We are looking forward to our first virtual Interfaith Advocacy Day next Thursday, February 11 from 9 AM – 1 PM! We hope you will join us and register by Monday morning 2/8 to ensure we can schedule you an appointment with your legislators on Thursday afternoon or during the day Friday.
This week we are offering three opportunities to take action on issues on FAN’s legislative agenda. It has 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 1342 (Rep. Berg) Eliminating Copays for Reduced-Price Lunches for K-12 Students: If your Representative is on the Appropriations Committee, let them know you support this vital food justice bill. Email them with the formula firstname.lastname@example.org or use the Legislative Hotline 1-800-562-6000.
- HB 1078 (Rep. Simmons) Restoring Voter Eligibility for persons convicted of a felony offense: This bill would automatically restore voting rights for those convicted of a felony, where currently they must be informed of their right and reapply to vote once released from DOC custody. Email Speaker Jinkins and urge her to bring this bill up for a vote on the House floor.
- HB 1406 (Rep. Frame) Wealth Tax: This bill would add a 1% tax on those who have annual earnings of $1 billion or more and would tax extraordinary financial intangible assets. Email your Representatives to ask if they support this bill, especially if they are on the Finance Committee.
This week was a busy one in the legislature! Many bills were heard and passed through their committees:
Monday: SB 5164 (Sen. Darneille) to allow those with a Robbery 2 conviction through the 3 Strikes Law to have their sentence reviewed, was heard and passed out of the Senate Committee on Law & Justice. FAN has been advocating for this for the past 20 years when the 3 Strikes law was added by an initiative, and last year FAN supported the successful effort to pass a bill to cover prospective Robbery 2 convictions. FAN invited Black clergy members to meet with Reps. Berg (a new Black legislator from Snohomish County) and Morgan (the Chair of the Members of Color Caucus) on this issue.
Tuesday: Hearings were held on the following bills:
- HB 1282 (Rep. Simmons): Increasing Earned Release Time for all serving time in prison – this reduces racial disproportionality and mass incarceration.
- HB 1283 (Rep. Senn): Increases the penalty for groups displaying deadly weapons that intimidate and threaten.
- HB 1297 (Rep. Thai): Funding the Working Families Tax Credit was heard and then passed later in the week – it is now in the Appropriations Committee.
- HB 1310 (Rep. J. Johnson): Making use of deadly force a last resort for police officers.
- HB 1342 (Rep. Berg): Expanding the school lunch program for all K-12 students.
- HB 1406 (Rep. Frame): Establishes a 1% tax on annual earnings of $1 billion or more.
Wednesday: FAN invited advocates to meet with Rep. Senn to create a budget proviso to shed light on how law enforcement does undercover stings on people with no previous criminal record who are now serving years in state prisons. These are called Net Nanny stings.
Thursday: These bills were passed out of their committees’ executive sessions:
- HB 1203 (Rep. J. Johnson) – Establishes a Community Oversight Board for all law enforcement agencies.
- HB 1267 (Rep. Entenman) – Establishes an Office for Independent Investigation for police use of deadly forces cases.
- HB 1297 (Rep. Thai) – Funding the Working Families Tax Credit.
- HB 1351 (Rep. Kirby) – FAN opposed this bill which is a compromise on prohibiting credit scoring in insurance.
- SB 5194 (Sen. Liias) – Increasing access to and programs for community and technical colleges.
Friday: These bills had a hearing:
- HB 1412 (Rep. Simmons) – Relief for formerly incarcerated people that are still paying off their legal financial obligations (LFO’s).
- HB 5226 (Sen. Salomon) – Reforming the Driving While License Suspended (DWLS-3) Law which acts like a “driving while poor” law because it doubly punishes people who cannot afford to pay traffic tickets who are charged again for driving with the resulting suspended license.
There were executive sessions on:
- HB 1202 (Rep. Thai) – Expanding the civil liability law to allow suing law enforcement agencies for assault and bodily harm.
- HB 1310 (Rep. J. Johnson) – Making use of deadly force a last resort for police officers.
- SB 5214 (Sen. Nguyen) – Lessening restrictions in Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) regulations.
Looking Ahead to Week Five
A few important advocacy meetings will take place next week:
- FAN will have its annual meeting of our interfaith leaders with the Governor.
- Paul and human service advocates will meet with Senate Majority leader Billig.
- HB 1156 (Rep. Harris-Talley) will be heard on Monday at 1:30 PM in the House Committee on State Government & Tribal Relations. This bill would allow local jurisdictions to adopt alternate voting systems like Ranked Choice Voting, allowing voters to rank candidates on the ballot in order of preference. Sign on in “pro” here.
- SB 5399 (Sen. Randall) will be heard on Monday at 1:30 PM in the Senate Committee on Health & Long Term Care. This bill would establish a commission on universal health care. Sign on in “pro” here.
- Legislative leaders and lobbyists will meet to map out a winning strategy for SB 5194 (Sen. Liias) which expands access to and programs for community and technical colleges.
- FAN’s Interfaith Advocacy Day is happening on Thursday, with legislative appointments Thursday afternoon and all day Friday! Be sure to register by February 5 to lock in an appointment with your legislators.
Getting Ready for Interfaith Advocacy Days!
Today is the day to register for IFAD to ensure we can get you into any meetings with your legislators during our 2021 Interfaith Advocacy Day, online Thursday, February 11, with appointments being set for 2/11 afternoon and daytime 2/12. Do it today! bit.ly/IFAD2020
On Monday, we are required to confirm lists of attendees with legislators who we have appointments with—it’s a new way of functioning in this virtual Zoom environment. You won’t be able to just show up and join a meeting. If we don’t have people registered in your district by Monday morning 2/8, we won’t likely have an appointment for you. So register today! bit.ly/IFAD2020
Registration for the rest of IFAD will remain open and will follow a similar schedule to our in-person event: Opening welcome at 9 AM with interfaith leader Dr. Jasmit Singh, and featured legislator Sen. Marko Liias. We will continue with staff presentations about the day, legislative district caucuses to plan your meetings with electeds, workshops featuring many of our coalition partners about the bills on our agenda, and additional visits by legislators and final recap between 12:15-1:15pm. Those for whom we have legislative appointments will receive links to those for 2/11 afternoon or for Friday 2/12.
We will have a virtual packet of materials and the Zoom link for you next week, sent directly to those who are registered. Learn more at our event page: https://fanwa.org/interfaith-advocacy-day.
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, Redistricting, Healthcare, and Immigration. We will emphasize collective actions we can take to move the policies forward, both locally and at the state level. Spanish interpretation provided.
How to Advocate in a Virtual Legislative Session?
One of the easiest ways to advocate this year is by signing on in “pro” or “con” to a bill. You’ll simply note your position and fill out your contact information to be added to the legislative record for the bill. We have seen hundreds of submissions for individual bills this week, so we know that this quick show of advocacy works in getting important bills passed!
To sign in with your position on a bill, go to the Participating in Committee Hearings page and choose Testifying Remotely During a Hearing. 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. Select “I would like my position noted for the legislative record” and fill out the corresponding form. You also have the option to submit a written or verbal testimony from this page.
As a reminder, you can find out which committee a bill is in by plugging in the bill number to the Bill Information page and scrolling down to the latest entry in the Bill History section. It will tell you whether a bill has a hearing or an executive session and which day and time.
Events & Opportunities
Hospitality workers, including low-income workers from bars, restaurants, hotels, and motels who live and work within the City of Seattle are eligible for financial assistance through the Seattle Hospitality Worker Emergency Relief Fund. You must apply by February 15 – please share this information with your communities (available in many languages).
Exciting news of a new, low-barrier women’s shelter opening in Seattle! Please spread the word especially among those who might be looking for work. They need women staff who can work as good team members in a come-as-you-are setting. $17/hour, and benefits (medical and dental) are offered to full-time workers after three months. Email employment queries only to email@example.com. More about the shelter here.