Washington Legislative Update -March 20, 2019

While we wait for the next edition of the proposed 2019-21 biennial budget bill due out next week, Senate and House committees are actively taking up bills passed from the other legislative body, including those discussed below.  

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All Important Revenue Forecast Today - House Budget Release Next Week
The House Appropriations Committee has been waiting for the latest Revenue and Budget Outlook (due out and available later today) before issuing its proposed biennial budget. Last quarter's report (issued in November 2018) forecast a slowing down of the rate of growth for state personal income. In turn, this resulted in a decrease by $78 million in the 2019-21 biennium (which covers the period for the current budget process) and $68 million in the 2021-23 biennium. If that trend holds, some of our funding issues, such as the Housing Trust Fund and the Working Families Tax Credit, could be affected.  Please reach out to your legislative delegation to inform them of the importance of these funding initiatives.

Senate to Hear House Affordability Revenue Sharing Bill
The Senate Committee on Housing Stability & Affordability will hear HB 1406 today (Wednesday, March 20). This bill allows local governments to redirect a portion of the sales tax to invest in affordable homes. If utilized by each county, it would generate $500 million resulting in over 14,000 quality, affordable homes. You can add your voice to this hearing via the Legislative website page for comments on this bill. 

Landlord-Tenant Bills Seek to Bring Fairness to Eviction Process
Our tracking list now includes bills that would strengthen tenant protections from eviction. The House Committee on Civil Rights & Judiciary held a hearing on SB 5600 yesterday. Meawhile, the companion bill, HB 1453,  is in the Senate Committee on Housing Stability & Affordability. These bills amend the state's Landlord-Tenant Act providing tenants more time to comply with a pay rent or vacate action, changes the definition of rent and gives courts more discretion in evictions. There are differences between the two bills.  But both have the goal of reducing the number of unnecessary evictions. A study has shown that black, single mothers face eviction more often than others and that half of evictions occurred for nonpayment of rent for one month or less.

Bills Scheduled for a Committee Vote this Week - Your Support Can Make the Difference

  • SB 5437, which would expand Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program eligibility, is scheduled for a vote by the  House Committee on Human Services & Early Learning today (March 20) - You can indicate your support for this bill and make a comment through this legislative link. 
  • HB 1603, which would eliminate the permanent disqualifications of families from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and adjust the benefit treatment of new state residents, is scheduled for a vote by the Senate Committee on Human Services, Reentry & Rehabilitation on March 21 (Thursday) - You can indicate your support for this bill and comment through this legislative link.