Washington Legislative Update -April 23, 2019

The regular Legislative session ends this Sunday. As of today, four bills on our legislative tracking list are headed to the Governor for his consideration. One bill is still in limbo between the House and Senate version.  And, of course, the star of the 105-day show is the biennial budget.  

TANF Update Clears Legislature with Homeless Extension Option
With bipartisan support, the Senate approved HB 1603,  the TANF update bill, with an amendment that will require that the lifetime TANF limit of 60 months be extended in cases of hardship, family violence and/or homelessness.  According to the House Floor Debate on this bill, it was this amendment that caused House Republicans to oppose the bill on final passage.

Legislature Approves Child Care Access Study and Work Group 
In moving for Senate passage of HB 1344 , Senator Lisa Wellman (D - Mercer Island) argued that many families are struggling to find and pay for child care. Since there are parents who can't afford to work, child care access and affordability is as much an economic issue as it is a parent issue. Senator Brad Hawkins (R- East Wenatchee) expressed his support for child care access but his opposition to the bill because of its provision that the child care cost model developed by the Child Care Collaborative Task Force would have to be used by the state. (See TVW recording of Senate debate). The House concurred with the Senate amendments and HB 1344 is now with the Governor. 

60 Day Notice for Rent Increases Approved
The requirement that landlords provide a tenant at least 60 days prior written notice of an increase in rent, except in the case of rental agreements governing subsidized tenancies is now in the Governor's hands. (HB 1440). Another landlord-tenant bill, SB 5600, which focuses on the information and process for communicating rent default and evictions, is still in dispute between the House and Senate.

Will Working Tax Credit Happen?
The House approved a biennial budget that relies on new taxes such as the Capital Gains Tax (HB 2156) approved by the House Committee on Revenue last Friday. Yet, the House budget did not fund the Working Family Tax Credit.  On the other hand, the Senate Democrats have proposed funding the Working Family Tax Credit from a Capital Gains Tax but did not base its proposed budget on the use of any new tax revenue. It's not too late to let your legislators know of your support for vulnerable families.  

ECEAP Expansion Bill Passes
Yesterday, the Senate concurred with the House amendments to SB 5437. More on this next week. Here's the final bill report.  

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