Washington Legislative Update - September 2018

While the election season is heating up and capturing the headlines, policy work continues behind the scenes on the state and federal level.  Here's a few news items of interest that deal with homelessness, public assistance and child care.

United Way of King County outlines homeless strategies
In the wake of Seattle's repeal of its larger employer tax to address homelessness, United Way of King County outlined four approaches that companies and individuals might say "yes" to.  The four points include: scale up job opportunities, help keep folks from becoming homeless, add shelter beds, and increase affordable housing. The United Way post is a nice example of how United Ways can connect their partnerships and initiatives with a timely issue. 

Governor Inslee objects to adding additional work requirements on public assistance 
Last month, Governor Inslee sent a letter and detailed memorandum to President Trump strongly opposing the April Executive Order that directs his administration to evaluate public assistance programs and propose stricter work and eligibility requirements. "Contrary to this Administration’s assertions, the poverty problem in the United States is not about work ethic. It is about the lack of affordable housing, the high cost of child care and the increasing rate of healthcare costs," wrote Gov. Inslee. In his memorandum, Governor Inslee outlined what Washington as a state has done to alleviate poverty.

Child Care Collaborative Task Force launched
Last session, the state legislature in SB 2367 directed the state Department of Commerce to convene and facilitate a Child Care Collaborative Task Force to examine the effects of child care on the workforce and on businesses.  Former CEO of the United Way of Thurston County, Paul Knox, has been hired part-time to direct the work of the task force through December 2019.  Paul also will continue his contracted duties serving the UWPNW supporting our policy work. The task force will make recommendations on improving access and affordability, and on incentivizing employer-supported child care.