OLYMPIA – Gov. Jay Inslee today signed legislation that explicitly allows candidates running for office in Washington state to use campaign funds for child and other dependent care.   

Senate Bill 5855, sponsored by Sen. Liz Lovelett (D-Anacortes), clarifies existing rules regarding the use of campaign funds. 

“This legislation is an important step to create elected bodies that look more like the communities they represent,” said Lovelett. “Too many parents, and especially single moms, are not able to run for office – not for a lack of desire but because they are unable to balance their family demands with those of a campaign.”  

Current Washington law states that childcare costs can be reimbursed with campaign funds if the expense would not have occurred but for the campaign. Codifying this in state law expands the allowable use of campaign funds to include childcare and other primary caregiving duties. 

“Clearly allowing the use of campaign funds for childcare will create the opportunity for more parents to have a say in their government and give them a seat at the table on the important decisions that affect them and their families,” Lovelett said. 

The legislation passed both chambers of the Legislature on nearly unanimous votes. The bill will go into effect on June 9, 2022.