UWPNW Washington Legislative Update - April 13, 2021

All legislative deadlines have now passed except the big one – when session ends on April 25. To help modulate the flow of bills, the Legislature imposes a set of deadlines for bill action. The last hurdle happened on Sunday. From here on, only bills that have passed both the House and Senate will continue to receive attention. However, budgets and bills necessary to implement the budget are exempt from this restriction. 

Working Families Tax Credit PASSES Senate, 47-2
As with the House, the Working Family Tax Credit passed Sunday afternoon with massive bi-partisan support. Now the bills head to conference to develop concurrence due to amendment differences. This is a huge victory for the hundreds of thousands of Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed (ALICE) families who will benefit.

Legislature Takes Economic Security Actions
The Working Family Tax Credit has come a long way since it was created on a relatively close vote in 2008. Yesterday, the Senate approved HB 1297 with only two no votes.The bill updates how the credit is implemented, but funding must wait until passage of the budget. Also the House has passed SB 5214 which would allow extension of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) grant beyond 60 weeks under certain circumstances that include a higher than typical employment rate (7 percent). Because SB 5214 was amended in the House, the bill needs to be reconciled between the House and Senate. HB 1151, which authorizes a one-time, state-funded cash benefit in the final month of eligibility for food benefits to households with children who are not simultaneously receiving TANF, is now before the Governor for consideration.

Start Act for Children is Close to Passage
SB 5237 is an omnibus child care and early learning bill, called the Fair Start Act for Children. Last week, the House passed it on a vote of 62 to 36 with amendments. This means the Senate will need to concur with the House changes before it goes to the Governor for his signature. The bill sets a powerful path to expand the state’s investments in affordable, quality child care and early learning, meeting a long term goal of our Washington United Ways.

Housing Security Legislation Gets Closer to Final Passage
The Senate has approved HB 1236 which specifies exclusive causes for eviction, refusal to renew a tenancy, and ending a tenancy under the Residential Landlord-Tenant Act. Though the bill was amended by the Senate, the House is expected to concur with the changes, sending the bill to the Governor for his consideration. Meanwhile, the House approved SB 5160 which requires landlords to offer tenants a reasonable schedule for repayment of any unpaid rent accruing the public health emergency. The bill also expands eligibility for claim reimbursement under the landlord mitigation program. And HB 1277, which increases the state document recording fee to fund rental assistance, homelessness prevention, eviction prevention services, and operations & maintenance of Permanent Supportive Housing, just cleared the Senate Ways and Means Committee on Monday --  the bill is exempt from the bill cutoff because the revenue it would generate could be necessary to implement the budget.


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