Though during this session there were many supplemental budget victories – here are two that Partners for Social Change (PSC) were involved in:
$30 million was appropriated for refugee resettlement that will mostly go to non-profit organizations doing this work. This effort came about during the 60-day session – and due to the passion & unity of about 10 organizations this advocacy/lobbying campaign was successful. Its a great example of partnering for a purpose; in this case to take good care of new neighbors who are arriving in our state from other countries such as Afghanistan and now Ukraine – as well as other countries. This budget appropriation will help hundreds of families that are already in our state and will help the hundreds of families that will be coming to make a more successful transition to what is for now their new home.
From a $30 million appropriation to $125,000! Quite a bit smaller – but this little budget proviso (as they are called – like an amendment on a policy bill) is an important start to better address domestic terrorism & white supremacy in our state. The money is for the Attorney General’s office to conduct a study as to what current law states regarding this issue (think of the January 6th break in to the Governor’s Mansion area) and what we are doing to respond to events and the organizations that sponsor and are engaged in acts and rallies like this. It will also include recommendations to the legislature about how to better respond and prevent things like this from happening. They will put their findings in a report by December 15th of this year to the appropriate legislative committees which will probably be House Public Safety and the Senate Law & Justice. This grassroots effort was made up of 2-3 state legislators, UNIDOS, PSC, and the Anti Defamation League.
Some social change policy bills to highlight are:
HB 1412 (Rep. Simmons) This bill continued our multi year effort to relieve formerly incarcerated individuals of these fees & fines so that their reentry to society will be more successful.
Three gun violence prevention bills whose goal is to make our state a safer place to live are HB 1705 (Rep. Berry) that makes ‘ghost’ guns (homemade guns) traceable by requiring them to have serial #s. HB 1630 (Rep. Senn) prohibits possession of firearms in government sponsored meetings as well as places where elections are held. SB 5078 (Sen. Liias) restricts gun magazines to only 10 bullets – so no manufacture, sale, or distribution of any kind of magazines larger than this size will be allowed in Washington State.
Probably one of the most emotional bills was HB 1751 (Rep. Leavitt) that prohibits the practice of hazing by student organizations on our college campuses. This horrible practice has contributed to several deaths of young people in our state. The testimony on this bill was very, very emotional for legislators and those impacted families testifying.
Last but not least is that our state is now the first in the country to have a silver alert from the Washington State Patrol for Missing & Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW) victims – when it is reported. This was HB 1725 (Rep. Lekanoff). For any questions on these bills and budget provisos feel free to contact Paul at 206-390-4133 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo Credit: Washington State Attorney General’s office