As the April 25 end of the legislative session draws near, we’re working hard to finalize bills to send off to the Governor’s office to be signed. Today I want to share several significant bills that have passed both chambers, and don’t miss some important announcements at the end of this newsletter!
This session is full of legislation that will directly impact the lives of people and families in our state, and I’m extremely happy with the progress we’ve made. A huge focus of our work has been equity, racial justice, and police accountability and reform.
Both chambers have passed legislation to fund the Working Families Tax Exemption (HB 1297), a step toward fixing our upside-down tax code that will get money back into the pockets of lower income households, and will especially benefit our communities of color and our rural communities here in Washington.
In the realm of early learning, we’ve also passed my Fair Start for Kids Act (SB 5237), which will boost the child care industry to get our economy up and moving again by making childcare more available, accessible, and affordable. We can’t get our parents back to work until we make sure the childcare they need is there for them.
And for K-12 education, we have SB 5044, which will require equity, diversity, inclusion, and anti-racism training for all school board directors, district staff, and school staff. Being a kid can be difficult enough even without adults at school making you feel uncomfortable, unseen or inadequate, yet this is the experience many young people in our schools face on a daily basis. It’s time we start to undo institutional racism and discrimination in our schools for good.
For police accountability and reform, the Legislature has passed numerous bills that will make our communities safer and start to rebuild trust in our law enforcement agencies. 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.
And click here to learn about the budget proposals I’m advocating for to fund projects in our community as we finish up budget negotiations.
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.
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! My office will continue to welcome your thoughts and concerns, so please let us know what issues are important to you and your community.
Sen. Claire Wilson