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The 2022 Legislative Session started January 10 and ended on March 10. Below are updates on bills we advocated for in the 2022 session.

Watch recorded hearings and floor debates online at www.TVW.org

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Basic Needs

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We all deserve to have what we need to survive and live healthy lives. No one should ever have to worry about how to pay for their next meal or next month’s rent. This is possible when we have fully-funded safety net programs that are designed so we are treated with dignity and respect when we ask for help. Poverty Action supports bills that ensure fair access to a baseline of financial stability.

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) time limit extensions – HB 2048

support

What It Does

HB 2048 would increase racial equity in access to TANF, and allow more families to access help when they need it by broadening time limit exemptions and allowing access beyond 60 months for children whose caregivers are undocumented.

Bill Status

Unfortunately this bill was not pulled for a hearing on the House Floor and did not make the cutoff date to continue on. The bill will not pass this year and will have to be introduced again next year. However, state lawmakers voted for funding to keep the current pandemic broad hardship exemptions in place through June 2023, which includes children whose caregivers are undocumented!

Cash Assistance

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We are each the experts in our own lives and know how to meet our needs better than anyone else. Poverty Action supports bills that provide direct cash support to the residents of Washington who need it.

Creating the Evergreen Basic Income Trust – HB 2009

support

What It Does

This bill creates a 3-year pilot Guaranteed Basic Income (GBI) program for Washingtonians earning at or below 50% Area Median Income to allow participants greater dignity and choice in caring for themselves and their families.

Bill Status

This bill did not have a hearing in the Housing, Human Services & Veterans Committee due to time constraints. It will not pass this session and will have to be introduced again next year. The Housing, Human Services, and Veterans Committee hosted a work session on February 18 at 10 AM to learn more about Guaranteed Basic Income. Watch here starting at 14:10.

Creating the Washington Future Fund trust fund program – HB 1861, SB 5752

support

What It Does

This bill would create a trust fund for children in low-income families to have access to financial support when they turn 18.

Bill Status

  • HB 1861 was not pulled for a hearing in the House Appropriations Committee by the cutoff date
  • SB 5752 was not pulled for a hearing in the Senate Ways and Means Committee by the cutoff date
These bills will not pass this session and will have to be introduced again next year. However, lawmakers voted to fund a study of the racial wealth gap in Washington state for a baby bond program to address wealth inequity!

Adjustments to the Working Families Tax Credit – HB 1888

support

What It Does

This bill would allot funding for outreach and increased language accessibility for the Working Families Tax Credit set to begin in 2023.

Bill Status

This bill was passed into law by the House and Senate!

Dental Care

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We all deserve a healthy smile, no matter our race, where we live, or what insurance we can afford. Yet, in Washington, dental providers are concentrated in well-insured, majority white communities, leaving residents of color and low-income, rural communities without adequate care. Adding dental therapists to the dental care team has shown to improve access to routine, preventative care, and create a pathway to quality employment in healthcare for members of communities with restricted access. Poverty Action supports boosting access to affordable and comprehensive dental care through the expansion of dental therapy statewide.

Establishing the profession of dental therapy statewide – HB 1885

support

What It Does

This bill improves access to care and provides clear training requirements for dental therapists based on recommendations from the Dental Therapy Task Force.

Bill Status

This bill was not pulled for a hearing in the Health Care and Wellness Committee. It will not pass this session and will have to be introduced again next year. State lawmakers are considering hosting a work session this year to learn more about the Dental Therapy Task Force's findings.

Barriers to Re-Entry

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We all should have what we need to support our families and reach financial stability, regardless of a criminal conviction. Poverty Action supports bills that provide the opportunity for us to reclaim our lives and support our families following incarceration.

Reducing Legal Financial Obligations (LFOs) – HB 1412

support

What It Does

This bill would allow judges more discretion to waive or reduce certain mandatory LFOs when a person is unable to pay and puts a time limit on collections of some LFOs.

Bill Status

The Senate Ways and Means Committee voted for an amendment to weaken the bill. The bill was passed into law with the amendment to weaken by the House and Senate. It goes into effect January 2023.

Consumer Protections

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Washington should be a state where working people can get ahead, no matter our race or where we come from. People of color have historically been kept from building wealth and credit. Poverty Action supports bills that remove barriers for low-income families of color to be able to escape debt and build financial stability.

Repeal temporary ban on using credit history to calculate insurance rates – SB 5623

oppose

What It Does

SB 5623 was introduced to repeal the temporary ban on insurance companies using credit scores to calculate insurance rates. The ban was put in place by Insurance Commissioner Kreidler to increase equity. When insurance companies use credit scores to calculate rates, low-income Washingtonians with safe driving records pay more for auto insurance than affluent residents who have poorer driving records. Poverty Action opposes SB 5623.

Bill Status

This bill was not pulled for a vote in the Business, Financial Services and Trade Committee by the cutoff date so it will not pass this session!

Improving Access to Charity Care – HB 1616

support

What It Does

This bill would improve access to Charity Care and sets subsidy standards for getting financial help with medical bills.

Bill Status

This bill was passed into law by the House and Senate! It goes into effect July 2022.