FAN co-hosted a Faith-Based Summit in Tukwila with the U.S. Census Bureau this week! Attendees came to learn how to be ambassadors for their communities during Census 2020 and discuss how to reach historically undercounted areas. Elise led the panel of faith leaders above, and we were joined by keynote speakers Ron Sims, former Deputy Secretary of the US Department of Urban Development and former King County Executive (bottom right); and Rev. Dr. Kelle Brown of Plymouth Church Seattle who preached powerfully about the justice implications of the census (top right).
!!Action Alert!! Repeal the Death Penalty!
Please pledge your support to repeal the Death Penalty! SB 5339 (Carlyle – LD 36) will be heard in the House Public Safety Committee on February 24 at 1:30 PM. The House once again has the opportunity to repeal our death penalty statute and join the 20+ other states that have done so. We know that voices of faith and conscience can help urge the House Democrats to bring this bill to the floor for a vote.
The critical time for action will be between February 28 when the bill will sit in the Rules Committee and March 6, which is the cutoff for opposite chamber bills to be voted out of the second chamber. We are asking advocates to Take the Pledge that you will act when the time is right. Please sign the pledge indicating your commitment. We will send an email alert in the next few weeks when the time is right to contact your Representatives on this issue. We are hoping to have hundreds of advocates pledge to take action – let’s unite and raise our voices to end the Death Penalty in Washington State once and for all! Please share this call to action in your faith communities and on social media.
Week Six in Review
The house-of-origin cutoff for this session was Wednesday, February 19 – any bill that has not passed out of its house of origin, unless it is necessary to implement the budget, is essentially dead for the session. Some important bills on FAN’s Legislative Agenda made it to the next phase: Courts Open to All (HB 2567 Thai), Clean Slate (HB 2793 Hansen), Graduation Reality and Dual Skills/GRADS (HB 2455 Kilduff), and each of the Private Detention Ban bills, though they were considerably amended (HB 2576 Ortiz-Self/SB 6442 Saldaña). Two significant losses were the Individual Tax ID Number companion bills (HB 2521 Thai/SB 6557 Saldaña) and the Voting Rights Restoration bill (SB 6228 Kuderer), which was bitterly debated for over an hour on the Senate floor and later removed by Democratic leadership because of the divisive discussion.
Action returned to committee hearings on opposite chamber bills on Thursday. Paul testified on the Department of Corrections Housing Voucher bill (SB 5441 Nguyen), and the House TANF Reform bill (SB 2441 Entenman) was heard in the Senate Human Services Committee. The Ways & Means Committee began hearings on the supplemental operating budget bill.
Monday was Charles Rolland African (Diaspora) American Legislative Day – Several hundred advocates attended, with about 200 youth! See this powerful message from a youth speaker at the event. Over a dozen black clergy met with the Governor, and Paul represented FAN. Washington state currently has five African American legislators, the most we’ve had in history. Many state agency leaders attended and spoke as well.
Looking Ahead to Week Seven
Monday: Hearings on the Death Penalty Repeal (SB 5339 Carlyle), Clean Slate (HB 2793 Hansen), and Graduation Reality and Dual Skills/GRADS (HB 2455 Kilduff). The House Appropriations Committee will hear the supplemental operating budget.
Tuesday: The Courts Open to All bill (HB 2567 Thai) and the Bail Jumping racial equity bill (HB 2231 Pellicciotti) will be heard in the morning, and the two Private Detention Ban bills (HB 2576 Ortiz-Self/SB 6442 Saldaña) will be heard – the House bill is a study on private detentions, and the Senate bill is a prohibition on the Department of Corrections from making private detention contracts.
Wednesday-Thursday: Most committees will have executive sessions to debate, amend, and vote on bills.
Friday: Opposite chamber policy committee cutoff.
Take Action for Justice!
Did you sign the pledge to repeal the Death Penalty? We need your support today!
Three key House bills will be heard in Senate committees on Monday and Tuesday. For bonus actions you can take this week, you can email or call your legislators on any of these issues to show your support, particularly if they sit on the committees considering the bills. Contact your legislators using the email formula firstname.lastname@example.org, or call the Legislative Hotline: 1-800-562-6000 between 8 AM and 7 PM, Monday through Friday. (See Senate Committee and House Committee members here.)
- Clean Slate bill (HB 2793 Hansen): This bill will be heard in the Senate Law & Justice Committee on Monday, February 24 at 10 AM. It is a follow-up bill to the New Hope Act from last session – it will automatically remove misdemeanor crimes and some felonies from one’s record. There is some opposition to this bill by the Administrator of the Courts, prosecutors, and superior court judges because Washington state does not have a unified judicial system, which will make it difficult to administer. Amidst all of this, we need your voices to let your Senator know you support this bill, especially if they sit on the Law & Justice Committee.
- Courts Open to All Act (HB 2567 Thai): This bill will be heard in the Senate Law & Justice Committee on Tuesday, February 25 at 10 AM. It is a follow-up bill to the Keep Washington Working bill passed last session – it will prohibit federal immigration enforcement officers from arresting undocumented people inside county courthouses and within a one-mile radius of the courthouse, and it will prevent communication with courthouse employees and prosecutor staff. Let your Senator know you support this bill, especially if they sit on the Law & Justice Committee.
- Private Detention Ban bills (HB 2576 Ortiz-Self/SB 6442 Saldaña): The Senate bill has been reduced to prohibiting the Department of Corrections from contracting with private prisons to detain people in their custody. This bill has a hearing in the House Public Safety Committee on Tuesday, February 25 at 3:30 PM. Let your Representatives know you support SB 6442, especially if they sit on the Public Safety Committee. The House bill has been completely revised to a study bill where the Department of Health will research other state agencies involved in private detention. The study will be funded in the supplemental operating budget and is to be completed and reported on by December 1 to help inform a future, more comprehensive bill. The House bill will be heard on Tuesday, February 25 at 1:30 PM in the Senate Human Services Committee. Let your Senator know you support HB 2576, especially if they sit on the Human Services Committee.
Census 2020: 10 Questions – 10 Minutes – 10 Years of Impact!
FAN is asking if you can post some or part of this message in your bulletin or newsletter this coming week:
The launch of Census 2020 is just around the corner on March 12, when postcards will begin to arrive in households, providing an internet link to participate. Official Census Day is April 1. We are asking you to help in three ways:
- Please fill out your own census questionnaire by April 1!
- Can you help our faith community carry out a Census Action Day between March 12 and April 1? This may include a sermon, announcement, adult education forum with a speaker, Questionnaire Assistance table (providing laptops in our community so people without internet access can fill out the census), incentives and celebration. FAN will help you prepare for that and there are tools in many languages to help you. Contact FAN at email@example.com or 206-625-9790 for more information.
- Help our faith community reach out to historically under-counted communities of color, immigrants, people experiencing homelessness, tribes, rural areas, children under 5, and the elderly. See the Census Toolkit at fanwa.org for links to materials and posters in many languages.
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 historically under-counted communities of color, immigrants, tribes, rural areas, and young children. FAN often says in legislative work that budgets are moral documents—in this case, the data that informs budgets and allocation of resources have moral implications too!