Successes in the 2021 Legislative Session

Your advocacy and support during the 2021 legislative session made tangible changes for our communities and the environment in Washington state, even as advocating looked different in a virtual session.We celebrate the bills below that were either on our FAN legislative agenda or we supported as the session evolved. Thank you for promoting social justice and racial equity across our state!

Download the 2021 Legislative Successes here.

You advocated for a biennial budget that reflects our values as a state:

Capital Gains Tax (ESSB 5096 Sen. Robinson) – Taxes certain intangible capital gains at 7% above $250,000, which will generate up to $1 billion in revenue for early learning/childcare investments and help right our upside-down tax code where the lowest income earners pay 17% in taxes and the wealthiest income earners pay only 3%.

Working Families Tax Credit (ESHB 1297 Rep. Thai) – Provides an income boost to working people in the form of a tax refund. This program was created in the 2008 legislative session but is funded for the first time in the 2021 session. Extends the eligibility to include Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) filers, which will allow undocumented workers to apply.

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) reform (2SSB 5214 Sen. Nguyen) – Allows families receiving TANF to apply for a hardship extension beyond the 60-month lifetime limit in light of the COVID-19 crisis. $52.2M, or a 15% increase, was also included in the final budget for TANF.

Community and Technical Colleges Equity and Access (E2SSB 5194 Sen. Liias) – Requires all WA State Community and Technical Colleges to implement the diversity, equity, and inclusion strategic work plan which includes stakeholders from diverse groups and aids in recruitment and retention of faculty from diverse backgrounds. Requires implementation of the Guided Pathways program to map educational pathways for students, provide advising and career counseling, and close equity gaps among historically underserved populations.

Emergency Food and Cash Assistance (SHB 1151 Rep. Leavitt) – Bolsters economic recovery in light of the COVID-19 crisis by increasing food and cash assistance access and amounts.

Eliminating School Lunch Copay (EHB 1342 Rep. Berg) – Eliminates lunch copays for all students who qualify for reduced-price lunches.

Your voice helped reform our policing and criminal justice systems:

Police use of force and de-escalation statewide standards (E2SHB 1310 Rep. J. Johnson) – Establishes a standard for use of physical force by police officers, requiring de-escalation tactics before use of force and limiting use of deadly force.

Office for Independent Investigations (ESHB 1267 Rep. Entenman) – Establishes the Office of Independent Investigations within the Office of the Governor for the purpose of investigating deadly force incidents involving police officers.

Police Tactics restrictions and prohibitions (ESHB 1054 Rep. J. Johnson) – Prohibits police officers from using chokeholds and neck restraints and issuing no-knock warrants; limits use of military equipment, tear gas, vehicular pursuit, firing at moving vehicles. Requires officers to be easily identifiable and convenes a work group for developing policies on use of canine units.

Decertification and licensing standards for police and Criminal Justice Training Commission reforms (E2SSB 5051 Sen. Pedersen) – Expands background investigation requirements for those applying to be police officers and the conduct for which certification can be revoked. Requires all disciplinary matters involving police officers be reported to the CJTC and removes confidentiality so these records are publicly available.

Post-secondary Education in Prisons (2SHB 1044 Rep. Leavitt) – Permits the Department of Corrections to implement post-secondary education opportunities in state prisons and to issue unofficial certificates for completion.

Re-sentencing for 3 strikes with Robbery 2 Convictions (ESB 5164 Sen. Darneille) – Allows resentencing hearings for anyone currently in prison for life without parole under the 3 Strikes law where one of those convictions was for Robbery 2.

You helped create housing opportunities and prevent homelessness:

Renters’ Right to counsel for Evictions (E2SSB 5160 Sen. Kuderer) – Addresses landlord-tenant relations by providing certain tenant protections, providing for legal representation in eviction cases, establishing an eviction resolution pilot program for nonpayment of rent cases, and authorizing landlord access to certain rental assistance programs. Governor partially vetoed.

Just Cause Evictions (ESHB 1236 Rep. Macri) – Protects tenants from the beginning to end of their tenancies by penalizing the inclusion of unlawful lease provisions and limiting the reasons for eviction, refusal to continue, and termination.

Document recording fee (E2SHB 1277 Rep. Ormsby) – Provides an additional revenue source for eviction prevention and housing stability by imposing a $100 fee on certain recorded documents.

$350M in the Capital Budget to build and preserve affordable homes – $175 for the Housing Trust Fund and $120 to acquire properties that can be quickly converted to housing or shelter.

You advocated for bills that address climate change:

Clean Fuels Standards (E3SHB 1091 Rep. Fitzgibbon) – Reduces greenhouse gas emissions by reducing the carbon intensity of transportation fuel to 20% of its 2017 levels by 2035. Governor partially vetoed.

HEAL Act (E2SSB 5141 Sen. Saldaña) – Reduces environmental and health disparities and improves the health of all Washington state residents by implementing the recommendations of the environmental justice task force.

Electric vehicles by 2030 (E2SHB 1287 Rep. Ramel) – Prepares WA State for a zero-emissions transportation future. Governor partially vetoed.

You protected immigrants, civil and human rights for all:

Voting Rights Restoration for those coming out of prison (ESHB 1078 Rep. Simmons) – Automatically restores voting rights to people exiting prison who have a felony conviction.

Civil legal aid for undocumented people (HB 1072 Rep. Lekanoff) – Removes the exemption for using civil legal aid funds for representing undocumented people in the Office of Civil Legal Aid.

Private Detention Prohibition (EHB 1090 Rep. Ortiz-Self) – Prohibits WA State operation of and contracts with private detention facilities.

Native American Mascots Ban (SHB 1356 Rep. Lekanoff) – Prohibits the inappropriate use of Native American names, symbols, or images as public school mascots, logos, or team names.

Juneteenth Paid Holiday (SHB 1016 Rep. Morgan) – Designates June 19, Juneteenth, as a state paid holiday, to celebrate the emancipation of those who had been enslaved in the United States.

Open carry of weapons in public demonstrations ban (ESSB 5038 Sen. Kuderer) – Prohibits the open carry of certain weapons at public demonstrations and the state capitol.

Farmworker Overtime Pay (ESSB 5172 Sen. King) – Provides phased-in overtime standards for farmworkers.

Billy Frank, Jr. Statue (ESHB 1372 Rep. Lekanoff) – Replaces the Marcus Whitman statue in the national statuary hall collection with a statue of Billy Frank Jr., Nisqually tribal member who fought tirelessly for treaty and fishing rights.

You ensured healthcare and mental health access

Universal Health Care Commission (E2SSB 5399 Sen. Randall) – Creates the Universal Health Care Commission to prepare Washington State for providing universal health care for all.

Comprehensive public health districts (E2SHB 1152 Rep. Riccelli) – Invests in our state’s public health system in ways that make the best use of technology, science, expertise, and leveraged resources and in a manner that is responsive to local communities, including the composition of local public health boards.

Dental Therapy – The final budget included a proviso to establish a Dental Therapy Task Force to offer recommendations on bringing the current practice of dental therapy on tribal lands to a statewide scale.