There is still time to register for the Eastern Washington Legislative Conference on January 22 from 8:30 AM – 1:30 PM and Interfaith Advocacy Day on February 10! Please register as soon as possible so we can plan accordingly and ensure you have meetings with your elected officials at IFAD.


First Week of Session

This 60-day legislative session began Monday remotely. The main foci of the session for lawmakers are the supplemental two-year state budget plan, the economy, and police reform. Hearings and floor votes will continue to be broadcast or live streamed by TVW, the state’s government affairs channel.

On Tuesday, HB 1202 Peace Officer Accountability was heard in the House Civil Rights Judiciary committee. Over a thousand signed in pro, and only a handful con. At the same time, the House Public Safety heard police clarification bills HB 1726 and HB 1735. The Washington Coalition for Police Accountability and ACLU opposed HB 1726. With no one testifying in favor of HB 1726, it did not move forward for now. These clarification bills are in response to last year’s House Bill 1310 which addressed use of force by law enforcement and correctional officers. There has been confusion and false interpretations of what last session’s police accountability bills did. For a good read on the What 2021 WA police accountability laws do and don’t do, see this Crosscut article and the Attorney General (AG) analysis and opinion on HB 1310.

On Thursday, the House Public Safety committee heard HB 1756 Restricting Solitary Confinement and HB 1507 Independent Prosecutor for criminal conduct arising from police use of force. Since the session is virtual, those currently incarcerated were able give powerful testimony remotely on the impacts of solitary confinement in their lives. Solitary confinement is considered a form of torture by the United Nations. This inhumane treatment disproportionately impacts people of color, has been shown to have devastating and lasting psychological effects, and should not be tolerated in our state. This is why FAN along with our Multifaith Coalition partners and Disability Rights Washington are advocating together for its abolishment.

Also on Thursday, HB 1616 Expanding Charity Care was heard in the Healthcare & Wellness committee. HB 1616 would make 2.2 million Washingtonians eligible for free or reduced healthcare at hospitals or affiliated clinics, and extend eligibility for discounts for those earning up to 400 percent of the federal poverty level.

On Friday, HB 1725, creating an alert system for endangered and missing indigenous persons, was heard in the House Public Safety Committee. You can watch testimony from tribal members in support of HB 1725 here: House Public Safety Committee – TVW

To connect more about FAN’s policy work, please contact Policy Engagement Director Kristin at Ang@fanwa.org.


Take Action

For environmental justice: Two of the environment bills we are supporting with Earth Ministry will have their first hearing. The Renew Act (SB 5697) will be heard on Jan 18, at 10:30am in the Senate Environment, Energy & Technology committee. The Renew Act will modernize and improve our recycling system, while reducing plastics and wastes. The bill would shift costs away from ratepayers and onto the manufacturers. Sign in PRO here!

The Lorraine Loomis Salmon Recovery Act (HB 1838) will be heard on January 19th, at 10:00am in the Rural Development, Agriculture & Natural Resources committee. This is Governor Inslee’s proposed habitat legislation as a tribute to longtime champion for the salmon, Lorraine Loomis (Swinomish Tribe, and Chair of the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission). This bill has been crafted in consultation with sovereign Native nations. Sign in PRO here!

For Healthcare: The Senate Law & Justice Committee will hear the Keep Our Care Act (KOCA, SB 5668). Everyone deserves access to affordable, quality healthcare regardless of their identity, zip code or medical needs. Tune in Tues Jan 18 at 10:30am. Show your support for KOCA by signing in pro for the legislative record before 9am on Tues 1/18. More info: https://www.aclu-wa.org/KOCA

FAN also endorsed the WA Safe & Healthy Campaign for healthcare workers with our partners at UFCW21. This includes HB 1868 improving worker safety and patient care in health care facilities by addressing staffing needs, overtime, meal and rest breaks, and enforcement. https://www.wasafeandhealthy.com Sign in PRO here!

For Education: FAN has been part of the Communities for Our Colleges coalition to ensure that our state’s community and technical colleges are affordable, and students have the necessary support to succeed. FAN Staff Jaspreet Singh will testify on HB 1840 (improving diversity, equity, and mental health at the community and technical colleges) on January 19th at the House College and Workforce Development committee. Sign in PRO here.

For TANF: To help struggling families, please support HB 1947 which will provide monthly diaper subsidy for parents or other caregivers receiving TANF. Please sign in PRO here.

FAN’s webtools are also a great way to keep up with the bills we are supporting this year. Check out our Legislative Agenda, corresponding Issue Fact Sheets, the Bill Tracker to see where bills are moving during the session, and the Advocacy Toolkit for tips on advocating.


Pre-Session Training Followup

Last week, we hosted two action-packed Pre-Legislative Session Trainings to prepare advocates for the 2022 Legislative Session! We had over 150 people join us between the two gatherings, and we appreciate all your good questions and input as we continue into another virtual session.

Even if you missed the training, you can still prepare for the session by watching the recording on our YouTube channel. You can also find the great invocation shared by Outreach and Organizing Intern Juli Prentice on our blog.

Paths to Understanding who worked with FAN on producing advocacy videos for this event is offering two on-demand courses as follow-up to our Trainings that will teach you How and Why to Advocate for Change through legislative bodies at local, state and federal levels. Hear directly from Washington State legislators how citizens have influenced them and how best to connect with them during the Legislative Session and beyond! Each course takes less than two hours to complete. Registration is free, or by donation.


Saying Goodbye to Admin and Development
Coordinator Tara Miller

The FAN staff and governing board are sorry to see Tara Miller go, but we give thanks for more than three years of service to FAN’s mission and network. Tara’s creativity will be missed, and we know they will still be advocating for justice in their local area and beyond. With gratitude for Tara’s integrity and commitment as they move forward! Tara shares these parting words:

Advocates and friends, it has been a great 3+ years at Faith Action Network! I am so thankful for all I have learned from you about advocating at the state level and for all the work for justice we have been able to accomplish together. From snowy IFADs to virtual Annual Dinners, marches and rallies, producing our weekly E-News, and constantly being inspired by your collaborative interfaith power, it has been an amazing journey. I look forward to continuing many of our relationships through my work at the Church Council of Greater Seattle and by staying engaged with FAN through my own faith community. Feel free to reach out if you would like to stay connected!


Learning from Each Other
by Partnership Coordinator Elizabeth Dickinson

In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, the Racial Justice Advocates team at Our Redeemer’s Lutheran Church in Seattle has planned a letter-writing campaign in support of the Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act. Following the lead of the King family, the national Urban League and many other organizations, they are urging, “no celebration without legislation.” Senators Murray and Cantwell have actively supported voting rights bills, and need to hear that this is an issue that matters to their constituents. The Racial Justice team wanted to share their gratitude and sense of urgency. Members of the congregation will be invited to sign letters and add their own comments on Sunday, while those worshipping on zoom will have an opportunity to add their names to the letter on the change.org platform.

According to The Brennan Center for Justice, “Between January 1 and December 7, at least 19 states passed 34 laws restricting access to voting. More than 440 bills with provisions that restrict voting access have been introduced in 49 states in the 2021 legislative sessions.”

The head of the Advocates team, Marie Brissette, writes in a note to the congregation that, “we are called to act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with God (Micah 6:8). How can we foster a world of justice when some voices in our community are not given the same opportunity to be heard in our election system?  Dr. King said, ‘The vote is the most powerful instrument ever devised by human beings for breaking down injustice and destroying the terrible walls which imprison people because they are different from others.’”

We would love to share your good ideas and advocacy actions with the whole FAN network. Please let Elizabeth know and we will publish it in the newsletter!