FAN celebrated with The Alliance for Gun Responsibility and other advocates as the historic assault weapons ban was signed into law this past week.
We Celebrate These 2023 Legislative Session Successes because of
We are delighted to present some incredible wins this legislative session in two formats, found on our Legislative Agenda webpage:
- A two-page bulleted summary of successes we are celebrating that you can review and share in your community.
- A more comprehensive synthesis of the session by our Policy Engagement Director, Kristin Ang, excerpted below.
We thank you for showing up for advocacy and the issues you care about this session! Whenever you signed in for a bill, sent comments to the committee, wrote a letter to your legislators, testified in hearings, and joined IFAD or other advocacy days in Olympia, you were part of making these victories possible. FAN is fortunate to be part of so many coalitions that help make us more effective, and we’re grateful for their policy strategies. We also thank the legislators who championed and voted for these bills, along with the Attorney General and Governor Inslee for their leadership. Let’s celebrate!
Help jump-start our Spring giving and keep FAN’s advocacy strong all year by donating securely at our website!
This year’s 105-day legislative session commenced on January 9 and concluded on April 23, known as Sine Die. Unlike the previous two years of virtual sessions, this year’s session was held in person in Olympia, but with provisions for remote public testimony. The Democratic party held a majority in both the House (58-40 seats) and the Senate (29-20). During the session, 474 bills were presented in the House, out of which 286 were passed with unanimous support.
Session highlights include the passage of significant gun responsibility bills, especially a ban on the sale of assault weapons; abolishing the death penalty in state law; repealing misleading and nonbinding advisory votes from ballots; and updating the Growth Management Act to address climate change. Reproductive rights and gender-affirming care were also protected. Although the Governor’s proposed $4 billion housing bond and rent stabilization bills were rejected, the legislature did pass HB 1110 to increase middle housing and HB 1474, the Covenants Homeownership Account Act, which addresses historical racism in housing. Additionally, $400 million was allocated to the Housing Trust Fund. Police pursuits were a hotly debated topic, resulting in the passage of SB 5352, which lowers the threshold for police to engage in chases.
Midway through the session, the Washington State Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the state’s capital gains tax passed in 2021. This modest 7% excise tax on annual capital gains above $250,000 is paid exclusively by the wealthiest 0.2% of Washingtonians, whose incomes average $2.6 million per year. The tax generates over $500 million per year in new revenue dedicated to providing resources for K-12 schools, building new schools across the state, and significantly expanding childcare and early learning supports for young children.
This session’s budget was not met with the same level of satisfaction from advocates the previous session’s budget. This was due to the State Legislature having to adjust after the Washington State Economic and Revenue Forecast Council released a revised projection in March that showed lower expected revenue for the next two biennia, plus no more federal Covid dollars to fund bills.
Budget highlights include the allocation of climate commitment funds, the creation of mental health facilities, funding for a Medicaid equivalent for undocumented immigrants at 138% of the poverty level, and funding for studies regarding removing the lower Snake River dams.
During the final week of the legislative session, lawmakers focused on reconciling differences in the House and Senate versions of the budgets through concurrences and conferences. The legislature successfully passed all three two-year budgets (operating, capital, and transportation) on time.
The legislature passed a $69.3 billion, two-year operating budget to fund critical state services, including behavioral health, public schools, affordable housing, and a historic investment to address the climate crisis. This budget includes a significant new investment of $2.9 billion for K-12 education, the largest investment since the McCleary court decision, and $417 million for special education. For the first time, funding of more than $400 million from the Climate Commitment Act will be allocated for projects to reduce carbon emissions and help prepare communities for climate-change-related threats such as droughts and flooding. The new Working Families Tax Credit will continue to receive funding, offering up to $1,200 per year to low-income families.
The operating budget also includes $519 million for housing and immediate shelter needs for people experiencing homelessness across the state, including the Right of Way Safety Initiative, which aims to transition unsheltered people to safer housing and services. Combined with investments from the capital budget, new housing-related investments exceed $1 billion. (For more analysis and detail, please download the Session Recap document.)
Register now for our online Spring Summits on two Sunday afternoons: May 7 and June 4. We want to hear from every corner of our state, so we have opted for virtual meetings. We plan to follow up with smaller, in-person cluster meetings and regional gatherings this summer and fall.
Join us for Spring Summits to hear the legislative session recap and strategize in small groups on the issues you care about. Let us know if you’d like to help facilitate an issue breakout group!
Saturday, April 29, 3:00-6:00pm, in person, Kol Ami, 308 4th Avenue S, Kirkland. Kirkland Together: Recognizing Antisemitism. Join an afternoon of learning, discussion, and connecting with Kirkland neighbors to build greater understanding to help combat antisemitism in your community.
Sunday, April 30, 1:00-5:00pm, in person, St. Luke’s/San Lucas Episcopal Church,426 E. Fourth Plain Blvd., Vancouver. WFTC Application Drive. This event is to encourage individuals to apply for Working Families Tax Credit. Spanish and English assistance will be available. Call Glicerio Zurita 360-334-0238 for more details.
Tuesday, May 2, 6:00pm, in person, Edmonds United Methodist Church, 828 Caspers Street, Edmonds. Community Vigil: We Stand with Love. Join with this church in their public response to the hateful and deeply disturbing leafletting inflicted on the congregation last Sunday.
Thursday, May 4, 9:00am-5:00pm, in person, Legends Casino, 580 Fort Road, Toppenish. Missing and Murdered Indigenous People Symposium. The Yakama Nation Behavioral Health Victim Resource Program will have an MMIP Symposium with Keynote Speaker Kelly Jackson. The symposium will continue, Friday, May 5, 8:30am and will end with an Awareness Walk at 11:00am.
Saturday, May 6, 10:00am-4:00pm, in person, Westlake Park, 401 Pine Street, Seattle. March and Gathering for Missing, Murdered Indigenous Women, People & Families. Join grassroots organization MMIWP Families in bringing continued awareness to this epidemic. The march will begin at 11:00am and will end at the Seattle Center Amphitheater, 305 Harrison Street.
Saturday, May 6, 10:00am-noon, in person, Gethsemane Lutheran Church, 911 Stewart Street, Seattle. Farm Worker Ministry Northwest Community Forum, co-sponsored by Faith Action Network. This event features organizers for United Farm Workers, which is supporting the Ostrom Mushroom Farms workers as they continue their struggle for justice. The Ostrom company was sold to Greenwood/Windmill Mushroom Farm, and the workers were all fired and offered different jobs at lower wages, and then forced to sign an arbitration agreement. Management continues to refuse to recognize the union or respond to workers’ concerns. Learn how you can support them. Contact Farm Worker Ministry at email@example.com for more information and to register.
Sunday, May 7, 10:30am, in person and on line, First United Methodist Church, 180 Denny Way, Seattle. Holy Ground/Earth Month worship series. with Sarah Augustine, a Pueblo (Tewa) descendant, author of The Land Is Not Empty: Following Jesus in Dismantling the Doctrine of Discovery, co-founder and executive director of the Dismantling the Doctrine of Discovery Coalition, and co-founder of the Suriname Indigenous Health Fund (SIHF).