Legislative Updates - Current Session

WA State Legislature:

WA State Senate passes bill to repeal the death penalty! 
(The bill now moves to the House of Representatives - keep praying it through!)

       On Ash Wednesday, after a very thoughtful and respectful debate on the Senate floor, a bipartisan majority approved Senate Bill 6052 to repeal the death penalty in Washington State.  Senators on both sides of this important issue made valid points in the debate and, no matter how they voted, this was a decision that each senator no doubt very carefully considered. Repealing the death penalty is one of the WSCC's legislative priorities.  The bill still must be considered in the state House of Representatives and additional advocacy efforts will be required.  However, it seems appropriate following the Senate vote to pause and acknowledge all of the state senators for their thoughtful consideration, and to thank those that voted in favor of repealing the death penalty.
     Of special note: Sen. Reuven Carlyle represents the 36th Legislative District, where St. Anne Parish is located. He introduced and has pursued this legislation, bringing it forward year after year, beginning when he was serving in the House of Representatives.  CALL OR WRITE TO COMMEND HIM.  See contact info in far right column of this page.

02-12-2018 Bulletin from Washington State Catholic Conference
2018 Legislative Session – Week 5

The 2018 Legislative Session began January 8 and is scheduled to end March 8. This is a supplemental session scheduled for 60 days.

  • Finally a capital budget was approved by the Senate and House.
  • Thanks to you and your advocacy, CCS/CHS housing for homeless veterans in Kent, the family shelter in Kirkland, and farm worker housing in Woodland will move forward in development.

We are monitoring a number of bills:


Abortion Insurance Mandate (SB 6219) - This bill mandating abortion coverage in insurance plans in the state of Washington is strongly opposed by the Bishops of Washington because it expands existing contraception coverage requirements and promotes abortions while violating constitutionally-protected conscience rights. Having passed the Senate last month, the House Health Care & Wellness Committee took up SB 6219 on February 7, with Bishop Joseph Tyson of Yakima among those who testified against the bill. The committee has scheduled a vote on SB 6219 for Friday, February 16.
Repealing the Death Penalty (SB 6052) - The U.S. Bishops have long supported abolishing the death penalty. On January 25, the Senate Law & Justice Committee passed SB 6052 and the legislation is now before the Senate Rules Committee.  Please contact your state senator today and urge them to ask their leadership to bring this bill up for a vote.
Expanding Access to Contraception (SB 6102) - This legislation elevates access to contraception to a right and creates legal risk for every employer in the state if contraceptives are not offered. As currently written, this legislation raises troubling questions about the protection of religious liberty and conscience rights. The bill was passed by the Senate Ways & Means Committee on February 6 and is now likely to come up for a vote on the Senate floor any day.  Please contact your state senator today and urge them to oppose this bill in its current form.
Uniform Parentage Act (SB 6037) - A section of this multi-faceted bill legalizes paid surrogacy. The Catholic Church opposes surrogacy because it treats human beings as commodities. The full Senate passed the bill with only one minor amendment by a 27-21 margin on February 7.  Attention on the legislation now shifts to the House.

School Safety (SB 6410) - This bill requires first responders to notify all schools (public or private) in the vicinity whenever an evacuation or lockdown is ordered at a nearby school. Kristin Dixon, Superintendent of the Office of Catholic Schools for the Archdiocese of Seattle, was among those testifying in support of the bill at a hearing on February 5. The bill was passed unanimously by the Senate Ways & Means Committee on February 6 and is now before the Senate Rules Committee.  Please contact your state senator today and urge them to ask their leadership to bring this bill up for a vote.


Poverty, Family & Restorative Justice


TANF Resource Limits (HB 1831) - Eligibility for public assistance is determined by a combination of factors, including the resources or assets of an applicant, such as a personal car. HB 1831 authorizes the state to exempt one motor vehicle (other than a motor home) per applicant for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) from being counted as a personal asset if that vehicle is used for transportation. The current vehicle limit is $5,000. HB 1831 also exempts certain other resources. Without this legislation, some people who would otherwise qualify for TANF would be denied because the value of their car pushed them over the resource limit. The full House passed the bill by an 84-14 margin on February 7.
Legal Financial Obligations (LFO) (HB 1783) - The bill helps people convicted of crimes get back on their feet after being incarcerated by eliminating the interest on most of the court-imposed debt and limiting the sanctions for those with an inability to pay. The Senate Law & Justice Committee heard the LFO reform bill on February 7, with Bishop Joseph Tyson of Yakima testifying in support of the bill. The committee plans to vote on HB 1783 on February 15.
Homeless Housing and Assistance (HB 1570) - This legislation makes the temporary Homeless Housing and Assistance surcharge permanent while increasing the surcharge from $40 to $90. Without extending the surcharge, thousands would likely become homeless. The bill passed the full House on February 7 by a 51-47 margin.
Source of Income Discrimination (SB 5407) - SB 5407 prohibits a landlord from discriminating against applicants or tenants based on their source of income. The bill passed the full senate on February 9 and will now be considered in the House.
Real Estate Excise Tax (REET) Exemption (HB 2444) - This measure provides a real estate excise tax exemption for the transfer of a qualified low-income housing development or controlling interest in a low-income housing development meeting specific criteria. The legislation is important for Catholic Housing projects who can use the funds for other program needs. The bill is in the House Rules Committee.
Healthy Food Packaging (HB 2658) - Perfluorinated and polyfluorinated chemicals (PFAS) are used in food packaging such as microwave popcorn bags, sandwich wrap, and muffin papers. PFAS have been found to migrate into food. The Department of Ecology has identified PFAS as a toxic substance. The bill conditionally restricts the inclusion of PFAS in food packaging beginning in 2021. The bill is likely to come to vote on the floor of the House any day. The companion bill, SB 6396, passed the Senate Ways & Means Committee the same day and is being considered by the Senate Rules Committee.


Your advocacy made a difference on the Capital Budget/Housing Trust Fund Advocacy Alert – Thank You!

Josephine Tamayo Murray, MSW
Vice-President for Public Policy
Catholic Community Services/Catholic Housing Services of Western WA
(206) 328-5701


WA STATE Long Term Care Ombudsman Program
The Long-Term Care Trust Act would provide long-term care insurance and help ensure Washington families can afford care when they need it most. On January 24th the Washington State House of Representatives will be holding a hearing on this bill, and the next day the Washington State Senate will be holding their hearing.  
We need to fill the hearings room and show our elected officials the overwhelming support there is for passing the Long-Term Care Trust Act! 

If you can’t join us in Olympia for the hearing, please let your legislators know that you support the Long-Term Care Trust Act:  Click here to urge your legislators to support the Long-Term Care Trust Act! 

Mail:   P .O.  Box  23699   •   Federal Way, WA  98093-0699 
Info & Complaint line: (80 0)  562.6028 •   fax:  (253) 815.8173   
Website:   www.waombudsman.org  •   e mail:   ltcop@mschelps.org 


Contact your legislators:
(St. Anne parish is located in the 36th Legislative District)

Rep. Noel Frame  (D)  
Office: (360) 786-7814
Mailing address:
JLOB 319    PO Box 40600
Olympia, WA  98504-0600


Rep. Gael Tarleton (D) 
Gael.Tarleton@leg.wa.gov              Office: (360) 786-7860         
In-District Phone:   (206) 545-6570Mailing address:
429A Legislative Building
PO Box 40600
Olympia, WA 98504

Sen. Reuven Carlyle (D)    Reuven.Carlyle@leg.wa.gov
District Office:
720 N 35th St. #209
 Seattle, WA 98103
(206) 545-6565
Olympia Office :
213 John A. Cherberg Building
Olympia, WA 98504-0436
(360) 786-7670   

Legislative Hotline:  (800) 562-6000.