State Legislature Convenes. Take Action!

Our 147-member State Legislature starts its 60-day session on Monday, January 8. This short nine-week session will go by quickly, so your advocacy and that of others in your faith community are especially needed to make an impact and to help bend the moral arc in our state toward justice and equity for ALL!

FAN will have a lobbyist presence (Paul Benz & Trevor Sandison) in Olympia every Monday-Thursday. If you come down for another lobby day before Interfaith Advocacy Day on February 20, please feel free to reach out to the lobby team and get connected. We always love hearing about the advocacy work you’re doing on the issues that matter to all of us. View our Legislative Agenda here.

What to Watch For in Week 1

Tuesday:

  • Governor Inslee gives his State of the State address before the joint session of the Legislature and State Supreme Court, 12 PM. View it on TVW.
  • The WA Voting Rights Act (HB 1800 Gregerson) will be heard in the House Committee on State Government at 8 AM. FAN, along with its policy partners, have been working on this bill for many sessions.

Wednesday:

  • The Senate version of the WA Voting Rights Act (SB 6002 Saldana) will be heard in the Senate Committee on State Government at 8 AM.
  • The Fair Chance Act (Ban the Box) will be heard in the Senate Committee on Labor at 1:30.
  • The Keep Washington Working bill (SB 5689 Wellman) will be heard in the Senate Committee on Labor at 1:30 PM. This is an immigration bill on FAN’s agenda that does two things: it puts into statute the important contribution of the undocumented community to our state’s economy; and it establishes a clear legal separation between law enforcement and ICE authorities.

Some Helpful Advocacy Tools

  • FAN’s website has many resources for you as the session begins. Check out our 2018 Legislative Agenda and use our Bill Tracker.
  • The State Legislature’s website has bountiful information regarding legislators, committees, bills, and much more.
  • Visit the TVW website for access to important hearings on a daily basis.
  • The Legislative Hotline phone number is: 1-800-562-6000. It’s available 8 AM to 8 PM, M-F during session. Some translation is available.

Take Action Now: The Capital Budget Needs Your Voice!

The most important and urgent piece of unfinished business that the legislature needs to attend to is our Capital Budget. The Capital Budget is one of three state budgets (the other two are the Operating Budget/General Fund and the Transportation Budget). It is our ‘brick and mortar’ budget, used for building and repairing much of our infrastructure in cities and municipalities across the state. It builds and renovates our public schools, builds non-profit community centers and facilities, and most importantly, it includes the Housing Trust Fund. This budget was not approved last session for the 2017-2019 biennium. Much of this budget is funded by bonds. For bonds to be approved in our state, they require a 60% approval by the Legislature, meaning it must be bi-partisan. If the bonds are not approved by the second week of this session, much of the funding of this $4 billion dollar budget that would build affordable housing could be lost.

Click here to email your legislators to urge them to pass the Capital Budget. These are our valuable investments of tax dollars, and they should not be lost because of political intransigence.