This past year has been difficult, and we've all had to learn how to do things differently, including advocates and legislators navigating a first-ever virtual legislative session in 2021. But after 105 days of advocacy and action, we made it to the end of the legislative session and we have lots to celebrate!
So many of you took advantage of the silver lining of this virtual session by joining us at bill hearings held online, Housing and Homelessness Advocacy Days, and by sending emails and tweets to your legislators in support of the fantastic bills we passed this year.
Together with your help, we passed laws to:
- End discriminatory "no cause" evictions (House Bill 1236)
- Provide annual direct cash assistance of $300 to $1200 to low-income working families through the Recovery Rebate (House Bill 1297)
- Restore the right to vote to nearly 20,000 people who've exited incarceration in Washington (House Bill 1078)
- Create a permanent rent assistance program to keep families housed during the COVID recession and beyond (House Bill 1277)
- Begin to turn Washington's tax code right-side up with a tax on extraordinary profits from capital gains (Senate Bill 5096)
These laws will make a significant positive impact on the lives of BIPOC women and families across our state.
Economic Justice for Families
This was illustrated at a recent event in Tukwila where Governor Jay Inslee signed into law the Recovery Rebate and capital gains tax. In an outdoor ceremony featuring masks and elbow bumps, members of the Recovery Rebate and Balance Our Tax Code coalitions spoke about the transformational nature of these two bills.
One advocate, Brenda Holland, who works in hospitality, spoke powerfully about how the Recovery Rebate would help her family afford healthcare for her husband, who has a complex medical condition. She said, "I'm here today to celebrate the signing of this bill which will be instrumental in helping low income families like myself so that we won't have to choose between buying food or medication for a loved one."
Help us share the gratitude!
As we cap off this legislative session, we're grateful for each one of you who joined us in engaging digitally with lawmakers this year, whether that was tuning in to hearings online, or sending emails in support of this important legislation.
Help us thank the lawmakers that voted for these bills, and remind those who voted against why building racial and gender equity makes Washington stronger for everyone. We could not have achieved these incredible wins without your help. Thank you from all of us at YWCA!
Eric Bronson is the Digital Advocacy and Engagement Manager at YWCA. He manages the Firesteel blog in addition to its social media streams and action initiatives. A graduate of Oberlin College, Eric focuses on the intersection of race and gender within the American political economy.
We tell the stories of those with lived experiences of racism and sexism and invite supporters to take concrete actions to correct the root causes of disparity in our communities.