A complete and accurate count for Census 2020 is a justice issue! Won’t you join us for the 2020 Census Faith-Based Community Summit next Wednesday, February 19? Learn more at the Facebook event.

Week Five in Review

The fiscal cutoff for this session was Tuesday, February 11 – any bill with a fiscal note that had not passed out of committee is essentially dead for the session. All five fiscal committees heard a lot of bills on Tuesday, especially the Senate Ways & Means and House Appropriations Committees. As we near February 19 when bills must be voted out of the chamber of origin, legislators have been out of committee hearings and on the floor voting. Co-Director Paul and many other citizen lobbyists from other organizations have been lobbying at the House and Senate chamber doors to encourage the successful passage of bills on our agenda. We welcome FAN advocates to join in this process – email fan@fanwa.org to let us know you’re coming!

Monday was Latino Legislative Day – several hundred advocates attended and met with Governor Inslee, Speaker Laurie Jinkins, and numerous legislators. A highlight of this day is the annual Farm Worker Tribunal which was held in the state Supreme Court hearing room, with Justice Steven Gonzalez attending. FAN has two important immigration bills that are also priorities for the Latino Civic Alliance (LCA): the Private Detention Ban bill (HB 2576 Ortiz-Self/SB 6442 Saldaña) and the Courts Open to All bill (HB 2567 Thai/SB 6522 Wellman).

Looking Ahead to Week Six

Monday – Wednesday: Both chambers will be voting on bills, and Paul will be lobbying at the doors. Keep calling and emailing your legislators to pass bills out of their houses of origin by Wednesday! Any bills not voted out of their houses of origin will be dead for the session.

Thursday – Friday: The House and Senate will begin committee hearings on bills from the opposite chambers.

Monday: African American Legislative Day – Paul has been part of the planning committee and will be present for the event. They’ll be expecting 300 youth, clergy members will meet with the Governor, and legislators and state agency directors will be speaking and answering questions at the Columbia room. The day ends with a rally in the rotunda.

Take Action for Justice!

After Wednesday, February 19, any bills not passed out of their houses of origin will be dead for the session. Your advocacy can ensure that key justice bills keep moving this session! Here are SIX priority bills from our legislative agenda that need to be voted on before the 19th – Take Five (minutes) and use these quick links to email your legislators:

  • Private Detention Ban bill (HB 2576 Ortiz-Self) – This bill would eliminate private detentions in Washington state, prioritizing the safety of those incarcerated and transparency of prison practices.
  • Gun magazine restriction bill (HB 2240 Valdez) – This bill would restrict the sale, manufacture, transfer, and possession of gun magazines holding over a set number of rounds.
  • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) reform bill (HB 2441 Entenman) – This bill would increase access to TANF and address racial disparities in its distribution.
  • Just Cause Eviction bill (HB 2453 Macri) – This bill would require a legitimate business reason to evict a tenant.
  • Voting Rights Restoration bill (SB 6228 Kuderer) – This bill would restore voting rights for those exiting state prisons who are still in Department of Corrections custody.
  • WIC Farmer’s Market Nutrition bill (SB 6309 Lovelett) – This bill would increase the WIC/Farmer’s Market nutrition program voucher amount.

For any other bills on our agenda, contact your legislators using the email formula firstname.lastname@leg.wa.gov, or call the Legislative Hotline: 1-800-562-6000 between 8 AM and 7 PM, Monday through Friday. Check out the Seattle/King County League of Women Voters’ 2020 They Represent You online directory of Washington legislators.

Work with FAN on Census 2020!

The launch of Census 2020 is just around the corner on March 12, when postcards will begin to arrive inviting households to participate. Official Census Day is April 1. Can your faith community dedicate one day between March 12 and April 1 to sharing the importance of the census in your community—with a sermon, adult education forum, a take-action table? We will help you prepare for that and have tools in many languages to help you. Contact Elise at degooyer@fanwa.org for more information.

In the State of Washington, $16.7B in tax dollars for our communities are at stake, along with our democratic representation in Congress. We cannot afford to miss counting anyone in this census, especially traditionally undercounted communities of color, immigrants, tribes, rural areas, and young children. We often say in our legislative work that budgets are moral documents—in this case, the data that informs budgets and allocation of resources have moral implications too!

To prepare for this important season, our partners at the U.S. Census Bureau are hosting a Faith-Based Community Summit on Wednesday, February 19 from 9 AM – 3 PM. We hope each faith community might be able to send one or more representatives to learn how you can mobilize your community around Census 2020! Inspiration will be offered by Seattle Plymouth Church lead pastor Rev. Dr. Kelle Brown and former Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development Ron Sims. Faith leaders will speak on a panel from various faith traditions.

We also encourage you to take our survey to tell us how you would like to be further involved in this important work.