A collection of progressive bills, most of which will primarily impact low-income communities and communities of color in Washington state, were voted on and passed by state legislators. These bills—some of which Poverty Action has been working alongside community members and partner organizations for years— could not have been passed without your voice and your action!
Thanks to your advocacy, Washingtonians will now see more robust and transparent laws regarding debt collection than ever before. This comprehensive package of five consumer protections bills is a big step forward for Washington state and particularly for its communities of color.
Due to legacies of racist policies that have made it very difficult for families of color to amass higher incomes or generational wealth, people of color have a disproportionate amount of debt in collections. The bills passed by legislators yesterday make key changes to rules regarding post-judgment interest, bank account and paycheck garnishment, medical debt collections, and shady debt collection practices, and also offer resources to people struggling to pay their property taxes. For more in-depth information on the changes and protections enforced by these bills, read our blog post on the subject.
Your advocacy also pushed lawmakers to pass House Bill 1603, which makes long-awaited changes to Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), further strengthening the assistance program that low-income families in our state rely on during times of crisis. The passage of this bill will end the practice of cutting families from receiving TANF due to unnecessarily harsh permanent disqualification policies. Additionally, this bill institutes a time-limit exemption for families who are homeless, meaning that families can continue to receive critical TANF assistance past the federal 60-month limit if they are without stable housing. These critical policy changes will help ensure that assistance is there for low-income kids and parents when they most need it! Take a moment to email legislators thanking them for passing 1603 here.