UWPNW Washington Legislative Update - February 18, 2020

With about three and half weeks left in the 2020 Legislative Session, most of the Washington United Way issues rely on the outcome of this year’s supplemental operating and capital budget. Helping move discussion along is tomorrow’s adoption of the latest revenue forecast.

Tenant Protection Bills and Shelter Bill Making Progress
While the fate of the Governor’s proposal to invest $150 million to build emergency shelters and expand housing programs awaits the outcome of this year’s budget, there are bills with potential to clear legislative deadlines this week that address tenant eviction protections (HB 2453 and SB 6378) as well as provide additional direction and support to local shelter planning (HB 2649).  

Technical Fix Keep Working Family Tax Credit in Front of Legislators
There has been no movement or serious discussion this year of revenue bills which could finally fund the state’s Working Family Tax Credit. However, the issue has stayed in front of legislators as they consider fine tuning the legislation creating the unfunded program. Two bills (HB 2521 and SB 6557), both eligible for floor votes this week, would allow individuals who work and pay taxes in the state to qualify for the credit, even if they don’t have a Social Security number. The Washington State Budget & Policy Center is urging advocates to contact their legislators in favor of these bills. Please contact your Legislators this week to support these bills. 

Washington 211 Capital Budget Request Filed
Last week, Washington 211 advocates gently stormed legislative offices, explaining to elected officials and their staff the importance of its modest request for $220,000 to upgrade office equipment, particularly computers. Lobby day participants received positive responses and during that week the request was formally filed for consideration in this year’s Capital Budget. Here’s more on the request.

House Passes Working Connections Grace Period Extensions
Last week, the House approved HB 2456 which would extend the grace period for homeless families to fulfill Working Connections Child Care program requirements from four to 12 months. However, the two omnibus early learning bills have stalled in fiscal committees pending more information on this year's revenue forecast. While legislators are generally committed to increased investment in child care and early learning, there is not enough uncommitted revenue for all our needs. Legislative talks with advocates continue.

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