FAN Policy Engagement Director Kristin Ang (left) and Rep. My-Linh Thai, legislative champion for many bills we care about, speaking at Interfaith Advocacy Day in February. They continue to work on our behalf to get bills to the floor for a vote as the House of Origin Cutoff on March 8 approaches.
Bills that survived last week’s cutoff moved into Rules committees, where they remain until they are pulled to the floor for debate and vote. These bills have until the House of Origin Cutoff on March 8 to pass off the House or Senate floor and move forward to be considered in the other chamber.
Take Action for Gun Safety!
Please take two minutes to save lives! Help these two life-saving gun responsibility bills pass out of the House and on to the Senate by the March 8 cutoff. Learn more and email your legislators here, urging them to vote YES on:
- HB 1240 Establishing Firearms-Related Safety Measures to Increase Public Safety would ban the sale and limit manufacture of assault weapons.
- HB 1143 Requiring a permit to purchase firearms, regarding safety training, a 10-day waiting period, and an enhanced background check.
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SB 5486 Extreme Wealth Tax will have a public hearing on March 9 at 4pm. This bill would create a narrowly tailored property tax on extreme wealth derived from the ownership of stocks, bonds, and other financial assets, with the proceeds dedicated to education, housing, disability services, and tax credits for working families. The first $250 million of assessed value is exempted, meaning only the wealthiest people in Washington would pay the tax. Revenue from this tax would be dedicated to four funds: the Education Legacy Trust Fund, which is a funding source for early learning, K-12, and higher education; the Housing Trust Fund, which pays for the construction of affordable housing; and two new funds created in the bill: a disabilities care trust account that would pay for services for Washingtonians with disabilities, and a taxpayer justice account intended to offer credits against taxes paid disproportionately by low-income and middle-income families.
Legislative Session Week 8
We are halfway through the 105-day legislative session. Both the House and Senate moved to floor debate and voted on bills this week. They have until the March 8 House of Origin Cutoff to move bills forward. Bills that fail to pass out of their house of origin by this date will be considered dead for the session.
HB 1784 Hunger Relief passed unanimously. This bill would address the “hunger cliff’ facing many states across the nation as SNAP benefits are drastically reduced. This stop-gap measure would provide $20 million to supply food to food banks, $6 million for senior meals, and $2 million for fruit and vegetable incentives.
HB 1329 Extreme Heat Utility Shutoff Moratorium passed 64-31. This bill would prohibit utility providers from discontinuing electric or drinking water services to customers during extreme heat. Having access to electricity and clean water is critical during times of extreme heat emergencies. The 2021 heat wave claimed 157 lives in Washington State. Since Washington will certainly continue to experience extreme weather events, this bill is necessary to save lives.
HB 1177 Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women & Persons (MMIWP) Cold Case Unit passed unanimously. This bill would create a cold case investigations unit with the Attorney General’s office.
HB 1260 Aged, Blind, & Disabled (ABD) Fix also passed. This bill would end the unfair requirement for adults with disabilities to repay the state for their ABD benefits when they transfer onto federal social security income.
HB 1469 Shield Law passed on partisan lines. This bill would protect reproductive and gender-affirming care patients and providers from out-of-state legal action.
The Washington Coalition for Police Accountability (WCPA) had their Lobby Day at the Capitol. They were joined by freshman Reps. Dariya Farivar, Sharlett Mena, Juliet Reed, and Chipalo Street, who stated their support for reform. The advocates gathered around the legislative building’s rotunda and voiced the names of those who have been killed — including Manny Ellis, Charleena Lyles, and Stonechild Chiefstick — reminding legislators that many lives and families have been impacted. The following WCPA priority bills need your advocacy to move forward to a floor vote. Contact your legislators at the Legislative Hotline, 800-562-6000, and urge them to vote in favor of:
- HB 1025 Access to Fairness Act would authorize victims of police misconduct and their families to sue for violations of state laws, bypassing the federal shield of qualified immunity.
- HB 1579 Independent Prosecutor would create a state office to ensure fair and transparent prosecutions.
- HB 1513 Traffic Safety for All would end stops for non-moving violations to reduce disproportionate impacts on communities of color.
- HB 1445 AG Investigations & Reform would empower the Attorney General’s office to take action on systemic civil rights violations at law enforcement agencies.
Advocates of gun responsibility, safety net, and hunger relief won victories with passage of the following bills:
SB 5078 Firearm Industry Responsibility & Gun Violence Victims’ Access to Justice Act passed on partisan lines. This bill would ensure that firearms manufacturers and sellers face liability if they fail to establish, implement, and enforce reasonable controls on the manufacture, sale, distribution, and marketing of firearms to keep them out of the hands of dangerous individuals. No longer would gun manufacturers and sellers be shielded when they are negligent.
HB 1447 Temporary Aid to Needy Families (TANF) Improvements would make key improvements to the TANF program by eliminating time limits for child-only cases, restoring a pre-2011 policy; expanding asset limits and waiving the value of one car, allowing families to build up savings; increasing the income limit to 200% of the federal poverty level, consistent with other benefits programs; and allowing hardship as a “good cause” exemption from WorkFirst requirements, giving families time to stabilize without losing benefits.
HB 1238 Free School Meals would provide free meals to 90,000 more students, including all K-4 students in certain school districts.
Connect with FAN Policy Engagement Director Kristin Ang at email@example.com.
Please see our Bill Tracker for how other bills on our agenda are progressing. We update the Bill Tracker every Friday.
Although we are currently focused on the state legislative session, there continue to be developments at the federal level that we want you to know about. Our friends at Puget Sound Advocates for Retirement Action (PSARA) are calling attention to the risks we face as Medicare becomes more privatized. The privatization of Medicare has expanded enormously as insurers and Wall Street realize that enormous profits can be made. “The Medicare Trust Fund is being fleeced at an unprecedented rate and is very likely to be bankrupt in a few years,” warns PSARA. “This is a David and Goliath battle with the large insurers circling the wagons around Medicare as the newest and very lucrative profit venture.”
We encourage you to learn more and share this upcoming webinar in your communities: Don’t Let Naked Profiteering Destroy Our Medicare with Dr. Ed Weisbart, March 20, at 5pm. Dr. Weisbart is the Missouri Chair and national board member of Physicians for a National Health Program. He is a retired practitioner and professor of Clinical Medicine at Washington University in St. Louis.Learn more in this recent article in Common Dreams or at the PSARA website.
Earth Ministry/Washington Interfaith Power and Light is seeking to fill two positions: an Advocacy Manager and a Contract Grant Writer.
Wednesday, March 8, 6:30pm, Old Liberty Theatre, Ridgefield. Invisible People on the Streets–America’s Hidden Homeless, presented by Meaningful Movies. Through innovative storytelling, education, journalism, and advocacy, @InvisiblePeople is changing the harmful narrative surrounding homelessnes
Wednesday, March 8, 7-8pm, online. 2nd Wednesday Speaker Series: 2023 Legislative Session Priority Bills hosted by Health Care for All – Washington. The pandemic has taken a disproportionate toll on the financial security and mental health and well-being of people of color, low-income people, LGBTQI+ people, and other under-served groups. Join this conversation to hear about the key bills that are making a difference this year.
Thursday, March 9, 6:30pm, online. The Lost Salmon, presented by Meaningful Movies Port Townsend. Filmmaker Shane Anderson set out on a two-year journey to document some of the last wild Spring Chinook salmon, the historical and ongoing causes of their declining numbers, and their profound relationship to the people and places of the Pacific Northwest.
Friday, March 10, 6-8pm, Washington Hall, Seattle. Deconstructing Racism: A Path toward Lasting Change, book talk and signing. This event, presented by the People’s Institute Northwest Network will feature the co-authors of the book, Barbara Crain Major and Rev. Joseph Barndt.
Monday, March 13, 10am, Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action Poulsbo, Washington. Presentation by Medea Benjamin, co-author of War in Ukraine: Making Sense of a Senseless Conflict. This free public event will address the threat of use of nuclear weapons in the ongoing Ukraine war.
Tuesday, March 14, 7:30pm,Town Hall, Seattle. Health and Houselessness in Seattle. Join Anna Patrick, reporter for Project Homeless, and Dr. Josephine Ensign, author of Skid Road: On the Frontier of Health and Homelessness in Seattle as they reveal the stories of overlooked and long-silenced people who live on the margins of society.
Legislative Town Halls: Check your legislators’ websites for scheduled town halls as another way to raise your voice on issues you care about this session. Follow these links to find out about town halls for Republicans and Democrats in your district.
Saturday, March 11, 10:30-noon, Spokane Central Library. 3rd Legislative District Town Hall.
Saturday, March 11, 10:30-noon, Olympic College, and 1:30-3:00, Bainbridge City Hall. 23rd District Legislative Town Hall. ind out more info here.
Thursday, March 16, 7-8pm, online. 12th Legislative District Town Hall.