United Ways of Washington Legislative Update 2023 - Week 8

The proverbial dust is still settling from the Legislature’s first seven weeks of intense committee work. The deadline for clearing all committees in the house of origin was last Friday. The activity has shifted to the House and Senate floors this week and next. By March 8, most bills will need to be approved by at least the House or the Senate to receive further consideration in this 105-day session that ends April 23.

Action: Support the Child Care Stability Plan Development
Our partner Child Care Aware is requesting a budget proviso that would require the state Department of Children, Youth and Families to develop and cost-out an implementation plan for how to cap child care expenses for families at 7 percent of annual income and extend living wages to the workforce. Please sign up your United Way or organization as a supporter.  

Housing Bills That Are Still Alive 
The following bills have cleared the latest legislative hurdles and are now waiting to be considered by the full House: H.B. 1110, which would encourage higher urban residential densities; H.B. 1124, which would require six-month notice to tenants of rent increases over five percent; H.B. 1186, which would make the pilot Child Welfare Housing Assistance Program permanent; and H.B. 1389, which would limit the amount of annual rent increases with certain exemptions.

Latest Hurdle Proves Fatal for Many Bills, Not Necessarily for their Issues
Last Friday was a busy one for the Senate Committee on Ways and Means and the House Committee on Appropriations which were scheduled to meet all day. The House committee had 40 bills on its calendar for a possible vote and the Senate committee had 56. We will be able to get a better handle on which bills to follow in the coming weeks. Until then, if you’d like to follow up on any of the bills we’ve referred to in the past seven weeks, you'll find each update on our Legislative Page. But even if a bill fails to move, such as H.B. 1045, which would create the Evergreen Basic Income Pilot Program, that doesn’t mean the issue is over for this session. It could get revived by a budget proviso.

As Usual, It’s Mostly About the Budget
Because our primary concerns have to do with stabilizing and creating more affordable housing, fighting poverty, ensuring and improving access to quality early learning and child care and full funding of our state’s 211 network, our eyes are focused on the budget process. While the Governor has laid out his proposed budget for the 2023-2025 biennium, we will have to wait until late March before we see proposals from the House and Senate. Advocates have been working directly with staff and legislators to ensure they have the information they need to write the budget so it includes our priorities, such as full funding of the Washington 211 network.