The Washington State Legislature began its 2022 Legislative Session on Monday, January 10, 2022, and ended on Thursday, March 10, 2022
This week’s alert is a wrap up of the bills that were alive on Monday, March 7th and gives a status as to whether or not the bills have passed the legislature and whether Governor Inslee has signed them into law as of today.
Civil and Equal Rights
Missing Indigenous Women and Persons Alert
SHB 1725 Concerning the creation of an endangered missing person advisory designation for missing indigenous persons.
SHB 1725 requires the Washington State Patrol to establish a Missing Indigenous Women and Persons Alert designation as a part of its Endangered Missing Person Advisory plan. This system is similar the Amber Alert system.
Indigenous people experience disproportionate rates of violence in Washington state. Tribes, state leaders, and grassroots activists have done substantial work to identify factors directly affecting the rates of violence and to ensure that addressing the crisis of missing and murdered indigenous people is a priority at every level. The legislature intends to provide law enforcement with additional tools to disseminate timely, accurate information to engage the public more effectively in assisting with locating missing indigenous people, and to compensate for the unique challenges that indigenous communities face accessing media coverage and the ability to share information.
STATUS: SHB 1725 passed out of both houses and is on the Governor’s desk for signature.
ACTION: Contact Governor Inslee and let him know that you support SHB 1725 and ask him to sign it into law.
Use of Campaign Funds
SB 5855 Concerning the use of campaign funds to reimburse expenses for child care and other caregiving services.
SB 5855 authorizes the use of campaign contributions to reimburse candidates for expenses for the direct care, protection, and supervision of a child or person over whom the candidate has direct caregiving responsibility incurred directly due to campaign activities.
Lack of childcare is a huge impediment to running for political office. If this reimbursement isn’t clearly allowed, candidates won’t take advantage of it. This will encourage more parents, particularly single parents, and parents of young children, to run for political office, making our elected officials more representative of our communities. Over 50 federal candidates have used campaign funds to pay for childcare since a ruling in 2018. This will empower a diverse pipeline of working caregivers to run for office. Fifteen states have already passed legislation allowing the use of campaign funds for dependent care.
STATUS: SB 5855 passed out of both houses and is on the Governor’s desk for signature.
ACTION: Contact Governor Inslee and let him know that you support SB 5855 and ask him to sign it into law.
Economic Equity and Support for Low Income Individuals and Families
Temporary Cost of living increase for retired public workers
SB 5676 Providing a benefit increase to certain retirees of the public employees’ retirement system plan 1 and the teachers’ retirement system plan 1.
SB 5676 provides a one-time, 3 percent increase to the retirement benefits of retirees in the Public Employees’ Retirement System and the Teachers’ Retirement System Plan 1, up to $110 per month. For retired state employees there have only been two small cost of living allowances (COLAs) in the last decade while purchasing power has decreased by 43 percent. This increase would provide much needed relief for retirees that are forced to choose between medication and food. Although this one-time increase is needed in the long run there should be an annual COLA similar to the Social Security COLA.
STATUS: SB 5676 has passed the legislature and is on its way to the Governor’s desk for his signature.
ACTION: Contact Governor Inslee and let him know that you support SB 5676 and ask him to sign it into law.
Customer Service Requirements for the Department of Social and Health Services
E2SHB 2075 Establishing service requirements for the department of social and health services.
HB 2075 establishes minimum service requirements for the DSHS due to the increase in call center wait times and reduced access to services that have resulted from DSHS office closures during COVID 19 health emergency.
It prohibits the department from imposing punitive measures against individuals when they are unable to comply with the requirements if they are unable to interact with the public due to operating decisions, such as the closure of community services offices.
The bill requires that the department ensure clients can apply for and receive services in a manner that is suited to the clients’ needs. This includes, but is not limited to, meeting client needs related to technology, language, and ability.
- Community service offices must be open for walk-in and in- person services.
- The department may not limit which clients are able to use walk-in services or limit which services may be accessed in community service offices.
- The department shall restore a certain level of staffing for in-person services during a state of emergency.
- The department shall maintain telephonic access to services.
- The average wait time for a department call center may not exceed 30 minutes.
- The department shall determine the average wait time for client telephone calls per week, and include a measurement of all incoming calls, including dropped calls.
- The state auditor shall monitor average telephone wait times monthly.
- If the department fails to meet the minimum service requirements of this section, benefit recipients may not be subject to punitive measures as it relates to their assistance.
- The department may not terminate or sanction any client’s benefits unless the community service office is fully open and operational to the public in the client’s region.
STATUS: E2SHB 2075 has passed the legislature and is on its way to the Governor’s desk for his signature.
ACTION: Contact Governor Inslee and let him know that you support E2SHB 2075 and ask him to sign it into law.
Tax Relief for Working Families
HB 1888 – Allowing the department of revenue to adjust the rates of remittance reductions in the working families’ tax credit in order to align with federal maximum qualifying income levels.
HB 1888 amends the Working Families Tax Exemption passed in 2021 to annually adjust the rate of the Working Families Tax Credit based on calculations that maintain the minimum credit being received at the maximum qualifying income level for the federal Earned Income Tax Credit.
STATUS: HB 1888 as passed both chambers and is on Governor Inslee’s desk for his signature.
Housing and Shelter for low-income households, households in need, and those experiencing homelessness
ESHB 1866 -Assisting persons receiving community support services through medical assistance programs to receive supportive housing.
ESHB 1866 establishes a program that combines existing housing and healthcare services to first provide housing to homeless persons who suffer from chronic mental and physical health problems, and then to provide treatment solutions to these problems. An effective system of services currently exists through Apple Health and excellent public and nonprofit affordable housing providers, but they have yet to be combined in an effective way across the state.
The bill as amended by the Senate
- Establishes the Apple Health and Homes Program (Program) to provide a permanent supportive housing benefit and a community support services benefit to persons who meet eligibility criteria related to income, medical risk factors and barriers to finding stable housing.
- Establishes the Office of Apple Health and Homes (Office) within the Department of Commerce (Commerce) to fund permanent supportive housing units to fulfill the needs of persons enrolled in the Program.
- Establishes the Apple Health and Homes Account to be used for permanent supportive housing programs administered by the Office.
- Expands the use of the Home Security Fund Account for it to be used to fund permanent supportive housing.
- Requires the Department Commerce to establish a rapid permanent supportive housing acquisition and development program to issue financial assistance to certain local government and nonprofit entities for acquiring and developing permanent supportive housing units.
- Requires the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Committee (JLARC) to review the efficacy of the Program and report their findings to the legislature by December 1, 2027.
STATUS: STATUS: ESHB 1866 has passed the legislature and is on the Governor’s desk for his signature.
ACTION: Contact Governor Inslee and let him know that you support ESHB 1866 and ask him to sign it into law. People who suffer from chronic mental and physical health problems have far better outcomes if they are housed.
SB 5566 – Expanding eligibility for the independent youth housing program.
SB 5566 broadens the base of young people eligible or the independent youth housing program. Youth are now eligible for if they were wards of the state at any time before their 18th birthday (instead of during the 4-month period before their 18th birthday only); and increases the age limit to 25 from 23. The income requirements from all sources, except for temporary sources that include, but are not limited to, overtime wages, bonuses, or short-term temporary assignments, that does not exceed fifty percent of the area median income, remains the same.
STATUS: SB 5566 has passed the legislature and is on the Governor’s desk for his signature.
ACTION: Contact Governor Inslee and let him know that you support SB 5566 and ask him to sign it into law.
SSB 5838 – Providing a monthly diaper subsidy for parents or other caregivers receiving temporary assistance for needy families.
SSB 5838 provides a monthly diaper subsidy for parents or other caregivers receiving temporary assistance for needy families effective Nov 1, 2023. The legislature finds that diapers are a necessity for every infant. Additionally, most early childcare programs require an adequate supply of diapers for child attendance, but, apart from early head start, do not provide diapers to families in need. The legislature further finds that families unable to afford an adequate supply of diapers may provide less frequent diaper changes to their child to maximize their supply of diapers. The failure to provide adequate diaper changes is associated with an increased rate of diaper dermatitis and urinary tract infection. Further, there are links between diaper need and increased parenting stress. Children whose parents manifest high levels of stress or depression are at greater risk of social, emotional, and behavioral problems. The department of social and health services is directed to provide a monthly diaper subsidy to families with children under the age of three who are otherwise eligible for temporary assistance for needy families, subject to funds appropriated
STATUS: SSB 5838 has been passed by both chambers and is on Governor Inslee’s desk for signature.
ACTION: Contact Governor Inslee and let him know that you support SSB 5838 and ask him to sign it into law.
Surprise medical billing
E2SHB 1688 Protecting consumers from charges for out-of-network health care services, by aligning state law and the federal no surprises act and addressing coverage of treatment for emergency conditions.
In 2019, the WA State Legislature enacted the Balance Billing Protection Act prohibiting balance billing for emergency services and certain non-emergency services. A “balance bill” is a bill sent to patient by an out-of-network provider or facility for health care services provided to a patient after the provider or facility’s billed amount is not fully reimbursed by the insurance carrier, excluding permitted cost-sharing. In 2020 Congress passed the federal No Surprises Act (NSA), which establishes federal protections against balance billing for emergency services and certain other services provided at in-network facilities beginning January 1, 2022.
ESHB 1688 expands the list of services covered by the balance billing prohibitions to include post-stabilization services and air ambulance services in alignment with federal law. It also expands the definition of emergency services to include post-stabilization services and emergency services provided by behavioral health emergency services providers. The dispute resolution and arbitration process for insurance carriers, health care providers, and for facilities covered by the balance billing prohibitions is modified. The Insurance Commissioner is to submit a report and recommendations if any on how balance billing for ground ambulance services can be prevented and if ground ambulance services should be subject to balance billing procedures.
STATUS: E2SHB 1688 has passed the legislature and is on the Governor’s desk for his signature.
ACTION: Contact Governor Inslee and let him know that you support E2SHB 1688 and ask him to sign it into law.
Working Families Tax Credit Law
EHB 2096 Concerning the working families’ tax exemption, also known as the working families tax credit.
EHB 2096 makes technical corrections to the Working Families Tax Credit (WFTC) and would ensure that everyone who needs the working families’ tax credit, including ITIN filers, have access to it with refund amounts being adjusted annually for inflation to the nearest $5.00.
STATUS: EHB 2096 has passed both chambers and is on the governor’s desk for signature.
Action: Contact Governor Inslee and let him know that you support EHB 2096 and ask him to sign it into law.
Forgiveness of Student Loans
ESSB 5847 Providing information to public service employees about the public service loan forgiveness program.
ESSB 5847 would empower the Washington State student loan Advocate and the Washington State Achievement Counsel to develop materials and awareness about the federal student loan forgiveness program for program public service employees (PSLF). The Biden administration has recently announced new rule making to make it easier to receive credit for payments made under PSLF that did not previously qualify for forgiveness to boost the number of individuals eligible for student loan forgiveness under that program. https://studentaid.gov/manage-loans/forgiveness-cancellation/public-service. This effort boosts our state’s efforts to support that goal to help alleviate the weight of crushing student debt on Washington residents who work in public service.
STATUS: ESSB 5847 has passed both chambers and is on the governor’s desk for signature.
Action: Contact Governor Inslee and let him know that you support ESSB 5847 and ask him to sign it into law.
Hospital Charity Care
SHB 1616 Concerning the charity care act.
SHB 1616 is a Washington State Attorney General’s Request Bill that standardizes the level of hospital charity care to 400% of the federal poverty level. Charity care laws in the state of Washington require hospitals to forgive some or all of the out-of-pocket costs for essential health care for low-income patients. Today, Washington charity care laws help only those who make up 200 percent of the federal poverty level – an individual who makes $26,000 per year, or $34,380 for a two-person household. Full forgiveness is only available to those at or below the federal poverty level – about $12,900 per year for an individual and $26,500 for a family of four. This legislation would expand charity care to more than 2.2 million Washingtonians who are not currently eligible.
STATUS: SHB 1616 has passed both chambers and is on the governor’s desk for signature.
Action: Contact Governor Inslee and let him know that you support SHB 1616 and ask him to sign it into law.
Preventing Discrimination in Prescription Drugs
SSB 5610 Requiring cost sharing for prescription drugs to be counted against an enrollee’s obligation, regardless of source.
SSB 5610 requires all cost sharing amounts for prescription drugs to be counted against an enrollee’s cost-sharing requirement. Beginning January 1, 2023, when calculating an enrollee’s contribution to any applicable cost-sharing requirement, a health carrier or health care benefit manager must include any cost-sharing amounts paid by the enrollee directly or on behalf of the enrollee by another person for a covered prescription drug and apply that amount in full toward the enrollee’s deductible, out-of-pocket maximum, or similar obligation.
STATUS: SSB 5610 has passed both chambers and is on the governor’s desk for signature.
Action: Contact Governor Inslee and let him know that you support SSB 5610 and ask him to sign it into law.
School Free and Reduced Meal Program
SHB 1878 Increasing public school participation in the community eligibility provision of the United States department of agriculture.
SHB 1878 expands access to the free and reduced meal program in the schools and removes an onerous application and income verification process that presents a barrier to many families in need. This bill would expand mandatory participation in the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) – which allows schools with high numbers of low-income students to serve free meals to all students. Providing universal meals to students reduces stigma for children and families and reduces time spent on paperwork.
STATUS: SHB 1878 has been signed into law by Governor Inslee.
HB 1833 – Establishing an electronic option for the submission of household income information required for participation in school meals and programs.
HB 1833 removes a barrier to free and reduced priced meals for students by providing parents and guardians an option to provide household income through a secure online portal. The bill requires the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) to oversee the development and implementation of a statewide electronic repository of household income information that is required for a student’s enrollment in a free and reduced-price meal program.
STATUS: HB 1833. has passed out of both houses and is on the governor’s desk for signature.
ACTION: Contact Governor Inslee and let him know that you support HB 1833 and ask him to sign it into law.
School Funding Formulas
SHB 1590 Concerning enrollment stabilization funding to address enrollment declines due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
SHB 1590 would address the shortfall in funds that school districts are facing due to reduced enrollment due to COVID 19. Strict reading of the apportionment process by which WA state funds school districts would require that funding be cut to all districts according to the number of students who have dis-enrolled due to the COVID 19 pandemic crisis. Although the loss of students is not sufficient to close classrooms or buildings and do not result in decreased expenditures by the districts to maintain the standard of education for those students who are enrolled, this withholding of funding would be a drastic cut that would have repercussions for years to come. These bills attempt to keep schools whole until this crisis has abated, and students and families and staffing have stabilized.
It would be stronger if those districts who have gone above and beyond to keep students enrolled, incurring excess expenditures as a result, were also made whole by full reimbursement of all COVID expenditures, as opposed to the allocation of funds according to Title 1 status. SHB 1590 is a policy fix that allows levy and local effort assistance (LEA – also known as levy equalization) to be based on 2020 levels. It needs to pass to ensure that districts remain whole and that our schools and services are maintained at a level that supports our children.
STATUS: SHB 1590 has passed both chambers and is on the governor’s desk for signature.
Action: Contact Governor Inslee and let him know that you support SHB 1590 and ask him to sign it into law.
2SHB 1664 Concerning prototypical school formulas for physical, social, and emotional support in schools.
School Districts and educators across the state have been advocating for years to update the woefully outdated and underfunded (even by the standard of decades ago) ‘prototypical’ school funding formulas. They do not call for funding of sufficient nurses, counselors, mental health professionals, etc. for our schools, even as our schools have been called upon to provide more and more of the services more reasonably provided by our healthcare system. In some cases, there are unfunded mandates that siphon funding away from the school districts’ primary function of educating our students. There is no stable funding so districts must hunt for grant or partnership opportunities on an annual basis, or rely on the ability of local taxpayers to fill the funding gap.
2SHB 1664 requires each public school to have at least one school nurse and one counselor on site. It increases the minimum allocations for, social workers, psychologists, and counselors within the prototypical school model. Directs the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) to adopt rules that require school districts to prioritize specified funding allocated through the model for physical, social, and emotional support staff with a valid educational staff associate certificate. Physical, social, and emotional support staff is defined and include school nurses, social workers, psychologists, counselors, and classified staff who provide student and staff safety, parent involvement coordinators and other district employees and contractors who provide physical, social, and emotional support as defined by the OSPI.
STATUS: 2SHB 1664 has passed both chambers and is on the governor’s desk for signature.
Action: Contact Governor Inslee and let him know that you support 2SHB 1664 and ask him to sign it into law.
School District Procurement Process
ESB 5017 Clarifying school district procurement requirements for personal service contracts for construction management, value engineering, constructability review, and building commissioning. (REVISED FOR ENGROSSED: Clarifying school district procurement requirements for service contracts for construction management, value engineering, constructability review, and building commissioning.).
SB 5017 is a technical change to the current law and clarifies that school districts can continue to procure construction management, value engineering, constructability review, and building commissioning through the request for proposal (RFP) process and allows selection of contractors based on qualifications, not just price.
STATUS: ESB 5017 has passed out of both houses and is on the governor’s desk for signature.
ACTION: Contact Governor Inslee and let him know that you support ESB 5017 and ask him to sign it into law.
School Seismic Safety Grant Program
SSB 5933 Establishing a school seismic safety grant program
SSB 5933 establishes a school seismic safety grant program for school districts and state tribal compact schools for remediation of seismic or tsunami hazards in qualifying buildings. It also requires qualifying buildings be in high seismic hazard areas and that they must have been built prior to 1998, and not received a seismic retrofit to the 2005 seismic standards.
Given the failure to pass legislation to make it possible for school districts to pass bond measures to maintain schools, this bill is critical to prepare our schools for the seismic emergencies we know are coming. The Senate Capital Budget proposal is providing over $120M in seismic retrofit or school replacement provided a district can put up 33% of the cost. We have hundreds of schools in the state that were built before 1998 and need this update. The Senate is looking for $500M every biennia until the work is done to make our students safe. We need the House to maintain that funding level and move this bill forward.
STATUS: SSB 5593 passed the House unanimously and is on the governor’s desk for signature.
ACTION: Contact Governor Inslee and let him know that you support SSB 5593 and ask him to sign it into law.
E2SHB 1723 – Closing the digital divide by increasing the accessibility and affordability of telecommunications services, devices and training.
E2SHB 1723 codifies the Digital Equity Forum into WA State Law. The Statewide Broadband Office in consultation with the Forum, the Utilities and Transportation Commission, and the Department of Social & Health Services must develop a state digital equity plan. Subject to receipt of funds from the federal government and funding from state appropriations a Digital Equity Planning Grant Program is established to provide grants to local governments, institutions of higher education, workforce development councils, or other entities to fund the development of digital equity plan for a discrete geographic region of the state. Prioritization criteria are specified. The Digital Equity Account is created in the State Treasury. Moneys in the account may be spent after appropriation. Funds from sources outside the state, from private contributions, federal or other sources may be directed to the specific purposes of the DEOP or the Digital Equity Planning Grant Program.
STATUS: E2SHB 1723 has passed out of both houses and is on the governor’s desk for signature.
ACTION: Contact Governor Inslee and let him know that you support E2SHB 1723 and ask him to sign it into law.
Reproductive Rights and Health Care
Affirming WA State’s Abortion Act
EHB 1851 Relating to preserving a pregnant individual’s ability to access abortion care
EHB 1851 declares that every individual possesses a fundamental right of privacy to personal reproductive decisions. This bill also updates the language related to abortion care in Washington’s legal code to be gender neutral and to reflect the range of providers who are licensed to provide abortion care. These updates would ensure that the gender identities of all people who have abortions are reflected in the statute and would confirm the already established legal ability of qualified licensed providers, such as physician assistants (PAs) and advanced registered nurse practitioners (ARNPs) to provide abortion care.
STATUS: EHB 1851 passed out of both houses and is on the Governor’s desk for signature.
ACTION: Contact Governor Inslee and let him know that you support EHB 1851 and ask him to sign it into law.
HB 1651 Allowing providers to bill separately for immediate postpartum contraception.
HB 1651 allows providers to bill separately for devices or professional services associated with immediate postpartum contraception and they may not consider such services or devices to be part of any payments for general obstetric procedures. “Immediate postpartum contraception” is defined as the postpartum insertion of intrauterine devices or contraceptive implants performed before the patient is discharged from the hospital or birthing center and includes the devices or implants themselves.
STATUS: HB 1651 has passed both chambers of the legislature and is on the Governor’s desk for his signature.
ACTION: Contact Governor Inslee and let him know that you support HB 1651 and ask him to sign it into law.
SHB 1703 Modernizing the statewide 911 emergency communications system.
SHB 1703 addresses the ongoing effort to modernize the 911 system, which is essential to public safety and is often the first call a victim or bystander makes when experiencing trauma. This bill largely clarifies and updates the existing regulations.
STATUS: SHB 1703 has passed both chambers of the legislature and is on the Governor’s desk for his signature.
ACTION: Contact Governor Inslee and let him know that you support SHB 1703 and ask him to sign it into law.
Weapons, Guns, and Public Safety
ESSB 5078 Addressing firearm safety measures to increase public safety
ESSB 5078 establishes firearm safety measures to increase public safety by prohibiting the manufacture, possession, distribution, importation, selling, offering for sale, purchasing or transfer of large capacity magazines. A large capacity magazine is defined to mean an ammunition feeding device with the capacity to accept more than 10 rounds of ammunition, or any conversion kit, part, or combination of parts, from which such a device can be assembled if those parts are in possession of or under the control of the same person
STATUS: ESSB 5078 has passed out of both the Senate and the House. It is now on the governor’s desk for signature.
Action: Contact Governor Inslee and let him know that you support ESSB 5078 and ask him to sign it into law.
ESHB 1630: Establishing restrictions on the possession of weapons in certain locations.
SHB 1630 makes it unlawful to knowingly carry or possess firearms and other specified weapons in ballot counting centers, voting centers, student engagement hubs, county elections and voter registration offices and areas of facilities used for these functions. It also makes it a crime to knowingly carry or possess a firearm on school premises, school transportation, and facilities being used by schools, and in areas of facilities while being used for official meetings of the school district board of directors.
STATUS: ESHB 1630 has passed out of both the Senate and the House. It is now on the governor’s desk for signature.
Action: Contact Governor Inslee and let him know that you support SHB 1630 and ask him to sign it into law.
ESHB 1705: Concerning ghost guns
SHB 1705 Restricts the manufacture, assembly, sale, transfer, purchase, possession, transport, and receipt of untraceable firearms. Restricts the sale, transfer, purchase, possession, transport, and receipt of unfinished frames and receivers. It also establishes standards for marking untraceable firearms and unfinished frames and receivers with serial numbers.
STATUS: ESHB 1705 has passed both the Senate and the House, and is headed to the governor’s desk for the signature.
ACTION: Contact Governor Inslee and let him know that you support ESHB 1705 and ask him to sign it into law.
SHB 1941: Prohibiting active shooter scenarios for school safety-related drills.
SHB 1941 was amended in committee and prohibits schools from conducting lockdown drills that include live simulations of or reenactments of active shooter scenarios that are not trauma-informed and age and developmentally appropriate. Allowable safety-related drills continue to be 1) shelter-in-place; 2) lockdown; and 3) evacuate. This bill would require schools to maintain documentation of the time, date, and type of drill.
STATUS: SHB 1941 has passed out of both the Senate and the House. It is now on the governor’s desk for signature.
ACTION: Contact Governor Inslee and let him know that you support SHB 1941 and ask him to sign it into law.
Use of Force by Law Enforcement
ESSB 5919 Concerning the standard for law enforcement authority to detain or pursue persons.
SSB 5919 gives law enforcement more flexibility in the use of force. “Physical force” means any act likely to cause physical pain or injury or any other act exerted upon a person’s body to compel, control, constrain, or restrain the person’s movement. “Physical force” does not include pat downs, incidental touching, verbal commands, or compliant handcuffing where there is no physical pain or injury. “Necessary” means that, under the totality of the circumstances, a reasonably effective alternative to the use of force does not appear to exist, and that the amount of force used was a reasonable and proportional response to the effect the legal purpose intended or to protect against the threat posed to the officer or others.
The situations where a peace officer may use physical force are expanded. A peace officer may use physical force against a person when necessary to:
- protect against criminal conduct where there is probable cause to make an arrest;
- effect an arrest;
- prevent an escape;
- effect an investigative detention, with less than probable cause if the peace officer has reasonable and articulable facts that point towards criminal activity, including when, under the totality of the circumstances, the situation escalates so that there are now facts sufficient to effectuate an arrest, whether or not an arrest is carried out; or
- protect against an imminent threat of bodily injury to the peace officer, another person, or the person against whom force is being used.
The standard reasonable care is also amended.
The standard for vehicular pursuits is amended. A peace officer may not conduct a vehicular pursuit unless four factors are met:
- there is reasonable suspicion that a person in the vehicle has committed, or is committing a violent offense, sex offense, an escape offense, a driving under the influence offense, a crime against persons offense, or another criminal offense where the public safety risks of failing to apprehend or identify the person are considered to be greater than the safety risks of the vehicular pursuit under the circumstances;
- the pursuit must be necessary for the purpose of identifying or apprehending the person;
- the person poses a public safety risk, and the safety risk of failing to apprehend or identify the person is greater than the safety risks of the vehicular pursuit under the circumstances; and
- the officer receives authorization to continue the pursuit from a supervising officer and there is supervisory control of the pursuit.
We believe that this bill rolls back the protections put in place last year with E2SHB 1310. In part, that bill, created a standard for the use of force by peace officers. The current law allows a peace officer to use physical force against another person when necessary to protect against criminal conduct where there is probable cause to make an arrest; effect an arrest; prevent an escape; or protect against an imminent threat of bodily injury to the peace officer, another person, or the person against whom force is being used. A peace officer may use deadly force only when necessary to protect against an imminent threat of serious physical injury or death to the officer or another person.
This bill is unnecessary and is a dangerous step backwards. This bill expands the authority to use physical force in all investigatory stops based on reasonable suspicion, the lowest standard of proof. It allows for considerable officer discretion which will increase racial profiling.
STATUS: ESB 5919 failed to pass out of the legislature by the March 10th end of session. It is DEAD.
SHB 1735 Modifying the standard for use of force by peace officers.
SHB 1735 Modifies the standard for use of force by peace officers by allowing an officer to use physical force against another person. A peace officer may use physical force against a person to the extent necessary to carry out specified acts. The authority of a peace officer to use physical force against a person, subject to the requirement to exercise reasonable care, is expanded to include the following circumstances:
- taking a person into custody, transporting a person for evaluation or treatment, or providing other assistance under civil or forensic commitment laws;
- taking a minor into protective custody when authorized or directed by statute;
- executing or enforcing a court order authorizing or directing a peace officer to take a person into custody;
- executing a search warrant; or
- executing or enforcing an oral directive issued by a judicial officer in the courtroom or a written order where the court expressly authorizes a peace officer to use physical force to execute or enforce the directive or order.
The provision regarding use of deadly force is modified by replacing the term “imminent threat” with “immediate threat,” distinguishing it from the restrictions on the use of physical force. A peace officer may use deadly force against another person only when necessary to protect against an immediate threat of serious physical injury or death to the officer or another person.
STATUS: SHB 1735 was signed by Gov Inslee 3/4/22 into law. Its effective date is 3/4/2022.
ESHB 2037 Modifying the standard for use of force by peace officers.
SHB 2037 modifies the standard for use of force by peace officers, but only with respect to providing that physical force may be used to the extent necessary. It also clarifies that deadly force may be used in the face of an immediate threat, clarifies that physical force may be used to protect against a criminal offense when there is probable cause that a person has committed or is committing the offense, authorizes the use of physical force to prevent a person from fleeing a temporary investigative detention, authorizes the use of physical force to take a person into custody when authorized or directed by statute, provided that the standard does not permit violations to the United States Constitution or state Constitution, and defining deadly force, physical force, necessary, and totality of the circumstances.
STATUS: ESHB 2037 has passed out of both the Senate and the House. It is now on the governor’s desk for signature.
Action: Contact Governor Inslee and let him know that you support ESHB 2037 and ask him to sign it into law.
State patrol diversity
SHB 2057 Strengthening diversity, equity, and inclusion in the state patrol workforce.
SHB 2057 the Governor’s Office of Equity is directed to contract for an independent, expert consultant to support their oversight of the Washington State Patrol (WSP) strategic plan. Additional consultant activities include developing agency-specific process and outcome measures which consider community feedback and recommending effective agency programs and services to reduce disparities across the WSP. Several activities assigned to the consultant in the underlying bill are assigned to the Office of Equity including providing technical assistance to the WSP and annual reporting to the Governor and Legislature on the evaluation of progress in implementing the plan.
Appropriates $650,000 from the State Patrol Highway Account to the Governor’s Office of Equity for the purposes of the independent consultant contract, a study of barriers to hiring commissioned officers and costs associated with oversight. $331,000 from the State Patrol Highway Account is provided to the WSP and to support the costs of WSP’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion office and the external psychologist contract.
STATUS: SHB 2057 has passed out of both the Senate and the House. It is now on the governor’s desk for signature.
Action: Contact Governor Inslee and let him know that you support SHB 2057 and ask him to sign it into law.
Sexual assault nurse examiners
HB 1622 Creating programs to encourage sexual assault nurse examiner training.
HB 1622 requires the Washington State University College of Nursing to establish two programs: (1) a sexual assault nurse examiner (SANE) online and clinical training program; and (2) a regional SANE leader pilot program.
STATUS: HB 1622 has passed out of both the Senate and the House. It is now on the governor’s desk for signature.
Action: Contact Governor Inslee and let him know that you support HB 1622 and ask him to sign it into law.
Sex Trafficking and Prevention
HB 1748 Concerning aged, blind, or disabled program eligibility for victims of human trafficking.
Makes victims of human trafficking eligible for the Housing and Essential Needs (HEN) program and the Aged, Blind, or Disabled (ABD) program.
Victims of human trafficking and other certain crimes, and their qualifying family members, are eligible for the following state assistance programs:
- The Food Assistance Program for legal immigrants, if they are not eligible for the federal food stamp program;
- State Family Assistance Programs if they otherwise meet program eligibility requirements; and
- Medical Care Services, if they are not eligible for Apple Health for Kids or other federal health insurance.
- Replaces references to “drug or alcohol” with “substance use” for purposes of the HEN and the ABD program.
Victim of human trafficking is defined in statute as a non-citizen and any qualifying family members who have:
- filed or are preparing to file an application for a T or U visa with the appropriate federal agency; or
- been harmed by certain crimes including kidnapping, unlawful imprisonment, custodial interference, luring, trafficking, or coercion of an involuntary servitude, the sexual exploitation of children, among others, and:
- the person is taking steps to meet conditions for federal benefits for victims of trafficking; or
- the person is preparing to file or has filed an application for asylum.
- been harmed by certain crimes including kidnapping, unlawful imprisonment, custodial interference, luring, trafficking, or coercion of an involuntary servitude, the sexual exploitation of children, among others, and:
STATUS: HB 1748 has passed out of both the Senate and the House. It is now on the governor’s desk for signature.
Action: Contact Governor Inslee and let him know that you support HB 1748 and ask him to sign it into law.
Missing and Endangered Persons
SHB 1571 Concerning protections and services for indigenous persons who are missing, murdered, or survivors of human trafficking.
HB 1571 does the following:
- Requires a county coroner or medical examiner with jurisdiction over the remains of a deceased indigenous person to make certain efforts to contact family members and affected tribes of the deceased and provide an opportunity for family and affected tribes to conduct spiritual practices or ceremonies, subject to certain limitations.
- Requires a county coroner or medical examiner with jurisdiction over the remains of a deceased indigenous person to make certain efforts to contact the deceased person’s family and facilitate return of the remains prior to entrusting the remains to a funeral home.
- Requires the Department of Commerce’s Office of Crime Victims Advocacy to establish two grant programs related to services and resources for indigenous survivors of human trafficking.
- Provides that, upon knowledge from certain authorities that a person in custody or being released from custody at a jail is the subject of a missing person’s report, the jail is required to notify the agency of original jurisdiction for the missing person’s report.
STATUS: SHB 1571 has passed out of both the Senate and the House. It is now on the governor’s desk for signature.
Action: Contact Governor Inslee and let him know that you support SHB 1571 and ask him to sign it into law.
SHB 1725 Concerning the creation of an endangered missing person advisory designation for missing indigenous persons
HB 1725 Requires the Washington State Patrol to establish a Missing Indigenous Women and Persons Alert designation as a part of its Endangered Missing Person Advisory plan.
STATUS: SHB 1725 has passed out of both the Senate and the House. It is now on the governor’s desk for signature.
Action: Contact Governor Inslee and let him know that you support SHB 1725 and ask him to sign it into law.
Criminal mistreatment of children and vulnerable adults
SHB 1901 Updating laws concerning civil protection orders to further enhance and improve their efficacy and accessibility.
SHB 1901 updates the 2021 law and amends it by adding “coercive control” under the definition of domestic violence for purposes of protection orders. The bill also includes a number of technical corrections dealing with safety of victims and minor children.
STATUS: SHB 1901 has passed out of both the Senate and the House. It is now on the governor’s desk for signature.
Action: Contact Governor Inslee and let him know that you support SHB 1901 and ask him to sign it into law.
ESSB 5245 Concerning the safety of crime victims.
ESSB 5245 was amended in committee and now provides that the department of correction and witness notification programs are expanded to add victims of domestic violence ofenders, assault in the 3rd degree, vehicular homicide by disregard for the safety of others, unlawful imprisonment, and controlled substance homicide to receive notification of the offender’s pending release. Note that violent offenders, sex offenders, and domestic violence protection order offenders are already included in this RCW.
STATUS: ESSB 5245 has passed out of both the Senate and the House. It is now on the governor’s desk for signature.
Action: Contact Governor Inslee and let him know that you support ESSB 5245 and ask him to sign it into law.
Violence Victims and Landlord Mitigation Program
SHB 1593 Expanding the landlord mitigation program to alleviate the financial burden on victims attempting to flee domestic violence, sexual assault, unlawful harassment, or stalking.
The Landlord Mitigation Program (Program) is expanded to allow landlords’ claims to the Department of Commerce up to $5,000 for damages to rental property when:
- the tenant has terminated his or her tenancy pursuant to the provision in the Residential Landlord-Tenant Act (RLTA), which allows tenants who are victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, unlawful harassment, or stalking to terminate;
- the property has sustained damage beyond normal wear and tear;
- the landlord has, within 21 days of termination:
- provided the tenant with a statement regarding the basis for retaining any of the damage deposit; and
- rather than retaining any of the damage deposit for those damages, returned the full damage deposit to the tenant; and
- the landlord has agreed not to proceed against the tenant to recover sums exceeding the amount of the damage deposit.
STATUS: SHB 1593 has passed the legislature and is on its way to the Governor’s desk for his signature.
ACTION: Contact Governor Inslee and let him know that you support SHB 1593 and ask him to sign it into law.
Trauma informed responses in the legal system
SB 5612 Ensuring domestic violence victims and survivors of victims have the opportunity to make a statement during sentencing for all domestic violence convictions.
SB 5612 enables victims and survivors of victims to present a statement personally or by representation at the sentencing hearing for convictions involving domestic violence.
STATUS: SB 5612 has passed the legislature and is on its way to the Governor’s desk for his signature.
ACTION: Contact Governor Inslee and let him know that you support SB 5612 and ask him to sign it into law.
SSB 5814 Providing funding for medical evaluations of suspected victims of child abuse.
SSB 5814 would re-establish a similar statute as the 2015 legislation (which expired in 2019) which provided funding for medical evaluations for suspected victims of physical child abuse.
STATUS: SSB 5814 has passed the legislature and is on its way to the Governor’s desk for his signature.
ACTION: Contact Governor Inslee and let him know that you support SSB 5814 and ask him to sign it into law.
ESSB 5628 Concerning cyber harassment, addressing concerns in the case of Rynearson v. Ferguson, and adding a crime of cyberstalking.
The current crime of cyberstalking is renamed cyber harassment. The intent element of the crime is limited to the intent to harass or intimidate. In addition to the current factors that raise this crime from a gross misdemeanor to a class C felony, the following likewise raise the crime to a class C felony:
- the person cyber harasses a criminal justice participant who is performing their official duties at the time the threat is made;
- the person cyber harasses a criminal justice participant because of an action taken or decision made by the criminal justice participant during the performance of their official duties; or
- the person commits cyber harassment in violation of any protective order protecting the victim.
ESSB 5628 also creates a new crime named cyberstalking. A person commits the gross
misdemeanor crime of cyberstalking if they:
- knowingly and without consent install or monitor an electronic tracking device or causes an electronic tracking device to be installed, placed, or used with the intent to track the location of another person; and
- the perpetrator knows or reasonably should know that knowledge of the installation or monitoring would cause the person reasonable fear, the perpetrator has notice that the person does not want to be contacted or monitored by the perpetrator, or there is a protective order in effect protecting the person being stalked from the perpetrator.
The crime of cyberstalking is elevated to a Class C felony if committed under several additional circumstances.
Victims of cyber harassment may apply to have their address protected through the Secretary of State’s address confidentiality program.
STATUS: ESSB 5628 has passed the legislature and is on its way to the Governor’s desk for his signature.
ACTION: Contact Governor Inslee and let him know that you support ESSB 5628 and ask him to sign it into law.
Sales Tax Holiday
SHB 2018 – Creating a three-day shop local and save sales and use tax holiday to benefit all Washington families for certain items $1,000 or less during the month of September.
SHB 2018 authorizes a shop local and save sales and use tax holiday for Labor Day Weekend for qualified items purchased by individuals. Although our state has an unfair tax system that is heavily dependent on the sales tax this bill does not deliver economic relief to those taxpayers at the bottom of the income scale and are in need of relief from our regressive tax system. It would waste nearly $200 million dollars that could better serve our state’s economy. Although popular in other states, experience has shown that these sales tax holidays simply lead to large windfalls for retailers and the wealthy while funds are drained from resources such as our schools and social service programs.
STATUS: SHB 2018 is DEAD as it failed to pass out of the legislature by the closing of the session on March 10.
ESSB 5693 Making 2021-2023 fiscal biennium supplemental operating appropriations.
The legislature passed a supplemental budget that increases funding for important programs which support WA State residents without making large tax. The
The following information regarding the supplemental budget was written by the WA State Budget and Policy Center and is in our opinion a good summary of the final budget and what still needs to be done to address WA State’s regressive tax structure which impacts our most vulnerable residents at the lower end of the economic scale.
“The revised spending plan for the current 2021-23 budget cycle put forward by Washington state legislative leaders wisely increases funding for many community structures needed to help residents recover from the pandemic and economic crisis – like affordable housing, childcare, and direct cash assistance. Budget writers prudently rejected calls for large tax cuts that would unnecessarily benefit the wealthy and damage Washington’s recovery by permanently siphoning resources away from schools, health care, and other foundations. The final agreement appropriately increases budget reserves, which will protect critical community investments in the event of another economic downturn or other public emergency
Buoyed by strong state tax collections and federal stimulus funds, the 2022 supplemental budget includes significant new funding for many public priorities. Noteworthy actions in the budget that will support Washingtonians’ well-being include (but are not limited to):
- Supporting community-based outreach efforts for the Working Families Tax Credit to ensure eligible households are able to claim the credit ($10 million, operating budget).
- Allocating resources to study wealth inequities in Washington state and the potential impact of the Washington Future Fund, a savings bonds program for every baby born into a family that utilizes Medicaid. This study will give lawmakers and the public valuable information on how to reverse the rising wealth gap ($450,000, operating budget).
- Making a historic investment in affordable housing that will improve housing stability for thousands of residents ($415 million, capital budget).
- Increasing the monthly benefit for the Aged, Blind, or Disabled program from $197 to $417 per month, which will allow people to live in greater security and dignity ($36.6 million, operating budget).
- Allowing families who would otherwise lose access to the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program to access benefits for another year, which will help struggling families make ends meet while the economy continues to recover ($11 million, operating budget).
- Expanding Apple Health to all immigrants so that all Washington residents can receive basic and necessary medical care ($4.2 million, operating budget).
- Better resourcing the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Task Force and creating an alert for missing Indigenous persons to help decrease the alarmingly high rate of disappearances and murders of Indigenous women and people ($866,000, operating budget).
The final budget also includes substantial funding for childcare and early learning, more nurses and counselors at schools, and updated cost-of-living adjustments or hazard pay increases for public school employees, caregivers, and other frontline workers. In making these kinds of improvements, the final budget helps shore up some of Washington’s core economic pillars that support the health and vitality of all communities.
Yet legislators missed a big opportunity to improve the financial security and overall well-being of Washingtonians by omitting any funding for a guaranteed basic income program. Basic income pilot programs are proliferating across the country as an effective and dignifying way to reduce poverty. Experience from other pilot programs have shown that unconditional cash payments improve brain development in babies, improve physical health, and decrease depression and anxiety.
The final budget also includes $2.3 billion for the Department of Corrections, which is a slight decrease from the enacted 2021-2023 budget but is still an unacceptably high amount. The carceral system, including agencies like the Department of Corrections, disproportionately harms Black and brown community members and does little to actually improve public safety. These funds would be more beneficial and would truly improve security and stability if invested in affordable housing, cash assistance, and other social and health services.
The rapid turnaround of the short session removed opportunities for community input on the budget, which would have increased accountability and made the budget better meet community needs. Budget leaders should increase transparency during the process by publicizing the timeline for budget releases and hearings at the beginning of the legislative session and providing ample time for Washingtonians to respond to what is in the budget.
Finally, lawmakers missed an opportunity to continue rebalancing Washington’s notoriously inequitable state and local tax code. Going forward, lawmakers should enact new sources of equitable revenue, such a billionaire wealth tax, to replace the temporary federal stimulus funds that will expire in 2024 – in order to ensure all communities can thrive in the coming years.”
STATUS: ESSB 5693 has passed the legislature and is on its way to the Governor’s desk for his signature.
ACTION: Contact Governor Inslee and let him know that you support ESSB 5694 and ask him to sign it into law. Also let him know that you support a new progressive revenue stream and not budget cuts. Our poorest communities can no longer afford the disproportionately high tax burden they currently face. We must ensure that our state is able to maintain community investments for the years to come.
SHB 1406 Improving the equity of Washington state’s tax code by creating the Washington state wealth tax and taxing extraordinary financial intangible assets
SB 5426 Improving the equity of Washington state’s tax code by creating the Washington state wealth tax and taxing extraordinary financial intangible assets.
SHB 1406 and SB 5426 establish a 1 percent wealth tax on intangible financial assets of more than $1 billion. Only approximately 100 people in WA State would be affected.
STATUS: SHB 1406 and SB 5426 are DEAD as they failed to pass out of the legislature by the March 10th end of session.
ACTION: Let your legislators know that you support a billionaire wealth tax and progressive revenue stream. Our poorest communities can no longer afford the disproportionately high tax burden they currently face.
HB 1465 Making the estate tax more progressive by exempting small estates, reducing estate taxes on medium estates, increasing the estate tax on larger estates, and addressing equity in homeownership and homelessness.
HB 1465 revamps the estate tax to make it more progressive. For an estate of an individual dying on or after passage of this bill, changes are made to the estate tax. The exclusion amount is increased to $2.5 million and the language providing for annual adjustment is updated to reflect the change in the Consumer Price Index for the Seattle metropolitan area. The rates for estates over $3 million through $9 million are increased. Additional rate classes are created for estates over $9 million.
The bill further dedicates 10% of the proceeds to the Equity in Housing Account to be used to address homelessness, including foreclosure prevention, rental assistance, outreach engagement services, housing services, and behavioral health, with priority for agencies, programs, and services which address current and historical racial inequities
Note: For the estate of a married/domestic partner decedent, all of the community property and all of the decedent’s separate property are reported on the estate tax return. The community property assets are then reduced by 50 percent to reflect the deceased individual’s share of the property.
STATUS: HB 1465 is DEAD as it failed to pass out of the legislature by the March 10th end of session.
ACTION: Let your legislators know that you support an update to WA State’s estate tax to make it more progressive and reduce estate taxes on small and medium sized estates. Our poorest communities can no longer afford the disproportionately high tax burden they currently face.
Thank you to the following people who contributed to the 1st LD 2022 Weekly Legislative Alert this year.
- Cathy Baylor
- Christina Henry
- Amber Koens
- Linda Malanchuck-Finnan
- Jackie McGourty
- Linda Tosti-Lane
- Lisa Weber