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Getting Ready for the WA Legislative Session

Monday, January 13 is the first day of the 2020 legislature, and your voice and presence will be needed throughout the 60-day session. Last month, the governor released his supplemental budget where the main focus was reducing homelessness by using money from our state’s Rainy Day fund, requiring a two-thirds vote from each chamber. FAN supports the use of the emergency fund given the grave emergency of our state’s housing and homelessness issue. We also support appropriating $10M for the Housing Trust Fund in our Capital budget and two bills to reduce evictions (HBs 1656 and 1694).

In 2020, FAN will be advocating through your voices, calls, and emails in six areas:

  • Advocating for Economic Justice and Reducing Poverty
  • Restoring Justice in our Criminal Justice System
  • Creating Housing Opportunities and Preventing Homelessness
  • Addressing Climate Change
  • Protecting Immigrants, Civil and Human Rights for All
  • Ensuring Healthcare and Mental Health Access

As we move through the session, look for our weekly E-News with updates from Olympia, action items and petitions on important bills, and legislative lobby day events with FAN and our community partners. To prepare for the legislative session, check out our many resources on our fancy new webpage:

  • Legislative Agenda – see the many bills FAN is supporting this year
  • Interfaith Advocacy Day and Legislative Conferences – signup for an event near you to discuss the issues and meet with elected officials
  • Bill Tracker – follow your favorite bills as they move through each chamber and hopefully onto the Governor’s desk!
  • Issue Fact Sheets – learn more about the issues on FAN’s Legislative Agenda (more to be uploaded soon)
  • Advocacy Toolkit – learn how advocacy works and get resources to encourage your community to advocate

Other important resources for this session:

  • FAN’s Legislative Overview – We’re excited to offer two videos with Co-Director Paul Benz introducing prospects for the 2020 session and a breakdown of our legislative agenda. Gather advocates at coffee hour to listen together!
  • TVW – watch your legislators at work as they discuss bills and hear testimony from advocates from around the state
  • Washington State Legislature Website – find your district and legislators, what committees they sit on, and read the fine print of bills being considered
  • Legislative Hotline – leave a message for your legislators at 1-800-562-6000 between 8 AM and 7 PM, Monday through Friday

Take Action

We have one bill for you to take action on before the session begins! The Working Families Tax Credit (WFTC) (HB 1527 Entenman/SB 5810 Nguyen) is a means by which Washington State expands the federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) to reduce poverty by putting money back in workers’ pockets and helping to right our upside down tax code. In WA, the lowest income families pay 18% of their income in state and local taxes while the highest income families pay only 3%. We are working in coalition on this important economic justice bill.

Tell your three legislators you support the Working Families Tax Credit on day one! The first task is to call for support of the Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN) bill (Rep. Thai) which would ensure that all people, including undocumented workers, who pay taxes are eligible for the WFTC.


Come to Interfaith Advocacy Day!

Each Winter, FAN hosts three Interfaith Advocacy Day opportunities to bring voices of compassion and justice to our elected officials. In Olympia, we gather on February 6 at The United Churches of Olympia for workshops, strategy meetings in legislative districts, and meetings with our legislators. IFAD was unfortunately snowed out last year, so we are hoping to be a bold presence in Olympia in 2020! Registering early is important this year because there are new regulations limiting attendance to only 250 participants at the church, so the sooner you sign up the better! Please pay ahead of time, either when you register online or by phone or mail, so that we can guarantee you a spot.

FAN also co-hosts legislative conferences in Spokane and Yakima, in collaboration with our local partners. The Eastern Washington Legislative Conference in Spokane will be held January 25 from 8:30 AM – 3:30 PM at Spokane Valley United Methodist Church (115 N. Raymond St, Spokane Valley). Yakima Advocacy Day will be February 8 from 9 AM – 2 PM at St. Michael’s Episcopal Mission (5 S Naches Ave, Yakima).


Uncertainty at our Northern Border

Our partners at the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-WA) reported activity by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at the US-Canada border last week. Up to 150 Iranians and Iranian-Americans were delayed, and 60 or so were detained and questioned when attempting to cross the border in Blaine, WA. FAN is grateful for the work of many elected officials and advocacy organizations that are investigating this situation, and we call for solidarity with our neighbors of Iranian heritage during these tumultuous times.

For more information, including actions you can take, see Washington Immigrant Solidarity Network (WAISN)’s statement.


Events & Opportunities

Census 2020 jobs are available now!
Apply today at 2020census.gov/jobs

Puget Sound area advocates: You are invited to join FAN
and our Jewish partners at the MLK Day March
on January 20.
 Workshops begin at Garfield High School
(400 23rd Ave) at 8:30 AM, and we will meet together 12:30 PM
for the march to City Hall, followed by a rally.

 

For more events coming up this week, see our Event Calendar.