Two Weeks Until IFAD

Only two weeks until FAN’s Interfaith Advocacy Day (IFAD) on Thursday, February 10! We need your help to get the word out and raise faith advocates’ voices.

First, register yourself by February 4. We are learning that legislators will be on the floor voting on bills during the week of IFAD, so their time is extremely limited. We need to know you’re attending by next Friday 2/4 in order to have the best chance of getting appointments for you, their constituents. Your appointments may be Thursday 2/10 or Friday 2/11.

Share announcements, newsletter, social media this week to encourage members of your community to attend. Here is some suggested text for your announcements:

Faith Action Network’s Interfaith Advocacy Day is happening Thursday, February 10! Register by February 4 for your best chance at a meeting with your legislator or their aide.

FAN’s Virtual Interfaith Advocacy Day brings voices of compassion and justice to our elected leaders. We partner with people of faith and conscience to learn about and advance bills that support economic justice, fair taxation, police accountability and criminal justice system reform, affordable housing and homelessness prevention, environmental protections, immigrant and refugee rights, gun safety, civil rights, racial justice, and access to healthcare. On Interfaith Advocacy Day, you will be able to:

  • Join workshops that will break down the issues on FAN’s 2022 Legislative Agenda.
  • Learn how to effectively advocate in today’s legislature.
  • Meet with advocates from your legislative district to prepare for your legislative visits.
  • Meet virtually with your legislator! Once you register, FAN will work to set up an appointment for you and others from your district.

Register now at bit.ly/IFAD2022.


Week 3 of Session

Everything is moving quickly in this short session as we move toward Policy Committee cutoff on February 3. Here are some highlights and actions you can take, and don’t forget to follow our Bill Tracker or Bill Information at leg.wa.gov if you are looking for the progress of a particular bill.

TAX CUTS
With our coalition partners, we are demanding the Legislature do more to lift Washingtonians out of poverty by providing rental, utility, and food assistance. There has been much discussion in the legislature about tax cuts this week because of the billions of unspent federal dollars and projected state surplus. We recommend the legislature refuse any tax cuts that do not directly put cash back in the pockets of people who need it the most. A pandemic that isn’t over and our state’s upside-down tax code, which is the most regressive in the country, continues to hurt Washingtonians every day. State revenue estimates don’t tell the whole story of what everyday Washingtonians are experiencing. Even during public health and economic crises: the rich get richer while ordinary people and small businesses continue to be pushed to the brink of financial collapse. Cutting taxes torches the fragile safety net Washingtonians in every corner of our state rely on.

POLICE ACCOUNTABILITY
The #1 priority this year for the WA Coalition for Police Accountability is to defend and maintain the meaningful legislation that passed in 2021. Over 2,400 signed in CON against HB 2037, a harmful policing bill.

ECONOMIC JUSTICE
On Monday, HB 1888 Fixes to Working Families Tax Credit (WFTC) was heard and passed out of the House Finance Committee. Starting in 2023, the Working Families Tax Credit (WFTC) program will provide payments ranging from $300 to $1,200 to low-to-moderate income households.

HOUSING
On Tuesday, HB 2017 The Housing Justice Act was heard in the Housing, Human Services and Veterans Committee. The Housing Justice Act will prevent landlords from automatically excluding someone from rental housing because they have an arrest record or past conviction. This will make a real and meaningful impact in addressing housing disparities and ensuring everyone in our community has access to safe, stable housing.

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


Take Action

SB 5078 High Capacity Magazine Ban. FAN and our partners at Alliance for Gun Responsibility encourage you to take action this week on this important effort to improve the safety of our communities. Please ask your senator to support this bill.

HB 1756 Restriction of Solitary Confinement will be heard on Feb 1 at 3:30pm in House Appropriations. Please sign in PRO here: I would like my position noted for the legislative record. Please share the link broadly!! The deadline to sign in is 2:30pm on Feb 1.

HB1406/SB5426 Wealth Tax on ultra-wealthy will have a hearing on February 1st at 4:00pm in Senate Ways & Means. If passed, Billionaires would pay their fair share with a new 1% tax on the stocks, bonds and other intangible assets over $1 billion. Please sign in PRO here: I would like my position noted for the legislative record.

HB 2048 TANF Extensions will be heard on February 1 at 8:00am. Please sign in PRO beforehand. I would like my position noted for the legislative record.

SB 5438 Providing unemployment benefits to workers who are unemployed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and not eligible for unemployment benefits due to immigration status. This bill will be heard on February 2 in the Senate Labor, Commerce, & Tribal Affairs Committee at 10:30am. Please sign in PRO here: I would like my position noted for the legislative record.

SB 5688 Keep Our Care Act was heard on Tuesday, January 18, in the Senate Law and Justice Committee. The Keep Our Care Act creates a prohibition on health entity consolidations that diminish access to affordable quality care. We need to urge the Senate Law & Justice Committee members to vote this bill out of committee. Please note that this action alert is targeted at the Senate Law & Justice committee members. Therefore, only individuals in districts 2, 4, 15, 27, 32, 39, 43, 45, and 48, whose senators sit on this committee, will be able to take this action. If you live in one of these districts, please reach out to your Senator (link provided by a coalition member) to move this bill forward in the legislative process. Here is more information about the bill.

FAN’s web tools 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.


Learning from Each Other

Shalom United Church of Christ (UCC) in Richland has been especially busy since the beginning of COVID. As the illness and its economic repercussions hit farm workers and immigrants in Franklin and Benton Counties, it became clear that many would not qualify for unemployment compensation or federal assistance.

Fortunately, in 2017, Shalom UCC had helped form the Tri-Cities Immigrant Coalition (TCIC), modeled after a similar coalition in Walla Walla, to respond to needs in their community and to counteract negative press about immigrants. They initially engaged with community organizations, educated themselves, provided support, and advocated for the well-being of immigrants with elected officials. Shalom member Marsha Stipe became chair of TCIC, and other members joined as well, along with farm workers and wider community members.

Three years later, with the onslaught of COVID, TCIC initiated a Mutual Aid Fund which has given out at least $115,000 in awards to more than 325 people in Franklin and Benton counties who did not receive other aid! Meanwhile, TCIC helped distribute state relief aid and continued to engage with the state and federal government to petition for more help for struggling farm workers, as well as a pathway to citizenship.

This fall, Aneelah Afzali, executive director of the Muslim Association of Puget Sound-American Muslim Empowerment Network (MAPS-AMEN) and FAN board member, invited the TCIC to collaborate in resettling Afghan refugees with the Islamic Center of the Tri-Cities and other faith communities. FAN board member Sabiha Khan has done heroic work in helping facilitate the Islamic Center and broader community in those efforts. There are now fifteen families who have been resettled in the area!

Shalom UCC also seeks to witness for justice by displaying a Black Lives Matter banner on their building, and by encouraging participation in the Tri-Cities Racial Equity & Social Justice Coalition. Lora Rathbone of Shalom’s Mission and Social Action Committee and liaison to FAN, shares advocacy opportunities weekly with a core group of individuals from other faith communities in the Tri-Cities. Even though their advocacy may not always get a warm reception, Rathbone acknowledges that they have been persuasive on topics like food security and the Working Families Tax Credit.

Thanks, Shalom UCC, for your persistence and creativity for justice.

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


Events & Opportunities

Film Screening & Panel Discussion: Since I Been Down February 6, 7-8:30pm. Register to receive the event link.

Interfaith Advocacy Day Thursday, February 10, 9am-12pm – program; Thursday & Friday, February 10 & 11 – meetings with legislators. Register by February 4 to guarantee meetings with your legislators.