The Tacoma Refugee Choir reminds you to “Be Counted!” in their new music video about the 2020 Census. Watch and share their video – translated subtitles are available in 11 languages on YouTube.
The 2020 Legislative Session is Over – Your voice bent the moral arc of the universe more towards justice! The very intense 60-day legislative session ended last Thursday, March 12 with final concurrence on the last bills, debate, and party-line adoption of the supplemental operating budget which included funding for a lot of housing and human service programs. Approximately 1,455 bills were introduced and about 250 reached the governor’s desk! The capital budget reserved $40M for affordable housing via the Housing Trust Fund, and the transportation budget increased just enough to restart the transportation projects that I-976, which implemented a $30 car tab limit, put on hold.
Several bills FAN worked on passed which had a significant racial equity or environmental impact. Our state legislature is more culturally diverse than ever before, and the prime sponsor of each of these bills are members of color.
- HB 1783, Rep. Gregerson – Establishes a state racial equity office within the Governor’s office, the first of its kind in the nation.
- HB 2551, Rep. Lekanoff – Allows Native American students to wear their tribal regalia during their graduation ceremony.
- HB 2567 Rep. Thai – Courts Open to All Act: Prohibits federal immigration agents from communicating with and arresting people at and around county courthouses.
- HB 2602, Rep. Morgan – Establishes hair styles as a protected civil right, especially in workplaces.
- HB 5323, Sen. Das – Bans the sale of single-use plastic bags in all commercial outlets and establishes the price of a single paper bag at 8 cents.
- HB 5947, Sen. McCoy – Sustainable Farms and Fields bill: Establishes a grant program to incentivize carbon sequestration by growers and food producers.
Other bills that passed which FAN worked on or supported towards racial equity and economic justice:
- HB 1590 Rep. Doglio – Gives authority to city and county councils to increase local sales and use taxes by one tenth of one percent to dedicate to affordable housing.
- HB 1694 Rep. Morgan – Allows apartment move-in fees to be paid in installments.
- HB 2231 Rep. Pellicciotti – Bail jumping bill: Reforms our current bail system to create more racial, economic, and legal equity by allowing judges the right to determine consequences for missed court hearings, rather than prosecutors.
- HB 2277 Rep. Peterson – Bans the use of solitary confinement in our juvenile justice system.
- HB 2441 Rep. Entenman – Reforms the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program around time limits and sanctions.
- HB 2455 Rep. Kilduff – GRADS bill: Creates childcare opportunities for teenage parents to attend high school and create self-sufficiency.
- HB 2456 Rep. Callan – Extends the assistance received from the Working Connections Child Care program from the current 4 months to 12 for families experiencing homelessness.
- HB 2576, Rep. Ortiz-Self – Authorizes the Department of Health to study the effects of private detention in our state agencies.
- HB 2632, Rep. Valdez – Swatting bill: Designates the false reporting of crimes or emergencies as a felony offense.
- HB 2660, Rep. Riccelli – Increases access to free school meals for high-eligibility areas.
- HB 2793, Rep. Hansen – Bill was amended to being a pilot study program for streamlining the vacation of certain criminal records by the Administrative Office of the Courts.
- SB 6261, Sen. McCoy – Removes the nonprofit exemption from farm labor contracts to protect farm workers from unsafe practices and retaliation.
- SB 6309, Sen. Lovelett – Increases the WIC/Farmer’s Market Nutrition Program voucher amount to $28.
- SB 6442, Sen. Saldaña – Prohibits the Department of Corrections from using private contractors for incarceration unless it is a Governor-declared emergency.
- SB 6478, Sen. Nguyen – Reforms standards for economic assistance programs.
Capital Budget Victories:
- Seattle Vocational Institute Remake – Increased funding by $1.3M.
- Housing Trust Fund – $40M
- Noah’s Ark (an emergency shelter in Wapato) – $100K
Important bills that did not pass:
- HB 1110, Rep. Fitzgibbon – Clean Fuels Standards bill: Cuts greenhouse gas emissions from transportation fuels.
- HB 1343, Rep. Entenman – Repeals the Capital Gains tax exemption.
- HB 2240, Rep. Valdez – Restricts the sale, manufacture, transfer, and possession of high capacity gun magazines
- HB 2453 (Rep. Macri) – Just Cause Eviction bill: Curbs landlord privilege by requiring a legitimate business reason to evict a tenant.
- HB 2521/SB 6557, Rep. Thai/Sen. Saldaña – Includes those who have Individual Tax ID Numbers (ITIN) in the Working Families Tax Credit (WFTC) statute to receive tax benefits when funding is approved.
- HB 2734, Rep. Davis – Repeals the pharmaceutical tax exemption.
- SB 5339, Sen. Carlyle – Repeals the death penalty.
- SB 6153, Sen. Salomon – Decriminalizes the Driving While License Suspended (DWLS-3) criminal code.
- SB 6202, Sen. Darneille – Eliminating Robbery-2 from the three-strikes law retroactively.
- SB 6228, Sen. Kuderer) – Restores voting rights for those exiting prison.
- SB 6490, Sen. Darneille – Housing Justice for All bill: Removes discrimination for those exiting prison.
There were two major bills that passed but FAN did not work on, that we wanted to highlight because we may see them on our fall ballot: sex education and expanded sports gambling.
With the closure of the state legislative session, FAN will focus more on congressional issues such as the Coronavirus Assistance bill that just passed the House late last Friday night and is expected to be voted on in the Senate and signed by the president early this week. We will continue to work with our partners on state issues, set up interim meetings with state legislators and members of Congress, and seek your support in hosting candidate forums in September and October. Thank you for your calls, emails, and meetings with your legislators this session – your voices ensured that economic justice, criminal justice, housing and homelessness, immigrant and civil rights, environmental justice, and health care and mental health care were top priorities in shaping Washington’s future.
Census 2020: 10 Questions ~ 10 Minutes ~ 10 Years of Impact!
Census 2020 has been launched! Letters have begun arriving 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!
- Please include in your communications ongoing announcements for members to fill out their census, either online or by telephone, by April 1. Faith communities can encourage participation through a sermon, announcement, special prayer, online activity, social media posts, videos and more to celebrate that Everyone Counts! Faith Action Network offers tools in many languages to support you at the Census Toolkit page at fanwa.org/advocacy/advocacy-toolkit/census-2020/.
- Help your faith community reach out to historically undercounted communities of color, immigrants, people experiencing homelessness, tribes, rural areas, children under 5, and the elderly. We know you are engaged in creative ways to meet the needs of your neighbors during this COVID-19 outbreak and quarantines. Maybe you could share census flyers in food bags, or in programs helping children while schools are closed? Partner with a community group that is finding creative solutions to reach out to elderly neighbors and share Census information.
Contact FAN at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information and resources, or to let us know how it’s going! Make sure to follow FAN on Facebook as we will be sharing videos and ideas there each day until April 1.
This week we are featuring this wonderful new song and video release by the Tacoma Refugee Choir—because we all need to share the joy right now and to remember there’s power in being counted! Here is the YouTube link.
Events & Opportunities
In light of state and local recommendations for community health practices during the coronavirus outbreak, many groups have chosen to cancel or postpone their upcoming events. Be sure to check event links ahead of time for updates.
While we are practicing isolation to keep our communities safe and healthy, there are ways we can still stay connected. Share your digital sermons, worship services, and meditations with us on Facebook. Attend the National Council of Churches interfaith webinar on faith responses to COVID-19 on Wednesday, March 18 at 11 AM EST. Advocate for those in the NW Detention Center facing coronavirus using La Resistencia’s script: