The Leg Session: Week Seven in Review

This is a committee work week, meaning that all policy and fiscal committees are  hearing bills from the opposite chamber. Policy cutoff is end-of-day Friday, February 23.  Here are some of the week’s highlights:

Monday was Quaker Voice and African American lobby day. FAN Co-Director Paul Benz worked as an ally with the black clergy to help schedule six agency directors and secretaries, and some of the legislators who came to speak to the 200+ who assembled that day. FAN board member Verlene Davis helped secure the special guest of the day: actor and activist Danny Glover. FAN joined a meeting with the Governors’ deputy and chief of staff to discuss repealing the anti-affirmative action initiative, I-200.

Tuesday: FAN’s Interfaith Advocacy Day had close to 300 in attendance on a snowy lobby day! Rep. Stonier of Vancouver and champion of Breakfast after the Bell (HB 1508), which is about to be signed by the Governor, was our morning legislative speaker. We had one or more advocates from 36 of our 49 legislative districts, and had approximately 108 meetings with legislators. Tuesday evening, FAN was present at the Initiative 940 joint hearing with De-Escalate WA.

A bill to ban discrimination based on a renter’s source of income (HB 2578) was voted out of the Senate Committee on Financial Institutions & Insurance, and is now in Senate Rules.

Wednesday was Jewish Community Lobby Day and Catholic Advocacy Day. Two of FAN’s high priority bills were heard. A pesticide safety stakeholder bill (SB 6529 Saldana) was heard in the House Committee on Health Care. If one of your Representatives is on this committee, contact them today! A bill about faith communities zoning for affordable housing (HB 1987 McBride) was heard in the Senate Human Services & Corrections Committee. If your senator is in this committee, please contact them today.

Thursday: many policy bills are being considered: SB 6277 is about Graduated Re-Entry; HB 1562 creates a food policy stakeholder group; and SB 5513 is a tax exemption and transparency bill on which FAN Economic Justice Working Group Co-Convener Steve Clagett testified.

Thursday has also brought with it two successes! HB 1488 will offer higher education scholarships for undocumented students and was voted out of the Senate Committee on Higher Education & Workforce Development. The bill to repeal the death penalty (SB 6052) was voted out of the House Committee on Judiciary. It now moves to House Rules!

Friday: The Voting Rights Act (SB 6002) may go to the floor for a historic vote. The Ombuds bill (HB 1889) is scheduled for a vote in the Senate Committee on Human Services & Corrections. The immigrant student scholarship bill (HB 1488) was voted out of the Senate Committee on Higher Education on Wednesday and is now in Senate Ways & Means. It must be voted on by the end of the day Monday.

Also this week, the House and Senate Supplemental Budgets came out on Monday and Tuesday. The following items were in one or both budgets:

Looking Ahead to Week Eight

We are almost near the end of the legislative session, now with only about 10 days until the March 8 end date.

Monday is the fiscal cutoff day, meaning any bill with a cost must be voted out of fiscal committees, or they are dead.

Tuesday-Friday: both chambers will be running bills. The end of the day on Friday is the opposite chamber cutoff date, meaning any bills not passed out of both the House and the Senate will be dead for this session.

That means it’s more critical than ever to take action and contact your legislators!

Take Action Now

  1. Enhanced Assault Weapons Background Checks (SB 5444 / HB 1387) is still alive, but needs your advocacy to make it to the floor for a vote. Click here to send a message to your legislators, or call right away: 1-800-562-6000.
  2. Repeal the Death Penalty (SB 6052 Walsh): Click here to contact your two State Representatives, let them know you want them to support this bill, ask about their position, and request that they urge the Speaker to bring this up for a vote! Click here for more information about the bill, and here to learn more about the broad support for this effort in Washington State.
  3. Budget Issues: With both the House and Senate Supplemental Budgets released, now is also a great time to contact your legislators, especially if they are on the House or Senate fiscal committees. We recommend thanking them for their support and vote for budgets that fund FAN’s priorities.

To contact your legislators, use the email formula [email protected], or use the Legislative Hotline: 1-800-562-6000 between 8 AM and 7 PM, Monday through Friday. To find out who your legislators are, click here.