ECONOMIC & SOCIAL JUSTICE

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  
Interested in getting involved with this topic? Click here!

Right Now In Economic & Social Justice 

SB 5258, preventing the sexual harassment and sexual assault of certain isolated workers, passed the Senate with 47 yeas and 2 excused. This bill would provide vulnerable workers such as custodians, security guards, and hotel housekeepers who work alone for long hours with panic buttons, a list of resources, mandatory sexual harassment training, and hopefully a safer work environment. Companion bill, HB 1728, was introduced in House Labor & Workplace Standards Committee, but is currently stalled in executive session. 

We supported two companion bills last week, HB 1815 / SB 5497. The legislation will establish a statewide policy supporting WA State’s economy and immigrants’ role in the workplace. Immigrants contribute billions of dollars in taxes, spending power, entrepreneurial business revenue, and a vital labor force in industry. This bill recognizes their contributions and protects their inherent rights and dignity as part of a strong economy. The League advocates fair treatment under the law for all persons and encourage the creation of a work group consisting of diverse members and interests all collaborating on model policies to ensure organizations and institutions (schools, courthouses, health facilities, etc.) remain safe and accessible to all residents regardless of immigrant or citizenship status. Both bills will be in executive session this week. 

Another bill moving quickly: HB 1696, which prohibits an employer from seeking the wage or salary history of an applicant for employment, was referred to House Appropriations Committee on February 14 but no hearing has been scheduled yet. So far, a Senate companion bill has not been introduced. We urge the Senate Labor & Commerce Committee to consider expediting such legislation. The League of Women Voters supports employment laws and regulations which encourage practices fair to all individuals regardless of gender. HB 1696 protects employees in the private sector from wage discrimination by requiring employers to disclose wage scales or salary ranges to an applicant or employee upon request. The employer cannot use an employee’s wage history in setting current pay schedules. It also provides a legal remedy for an employee who has experienced wage discrimination. Unfair disparities in salary keep employees from advancement and economic prosperity affecting not only the individual, but the economic health of families.

Bills the League is Supporting
  • HB 1696 Prohibiting an employer from seeking the wage or salary history of an applicant for employment.
  • HB 1815 / SB 5497 Establishing a statewide policy supporting Washington state's economy and immigrants' role in the workplace. 
  • HB 1783 Creating the Washington state office of equity. 
  • HB 1728SB 5258 Preventing the sexual harassment and sexual assault of certain isolated workers. 

Bills the League is Watching
  • HB 1001 Concerning service contract providers. 

  • HB 1033 Concerning relocation assistance for manufactured/mobile home park tenants. 

  • HB 1056 Creating a task force to identify the role of the workplace in helping curb domestic violence. 

  • HB 1072 Enhancing the prevailing wage laws to ensure contractor and owner accountability and worker protection. 

  • SB 5058 Penalizing employers who relocate call centers to another country. 

  • SB 5080 Concerning earned release time and graduated reentry for educational participation and achievement for certain offenders. 

  • SB 5090 Addressing wage and salary information. 

  • SB 5233 Creating an alternative process for sick leave benefits for workers represented by collective bargaining agreements. 

  • SB 5261 Creating a pilot program for certain cities to hire homeless persons for local beautification projects.

CRIMINAL JUSTICE

Eradicate racial bias from the criminal justice system to uphold principles of fairness and due process of law.

Issue Team Chair: Heather Kelly – hkelly [at] lwvwa.org 
Interested in getting involved with this topic? Click here!

Right Now In Criminal Justice

The new year promises many exciting developments in criminal justice for Washington State! Our lawmakers are hard at work clarifying new laws and continuing reform efforts reflecting broader nationwide trends. HB 1064, which has been signed into law by the Governor effective February 4, 2019, implements the new training requirements for law enforcement mandated by the 2018 ballot initiative I-940. The League proudly supported I-940 and will be studying the implementation process closely.

Three additional bills concern domestic and gender-based violence. The first, HB 1002, would eliminate a requirement of verbal non-consent for rape, currently a requirement to convict someone for rape in the third degree. A second law, HB 1055, would expand the application of no-contact orders to protect certain sex crimes victims. Finally, HB 1056, would create a task force to identify the role of the workplace in reducing instances of domestic violence.

A topic of interest at the most recent Seattle and Shoreline Action Workshops was the relationship between individuals living with mental illness and our criminal justice system. Several bills touch on this intersection of topics, including laws instituting a reentry program for folks emerging from psychiatric commitments in state hospitals, and creating incentives for people with behavioral disorders to avoid arrest.

Finally, in 2018 the Washington Supreme Court held that the death penalty was racially biased and unconstitutional. Companion bills HB 1488SB 5339 would eliminate capital punishment consistent with that ruling. 

Bills the League Supports 
  • HB 1488 / SB 5339 Abolishing capital punishment in response to the 2018 Washington State Supreme Court in State v. Gregory holding that the death penalty is racially biased and unconstitutional.
  • HB 1041 This bill would promote successful re-entry of formerly incarcerated individuals into society by modifying the process for obtaining certificates of discharge and vacating conviction records. Streamlining this process will enable people to find employment more quickly, easing their integration back into the community by creating opportunities for self-sufficiency.
  • HB 1068 / SB 5062 Imposing a limit on the size of ammunition magazines. (see Gun Safety Issue updates for more information)
  • SB 5076 This bill would allow people who are on parole to register to vote as long as they were in compliance with the conditions of their parole. Currently, that right is not restored until they have completed their term of parole. (see Elections Issue updates for more information)
  • SB 5207 This bill would require that the Department of Corrections provide inmates with a felony conviction with information on how to restore their right to vote along with a voter registration form. Too often someone leaves the prison system believing that their right to vote has been taken away permanently. (see Elections Issue updates for more information)
  • SB 5444 This bill would align the law with the terms of the settlement in A.B. by and through Trueblood et. al. v Washington State D.S.H.S. (“Trueblood”). By court order, Washington is required to reduce the amount of time that people with behavioral health conditions sit in jail waiting for services and treatment. Specifically, the settlement requires improved competency evaluations, competency restoration services, crisis triage and diversion support, education and training, and workforce development. (see Health Care, Behavioral Health, & Reproductive Rights Issue updates for more information)
Bills the League is Watching
  • HB 1002 Eliminate requirement of verbal non-consent for rape
  • HB 1055 Allowing arrest for violations of no-contact orders for certain sex crimes victims  
  • HB 1056 Creating a task force to identify role of workplace in curbing Domestic Violence
  • HB 1086 Increasing appropriated funding for public defense services, shifting the funding source from counties to the State.
  • HB 1166 Support survivors of sexual assault through improved evidence collection and victim notification procedures. 
  • HB 1231 Modifying the statute of limitations for certain sex crimes against children.
  • HB 1234 Eliminating the statute of limitations for certain felony sex offenses. 
  • SB 5038 Limiting placement in adult homes of folks with criminal justice history 
  • SB 5027 Lowering age minimum for minors subject to extreme risk protection order 
  • SB 5040 Concerning equitable community placements for people with criminal justice history 
  • SB 5048 Creating a reentry community safety program for state hospital patients.  (see Health Care, Behavioral Health, & Reproductive Rights Issue updates for more information)
  • SB 5056 Creating incentives for folks with behavioral issues to avoid the criminal justice system 
  • HB 1035 Provides every public school, including charter schools, with an armed resource officer. The League supports schools as gun-free zones. (see Gun Safety Issue updates for more information)
  • HB 1038 Allows school districts and private schools to adopt a policy authorizing permanent full-time employees to possess firearms on school grounds under certain conditions. (see Gun Safety Issue updates for more information)
  • SB 5027 Enhancements to Extreme Risk Protection Orders for juveniles and penalties. (see Gun Safety Issue updates for more information)
Bills the League Supported which Passed
  • HB 1064 Implementing De-Escalate Washington (I-940) consistent with the terms that emerged from a collaboration between law enforcement and the families of people killed in police encounters. On January 30 the Senate unanimously approved HB 1064 and on February 4, 2019, Governor Inslee signed HB 1064 into law. Congratulations to the families and supporters of De-Escalate Washington on this incredible achievement. Stay tuned for updates on supporting the implementation of this new law.
HEALTH CARE, BEHAVIORAL HEALTH, & REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS

Ensure access for all residents to comprehensive, uniform and affordable physical and behavioral health care and reproductive services.
Reproductive health care should be affordable, available, and should provide a comprehensive range of services including abortions.

Issue Team Chair: Kim Abbey – kabbey48 [at] gmail.com – (206) 387-6134 
Interested in getting involved with this topic? Click here!

Right Now In Health Care, Behavioral Health, & Reproductive Rights

House Updates

If one of your Representatives is a member of the below committees, please contact her or him, and request that they support these bills and vote to pass them out of committee and onto the next committee.   

  • HB 1393, concerning fully implementing behavioral health integration for January 1, 2020, by removing behavioral health organization from law is scheduled for executive session on February 20 at 1:30pm. 
  • HB 1432, concerning hospital privileges for advanced registered nurse practitioners and physician assistants is now in the House Rules Committee for second reading.
  • HB 1099, providing notice about network adequacy to consumers, has been referred to the House Rules Committee. 

Six bills moved into the House Appropriations Committee and have hearings or executive sessions scheduled this week. If one of your Representatives is a member of this committee, please contact her or him, and request that they support these bills and vote to pass them out of committee and onto the next committee.   

  • SHB 1065, protecting consumers from charges for out-of-network health care services, is scheduled for public hearing on February 20 at 3:30pm.
  • HB 1199, concerning health care for working individuals with disabilities, is scheduled for public hearing on February 21 at 3:30pm.
  • HB 1018, concerning fair dental insurance practices was referred to committee, but no public hearing is scheduled yet. 
  • HB 1240, concerning suicide review teams, was referred to committee, but no public hearing is scheduled yet. 
  • HB 1331, concerning opioid use disorder treatment, prevention, and related services, was referred to committee, but no public hearing is scheduled yet. 
  • HB 1394, concerning community facilities needed to ensure a continuum of care for beahvioral health patients, was referred to committee, but no public hearing is scheduled yet. 

Senate Updates

Three bills the League supports are scheduled for public hearings or executive sessions in the Senate Health and Long-term Care Committee or the Senate Behavioral Health Sub-Committee this week. If your Senator is a member of one of these committees contact her or him and request that they support passage of these bills and to vote them out of committee and onto the next committee.

  • SB 5526, increasing the availability of quality, affordable health coverage in the individual market, is scheduled for public hearing February 18 at 8:00am.
  • SB 5822, providing a pathway to establish a universal health care system for the residents of Washington state, is scheduled for public hearing February 18 at 8:00am.
  • SB 5431, concerning community facilities needed to ensure a continuum of care for behavioral health patients, is scheduled for an executive session in the Senate Behavioral Health Sub-Committee on February 21 at 6:00pm.

Four bills moved into the Senate Ways & Means Committee this week. If your Senator is a member of this committee, please contact her or him, and request that they support these bills.

  • SSB 5057, protecting youth from tobacco products and vapor products by increasing the minimum legal age of sale of tobacco and vapor products, was referred to Ways & Means in January, but no hearing has been scheduled yet.
  • SB 5274, concerning dental coverage for Pacific Islanders residing in Washington has no hearing scheduled yet. 
  • SB 5292 concerning prescription drug price transparency is scheduled for a public hearing on February 19 at 3:30pm.
  • SB 5380, concerning opioid use disorder treatment, prevention, and related services is scheduled for a public hearing on February 19 at 3:30pm.
  • SB 5415, creating the Washington Indian health improvement act, is scheduled for a public hearing on February 19 at 3:30pm 

Three bills the League supports moved to the Senate Rules Committee for second reading.  If your Senator is a member of one of these committees contact her or him and request that they support passage of these bills and to vote them out of committee and onto the next committee.

  • SB 5032, concerning medicare supplemental insurance policies. 
  • SB 5210, notifying purchasers of hearing instruments about uses and benefits of telecoil and Bluetooth technology.
  • SB 5257, restricting the practice of female genital mutilation, revises the uniform disciplinary act regarding the performance of female genital mutilation which constitutes unprofessional conduct for any license holder under the jurisdiction of the act.

Bills the League Supports

Health Care

  • HB 1018 Concerning fair dental insurance practices. In 2000, the patients' bill of rights was enacted to ensure that health insurers use appropriate medical personnel to make health care decisions and that enrollees have access to an impartial process for appealing an insurer’s decision. This patient bill of rights has been successful in protecting consumers by establishing fair health insurance practices. HB 1018 declares an intent to curb abuses by dental plans by extending the protections of the patient bill of rights to health plans that offer dental only coverage, protecting health care providers who advocate on behalf of their dental patients, and prohibiting other unfair dental insurance practices. 
  • HB 1065 / SB 5031 Protecting consumers from charges for out-of-network health care services. These bills establish the balance billing protection act. The intent of the this act is to ban balance billing of consumers enrolled in fully insured, regulated insurance plans and plans offered to public employees under the state health care authority provisions for certain services. This act will remove consumers from balance billing disputes and require that out-of-network providers and carriers negotiate out-of-network payments in good faith. 
  • HB 1074 / SSB 5057 Protecting youth from tobacco products and vapor products by increasing the minimum legal age of sale of tobacco and vapor products. These bills raise the legal age to twenty-one for the lawful sale or distribution of tobacco and vapor products. The governor is authorized, in recognition of the sovereign authority of tribal governments, to seek government- to- government consultations with Indian tribes regarding raising the minimum legal age for sale of certain compacts. These bills have bipartisan support.
  • HB 1078 / SB 5210 Notifying purchasers of hearing instruments about uses and benefits of telecoil and Bluetooth technology. These bills require a person who engages in fitting and dispensing of hearing instruments to notify the customer about uses, benefits, and limitations of hearing instruments, etc. These bills have bipartisan support.
  • HB 1087 / SB 5331 Concerning long-term services and supports. This bill addresses alternative funding for long-term care access. The creation of a long-term care insurance benefit of an established dollar amount per day for eligible employees, paid through an employee payroll premium is in the best interest of the state. This bill creates the long-term services and supports trust, the long-term services and supports trust program, and gives the state health care authority, the department of social and health services, and the employment security department distinct responsibilities in the implementation and administration of the program. This bill has bipartisan support. 
  • HB 1099 Providing notice about network adequacy to consumers. This bill requires a health carrier, beginning with the 2020 plan year to post information on its website on the carrier’s compliance with network adequacy standards adopted by the insurance commissioner for each of the carrier’s health plans. This information must be updated quarterly, and the information must be posted for at least two years after the end of the applicable plan year. The insurance commissioner is authorized to audit the information a health carrier posts for accuracy. 
  • HB 1104 Requiring the submission of a waiver to the federal government to create the Washington health security trust. 
  • HB 1199 / SB 5754 Concerning health care for working individuals with disabilities. This bill authorizes the state Health Care Authority to consider a person’s income when establishing cost-sharing requirements. The Health Care Authority is prohibited from establishing eligibility restrictions for the buy-in program based upon a person’s income or maximum age. This bill has bipartisan support. 
  • HB 1218SB 5274 Concerning dental coverage for Pacific Islanders residing in Washington, establishes a dental services program that provides dental coverage to income-eligible citizens of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, of the Republic of Palau. These bills have bipartisan support.
  • HB 1224 Concerning prescription drug cost transparency. This bill requires the office of finance management to use a competitive procurement process to select a data organization to collect, verify, and summarize the prescription drug pricing data provided by issuers and manufacturers. The office of finance management is authorized to assess fines for failure to comply with the requirements of this act. Collected fines are deposited in the Medicaid fraud penalty account.
  • HB 1240 Concerning suicide review teams, requires the department of health to establish the youth suicide review team to review circumstances related to suicides occurring among youth up to age twenty-four. This bill has bipartisan support.
  • HB 1317 / SB 5392 Establishing the profession of dental therapist. Good oral health is an integral piece of overall health and well-being. Without treatment, dental disease compromises overall health and requires increasingly costly interventions. Routine dental care and disease prevention can be prevented at little cost. This legislation would expand access to oral health care for all Washingtonians through an evidence-based mid-level dental provider called a dental therapist.
  • HB 1365 / SB 5415 Creating the Washington Indian health improvement act. The purpose of this bill is to create a funding mechanism to improve the health of American Indians and Alaska Natives in Washington state. The state has an opportunity to shift more of the cost of care for American Indian and Alaska Native Medicaid enrollees from the state general fund to the federal government if all of the federal requirements are met. The federal government’s intent for this update in payment policy is to help states, the Indian health service, and tribes to improve delivery systems for American Indians and Alaska Natives by increasing access to care, strengthening continuity of care, and improving population health. These bills have bipartisan support.
  • HB 1432 / SB 5648 Concerning hospital privileges for advanced registered nurse practitioners and physician assistants. These bills increase the hospital privileges and responsibilities of registered nurse practitioners and physician assistants. These bills have bipartisan support.
  • HB 1484 / SB 5032 Concerning Medicare supplemental insurance policies. These bills revise Medicare supplemental health insurance act policies, adding requirements to the current regulations. These bills were requested by the Insurance Commissioner.
  • HB 1523 / SB 5520 Increasing the availability of quality, affordable health coverage in the individual market. These bills were requested by the Governor. These bills establish regulations for insurance plans in the exchange such as reducing deductibles, making more services available before the deductible, provide predictable cost sharing, reducing barriers to maintaining and improving health, and encouraging choice based on value while limiting increases in health plan premium rates.   
  • HB 1638 Promoting immunity against vaccine preventable diseases. This bill adds a statement “A philosophy or personal objection may not be used to exempt a child from the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine” to the RCW 28A. This bill has bipartisan support.
  • SB 5222 Creating the whole Washington health trust. This trust will simplify health care financing, eliminate administrative waste for providers, focus savings by promoting a health care delivery system that is responsive to the essential health needs of each county, and guarantee all residents may enroll for coverage of single comprehensive set of essential health benefits as a basic human need, essential for a productive society. 
  • SB 5257 Restricting the practice of female genital mutilation, revises the uniform disciplinary act regarding the performance of female genital mutilation which constitutes unprofessional conduct for any license holder under the jurisdiction of the act.
  • SB 5274 Concerning dental coverage for Pacific Islanders residing in Washington.
  • SB 5282 Requiring informed consent for pelvic exams while under anesthesia.
  • SB 5292 Concerning prescription drug price transparency. This bill requires an issuer to submit certain prescription drug cost and utilization data to the office of financial management for the previous calendar year.
  • SB 5411 Concerning physician assistants. This bill modernizes the practice of physician assistants in order to increase access to care, reduce barriers to employment, and optimize the manner in which physician assistants deliver quality medical care.
  • SB 5526 Increasing the availability of quality, affordable health coverage in the individual market.
  • SB 5822 Providing a pathway to establish a universal health care system for the residents of Washington state.

Behavioral Health

  • HB 1331 / SB 5380 Concerning opioid use disorder treatment, prevention, and related services. The legislature declares that the opioid use disorder is a public health crisis. State agencies must increase access to evidence-based opioid use disorder treatment services, promote coordination of services within the substance use the substance use disorder treatment and recovery support system, strengthen partnerships between opioid use disorder treatment providers and their allied community partners, expand the use of the Washington state prescription drug monitoring program, and support comprehensive school and community-based substance use prevention services. This bill has bipartisan support.
  • HB 1393 / SB 5432 Concerning fully implementing behavioral health integration for January 1, 2020, by removing behavioral health organizations from law; clarifying the roles and responsibilities among the health care authority, department of social and health services, and department of health, and the roles and responsibilities of behavioral health administrative services organizations and medical managed care organizations; and making technical corrections related to the behavioral health system. These bills were requested by the governor and have bipartisan support.
  • HB 1394 / SB 5431 Concerning community facilities needed to ensure a continuum of care for behavioral health patients. Many studies show that there is a need for additional bed capacity and services for individuals with behavioral health needs, and it is best for these individuals to receive treatment in their communities. Therefore, the legislature intends to provide more options in the continuum of care for behavioral health clients by creating new facility types and by expanding the capacity of current provider types in the community. These are bipartisan bills.
  • SB 5048 Establishing a reentry community safety program for state hospital patients. Changes the name of the offender reentry community safety program to the reentry community safety program which is established to promote community safety by providing intensive services to certain offenders, persons committed as criminally insane, and persons committed under the involuntary treatment act with an affirmative special finding. This bill has bipartisan support.
  • SB 5444 Providing timely competency evaluations and restoration services to persons suffering from behavioral health disorders within the framework of the forensic mental health care system consistent with the requirements agreed to in the Trueblood settlement agreement.
  • SB 5464 Concerning opioid overdose medication at schools with grades seven through twelve and higher education institutions, regulated the storage and use of opioid overdose medication in schools.
  • SB 5483 Improving services for individuals with developmental disabilities, requires the department of social and health services to track and monitor clients taken to hospital while receiving services from the provider or when the provider terminates services. This bill has bipartisan support.
Bills the League Opposes
  • HB 1526 Enacting the Washington pain capable unborn child protection act. 
  • HB 1560 Concerning restrictions on types of abortion.
  • SB 5185 Requiring parental notification for minors to obtain abortion.
Additional Resources:


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    
Interested in getting involved with this topic? Click here!

Right Now In Housing & Homelessness

For an excellent primer on affordable housing, watch the Senate Housing Stability & Affordability Committee session of January 16 here.

House Updates

  • HB 1921, addressing the regressive nature of the Washington state housing market, will have a public hearing in the House Finance Committee on February 19 at 8:00am.
  • HB 1797, concerning local governments planning and zoning for accessory dwelling units, will have a public hearing in the House Local Government Committee on February 19 at 10:00am.
  • HB 1982, waiving groundwater fees for low-income housing will have a public hearing in the House Housing, Community Development and Veterans Committee on Wednesday, February 20 at 8:00 am.
  • HB 1406, encouraging investments in affordable and supportive housing, would allow participating jurisdictions to retain a portion of the sales tax that would otherwise be sent to the State, for investment in affordable and supportive housing. The House Housing, Community Development & Veterans Committee amended HB 1406 in public hearing. The bill as substituted would allow either a county or city to begin levying the tax upon the effective date of the bill and makes several technical clarifications that do not affect the intent of the bill. A public hearing on HB 1406 is scheduled for the House Finance Committee on February 21 at 1:30pm. 

If one of your Representatives is a member of the above committees, please contact her or him, and request that they support these bills and vote to pass them out of committee and onto the next committee.

Senate Updates

    If your Senator is a member of the Senate Ways & Means Committee, please contact her or him, and request that they support these bills and vote to pass them out of committee and onto the next committee.

    • SB 5646, encouraging investments in affordable and supportive housing, is scheduled for public hearing on February 21 at 3:30pm.
    • SB 5363, extending the property tax exemption for new and rehabilitated multiple-unit dwellings in urban centers for 12 years, will have a public hearing on February 21, at 3:30pm.
    • SB 5324, concerning support for students experiencing homelessness, will have a public hearing on February 20 at 3:30pm.

    The following two bills will have a public hearing in the Senate Housing Stability & Affordability Committee on February 18 at 1:30 pm. If your Senator is a member of this committee, please contact her or him, and request that they oppose these bills: 

    • SB 5802 Establishing housing affordability zones
    • SB 5882 Prohibiting the location of homeless encampments near schools and early learning facilities.
    Bills the League Supports
    • HB 1033 / SB 5183 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.
    • SHB 1105 Protecting taxpayers from home foreclosure would require notification, a process and an assistance resource for people in jeopardy of home foreclosures.
    • HB 1107 / SB 5289 Concerning nonprofit homeownership development would expand the low-income housing development property tax exemption to include qualified cooperative associates. It would allow limited equity partnerships and cooperatives as an option for developing affordable housing that leads to home ownership.
    • 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 1219 / SB 5195 Providing cities and counties authority to use real estate excise taxes (REET) to support affordable housing and homelessness projects. This bill would add affordable housing and homelessness projects to the allowable uses for the REET tax that is already authorized and is currently limited to public works projects.  
    • HB 1263 / SB 5324 Support for students experiencing homelessness, would provide grants via the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction to school districts to increase identification of students experiencing homelessness and the capacity of the districts to provide support for students experiencing homelessness. This would complement the McKinney-Vento program. It requires partnering with related community organizations and is intended to address economic inequality as well as other factors.  
    • 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 1377 / SB 5358 Related to affordable housing development on religious organization property would require an increase in density allowed when religious organizations provide housing on their property. This recognizes the efforts that many organizations of faith are making to provide shelter and/or housing for people experiencing homelessness.
    • HB 1406 / SB 5646 Encouraging investments in affordable and supportive housing, would allow participating jurisdictions to retain a portion of the sales tax that would otherwise be sent to the State, for investment in affordable and supportive housing. The House Housing, Community Development & Veterans Committee amended HB 1406 in public hearing. The bill as substituted would allow either a county or city to begin levying the tax upon the effective date of the bill and makes several technical clarifications that do not affect the intent of the bill.  
    • HB 1440 Providing longer notice of rent increases would require a landlord to provide a tenant at least 60 days' prior written notice of an increase in rent and prohibiting a rent increase during the term of the lease. The rent increase would only apply at the end of the lease term.
    • HB 1453 / SB 5600 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 1572 / SB 5800 Concerning homeless college students would establish pilot projects in four community colleges and two four-year colleges at which support services for students experiencing homelessness would be provided. Data about the effects of the program would be collected and reported in 2023.
    • 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 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.
    • HB 1657 / SB 5470 Concerning services provided by the office of homeless youth prevention and protection programs would authorize the use of HOPE Centers for the placement of a child in need of services and remove the limit of HOPE Center beds statewide, clarify street outreach services are available to both youth and unaccompanied young adults and align licensing requirements for HOPE Centers, as well as staff education and experience requirements with Department of Children, Youth, and Families licensing and staff. 
    • 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 1921 Addressing the regressive nature of the Washington state housing market would change the basis of the State Real Estate Excise Tax (REET) from a flat 1.28 percent to a variable rate, lower for properties under $500,000, the same up to $1.5 million, and higher at values over $1.5 million. It also directs 70% of the proceeds to the Housing Trust Fund and the remainder to the general fund. Selling price thresholds for the variable rates must be updated every four years. This bill changes the basis for REET to a progressive from a flat tax and is expected to generate more funds for the State while allowing a reduction in payments by owners of lower priced properties. This would be new revenue for the Housing Trust Fund.
    • HB 1982 Waiving groundwater fees for low-income housing would waive groundwater fees for affordable housing providers and low-income home-owners.
    • 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.  
    • SB 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.
    • SB 5382 Concerning tiny houses serving as accessory dwelling units would authorize a tiny house to be considered an accessory dwelling unit for permanent residence purposes without being attached to or constructed within the primary dwelling unit and a tiny house with wheels to be considered an accessory dwelling unit without being attached to or constructed within the primary dwelling unit if the tiny house owner has made reasonable accommodation for water, power, and sewage disposal for its use as a permanent residence.
    • SB 5383 Concerning tiny houses would authorize cities and towns to adopt ordinances regulating the creation of tiny house communities, including through use of the binding site plan method. It would prohibit cities and towns from adopting ordinances that prevent entry or require removal of a tiny house with wheels used as a primary residence in a manufactured/mobile home community. It would also apply all landlord-tenant rules to tenants in tiny houses.
    Bills the League Opposes
    • SB 5384 Concerning the location of tiny house communities would allow counties to authorize establishing tiny house communities outside urban growth areas when there is a shortage of affordable housing within reasonable distance from urban services. This bill would allow development of increased density using tiny houses outside the urban growth area. The density should stay inside the urban growth area. 
    • SB 5802 Establishing housing affordability zones would require comprehensive plans to create zones for affordable housing and require that affordable housing be established only within those zones.
    • SB 5882 Prohibiting the location of homeless encampments near schools and early learning facilities.
    Bills the League is Watching
    • HB 1105 Protecting taxpayers from home foreclosure, would require that information regarding the foreclosure hotline appear on all tax statements, redefine the terms of tax payments plans to make it easier for taxpayers to participate and allow 48 hours after auction for housing agencies to secure funding to be more competitive in obtaining affordable housing options.  
    • HB 1207 Concerning manufactured housing communities, authorizes a landlord or tenant to site any size new or used manufactured/mobile home or park model on a mobile home lot in accordance with the lot sizes, separation and setback distances, and other requirements in effect at the time the manufactured/mobile home park was approved. This would prevent new regulations restricting mobile home siting.  
    • HB 1306 / SB 5334 Concerning the Washington uniform common interest ownership act.
    • HB 1446 Addressing mediation under the residential landlord-tenant act would require compliance with a mediation process prior to commencement of an unlawful detainer action under the Residential Landlord-Tenant Act. League supports the concept but the bill sponsor announced there would be changes before further action is taken.
    • HB 1591 Concerning the rights of persons experiencing homelessness would establish a variety of approaches to people experiencing homelessness who may reside on the street, respecting their dignity and recognizing that arrests are not productive. League may support this bill after further analysis but is just watching it at this time
    • HB 1679 / SSB 5676 Authorizing cities planning under the growth management act to impose certain real estate excise taxes by councilmanic action would remove a provision requiring voter approval before a county choosing to plan under the Growth Management Act and cities within those counties may impose additional real estate excise taxes (REET II). It also adds a referendum process to repeal an ordinance imposing REET II. This bill would be detrimental to county financing that relied upon revenue based on an adopted REET II ordinance. It may conflict with the other REET bills that have been proposed.
    • HB 1818 / SB 5775 Requiring individual metering of households for water and sewer charges based on the actual water use of the household.  
    • HB 2010 Evaluating options for increasing involvement of for-profit housing developers in the nine percent low-income housing tax credit program.
    • HB 2011 Concerning accountability in affordable housing policy and investments would add to the audit requirements for the Housing Finance Commission.
    • SB 5366 Expanding the property tax exemption for new and rehabilitated multiple-unit dwellings in urban centers, would allow all cities and towns to provide property tax exemptions for eligible multi-unit residential housing projects in urban centers until July 1, 2022. The bill is intended to provide an incentive for additional development of affordable housing units. 
    • SB 5440 Concerning the housing element of comprehensive plans required under the growth management act would add a number of specific requirements to the housing element of each jurisdiction’s comprehensive plan. Many of these requirements would be desirable to make the housing elements more functional but may be onerous for jurisdictions not prepared or resourced to achieve this level of detail.
    • SB 5898 Concerning the surcharge for local homeless housing and assistance. As drafted the bill is not clear about whether the surcharge is imposed, amended or eliminated.
    • SB 5907 Requiring the office of civil legal aid to conduct a comparative study of the impact of attorney representation for tenants in unlawful detainer proceedings. 
    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   
    Interested in getting involved with this topic? Click here!

    Right Now In Gun Safety 

    Upcoming Lobby Day: Lobby Day for Grandmothers Against Gun Violence has been postponed to Wednesday, February 27. Contact them here for more details. 

    With the first legislative cutoff for committees in each house to pass legislation by February 22, attention shifts to the Rules Committees in each house. The following bills are currently with either the House Rules or Senate Rules Committee:
    • 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.
    • HB 1068 / SB 5062 Imposing a limit on the size of ammunition magazines. 
    • HB 1739 Concerning untraceable ghost guns.
    • HB 1225 Sets standards for removal of weapons by law enforcement in domestic violence calls. 

    Please call or email your Senator and Representatives to urge that these bills go to the floor for a vote.

    SB 5434, prohibiting carrying or possession of guns in licensed child care centers, libraries, community centers, and regional parks where children are likely to be present, is scheduled for Executive Session in the Law and Justice Committee on February 21 at 10:00am.

    The League has serious concerns over the refusal of twelve Washington sheriffs and police chiefs to enforce I-1639 which was passed by nearly 60% of voters. Initiatives and legislation passed by the legislature are considered constitutional unless adjudicated otherwise. The rule of law demands that local officials enforce the law rather than substituting their personal opinions. By not enforcing the requirement to perform an enhanced background check for assault-style weapons purchases, officials risk liability for themselves and county taxpayers if the purchaser uses the weapon to cause harm to another person. A sample letter to the editor is available for you to use for your local newspaper or public hearing. Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson has issued an advisory to local officials using their personal opinions rather than the law.

    Bills the League Supports
    • 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.
    • HB 1530 / SB 5434 Prohibits carrying or possession of guns in licensed child care centers, libraries, community centers, and regional parks where children are likely to be present. 
    • HB 1068 / SB 5062 Imposing a limit on the size of ammunition magazines. 
    • HB 1739 Concerning untraceable ghost guns.
    • HB 1319 Allows cities to regulate open carry in public meetings. 
    • HB 1225 Sets standards for removal of weapons by law enforcement in domestic violence calls. 
    Bills the League is Watching
    • HB 1346 Preventing lead exposure from ammunition in young people. 
    • HB 1098 Repeals safe storage provisions in I-1639. 
    • SB 5027 Enhancements to Extreme Risk Protection Orders for juveniles and penalties. 
    • SB 5050 Sentencing enhancement for body armor.

    The League of Women Voters of Washington is a 501(c)(4) non-profit organization.
    The League of Women Voters of Washington Education Fund is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. LWVWA Education Fund contributions are tax-deductible to the extent allowable by law. The League of Women Voters Education Fund does not endorse the contents of any web pages to which it links.

    League of Women Voters of the United States

    Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software