Latest Posts
  • Senate Budget Released – Advocacy Needed

    “Our state budget is a moral document that reflects our values and priorities for state government.  Faith Action Network supports investments that meet our commitments to fulfill the McCleary decision AND strengthen our safety net programs for the poor and vulnerable.” -Rev. Paul Benz

    Yesterday, the Senate Republican Majority Coalition Caucus released their budget (SB 5048). The public hearing on the bill took place in the Committee on Ways & Means, and FAN was one of close to 200 who testified. Most testified in opposition, while Tim Eyman and a few others supported it. Senate leadership plans to bring this to the floor of the Senate for debate and vote on Thursday. With 25 votes, it will be approved and then it will be the House Democrat’s turn. It is expected they will release their budget on Monday or Tuesday of next week.

    Some key take-aways from the Senate budget are:

    • It eliminates the Housing & Essential Needs (HEN) rent support program impacting about 4,600 disabled and extremely low-income households across our state.
    • A consequence of eliminating HEN is that recipients of the Medical Care Services (MCS) program will no longer be eligible for this, thus impacting another 5,000 elderly immigrants.
    • Approximately $63M in TANF funds will be transferred over to the State Needs Grant program, helping lower income students but pushing more TANF households deeper into pove This kind of ‘robbing Peter to pay Paul’ happens when budget writers refuse to consider new revenue sources.
    • A new time limit is established for those receiving help from the ABD (Aged, Blind, and Disabled) program, which eliminates income supports for extremely low-income disabled households, consequently causing many in this group to being homeless.
    • Eliminates funding in the Dept. of Commerce for youth homelessness and their families, which is one of FAN’s budget priorities.

    Washington State currently has the most upside-down tax code in the nation, with lower income households paying a rate at up to 7 times higher than the richest households. This budget maintains that status quo, and our schools, communities, and the most vulnerable among us are paying the price.

    Click here to ask your legislators to vote against the Senate Budget and for a budget that reflects our moral vision for the future of Washington: one that will meet our commitments to fund public education AND strengthen our safety net programs for those among us who are low-income and vulnerable.

    You can also call your legislators using the number: 844-489-4843 between 8 AM and 8 PM, Monday through Friday. Translators are available. Leave your name and addess, and tell them you want to send a message of all 3 of your legislators. We recommend adding your concerns to this sample message:

    I want to see our state lead the nation in_______ (great schools, affordable healthcare, racial equality, clean air, etc). 

    It’s time to clean up the tax code to make sure we build a strong foundation for Washington – and the Senate Republican budget does just the opposite. Please support closing the tax break on capital gains and other wasteful tax breaks to pay for a great future for all Washingtonians, rather than funding education at the expense of thriving communities.

  • Legislative Action, Week 10

    Last Week’s Highlights

    HB 1646 – Fitzgibbons is a tax on carbon emissions in our state. Thanks to the Alliance for Jobs & Clean Energy, which FAN is a part of, last Wednesday’s public hearing in the House Committee on the Environment had an amazing turnout. Unfortunately, this bill will probably not move out of committee. There is a remote chance that it might play a part in the final budget negotiations because of the revenue it generates. It is probable that this bill will be formed into an initiative for next year.

    Leaders of the negotiations regarding the homeless encampment bill that FAN was a part of (HB 2044 / SB 5657) decided to ‘lay the bill down’ for this session. They are committed to bringing stakeholders together during the interim later in the year.

    The Kids Ready to Learn Act (Breakfast After the Bell) (HB 1508 – Stonier) passed through the House in early March, but now has to make it through the Senate Committee on Early Learning & K-12 Education. FAN’s lobby team is working with the Breakfast After the Bell lobby team to count Senate votes for the bill and drum up support. Its next hearing will be in Senate Early Learning & K-12 Education this Tuesday.

    What’s Ahead in Week 11

    The main item this week will be the release of the Senate Republican budget, likely in the next couple of days. FAN will be doing a separate action alert on this when it comes out.

    Several bills will be heard or voted on this week in committee:

    The Legal Financial Obligations bill (HB 1783 – Holy) that FAN supports will be heard in the Senate Committee on Law & Justice on Thursday.

    Take Action

    The Solar Incentive bill (HB 1048 – Morris) that FAN supports had a hearing in the House Committee on Finance on March 10. It has not been scheduled yet for a vote. Please let your House members know of your support for this and urge them to have the chair of the Finance Committee schedule it for a vote. If your House member is a part of this committee, please let them know of your support and desire for this bill to come up for a vote.

    We will know more about the House and Senate budgets soon, but in the meantime, it’s always helpful to remind your legislators that budgets are moral documents that reflect our values and priorities for state government. We support investments that meet our commitments to fulfill the McCleary decision AND strengthen our safety net programs for the poor and vulnerable.

    You can always contact your three legislators by calling the Legislative hotline: 1-800-562-6000, or using the email formula: firstname.lastname@leg.wa.gov.

  • Legislative Highlights and Action for Week 10

    Last Week’s Highlights

    Last Wednesday was a key cut-off date for bills in the Legislature. Those that hadn’t yet passed through their chamber of origin (the House or the Senate) are now dead, unless they were categorized as Necessary to Implement the Budget (NTIB). Unfortunately, this means many bills on FAN’s Legislative Agenda have come to the end of the road for this session; see our Bill Tracker for updated information. One of those bills to not make the cut-off was Source of Income Discrimination (HB 1633), which would have made it illegal to discriminate against renters for using housing subsidies or vouchers to pay for housing.

    Many bills did make the cut-off, though, including a gender pay equity bill (HB 1506), which passed on International Women’s Day just before the House adjourned!

    Also last week, FAN Co-Director Paul Benz played a major role in being a lobbying guide for Good Food and Farms Advocacy Day, and worked with the Washington Farmer’s Market Association and advocates to meet with Director Derek Sandison of the Washington State Department of Agriculture.

    What’s Ahead in Week 10

    Monday – Meetings with advocates and legislators on Breakfast after the Bell (HB 1508) and an anti-poverty bill (HB 1482) strategy in the Senate.

    Tuesday – There will be a hearing in the House Committee on the Environment at 1:30 PM on HB 1646, which would establish a tax on carbon emissions at $15/ton.  This bill is supported by FAN, Earth Ministry, and Alliance for Jobs and Clean Energy.

    Wednesday – The House Committee on Public Safety will hold a work session on SB 5280 and the issue of making assault against law enforcement a hate crime. FAN opposes this bill.

    Thursday – A human trafficking bill (SB 5030) will be heard in the House Committee on Public Safety at 8 AM. One bill FAN and partners have concerns about, REAL ID (SB 5008), will have a hearing in the House Committee on Transportation. There will also be a meeting of lobbyists, legislators, and community advocates on a homeless encampment bill (HB 2044 / SB 5657).

    Early in week 11, both the House and the Senate will release their budgets, and we’ll know more about what’s funded in each of them. To see FAN’s budget requests, check out our Bill Tracker.

    Take Action

    The Clean Energy Transition Act (HB 1646) has a hearing in the House Committee on Environment on Tuesday, and FAN and our partners at Earth Ministry and in the Alliance for Jobs and Clean Energy are working hard to show support for it! The bill will establish a tax on carbon that will help fund investment in clean energy, clean air, healthy forests, and Washington’s communities. Learn more about the bill here.

    Contact your two State Representatives to let them know your position on this bill! This is especially important if your Representative is on the House Committee on the Environment.

    Click here to send both of your Representatives a message, call them using the Legislative Hotline: 1-800-562-6000, or email them using the email formula: firstname.lastname@leg.wa.gov.