ECONOMIC & SOCIAL JUSTICE

The League supports measures to ensure equality of opportunity, prevent and reduce poverty and promote fair policies for all struggling to realize their human potential.

Issue Team Chair: Amy Davis – adavis [at] lwvwa.org – (360) 427-1956  
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Looking Towards the 2020 Session - starting January 13

This year we will continue to seek social, economic and environmental justice for those still struggling under unfair practices and policies which undermine their right to a living wage, a safe workplace, equal opportunity regardless of race, gender, or disability, and an environmentally safe community. We will advocate for vulnerable populations wherein life expectancy, health and quality of life outcomes demand increased awareness and resources.
Bills the League Supported in 2019 That Did Not Pass...and are still alive for 2020
  • HB 1056 Creating a task force to identify the role of the workplace in helping curb domestic violence. 

  • HB 1783 / SB 5776 Creating the Washington state office of equity.   
  • HB 2009SB 5489 HEAL ACT to create a task force to address health disparities due to environmental impacts.

HEALTH CARE, BEHAVIORAL HEALTH, & REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS

Ensure access for all residents to comprehensive, uniform and affordable set of health services. These services shall be available regardless of one’s health status (ie pre-existing conditions) or financial status.

Issue Team Chair: Kim Abbey – kabbey48 [at] gmail.com – (206) 387-6134 
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Looking Towards the 2020 Session - starting January 13

The goal regarding Healthcare, Behavioral Health, and Reproductive Rights during the 2020 legislative session is to continue to support the primary sponsors of bills that did not pass in the 2019 session. League members may begin in the Fall by writing emails or letters to legislators, expressing support for the bills listed below. During the session, in the weekly newsletter, members will be asked to assist the Lobby Team chair by referring people with expertise to testify at public hearings before the Health committees in the House and the Senate. The weekly newsletter will also include Action Alerts on certain bills.

    Bills the League Supported in 2019 That Did Not Pass...and are still alive for 2020
    • HB 1104 Requiring the submission of a waiver to the federal government to create the Washington Health Security Trust. When the federal government grants waivers to individual states so that all federal Medicare and Medicaid funds are transferred to the state, then individual states are free to pass Single Payer/ improved Medicare for All health coverage plans. In WA State, if passed, that would allow the creation of the WA Health Security Trust from which all providers and hospitals would be paid. The WHST would also collect funds from employers and residents, expected to be lower than Employer based medical insurance is costing companies currently to cover their employees. Residents would receive comprehensive, uniform coverage directly paid by the WHST and would no longer need to purchase plans from for-profit Insurers, without deductibles or co-pays. The prime sponsor of HB 1104 is Rep. Sherry Appleton LD 23 (Kitsap Co. and Bremerton) and eleven co-sponsors. Members may write emails or letters starting right now to ask them to continue to sponsor this bill in 2020.
    • HB 1240 Relating to youth suicide review teams. Prime sponsor is Rep. Gina Mosbrucker, LD 14 (Yakama Reservation, Trout Lake, Goldendale). HB 1240 had a public hearing in the House Health and Wellness Committee and was referred to the Appropriations committee on Feb. 13, 2019, and never did have a hearing despite having bi-partisan support. LWV members may write to Rep. Mosbrucker and to the co-sponsors of this bill.
    • HB 1317SB 5392 Establishing the profession of Dental Therapist. Prime sponsors are: Rep. Eileen Cody, LD 34 (Vashon and West Seattle) and Sen. David Frockt, LD 46 (Kenmore, Lake City and U-district). HB 1317 was heard before the House Appropriations Committee on Feb. 27, 2019 and referred to Rules Committee where it stalled. It would be appropriate for League members to write to these prime sponsors and co-sponsors in support. Working with the LWV-Whatcom Co. health committee, research shows that at least nine other states have Dental Therapists which assures adequate dental care in rural and underserved areas and on Tribal lands.
    • HB 1902 Requiring a single medical bill for health services covered by a qualified health plan. Prime sponsor is Rep. Eileen Cody (LD 34). HB 1902 was passed by the House Health and Wellness Committee but was stalled in the Rules Committee. LWV members may write or email Rep. Cody and the four co-sponsors in support. Also, refer any names of people with expertise to give testimony at a public hearing during the 2020 legislative session.
    • HB 2054: Establishes a new Department of Behavioral Health Facilities. Prime sponsor is Rep. Richard DeBolt, LD 20 (Centralia) and has bi-partisan support. Write to Rep. DeBolt and the three co-sponsors in support.
    • SB 5483 Improving services for individuals with developmental disabilities. Prime sponsor is Sen. John Braun, LD 20 (Centralia, Chehalis) plus nine co-sponsors. SB 5483 had public hearings in the Senate Health and Long Term Care committee and was passed to the House Committee on Human Services and Early Learning and had a hearing in House Appropriations where it stalled. LWV members may read the details of this bill at leg.wa.gov and do write emails in support.

      HOUSING & HOMELESSNESS

      Achieve policies and funding necessary to address the homelessness crisis and assure an adequate supply of affordable housing for middle-to-low income people.

      Issue Team Chair: Cynthia Stewart – stewdahl [at] comcast.net    
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      Looking Towards the 2020 Session - starting January 13

      During the 2019 legislative session, two tracks of work on housing were pursued. One was a series of briefings for legislators to inform them of the factors associated with homelessness. The other was a wide-ranging set of measures to address affordable housing and homelessness. Bills were passed in 2019 that increased funding and funding options for affordable housing; changed the framework of regulations to increase affordable housing; increased protection for tenants, provided financial support to avoid evictions, and changed eviction rules to further protect tenants; and provided support specifically for youth experiencing homelessness. Additionally, the Housing and Essential Needs program received substantial additional funding. One of the most significant measures in 2019 was a record infusion of funding to the Housing Trust Fund, from which private non-profit housing organizations may draw to increase affordable housing stock. What did not pass in 2019 was the capital gains tax proposal, which was critical for action to address the income inequality causation of homelessness for many people. 
      Bills the League Supported in 2019 That Did Not Pass...and are still alive for 2020
      • HB 1033 Concerning relocation assistance for manufactured/mobile home park tenants would authorize manufactured/mobile home park tenants seeking relocation assistance from the Mobile and Manufactured Home Relocation Assistance Program to receive other funding for relocation purposes without reducing their eligibility for Relocation Assistance Funds and to use the Program Funds to secure housing that is not a manufactured home.
      • HB 1044 would modify income qualifying thresholds for the property tax exemption for low income senior citizens, individuals with disabilities, and disabled veterans by creating a range, rather than a single income level. It is expected to increase eligibility for the tax exemption.
      • HB 1168 Creating sales and use and excise tax exemptions for self-help housing development would provide a sales and use tax exemption for qualifying purchases of labor, services, and tangible personal property related to self-help housing and a REET exemption on the sale of self-help housing by an affordable homeownership facilitator to a low-income household.
      • HB 1181 Providing property tax relief for senior citizens and qualifying veterans Income thresholds for the senior citizen, individuals with disabilities, and veterans would modify the property tax exemption by creating income ceilings based on a percentage of county median household incomes.
      • HB 1206 Concerning park models, tiny homes, and manufactured homes and modifying the Manufactured/Mobile Home Landlord-Tenant Act (MHLTA), removing references to "park models" and adding a definition of "tiny home" to the MHLTA.
      • HB 1278 Concerning room and board for college bound scholarship students would require public institutions of higher education that offer on-campus housing options to provide a one-year waiver for on-campus housing to eligible students (those who upon graduation from high school, are considered homeless under the McKinney-Vento Act) on a space available basis.
      • HB 1453 Relating to residential tenant protections would extend notice to tenants from three days to 21 days before eviction proceedings for non-payment of rent may commence. It would extend the pay-or-vacate period to at least two weeks before an eviction process can be started, and prevent tenants from falling back into the eviction process via late fees and court fees. It would require the notice be written in plain language and include information on civil legal aid resources available to the tenant.
      • HB 1581 Funding local housing trust fund programs in certain cities would authorize certain cities to create a local housing trust fund for affordable housing and to impose a local sales tax, credited against the state sales tax on construction activities, with the added tax to be deposited in a local housing trust fund. The certain cities that would be authorized are Tacoma and Spokane.
      • HB 1590 Allowing the local sales and use tax for affordable housing to be imposed by a councilmanic authority would authorize county or city legislative authorities to impose the local sales and use tax for housing and related services and eliminate the requirement that the imposition of the tax be subject to the approval of a majority of county or city voters at a general or special election.  
      • HB 1694 Allowing tenants to pay certain sums in installments would require landlords to permit tenants to pay deposits, nonrefundable fees, and last month's rent in installments, subject to one exception and some general parameters regarding the number and timing of the installments.
      • HB 1797 Concerning local governments planning and zoning for accessory dwelling units would require cities and counties to adopt or amend by ordinance and incorporate into their development regulations, zoning regulations, and other official controls, an authorization for the creation of accessory dwelling units. 
      • HB 1938 Creating a local infrastructure investment program to support the development of affordable housing, workforce housing, and revitalization efforts would allow cities and counties to apply for a remittance of 4.37 percent of the state sales and use tax on construction of local infrastructure to support the development of affordable housing, workforce housing, and revitalization efforts. According to the fiscal note, this could his could generate $34.9 million in sales tax remittances to local governments.
      • HB 1982 Waiving groundwater fees for low-income housing would waive groundwater fees for affordable housing providers and low-income home-owners.
      • HB 2004 Concerning the property tax exemption for nonprofit organizations providing rental housing or mobile home park spaces to very low-income households would add mobile home parks to the current exemption.
      • HB 2110 Modifying the definition of affordable workforce housing for the purposes of permitted lodging tax revenu expenditures would redefine the eligibility threshold from between 30% and 80% of AMI to below 80% AMI.  
      • HB 1656 / SB 5733 Protecting tenants in residential tenancies, would require a landlord to have a legitimate business reason to terminate a tenancy. Currently a 20-day notice is required, which is insufficient for the tenant to find replacement housing. This bill would replace that notice requirement with a requirement that the landlord have a legitimate reason to terminate the lease, even if on a month-to-month basis.
      • SB 5261 Creating a pilot program for certain cities to hire homeless persons for local beautification projects, would create a three-year pilot program for three cities to provide job opportunities at minimum wage or greater in conjunction with other wrap-around services.
      • SSB 5357 Authorizing cities and counties to impose additional taxes for affordable housing, would allow cities and counties to approve an additional .5% REET within their respective jurisdictions with proceeds to be used exclusively for development of affordable housing. This bill was substituted with one that would allow an additional .25 (lower) increase.
      • SB 5363 Extending the property tax exemption for new and rehabilitated multiple-unit dwellings in urban centers for 12 years. 
      GUN SAFETY

      Limit accessibility of firearms, including assault-style weapons and high capacity clips. Enact safe storage requirements for guns.

      Issue Team Chair: Pat Griffith  pgriffith [at] lwvwa.org  (206) 285-2452   
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      Looking towards the 2020 Session - starting January 13

      With the continuing frequency and severity of mass shootings, the legislature needs to have as a priority bills restricting High Capacity Magazines and restrictions on ammunition purchases.

      Other bills with public safety implications include mandatory reporting of lost and stolen firearms; expanding gun-free zones to include childcare centers, libraries, and parks; adding hate motivation to issuance of Extreme Risk Protection Orders.

      With a short 60-day session and November 2020 elections, it is doubtful that controversial changes to current gun laws will be addressed. The High Capacity Magazine restrictions should be an exception as there is high public support and bills passed both House and Senate Committees and Rules Committees but were not brought to floor votes in the 2019 session.

      Bills the League Supported in 2019 That Did Not Pass...and are still alive for 2020
      • HB 1010 Concerns the disposition of forfeited firearms by the Washington State Patrol. Currently those weapons can be sold and often end up in criminal use.
      • SHB 1068 / SSB 5062 Imposing a limit on the size of ammunition magazines to 10 rounds.
      • SSB 5745 Concering hate as a threat in Extreme Risk Protection Orders

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