Dear friends and neighbors,
We’re over a third of the way through the legislative session, as we conclude our sixth week in Olympia! Our team has been working nonstop to champion our neighbors’ priorities. I’m excited to share with you what we’ve been up to since my last e-newsletter!
Cutoff and bill updates
We hit our first milestone in the legislative session: policy cutoff — the deadline by which bills need to be passed out of their original committees to keep moving through the legislative process. I’m happy to report eight of my bills are making progress in the Senate!
- SB 5342 (which also passed out of the Senate on Wednesday — my first this session): concerning transit agencies’ ability to enter interlocal agreements for procurement. It will provide clarity to reflect that public transportation agencies are not required to execute interlocal agreements when purchasing buses from another state’s cooperative schedule contract.
- SB 5426: implementing the Family Connections Program. It will make sure the program remains in place. The FCP is designed to strengthen families and prevent future childhood traumas by facilitating communication, where appropriate, between foster families and birth families when a child is dependent and in out-of-home care.
- SB 5378: concerning voter education. It would require all jurisdictions that use an alternative voting method — like approval voting and ranked-choice voting — to create a public outreach campaign to inform voters of changes.
- SB 5480: accelerating stability for people with a work-limiting disability or incapacity. It will align Washington state policies and practices across benefits programs, enabling us to not only reduce poverty but increase food security and housing stability for the Washingtonians who need them most.
- SB 5506: establishing an enhanced behavior support homes model. It would establish the Enhanced Behavior Support Homes Program, designed to provide enhanced help to individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities who require more support, staffing and supervision in a community setting rather than in an institution.
- SB 5683: concerning child-specific foster care licenses for placement of Indian children. This will increase licensing accessibility for Tribal communities to further protect Indian Child Welfare in Washington — a cause near to my heart.
- SB 5742: codifying certain existing grant programs at the Department of Transportation. It will establish a paratransit and special needs grant program to sustain and expand transit service to people with disabilities.
Save the date: Telephone Town Hall
Join 47th Legislative District Reps. Debra Entenman and Chris Sterns and me for a telephone town hall 6 p.m. Wednesday, March 22, where we’ll discuss the 2023 session and our ongoing work to support our communities’ needs and priorities. More details to come soon!
Working Families Tax Credit
Eligible individuals and families can receive the Working Families Tax Credit — a new state tax break worth up to $1,200 a year for low- to moderate-income families.
Learn more and see if you qualify here!
I’d love to hear from you! Send my office an email at Claudia.Kauffman@leg.wa.gov, or give us a call at 360-786-7692. You can also follow me on Facebook and Instagram (@SenClaudiaKauffman) for regular updates throughout the coming months.