Wrapping Up the 2024 Legislative Session

The Washington State Legislature adjourned on March 7th, 2024. At the end of this short session, it’s our job to help you understand what passed and what didn’t this legislative session.

Wins

The legislature included $60 million in the final operating budget to help fill a gap in funding for housing and shelter across the state. This is a huge improvement from the Senate’s original budget, which only included $20 million, and will go a long way towards making sure shelter and housing providers can keep their doors open this year. The final capital budget also includes $127.5 million for the Housing Trust Fund to build affordable housing, which will be added to the record-high $400 million investment in affordable housing the legislature made last year in the State’s 2-year budget. We want to extend our thanks to House budget leaders Representatives Macri and Ormsby for their hard work on this issue, and to the Housing Alliance for leading a strong campaign.

The legislature also passed the child support pass-through (HB 1652, Taylor). If signed by the governor, this bill will make sure that families receiving TANF benefits receive their full child support payments. Currently, the State takes a cut of child support payments before passing it on to families who receive TANF. We tip our hats to our friends at Poverty Action who have been pushing this important policy change for years, and to Representatives Taylor, Couture, and Rule for sponsoring this important bill.

Other important bills that passed the legislature include:

  • Expanded access to extended foster care for 18 to 21 year-olds (SB 5908, C. Wilson)
  • Providing temporary housing for young adults exiting behavioral health inpatient care. The bill directs the Health Care Authority to provide funding for at least two programs with 6-10 beds each (HB 1929, Cortes)
  • Two bills that will help mitigate King County’s public health and human services budget crisis (HB 2044, Duerr & 2348, Street). HB 2044 would allow voters to raise property taxes above the 1% lid to cover (“supplant”) current costs, rather than funding something new. HB 2348 would allow King County Council to raise property taxes to provide additional funding to Harborview Medical Center. Because both Harborview and Public Health are County functions, King County could make public health clinics part of Harborview and use the additional funding to support the clinics.
  • A study on housing providers’ skyrocketing insurance costs that threaten their ability to continue operating (HB 2329, Macri)
  • A property tax exemption for nonprofits providing affordable rental housing built with city or county funds (HB 2012, Street)
  • Lowering barriers to ID for youth and studying the feasibility of reduced-fee IDs (SB 5800, C. Wilson)
  • Expanding access to TANF time-limit extensions for certain families with children under 2 years old (HB 2007, Peterson). Note: this bill was amended multiple times, and it only applies to a limited number of families, and will not meaningfully address the racial disparities caused by families losing their TANF benefits due to the arbitrary five-year time limit.
  • Automatic eligibility for Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP) and Working Connections Child Care for families with children receiving federal or state basic food benefits (HB 1945, Alvarado)

Priority Bills that Did Not Pass

  • Lifting King County’s arbitrary 1% property tax lid that limits the County’s ability to support public health and human services (SB 5770, Pedersen)
  • Rent stabilization – limiting tenants’ rent and fee increases to 7% annually (HB 2114, Alvarado; SB 5961, Trudeau)
  • Permanent funding for affordable housing through the Housing Trust Fund by implementing a tax on sales of real estate over $3 million (HB 2276, Berg; SB 6191, Frame)
  • Preventing cities from discriminating against affordable housing & shelter (HB 2474, Peterson; HB 2113, Bateman)
  • Restoring voting rights for people while they are incarcerated (HB 2030, Simmons)
  • Eliminating the arbitrary five-year TANF time limit for all families who are still eligible to receive TANF (this was the original intent of HB 2007 before it was amended to apply to fewer people).