FAN joins hearts and voices across the world in praying, vigiling, protesting, and calling for peace and an end to war. We continue to
work for justice with these intentions.
Week 7 of Legislative Session
On Monday, House and Senate Democrats released their separate supplemental state budget proposals. Supplemental budgets are passed in even-numbered years and allow the state to make mid-course corrections to the two-year budgets passed in odd-numbered years. Budget leaders released their plans just hours before public hearings on the proposals: Senate PSSB 5693 and House PSHB 1816. Each chamber looks to pass their plan off their respective floors by this weekend, and negotiations are expected to start next week. The House and Senate will need to reconcile and have a final budget to pass by the end of session on March 10.
Both proposals reflect the significant budget surplus from the $1.3 billion in unspent federal pandemic relief funds and the increased tax revenue of $1.4 billion. Senators are proposing a $63.4 billion operating budget plan, while House Representatives have proposed $65 billion for their supplemental operating budget plan. The Senate budget adds about $5.8 billion in new spending to the two-year budget passed by lawmakers last April, and the House budget adds $6.2 billion in new spending.
Proposed funding for items on our legislative agenda include:
- $38 million for expansions within the Aged, Blind, or Disabled (ABD) program, including increasing the cash grants from $197 to $417.
- $15 million for Afghan Refugee Support Services.
- Implementation funding for a Medicaid equivalent program for undocumented immigrants that we advocated for as part of Health Equity for Immigrants Campaign.
- $10 million (House) / $7 million (Senate) equity investment to support the launch of the Working Families Tax Credit, which has the potential to deliver $300-$1,200 to about 420,000 households if fully implemented.
Both proposals include large investments in transportation, housing and homelessness, and K-12 public schools. Both the House and Senate are proposing a $2 billion investment in “Move Ahead Washington,” the $16 billion, 16-year transportation package introduced in early February that includes investments in infrastructure, reducing carbon emissions, and expanding green transportation options. Funding for K-12 education proposed by the House and Senate would provide additional counselors, nurses, and psychologists in schools. Both budget proposals include ways to help with utility assistance. Both proposals include salmon habitat recovery and revitalization, long-term care and developmental disabilities funding, and funding to support workforce shortages in behavioral health.
Both proposals will not increase taxes. Legislators have listened to our coalition in not proposing wasteful tax cuts that would unnecessarily benefit the wealthy and siphon resources away from social programs. The House does, however, propose a 3-day sales tax cut holiday costing $200 million that would be a windfall for retailers.
Thursday was Opposite House Policy Cutoff date. Almost all our bills that passed their house of origin have been passed by their opposite policy house. The exception is SB 5036 Clemency reform that was not brought up for a vote in the House Public Safety committee.
To learn more about FAN’s policy work, please contact Policy Engagement Director Kristin at Ang@fanwa.org
There are 2 weeks left in the 2022 legislative session. We encourage you to take action on the following bills:
HB 1616 Charity Care expansion. This bill significantly increases eligibility for full write-offs of out-of-pocket hospital costs, as well as expanding eligibility for discounts. The bill ensures all Washingtonians with incomes less than 400% of the federal poverty level are eligible for financial assistance. This would impact approximately half of all Washingtonians. Please advocate with your legislators as well as those on the Senate Ways and Means committee to fund this bill.
HB 1169 De-stacking sentencing enhancements was heard in the Senate Committee on Law & Justice on February 22. Please contact your legislators to vote yes. This bill will allow stacking only when appropriate and not require consecutive terms. The Washington Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers stated that excessive sentencing does little to nothing for public safety and does not reduce crime or recidivism. The State Supreme Court Gender and Justice Commission also supported the bill, citing a study that found Black, Indigenous, and women of color are convicted and sentenced 2 to 8 times higher than their white female counterparts. Increased sentences fall disproportionately on people of color.
The trio of Gun Responsibility bills mentioned in the last e-news passed their opposite house policy committees. These include HB 1705 closing the ghost guns loophole and HB 1630 restricting weapons in certain locations such as school board meetings and election-related facilities. We expect to see a floor vote for SB 5078 high-capacity magazine restrictions next week. Excessively large-capacity magazines that can hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition make it easier for a shooter to fire more rounds without pausing to reload. SB 5078 had 17,251 people signed in to register their opinion last week. These gun responsibility bills, especially SB 5078, will need your advocacy to be passed this year.
- Ask both the Senate and the House to increase Afghan refugee resettlement support to the full $30 million ask: https://tinyurl.com/SupportRefugeesWA.
- Urge the Senate to match the House’s proposed $10 million investment to support the launch of the Working Families Tax Credit, which has the potential to deliver up to $300 to $1,200 to roughly 420,000 households if fully implemented. Increasing the amount of funds for community-based organizations to implement the credit will mean more eligible Washingtonians can benefit.
- Housing & Homelessness: Ask your Senator to match House investments in a Capital budget that includes $521 million for affordable homes and $100 million for the Housing Trust Fund; an Operating budget with $78 million to support front-line workers helping to end homelessness; and $55 million for rent assistance.
- Ask the House to include the $500,000 Budget Proviso that is already in the Senate proposed budget, that funds environmental justice community participation. We ask that the legislature invest in our communities’ capacity to participate in the implementation of the Healthy Environment for All (HEAL) Act and fund this proviso.
Contact your Representatives and Senators directly, or call the Legislative Hotline at 800-562-6000 to advocate for these bills. To learn more about each bill, go to https://app.leg.wa.gov/billinfo and enter the bill number; or check out FAN’s Issue Face Sheets and Bill Tracker.
Learning from FAN’s Advocating Faith Communities: Who Are You/We?
As a Network of Advocating Faith Communities (NAFCs), you are the heart of Faith Action Network. You are communities that have pledged to be in partnership with each other and with staff, individuals, and partner coalitions to seek justice, peace, and sustainability.
You educate yourselves about issues and advocacy, and their relationship to your religious traditions and sacred texts. You make it possible for FAN to continue by providing financial support in ways that fits your size and budget. You witness in public to your values as you hope they can be embodied in government, law, and public institutions. You may be registering people to vote, responding to advocacy alerts during the legislative session, or hosting public officials at a community forum. You participate in Interfaith Advocacy Days.
As an Advocating Faith Community, you also help form a web, what Dr. King called a “network of mutuality” with siblings from other religious traditions, other geographies, and other experiences. We come to each other’s support when one of us has experienced vitriol, discrimination, or disaster. We make common cause around housing and food security, earth care, equity, and rights. In a time of polarization, we stand together, sing together, eat together, raise our voices together.
Who are we? We are 164 faith communities across Washington State. We are African Methodist Episcopal, Baptist, Buddhist, Catholic, Disciples of Christ, Episcopal, Independent, Jewish, Lutheran, Mennonite, Muslim, United Methodist, Presbyterian, Quaker, Sikh, United Church of Christ, and Unitarian, as well as combined faith traditions. And we are from all parts of Washington, living into our statewide vision.
What of our hopes for a better world and the people and issues you care about? We seek to understand that more fully and keep learning from each other. FAN staff hope to get better acquainted with you over the next months. What calls you most as an advocating faith congregation? We would love to hear from you. By the end of the year, we’ll be able to know each other more deeply as part of a “single garment of destiny.”
Contact FAN Partnership Coordinator Elizabeth Dickinson to share your learnings: email@example.com.
Standing Together against Antisemitism and Racism
Today on the Washington State Senate floor, Senator David Frockt and colleagues shared Senate Resolution 8658 condemning antisemitism, drafted in partnership with the Jewish Federation. We join in solidarity with the language of the resolution: “to combat antisemitism, in all its forms, for the protection of the Jewish community of Washington State and to uphold the values of a tolerant and pluralistic society that binds us together as Americans.”
An opportunity this weekend for education and action in collaboration with our partners is this event from Spokane on Zoom this Sunday, February 27, at 10:30am: Separate Histories, Common Challenges, a Panel Discussion from Jewish and Black Perspectives, sponsored by Temple Beth Shalom, Jewish Family Services, and Congregation Emanu-El. Find the link at www.spokanetbs.org
Even though Jews and African Americans have different histories and collective experiences with discrimination and racism in this country, white supremacist and white nationalist ideologies have been, and continue to be, a shared driver of this trauma and violence. With a resurgence of these ideologies in recent years, this conversation regarding our separate histories and shared challenges has become more urgent as we confront rising antisemitism and anti-black violence amidst the national reckoning on systemic racism in the United States.
From calls to ban Holocaust and anti-racist literature to the Movement for Black Lives, this cross-cultural panel discussion will unpack historical and contemporary differences and common struggles, and explore opportunities for greater solidarity in Spokane and beyond.
Panelists include Spokane NAACP president Kiantha Duncan; EWU Africana Studies professor Dr. Scott Finnie; ADL Center on Extremism investigative researcher Emily Kaufman; Latah County Human Rights Task Force chairwoman Joann Muneta; and Gonzaga University adjunct faculty member Dr. Joan Braune. Gonzaga’s Dr. Michael DeLand will moderate.