Today we share the good news that spring is on its way and we have successes to celebrate as the 2022 Washington Legislative Session ended last week. (photo courtesy of DES.wa.gov).
2022 Legislative Recap & Session Successes
Thank you for your persistent advocacy and commitment to working with FAN for policy change this year! The 2022 Legislative Session was one of the most productive short sessions in recent memory, with transformational investments across the safety net—food, nutrition, housing, and cash assistance—as well as transportation and education. This 60-day session began on January 10 with hearings and floor votes done mostly virtually. By the end of session on March 10, the largest supplemental budget in history passed with most legislators voting in-person at the Capitol and statewide mask mandates set to lift a couple of days later. “Unprecedented, historic, extraordinary” have been overused words during the pandemic, yet they aptly describe the 2022 session.
The main priorities for lawmakers were the supplemental two-year budget plan, the transportation package, the economy, and police reform. What made this supplemental budget year extraordinary was the significant budget surplus from the $1.2 billion in unspent federal COVID relief funds plus an increase in expected revenue of $1.45 billion for the budget cycle ending in 2023. With a projected surplus of billions, some lawmakers advocated for tax cuts, while others wanted to use the funds for investing in communities and programs that need support. With our coalition partners, FAN demanded that the Legislature do more to lift Washingtonians out of poverty by providing rental, utility, and food assistance, and by increasing investments in schools, healthcare, and workforce development. We recommended that the Legislature refuse any tax cuts that did not directly put cash back in the pockets of the people who need it the most. And the Legislature listened!
The $64.1 billion supplemental budget passed on the final day of the session, making investments in K‑12 education, housing, behavioral health, COVID-19 pandemic recovery, and safety net supports. The budget includes no new taxes. The Legislature also passed a 16-year, $17 billion transportation package called Move Ahead Washington. Gov. Inslee described the package as a “transformational, once in a generation feat” that would reduce emissions and dependence on fossil fuels. Unique features of this transportation package are the absence of a gas tax hike and a one-time $2 billion transfer from the general fund.
Other notable achievements of this session include passing HB 1725, the nation’s first alert system for missing and endangered Indigenous persons, with resounding bipartisan support; fixes to the state’s long-term care insurance program; a momentous victory for gun responsibility advocates; and funding for refugee resettlement support.
To continue reading more details on each section of our legislative agenda, please see Policy Engagement Director Kristin Ang’s full report.
Learning from Indigenous Communities
For several years, FAN has been convening a multi-faith group of advocates who care about the well-being of their Indigenous neighbors across Washington. As the Interfaith Network with Indigenous Communities, they have identified education on the Doctrine of Discovery, boarding schools, missing and murdered Indigenous peoples, and environmental justice as priorities. You can learn more at FANWA.org/INIC. We encourage you to continue learning and stand in solidarity by showing up at events to help raise awareness in our communities about the concerns and initiatives of our Native American neighbors. Here are a few upcoming opportunities:
Duwamish Solidarity. Learn more from the National Public Radio story that aired last week. Sign and share the Duwamish petition for recognition: www.change.org/stand-with-the-duwamish.
Knowing Place, north Lake Washington field trip, Saturday, March 19.
Indigenous Health Fair, Wednesday, March 23, Burien.
Kikisoblue Princess Angeline Spring Tea Social, Saturday, April 23.
UN World Water Day, March 20. In honor of Sk’aliCh’elh-tenaut, there will be livestreamed blessings on the Orca Network Facebook page.
Native American Justice Workshop Series‘ final session, March 22, with Irvin Porter, Pastor, Church of Indian Fellowship, sponsored by Associated Ministries.
Stop Salmon Extinction Rally March 26 in Tacoma and April 2 in Olympia.
The Campaign to Bring Captive Orca Tokitae Home, April 8, Seattle Town Hall.
Spirit of the Waters totem pole journey, May 3-19, will focus on the significance of breaching the four lower Snake River Dams. More to come from JUUstice WA and Earth Ministry.
National action week for Missing & Murdered Indigenous Women, April 29 – May 5.
Holden Village sessions this summer led by indigenous teachers, June 13-18 and August 15-20.
Follow National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition events and resource lists.