Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Unlike the U.S. Congress, the Washington state Legislature is a part-time body that meets for only a portion of the year. During this meeting time, known as the legislative session, we must accomplish all of the lawmaking for the year. In even-numbered years the Legislature meets for 60 days, while in odd-numbered years we meet for 105 days and must pass a two-year budget. The rest of the year, known as the interim, is when legislators return to their districts and to their day jobs. It is also the time when bills are prepared for the next legislative session. Through tours in their district and meetings with stakeholders and constituents, legislators hear about the most pressing issues in their community and begin to craft potential solutions
This summer, my first interim, I’ve been doing just that! Since the session ended in April, I have been touring the district and meeting constituents to hear ideas about making our state a better place to live. Here is where I’ve been so far:
Of course, if you haven’t seen me in your neighborhood, please reach out to my office if you’d like to reach me with questions or comments.
Resources and FYIs:
Washington Foster Care Pandemic Aid Program
Treehouse is partnering with Washington State Department of Children, Youth & Families to disburse $1.65 million in federal pandemic relief funding to young adult alumni of foster care (ages 23-26 years old). An estimated an estimated 2,800 young people are eligible for relief.
- Funding will be first come, first served. The deadline to apply is September 24th.
- For more info and to find the application, visit the Treehouse website.
Federal Child Tax Credit
This session, the Legislature passed the Fair Start for Kids Act to address the childcare crisis for families across WA state. I’m pleased that this historic investment was met with another historic investment, this time from the federal government.
- The Child Tax Credit will help families that have been struggling to make ends meet. This credit is estimated to provide relief to nearly 66 million children in the US–that’s close to 90 percent of all kids in this country!
- The payments are automatic, so for most people there is no need to apply. However, if you do not file a tax return, you must apply in order to receive this funding. To find that application and more information, click here.
Housing Help – the Bridge Moratorium
Governor Inslee’s bridge proclamation extends some protections after the eviction moratorium expired on June 30. It will help keep community members housed while ensuring landlords get paid until the funding and assistance programs passed by the Legislature in SB 5160 are fully operational.
- As of August 1st, tenants are expected to pay their rent in full. If tenants cannot meet their full rent, they must either have a payment plan in place or have requested rental assistance. Otherwise, landlords may serve a 14 day pay or vacate. Tenants in Pierce County may apply for rental assistance here https://www.piercecountywa.gov/7142/Rental-Assistance. Applications are being accepted online in in five languages. Households without internet access can call 211 to complete the application over the phone, which has access to over 200 languages.
- Landlords whose tenants have defaulted on their payment plan or abandoned the tenancy may apply for reimbursement through the Landlord Mitigation Program (LMP). To find if you’re eligible for this reimbursement and for information on how to apply, click here https://commerce.wa.gov/landlordfund.
In 2019, the Legislature passed the Long Term Care Trust Act (HB 1087). This legislation established WA Cares, an insurance program aimed at helping Washingtonians deal with the ballooning costs of long-term care. For more information, visit the WA Cares website and for more information on the deadline to opt-out, check out this article.
Community members who already have long-term care insurance may apply for exemption. Exemption applications will be available from 10/1/2021 to 12/31/2022. Community members who do not have long-term care insurance but wish to opt out may purchase a qualifying policy. The qualifying policy must be purchased prior to 11/1/2021, regardless of when you apply for an exemption.
If you have feedback or input, the Long Term Services and Support Trust Commission will take public comment meeting on Sep. 23. This commission is charged with making recommendations on WA Cares to the Legislature, and the meeting presents an opportunity to develop potential changes to the program. Find meeting details here.
2022 Legislative Internship Now Open
In my experience, the best way to learn about the legislative process is to actually be a part of it. Junior or seniors attending a four-year college in Washington State or a Washington resident attending an out-of-state college may now apply for the Legislative Internship. While earning academic credit, interns work closely with our offices in moving the legislative process forward. The 2022 internship begins January 10, 2022 and ends March 10, 2022. If you or someone you know may be interested, visit www.leg.wa.gov/internships. The priority deadline for applying is October 15th and final deadline is October 20th.
(Senator) Nobles in the News
During the 2021 session I had the honor of passing legislation to address critical issues in the community. This summer I’ve had the opportunity to share about this work.
- Senate Bill 5184 appoints an on-site point of contact for students experiencing foster care. This point of contact will ensure our students have what they need to be successful. On KING 5’s Mindful Headlines Podcast, I shared my story and how my experience with the foster care system led to my sponsorship of this bill. To listen to the podcast, click here. To read the story, click here.
- The pandemic not only illuminated but exacerbated inequities in our schools across Washington. In Policy and Legal News, a publication of the Washington State School Directors’ Association, I guest wrote an article highlighting the legislative advancements we made regarding equity in schools. As vice chair of the Senate Early Learning & K-12 Committee, I am honored to share these victories for our students. To read more, click here and see page 5.
This fall, I will be hosting my first ever telephone town hall! I’m excited to share about what I’ve been working on for our district, and to hear from you all about what our community needs. It is a top priority for me to create opportunities for my fellow community members to participate in the legislative process—including hearing your thoughts and concerns and reporting back to you what we’ve done so far. You are an essential part of our democratic process.
As your senator, it is also my priority to ensure the community understands how our work at and around the legislature impacts the community. At this town hall, we’ll have the opportunity to hear from representatives about WA Cares and the Washington State Insurance Commissioner’s emergency ruling which prohibits insurers from using credit scores to determine insurance rates for personal property such as cars. Keep an eye out for a save the date on Facebook, Twitter, and an upcoming e-newsletter to see how you can participate.
As always please, reach out to my office for any questions or comments.
Senator T’wina Nobles