The Recovery Rebate HB 1297 (Rep. Thai) is a policy FAN supports that provides direct, flexible cash to the households that most need it. The Recovery Rebate updates the Working Families Tax Credit by making it more equitable and inclusive. Contact your legislators through the link below, and tune in to TVW on Tuesday when this bill gets its first hearing. See below how to sign in Pro and submit written comments before/after the hearing.
This week we are offering three opportunities to take action on issues on FAN’s legislative agenda. It’s never been easier to advocate with three quick clicks and no more than five minutes of your time! Click each link to email your legislators – an email prompt is provided, but please add your own words on why these bills are important to you.
- HB 1297 (Rep. Thai) Working Families Tax Credit – FAN has been fighting to fund this vital resource for many legislative sessions. It has a hearing in the House Finance Committee on Tuesday. Email your Representatives and ask whether they support this bill. Let us know how they respond! Please see our website for more background info.
- SB 5226 (Sen. Salomon) Driving While License Suspended – This bill would make driving with a suspended license for reasons of failing to pay a ticket or appear in court for a moving violation (such as speeding or rolling through a stop sign) a civil matter instead of a criminal offense. This is the most commonly-charged crime in WA State, and it disproportionately impacts people of color, people in poverty, and young people who are prevented from going to work, picking up their kids, or doing other daily tasks while their license is suspended. Email your Senator and ask whether they support this bill. Let us know how they respond!
- SB 5164 (Sen. Darneille) Removing Robbery 2 as a strikeable offense for those in prison serving a 3-Strike sentence will have a hearing on Monday. FAN supported the bill that was passed last year which removed this offense prospectively. SB 5164 would work retroactively to give people currently in prison with this sentence the opportunity for judicial review, reducing mass incarceration in our state. Email your Senator ask whether they support this bill. Let us know how they respond!
There were many promising changes coming from the new presidential administration, and we saw many bills moving forward in Washington State as well! Here are some highlights:
Paul was given the responsibility to be the lead lobbyist on HB 1267, Establishing an Independent Investigations Office, where he will be coordinating all of the testimonies with the committee chair and staff. He was also part of a team of lobbyists, legislators, and staff negotiators on Police Reform bills and the Native American Curriculum bill (SB 5161). There were meetings on Thursday with Representatives Morgan (the Members of Color Caucus Chair) and Hansen (Chair of the Civil Rights & Judiciary Committee) discussing conflicting efforts to repeal Initiative 200 regarding discrimination in education and public contracts.
A lot of bills from FAN’s Legislative Agenda were heard:
- HB 1072 (Rep. Lekanoff) – Lifts the restriction on civil legal aid so that it can be available for undocumented people.
- HB 1202 (Rep. Thai) – Allow citizens to sue law enforcement when bodily harm is done to them and nullifies qualified immunity for law enforcement.
- HB 1236 (Rep, Macri) – Provides more protections regarding evictions.
- HB 1267 (Rep. Entenman) – Establishes an independent office for investigating police use of deadly force.
- HB 1310 (Rep. J. Johnson) – Ensures that use of deadly force can only be used as a last resort – FAN invited Revs. Braxton and Willis of the United Black Clergy to testify.
- SB 5214 (Sen. Nguyen) – Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) reform bill that lessens certain restrictions to allow greater access to these benefits.
Looking Ahead to Week Four
There will be hearings on bills FAN supports all week long! Tune in each week to TVW to watch democracy in action.
Monday: SB 5164 (Sen. Darneille) will be heard in the Senate Law & Justice Committee. This bill would allow those with a Robbery 2 conviction through the 3 Strike sentence to have their case reviewed by a judge. FAN supported the bill that was passed last year which removed this offense prospectively. SB 5164 would work retroactively for people currently in prison with this sentence, reducing mass incarceration in our state.
- HB 1282 (Rep. Simmons) will be heard in the House Public Safety Committee. It would create more Earned Release Time for all who are serving time in prison which would reduce the racial disproportionality in our prison population.
- HB 1283 (Rep. Senn) will be heard in the House Civil Rights and Judiciary Committee. FAN will testify w/our policy partner Alliance for Gun Responsibility. This bill would create a class C felony (a low level sentence) when three or more people are openly carrying a deadly weapon in a public setting.
- HB 1297 (Rep. Thai) – the Working Families Tax Credit, and HB 1406 (Rep. Frame) – a Wealth Tax bill, will be heard in the House Finance Committee.
- SB 5226 (Sen. Salomon) will be heard in the Senate Law & Justice Committee. This is the bill to reform the Driving While License Suspended (DWLS-3) regulations which perpetuate the cycle of poverty for many communities of color.
- HB 1267 (Rep. Entenman) will be up for executive session (negotiations and voting on amendments and then final passage) in the House Public Safety Committee. This bill would establish an Office for Independent Investigations of police officer misconduct.
How to Advocate in a Virtual Legislative Session?
Since it is early in the virtual session, everyone is learning new things, including legislators! We will continue to share tips about how to raise your voice during this session. Today’s tips:
How to advocate for a bill in a particular committee:
- If you know which bill you are interested in, or you’ve found one you’d like to advocate for from FAN’s Legislative Agenda, plug in that bill number to apps.leg.wa.gov/billinfo/. That bill page will show you everything you need to know about the bill, including the full text of the bill so you can understand it better.
- Under Bill History, go to the last entry to see which committee the bill is in and what day and time it is up for a vote.
- Find out if your Senator or Representatives are on that committee.
- If so, you may advocate for the bill in the following ways:
- Email your representative. Their emails are always by the formula email@example.com.
- Call the legislative hotline to record a statement to your legislators: 1-800-562-6000.
- Go to the Participating in Committee Hearings page and choose from Testifying Remotely During a Hearing, Submit Written Testimony, or Comment on a Bill. For each of these options, you will need to plug in whether it is a House (HB) or Senate (SB) bill, select the committee the bill is in, and select the date and time of the meeting. From there, you should see the bill number pop up to select. You will also see an option to record your position (pro or con) on a bill.
- Fill out the appropriate form to provide your testimony. If you are signing up to testify via video, a link will be emailed to you to join the meeting. The legislature does not guarantee that all who are registered will be able to testify within the given time.
- Be sure to watch the committee hearing on TVW to hear the discussion. Click on Schedule on the top right corner and search for the day and committee your bill is scheduled to be heard.
The Legislative Information Center (LIC) has updated some of its tips for testifying here: leg.wa.gov/legislature/Pages/Testify.aspx
Getting Ready for Interfaith Advocacy Days!
This week we need you to register for IFAD by 2/5 to ensure we have time to try to get you an appointment with your legislators. Legislators’ calendars are filling up and next week will be critical. We are trying to set the appointments for Thursday 2/11 afternoon and Friday 2/12, but some may be the following week. The remote session has meant that there are more demands on legislators’ online time as well as their staff. Make sure you register by 2/5 or earlier to ensure we at least can request an appointment for you. Register now at bit.ly/IFAD2021 and learn more at our event page: fanwa.org/interfaith-advocacy-day.
The Eastern WA Legislative Conference Beyond Words: Doing Justice is tomorrow, Saturday, January 30. You can still register for the day, including keynote by Rev. Walter Kendricks, a response panel, workshops, and legislative updates.
Join us from anywhere across the state for IFAD on February 11! This is our annual interfaith day in Olympia, and this year because we will gather online we have the opportunity to welcome more people than ever from all across the state! No long bus rides, no worry about snow on the pass! Let’s make sure each of 49 legislative districts in our state is represented. You can expect the same elements you’ve come to appreciate during the course of the IFAD day, 9am-1pm: information sessions, greetings from elected officials, workshops on bills on our agenda, and legislative district caucuses. Please register and stay tuned for more information. Volunteer opportunity: Consider being a legislative district coordinator to facilitate your district’s caucus. We’ll provide resources! Email firstname.lastname@example.org to volunteer.
In Central WA, we will gather on February 20 for Advocacy Day with the theme Moving Past Crisis and Into Action. Register here for a morning of legislative overview, a panel discussion on policies affecting immigrants, and breakout action groups on Poverty, Climate, Voting Rights, Healthcare, and Immigration. We will emphasize collective actions we can take to move the policies forward, both locally and at the state level. English to Spanish interpretation will be provided.