FAN’s Central WA Advocacy Day took place last Saturday, February 20, with 55 attendees sharing information and specific ACTIONS to further bills we support and social justice across our state. A panel and workshop on immigrant rights, as well as workshops on poverty, healthcare, climate justice, and redistricting provided regional content on the legislative update Paul Benz shared. Central WA regional organizer Zahra Roach (top left) facilitated a great morning!
Bills are moving quickly towards a March 9 house of origin cutoff, so we have several opportunities for you to advocate! This week is critical – please add your own language to the prompts:
- Police Reform bills – Email your Representatives about all four bills through this single link!
- Prohibiting Police Tactics (HB 1054) – This bill should be up for amendments and debate on Saturday, Feb. 27.
- Addressing Police Misconduct (HB 1202) and Creating an Office for Independent Criminal Investigations (HB 1267) passed out of the Rules Committee and needs to be brought to the House floor for a vote.
- Limiting Police Use of Force (HB 1310), is in the Rules Committee and needs to be pulled for review.
- WA Strong climate recovery bill (SB 5373) – Email your Senator to ask if they support this bill. Click here to see if your Senator is on the Environment & Energy Committee.
- Working Families Tax Credit (HB 1297) – Email your Representatives to tell them why you support funding the WTFC and ask if they will too.
- Prohibiting credit scoring in auto and home insurance (SSB 5010) – FAN is working to stop this bill because the substitute (SSB=Substitute Senate Bill) is a compromise that does not help those most impacted by the policy of credit scoring. Email your Senator to let them know you do not support this and ask if they can help to NOT allow the bill to move out of the Rules Committee.
- Driving While License Suspended (DWLS-3) reform (SB 5226) – This bill is out of Rules and awaiting floor action. Email your Senator to urge them to vote for this bill. Let FAN know what response you get.
- Capital Gains Tax (SB 5096) – After a week of awareness and action with our partners at Balance Our Tax Code, we are joining with Civic Action and others to urge our Senators to support Capital Gains with a floor vote. Send your message to your state Senator ASAP. The vote is any day now and we must win this to help all of our communities.
To learn more about each bill, go to apps.leg.wa.gov/billinfo/ and enter the bill number.
Monday was the last day for the fiscal committees to hear, amend, and vote on bills. Three key bills that avoided “dying” that day were:
- HB 1412 – LFO (legal financial obligation) debt relief.
- SB 5194 – Greater access and equity for those attending Community and Technical Colleges.
- SB 5399 – Creates a commission on Universal Health Care.
Tuesday the 23rd through Tuesday, March 9th, the House and Senate will be amending, speaking to, and voting on hundreds of bills – day and night and even on Saturdays! Tune in to TVW to watch these proceedings. Thursday night the Senate did not adjourn until 11:30 PM, spending over 4 hours on a police reform bill where there were 38 amendments.
Bills of import to FAN that have passed and are moving to the other chamber include:
- HB 1016 – Establishes a state holiday for Juneteenth.
- HB 1044 – Improves post-secondary education for those in the state prison system.
- HB 1078 – Restores the right to vote for those with felony convictions exiting the state prison system.
- HB 1090 – Ends private detention in our state and specifically the NW Detention Center.
- HB 1151 – Extends and increases funding and eligibility for emergency food programs.
- HB 1356 – Prohibits the use of Native American mascots at public schools.
- SB 5038 – Makes certain restrictions on openly-carrying a firearm at the capital and at public demonstrations.
- SB 5051 – Establishes new standards for Law Enforcement officer decertification as well as making the Criminal Justice Training Commission majority community members.
Looking Ahead to Week Eight
The House and Senate will run another 100-200 bills next week, with the exception of a couple of committee hearings:
- On Thursday the 4th, the Senate Environment Committee will hear SB 5373 WA Strong/revenue bonding bill for transitioning to a green economy. It is designated NTIB – necessary to implement the budget, so it does not adhere to any cut-offs. Paul will be testifying on the faith panel.
- HB 1072 – Lifting the prohibition on undocumented people utilizing the Office for Civil Legal Aid, will have a hearing in the Senate Law & Justice Committee.
Meet the New Secretary of Health, Dr. Shah!
Faith advocates of all backgrounds are invited to a meeting Monday, March 1 at 2:00pm with Umair A. Shah, MD, MPH, the new Secretary of Health for the State of Washington. You will have the chance to virtually meet Dr. Shah, learn about his background, discuss vaccine distribution in WA state, COVID-related concerns faith leaders/communities may have, and engage in a discussion of the role faith leaders can play in the road ahead. Register for the link at www.tinyurl.com/MeetDrShah.
In Tacoma – Justice for Manuel Ellis
The family of the late Manuel Ellis along with local clergy, public officials, and other community activists will be hosting a variety of events this coming weekend as we approach the one year anniversary of Manuel’s tragic death at the hands of Tacoma Police Officers on March 4th, 2020. The objective of these events is to demand that Washington State Attorney General, Bob Ferguson, file criminal charges against the Tacoma Police Officers who were involved in Manuel Ellis’s death. There was a press conference held on February 25 at Shiloh Baptist Church – see highlights of that event here.
Letter writing and social media call to action:
- Send personal emails to the Washington State Attorney General’s office demanding that charges be brought against the officers involved in Manuel Ellis’s death. Emails can be sent to: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Utilize all social media platforms to encourage followers to write letters and attend the Silent March for Manny on Sunday, February 28, at 4:00 pm.
- Faith leaders are asked to make comments in their weekend services about the Manuel Ellis case and to announce the Silent March for Manny.
Silent March details: The march will be styled after the 1917 Silent Parade in NYC. Participants will march in silence with only the steady beat of a drum to be heard along our path to the People’s Park. All March participants are asked to wear white if possible. The March will begin at 23rd and Martin Luther King Way and conclude at the People’s Park located at 9th and Martin Luther King Way. At the People’s Park, Communion will be served, prayer for the family will be provided, and a blessing of Peace will be spoken over the community. Participants will depart quietly after next steps are provided.
In Seattle – School Scheduling
FAN has just joined with leaders in the Jewish and other faith communities in asking the Seattle Public Schools Superintendent and School Board to finally take culturally inclusive scheduling seriously. Over several years, even after holding faith leader meetings and promising to work from a multi-faith calendar, SPS has again scheduled the first day of Kindergarten on Rosh Hashanah. If you live in the Seattle area, please take a moment to consider signing in the next few days, when they will forward the letter to Seattle Public School leadership.