Washington Engage this past session to secure more reforms to fight the 21st century’s expression of slavery. The key bill (SB6251) makes Washington the first state with a law that holds companies criminally liable for advertising services that commercially exploit minors in a sexual manner.

 

Gang Violence Prevention

This bill (HB2432) was included in the final supplemental budget. It will provide $250,000 in a competitive grant program for local community-based organizations to further their efforts to prevent gang violence. The Washington State Partnership Council on Juvenile Justice will oversee this program. FAN is a part of a large, diverse coalition that helped get this provision passed and also stopped other gang bills that did not address prevention.

 

Women, Infants, & Children (WIC) and Seniors Farmers Market Nutrition Program

FAN was the lead lobbyist in Olympia on this small but “win-win” program for low-income households, struggling seniors, and local growers ($100,000 – which leverages almost $1 million in federal money). FAN was a leader along with the Washington Sustainable Food and Farming Network, the Washington State Farmers Market Association, and many others to keep this program from being eliminated.

 

State Food Assistance

FAN worked with the Children’s Alliance, Food Lifeline, Northwest Harvest, and many others to keep this program funded, which now keeps 12,500 kids of immigrant households (predominantly Pacific Islander households) out of hunger. Without this assistance, poverty would have risen even higher in the Evergreen State.

 

Basic Health Plan & Apple Health for Kids

FAN is a part of the Friends of Basic Health coalition that helped preserve this important state funded health insurance program for working adults who are uninsured. Cuts over the last four years have reduced those enrolled from 120,000 to 30,000 – but it was not eliminated! Funding for the Apple Health for Kids program for kids 0-18 years was protected. Six percent of kids in Washington are uninsured – but in communities of color it rises to twenty percent. The Children’s Alliance and the Health Care for Kids & Youth coalition that FAN belongs to worked to secure $1 million in funding for enrollment assistance to ensure that more kids of color are insured.

 

Out of State Bank First Time Mortgage Exemption Repealed

This bipartisan bill was included in the final supplemental budget and will eventually bring in an estimated $3.5 million into our state treasury. Though miniscule in amount compared to the total amount of tax exemptions (Washington has more than 500 tax exemptions!), this is a start toward significant reform of our tax exemptions and tax structure. FAN is a part of the broad-based Revenue Coalition that works on this very important issue.