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ACTION ALERTS

Click on the links below to learn more about bills currently being reviewed in the state legislature. You can "take action" on these most pressing bills by sending a suggested, editable email to legislators, encouraging them to vote to promote the League issue in question. There is also still time to act on these current Actions.
 
Make the tax structure more fair and adequate

Two bills that have public hearings this week would shift the current upside-down tax code in Washington to a more fair system, while generating more revenue for the state. One bill is HB 1297, concerning working families tax exemption. The other is HB 1406, creating the Washington state wealth tax and taxing extraordinary financial intangible assets. Currently, the lowest-income people in Washington pay six times as much state and local tax as the wealthiest people in the state. Also, nine of the world’s wealthiest people live in the state, with assets ranging from $2.7 billion to $179 billion. Ask your representatives to support moving both HB 1297 and HB 1406 out of the House Finance Committee.

Let's finally close the lobbying revolving door

Washington is one of the minority of states that allows legislators and high-level government officials to leave public service on one day and return the next day as a lobbyist. This is a problem because public trust in government integrity is undermined when there is the appearance that a legislator or other high level government official is beholden to any special interest. A modest one year “cooling off period” is a healthy reform that will strengthen our ethics laws and reduce the perception that public officials might be influenced by the prospect of future employment. SB 5170 would be a step in the right direction to rebuild public confidence in government. If your senator is on the State Government and Elections Committee in the 11th, 12th, 19th, 22nd, or 48th district please ask him or her to vote this bill out of committee.

Expand dental teams, provide equity, shorten wait times

Support SB 5142, Establishing the profession of dental therapist. Data from 12 other states indicate that adding one dental therapist at the dental clinic can increase the annual visits by 1,000 apponintments, thus shortening wait times, saving money and increasing equity in our state. If your senator is on the Senate Health and Long Term Care Committee, please urge them to support SB 5142. Visit www.wadentalaccess.com to learn more.

Put ideas into practice to achieve environmental justice

A clean environment is necessary for our basic health and safety, yet people of color and low-income households are disproportionately exposed to hazards in the environment. Approval of SB 5141 would codify the recommendations of the Environmental Justice Task Force to ensure that every community has clean air, water and soil. If your senator sits on the Senate Environment, Energy and Technology Committee (Carlyle, Lovelett, Ericksen, Brown, Das, Fortunato, Hobbs, Liias, Nguyen, Sheldon, Short, Stanford, and Wellman) urge him or her to vote yes on SB 5141.


HELP NEEDED AS CUT-OFF DATES APPROACH

By Cynthia Stewart, Housing and Homelessness,Transportation and Revenue Chair
 
We are starting the fourth week of the 2021 legislative session. Annually, the legislature adopts a cut-off calendar that provides benchmarks for each phase of the session. The calendar includes when bills have to pass out of committees or die; when they have to pass the house of origin or die; and when they must progress through the opposite chamber or die. Last week, many hearings were held and bills are starting to make their way to the floor for action in their houses of origin.

The cut-off date for policy bills to be passed out of the house of origin is Feb.15. That means there are only two more weeks to get hearings on any bills that haven’t yet had them. The introduction of new bills is slowing down and focus is now on moving those that have support through the process.

For League members, this means your help is needed on bills that the League supports. As you read through the
League Legislative Issues page of the topics you’re most interested in, consider submitting written testimony in your own name or signing in pro or con to support the League’s positions.  

You can do this by going to this link for Senate bills or this link for House bills. In either case, you would then click on “Committee: Please Select” and “Meetings: Please Select” to choose the public hearing for which you would like to submit comments. You will then get a drop-down list of bills. Click on the bill of interest, and you can then choose whether to submit written testimony or have your position noted for the legislative record. Some Issue Chairs will provide actual links for you, making this easier, but this system works for all.
 
Please remember that only the Issue Chairs are authorized to speak for the League of Women Voters, so your testimony should be as an individual.
When you fill in the fields, leave “organization” blank.

This year's virtual legislative session is increasing access to our government for people all around our great state. Do your part: Respond to the Action Alerts above, sign in to committee hearings and talk to your friends, families and neighbors about the issues most important to you. Thank you for taking action!


LWVWA ISSUES

The LWVWA supports the following League Legislative Issues in the current Washington state legislative session. Click on an issue to learn more, including current and upcoming bills affecting the issue. In this virtual legislative session, you can also testify for a bill online.

DEMOCRACY

Elections | Voting rights restoration and protection of the democratic process and free speech make progress.

Election Security | Ensure secure, accurate and transparent elections.
 
Money in Politics | Let's finally close the lobbying revolving door!
 
Redistricting and Census | Speak Up for districts you can believe in. Learn how Speak Up Schools are making the 2021 Redistricting Commission accountable.
   
FIGHTING CLIMATE CHANGE AND ITS EFFECTS
 
Climate Change | You can participate in Environmental Lobby Day from Feb. 8-10.
 
Energy | Advocate for clean and renewable sources.

Natural Resources | Protect natural resources that are impacted by climate change and provide resilience.

Transportation | A new transportation budget will be adopted this year and emphasis will be on reducing the net impact of transportation systems on climate change.

ENSURING SOCIAL JUSTICE

Criminal Justice | Take action this week on police accountability and use of force.
 
Social Justice | Expand economic, political and social opportunities and protections for historically marginalized groups.
 
Gun Safety | Bills on open carry and large capacity magazines in Senate hearings this week.
 
Housing and Homelessness | Emphasis will be on obtaining increased investment in affordable housing and retention of, at minimum, current levels of rental assistance and other homelessness prevention programs.
 
Health Care, Behavioral Health and Reproductive Rights | Washington needs dental therapists!

IMPROVE EDUCATION

Public Education | Fully fund K-12 education and increase funding for student support services, including broadband access.

ESTABLISHING FAIR REVENUE

Adequate and Fair Revenue and Budget | Please take action to help achieve change in our tax system, making it more fair and more adequate.

HOW TO TESTIFY FOR A BILL ONLINE

In addition to contacting your legislators via Action Alerts, bill comments, emails and phone calls, you can register to testify remotely, submit written testimony or have your position noted for the legislative record. Speak for yourself and explain your personal interest in the bill. Unless you obtain permission, you should not emphasize the League in testimony.
 
Just follow these steps:
  • Visit the "Participating in Committee Hearings" section of the Washington State Legislature's website.
  • Press the "Register to Testify Remotely" button, even if you just want to submit written testimony or have your position noted for the record.
  • Select House or Senate.
  • Use the dropdown menus at the top to select the committee and the hearing date and time.
  • Select the bill you’re interested in, then select the type of testimony — oral, written or noting your position for the record — and follow the directions provided. 
  • Fill out your identifying information, then hit "Submit" at the bottom.


CALENDAR

  • Monday, Feb. 8-Wednesday, Feb. 10Environmental Priorities Coalition, which LWVWA is a member of, presents "Environmental Lobby Days."
  •  
  • Monday, Feb. 15Spokane Area LWV presents "Day 1 Speak Up School" to prepare people to testify before the Redistricting Commission.
  •  
  • Monday, Feb. 15Last day to pass bills out of committee in the state legislature and read them into the record on the floor in the bills' house of origin, except for the House fiscal committees; Senate Ways and Means Committee; and transportation committees in the house of origin.
  • Thursday, Feb. 18—LWV of Snohomish County presents "Redistricting 101" in the morning and evening
  •  
  • Saturday, Feb. 20Spokane Area LWV presents "Day 2 Speak Up School" to prepare people to testify before the Redistricting Commission.
  • Monday, Feb. 22Last day to pass bills out of committee in the state legislature and read them into the record on the floor for the House fiscal committees; Senate Ways and Means Committee; and
    transportation committees in the house of origin.

OTHER WAYS TO FOLLOW THE STATE LEGISLATURE

  • Washington State Legislature website, leg.wa.gov.
  • Washington state's public affairs TV network, TVW.org.