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Thank you for following Poverty Action’s legislative priorities during the 2020 Legislative Session, and for advocating on their behalf! Check out our community-driven 2020 Policy Agenda to learn more about the issues we support.

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Revenue

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For years, Washington state has had the worst tax code in the country. Families making the least amount of money pay up to 6 times more as a share of their income in taxes compared with the wealthiest Washingtonians. We support legislation that balances our tax code and creates equitable and progressive streams of revenue for Washington state.

Working Families Tax Credit (WFTC) – HB 1527, SB 5810

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What It Does

The Working Families Tax Credit (WFTC) was originally passed into law in 2008-- however, the state legislature never funded it. The WFTC is our state's version of the federal government's Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), and, if implemented, would refund a portion of the state sales tax (an average of $400) to eligible households. This bill would fund the WFTC and modernize it to include a more progressive definition of work to include low-income college students and people who care for family members; it also allows people between the ages of 19 and 70 to be eligible for the WFTC and recognizes immigrant workers who are not eligible for the federal EITC to be eligible for the WFTC.

Bill Status

The House version of this bill was reintroduced and retained its place in the House Committee on Finance on January 13. The Senate version was reintroduced and retained its place in the Senate Committee on Ways & Means on January 13.    

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ITIN Filers – HB 2521, SB 6557

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What It Does

This bill would expand the Working Families Tax Credit to include those who file taxes with an Individual Tax Identification Number (commonly referred to as ITIN filers). Many who fall into this category are immigrants who are legally working in the US and pay taxes on all the income they make.

Bill Status

Unfortunately, both versions of this bill are dead for the session.

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Justice Reform / Civil Rights

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Re-entry into society from incarceration can be very difficulty due to a whole host of barriers, such as unequal access to employment, housing, education, and the heavy weight of societal stigma.  Poverty Action supports bills that provide opportunities for people to reclaim their lives, support their families, and participate in their communities after serving their criminal justice sentences.

Clean Slate Act – HB 2793

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What It Does

This bill would create automatic record clearing once a person fulfills their requirements to the state and remains crime-free for a set period of time. The automatic clearing would apply to all charges from 2020 and forward, and retroactively to all charges from 2000-2020.

Bill Status

This bill has passed the House, its chamber of origin! It is now in the Senate, where it is currently in the Rules Committee, as of March 3.

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Restoring Voter Eligibility  – HB 2292, SB 6228

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What It Does

This bill would automatically restore voter eligibility for all people convicted of a felony offense who are no longer incarcerated.

Bill Status

Unfortunately, both versions of this bill are dead for the session.

Reducing barriers to professional licensure – HB 2356

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What It Does

This bill would reduce barriers to professional licensure for individuals with previous criminal convictions.

Bill Status

Unfortunately, this bill is dead for the session.

Concerning Restitution – SB 6220

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What It Does

This bill would modify and strengthen policies regarding to restitution payments.

Bill Status

Unfortunately, this bill is dead for the legislative session.

Basic Needs

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We all hope to weather the inevitable ups and downs of life with resiliency. Safety Net programs provide support to families and individuals struggling with hunger, homelessness or unsafe shelter, and financial instability. Poverty Action supports bills that invest in basic needs support as a direct investment in our communities and a fundamental part of ensuring a baseline of economic security.

Restore TANF as a Lifeline – HB 2441

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What It Does

This bill would ease harsh sanction policies such as full-family sanctions (which entirely eliminates a family's grant while they are in sanction status) and allow time-limit extensions.

Bill Status

This bill has passed the House, its chamber of origin! It is now in the Senate, where it is currently in the Rules Committee on a second reading, as of March 3.

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Reinstate Child Support Pass-Through – SB 5144

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What It Does

This bill would reinstate the Child Support Pass-Through, which allows families receiving TANF to receive a portion of their child support.

Bill Status

This bill has passed the Senate, its chamber of origin! It is now in the House, where it is currently in the Rules Committee on a second reading, as of March 3

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Expanding Dental Therapy – HB 1317, SB 5392

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What It Does

This bill would allow dental therapists to work under the supervision of a licensed dentist in dental clinics throughout the state of Washington.

Bill Status

Unfortunately, both versions of this bill are dead for the session.

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Working Connections Childcare – HB 2456

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What It Does

The bill would modify eligibility requirements and policies relating to Working Connections Childcare.

Bill Status

This bill has passed the House, its chamber of origin! It is now in the Senate, where it is currently in the Rules Committee on a second reading, as of March 3    

Revising grants for economic assistance programs – SB 6478

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What It Does

This bill would establish an updated standard of need for different state assistance programs (TANF, State Family Assistance, Pregnant Women's Assistance) that takes into account actual living costs throughout the state, and would schedule studies on statewide living costs. Cash grant standards would be revised as needed based on the outcomes of the studies.

Bill Status

This bill passed the Senate, its house of origin!  It's now in the House, where it is currently in the Rules Committee on a second reading, as of March 3.

Universal Basic Income Pilot Program – SB 6625

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What It Does

This bill would direct the Department of Social & Health Services to select 500 random participants statewide to receive a monthly $500 cash assistance and eligibility for BFET for one year. This pilot program would inform state policymakers on the efficacy and validity of a statewide basic income.

Bill Status

This bill is unfortunately dead for the session.

Accessible Childcare – HB 2661

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What It Does

This bill would expand affordable childcare programs and early childhood development programs throughout the state.

Bill Status

This bill is unfortunately dead for the session.

Increasing Access to Nutritious Food – SB 6309

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What It Does

This bill would increase access to nutritious food for those who receive the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) benefit.

Bill Status

This bill has passed the Senate, its house of origin! It is now in the House, where it is currently in the Rules Committee on a second reading, as of March 3

Standardizing Definitions of Homelessness – HB 2388, SB 6472

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What It Does

This bill would standardize the definition of "homelessness" across the state.

Bill Status

This bill has passed the House, its chamber of origin! It's now in the Senate, where it had a public hearing in the Ways & Means Committee on February 29.  

Providing Public Assistance to Human Trafficking Victims – HB 2573

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What It Does

This bill would expand access to public assistance programs for victims of human trafficking, as well as other crimes.

Bill Status

This bill is unfortunately dead for the session.

Expanding Access to WA ID cards – HB 2607

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What It Does

This bill would create methods of assisting homeless individuals with replacing or obtaining Washington state ID cards.

Bill Status

This bill has passed the House, its chamber of origin! It is now in the Senate, where it is in the Rules Committee on a second reading, as of March 3.

Residential Tenant Protections – SB 6378

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What It Does

This bill would clarify and strengthen certain tenant protections around eviction and emergency rental assistance.

Bill Status

This bill has passed the Senate, its house of origin! It will now make its way to the House.

Consumer Protections

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Predatory lenders disproportionately target low income communities and communities of color, offering high-interest loans to families that may already be struggling with debt or financial instability. Poverty Action supports bills that both maintain the consumer protections already put in place and enact stronger protections that will help Washington families avoid debt or lower their amount owed.

Pay-to-Pay – HB 2635, SB 6118

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What It Does

This bill would institute a fee of either 2.35% or $35 (the collection company would charge the lesser of the two) on all electronic payments. People who are making payments on a debt would have to pay the transaction fee as well, and would essentially be forced to pay extra in order to pay a debt.

Bill Status

This bill is dead for the session!

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Protecting Against Unlawful Suits – HB 2476

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What It Does

This bill would require that debt buyers first must prove that the debt is actually owed by the person they are naming in the lawsuit before they can file a claim.

Bill Status

Good news! This bill has passed both the House and Senate! It just needs the Governor's signature to become law.

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Increasing Protections for Collection Agencies – HB 2636

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What It Does

This bill would increase protections for collection agencies by adding a caveat that if they can show a violation of what they have to do to collect was not intentional they are exempt from repercussions.

Bill Status

This bill appears to be dead for the session.