April 19, 2021
Dear Neighbors, We are fast approaching the last scheduled day of the Legislative session, April 25, and your legislators are hard at work finalizing bills to send to the Governor’s office to be signed into law. There are some exciting and significant bills that have recently passed both chambers, and I’d like to share them with you today. Also, don’t miss some important announcements at the end of this newsletter!
Working Families Tax Exemption
The Working Families Tax Exemption has been long awaited, and it looks like we’ll finally see it in action soon. This is a program that was established by legislation over a decade ago but was never funded. That should soon change thanks to HB 1297. This takes us a step in the right direction toward fixing our upside-down tax code and will get money back into the pockets of lower income households, especially in our communities of color and our rural communities. Importantly, this bill also expands the program to include eligibility for those who use individual taxpayer identification numbers (ITIN) in lieu of a Social Security number to file their federal taxes.
Police Accountability and Reform
A huge focus of our work this session has been police accountability and reform. Accordingly, we’ve seen both chambers pass many bills that will make our communities safer and start to rebuild trust in law enforcement. Here is a glimpse at some of those bills:
- HB 1267 mandates the independent investigation of deadly uses of force, custodial deaths, and other officer-involved incidents.
- SB 5066 establishes clear standards for police officers to intervene when fellow officers use force unjustly and to report any wrongdoing by fellow officers.
- HB 1054 bans chokeholds, neck restraints, no-knock warrants, military weapons, and firing at moving cars.
- SB 5259 establishes comprehensive statewide reporting and publication for use-of-force incidents involving law enforcement.
- HB 1001 authorizes the development of a two-year grant program to encourage a broader diversity of candidates to seek careers in law enforcement.
There are many other important bills being passed this year, so keep an eye out on social media for updates on the governor’s bill signings in the following weeks.
Washington COVID-19 Immigrant Relief Fund
If you’re an immigrant experiencing hard times because of COVID-19, and you aren’t eligible for federal financial relief or unemployment insurance, this fund is for you. Applications will open once again from April 21 to May 21 on a first-come-first-served basis, prioritizing those in greatest need. Apply for the Washington COVID-19 Immigrant Relief Fund and receive up to a $1,000 one-time direct payment per individual. Learn more and apply online here or by calling 1-844-724-3737. The Immigrant Relief Fund website is available in English, Spanish, Korean, Vietnamese, Chinese, Swahili, Garifuna, Tagalog, Somali, and Hindi. Help in most languages is available through the hotline, at 1-844-724-3737. If you’d like to get the message out about the fund to your community, visit the Partner Outreach page for flyers, posters, sample social media posts, and more.
Free Credit Monitoring
The Office of the Washington State Auditor (SAO) recently learned of a data security incident involving Accellion, a third-party provider of hosted file transfer services. The office is in the process of sending emails to people who received unemployment benefits between 2017 and 2020 to notify them that their information was involved in the security incident and offering resources to help. As part of its response to this data breach, SAO is making free credit monitoring available to the people of Washington. Twelve months of free credit monitoring and identity restoration services through Experian are available to people whose Social Security numbers may have been exposed in the Accellion incident. Click here for information on how to enroll. SAO takes data security seriously and is committed to protecting the privacy of personal information. If you have any questions, you can call 1-855-789-0673, Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Additionally, you can visit their website for updates at https://sao.wa.gov/breach2021/. The website is available in the following languages: ኣማርኛ – Amharic | العربية – Arabic | Khmer (ភាសាខ្មែរ) – Cambodian | 简体中文 – simplified Chinese | (fārsī) فارسى – Farsi (Persian) | 한국어 [韓國語] – Korean | ພາສາລາວ (pháasaa láo) – Lao | Afaan Oromo – Oromo | ਪੰਜਾਬੀ / ﺏﺎﺠﻨﭘ (panjābi) – Punjabi | Русский – Russian | af Soomaali – Somali | Español – Spanish | Tagalog – Tagalog | Tiếng Việt – Vietnamese That’s all for today! I want to hear what you think about these and other issues affecting our community. My office will continue to welcome your thoughts and concerns, so please let us know what issues are important to you and your loved ones. Sincerely, Sen. Rebecca Saldaña Get More Follow me on Facebook or Instagram to get the latest updates on what’s happening in Olympia. Check it out now! Keep in Touch Was this newsletter helpful? Did we miss anything? Your participation helps improve our communities! Contact Information