December 17, 2020 State Legislative Preview Meeting

Agenda

  • 9:00-9:20             Welcome and Intro to State Legislative Advocacy
  • 9:20-10:05           Legislative Priorities from our Statewide Advocacy Partners
  • 10:05-10:30         Lawmaker Insights with State Senator Patty Kuderer and Representative Nicole Macri
  • 10:30-11:00         Special Musical Guest Reggie Garrett

State Legislative Advocacy Basics

The first step in advocating on the state level is knowing who represents your community in Olympia. Washington state is divided into 49 legislative districts, which elect one senator to the State Senate and two representatives to the State House. You can use this link to look up your legislators: https://app.leg.wa.gov/districtfinder/

To look up your state legislative district and state legislators:

  1. Visit app.wa.leg.gov/districtfinder
  2. Enter your home address and click “Find My District”. If you do not have a traditional home address, enter a mailing address, or a cross street, shelter address, or park address. This determines who represents you.
    • Make sure that under “District Type”, “Legislative” is selected. This will show you your legislative district (usually a number) and your Washington state senators and representatives.
  3. Make a note of your legislative district number. If you haven’t already, rename yourself with your legislative district in front of your name!
  4. Make a note of the names of your legislators!
    • Bonus points if you click on your legislators’ names to learn more about them, including what committees they are part of and what bills they’ve sponsored
    • Extra, extra bonus points if you add their contact information to your rolodex!

Participating in Virtual Legislative Advocacy

With the legislature meeting remotely this year, advocacy will happen remotely as well. Opportunities to connect with lawmakers will happen in the communities we live, which means your program or agency can play an important part in raising the voices of those most impacted by homelessness. We want to give some thought to the questions below. Please reach out to either Saleena or Jason to share your thoughts.

  • Is your program or agency planning to engage staff and clients in advocacy in the upcoming session? If so, please tell us what you are preparing to do.
  • Are you interested in bringing advocacy opportunities to guests, clients and residents of your program? If so, what would you need to be successful in this?
  • The Coalition is considering convening regular meetings during session to provide updates to our members and share tools to make advocacy accessible to those in our community. Is this something you or one of your staff would be interested in participating in?

Statewide Advocacy Partner 2021 Priorities and Agendas at a Glance

Statewide Poverty Action NetworkView Meeting Slides Here

Omar Cuevas Vega with Statewide Poverty Action Network shared some of their 2021 legislative priorities, which include strengthening public benefit programs like TANF and HEN and advocating for new sources of progressive revenue. Omar also shared information on the Washington Dental Access Campaign to bring dental therapy to communities in need. Dental therapists are primary oral health care providers that deliver routine preventive and restorative care to those who need it most. Dental therapists are critical to expanding access to dental care where it is most out of reach, providing timely, quality care to rural, low-income communities and communities of color, and to patients who have coverage through Apple Health or are uninsured. 

Dental therapists were recently authorized to work in select tribal communities. Community dental health advocates are pushing to extend this authorization statewide to bring much needed dental care to communities in need. Click here to support the campaign, and use this organizational sign on form to add your organization to the list of supporters. And click here to view a media toolkit you can use to get the word out to your community.

Below are some housing and homelessness related priorities that Poverty Action Network will be focused on.
View full policy agenda here.

  1. Building a Stronger Safety Net
    • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) – continued investments to TANF and policy changes that restore policies which prioritize equity and the well-being of families and children
      • Protect current investments in the TANF program that help families meet their most basic need;
      • Extend relief measures implemented during COVID, especially through the following economic downturn;
      • Enacting common-sense time limit extensions and easing harsh sanction policies. 
    • Housing & Essential Needs (HEN) and Aged, Blind, Disabled (ABD) – protecting all investments and refusing any cuts to HEN and ABD. Austerity budget cuts harmed adults with disabilities during the great recession, and our state has the opportunity to refuse to make the same mistake during this economic downturn. A state budget shortfall does not have to mean fewer supports for adults with disabilities.  
  2. Progressive Revenue – implement progressive revenue solutions that rebalances our state tax code by:
    • Urging Washington state lawmakers to rebalance our tax code with measures like estate taxes, capital gains taxes, and payroll taxes,
    • Encouraging Washington elected leaders to explore programs like universal basic income, and to use federal COVID relief funds or other state funds for a Recovery Rebate to put cash in the pockets of all Washingtonians.

Funding and expanding the Working Families Tax Credit (WFTC), which is Washington state’s version of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), the federal government’s most

Poverty Action is hosting a virtual lobby day on Martin Luther King Jr Day (Monday, January 18 2021). Click here to register. We encourage those interested to register by Monday, January 4 to receive an advocacy tool box in the mail prior to the event.

Washington Voting Rights Restoration Coalition (WVRRC)

Restore voting rights to thousands of Washington residents

The WVRRC coalition is made up of the ACLU Washington, Civil Survival, Seattle/King County Coalition on Homelessness, and many other organizations that seek to advance justice and promote racial equity. This year, the WVRRC is working hard to pass HB 2992 / SB 6228 to restore voting rights to people who have been formerly incarcerated and support their reintegration into our communities.

Please visit the WVRCC website to learn more about how you can support this important piece of legislation. Have you or someone you know had their voting rights taken away? WVRRC wants to hear your stories! Please fill out or share this survey if you or someone you know has been impacted by the justice system.

Washington Low Income Housing AllianceView Meeting Slides Here

View 2021 legislative priorities and advocacy tips here.

John Stovall shared the 2021 legislative priorities for the Housing Alliance, which include extending the statewide eviction moratorium and enacting Good Cause tenant protections. The Housing Alliance is looking to recruit interested community members to join their advocacy team, if interested sign up here. Housing and Homelessness Advocacy Week is coming up on February 8 through February 12. Registration begins on Monday January 4, stay tuned for details.

The Housing Alliance is also gathering stories of Washington residents who have had their housing status impacted by COVID-19. If you or someone you know has a story to share please submit this form.

Lead Agenda Items: 

  • Invest $240 million for the Housing Trust Fund and an additional $10 million from the Capital Budget for preservation of affordable housing (USDA and other properties at risk of loss).
  • Keep people in their homes and prevent an increase in homelessness:
    Pass statewide protections against discriminatory and arbitrary evictions (good cause termination requirements) and prevent evictions based on nonpayment of rent with improved legal protections and rental assistance.
  • Increase state resources to prevent and end homelessness:
    Significantly increase the state’s document recording fee to increase resources to prevent homelessness.
  • Protect against any cuts to affordable housing, homelessness and human services programs by passing significant new progressive revenue.

Support Agenda Issues 

  • Ban discrimination against renters based on a prior criminal record (Housing Justice Act).
  • Foreclosure prevention.
  • Equity and racial justice: support a racial justice and/or immigrant rights ask (if appropriate and asked to do so).
  • Prevent any expansion of the MFTE program without requiring deeper affordability, tenant protections and anti-displacement protections.