Join us for a Webinar on Democracy & Electoral Justice 2020 - Wednesday, August 14th, 7 pm ET/4 pm PT. Register now! Speakers include:
- Adam Eichen--Co-Author of Daring Democracy (Beacon Press, 2007)
- Charlene Sinclair--Center for Race, Religion and Economic Democracy
- Everette Thompson--Side with Love Campaign Manager
- UU State Action Networks & UUSJ in DC representatives
- Susan Leslie--Congregational Advocacy & Witness Director
The Sierra Club, in conjunction with the youth group Sunrise Movement, has organized national action on the Green New Deal, which has also been endorsed by the UUA (see below). Sierra Club leaders are hosting debate watching parties, where people interested in pressuring the Democratic National Committee to approve a climate debate are being recruited. Sierra Club leaders are also organizing constituent visits, with members of Congress during the August recess, to discuss the Green New Deal. The club has organized a coach-activist network which will help prepare activists understand and promote the Green New Deal. For more information, click on https://www.sierraclub.org/resist/growing-green-new-deal-mobilization
After the UUA General Assembly passed an Action of Immediate Witness endorsing the Green New Deal (see below), the UU Ministry for Earth (UUMFE) began actions to work for passage of the Green New Deal. The UUMFE has organized climate activists by state and region and appointed coordinators for each. JUUstice Washington Climate Lead Bill McPherson will be the Washington State and Pacific West coordinator. Each month there will be Climate Roundtable Conversations via Zoom teleconferencing, organized as follows:
- August, November, February and May: State networks
- September, December, March and June: Regional networks
- October, January, April and July: National network
The Green New Deal: Online Panel Discussion Can Spark Your Congregation's Climate and Economic Justice Activism
Much has been said and written about the political aspects of the Green New Deal. The substance of the Green New Deal has not gotten as much attention. House Resolution 109, introduced by Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, lists the goals of the Green New Deal. These goals are captured into two broad categories, climate and economic. Under the economic tent are goals of the creation of millions of good, high paying jobs; providing unprecedented levels of prosperity
Great places to begin these discussions on the goals and politics of the Green New Deal are our congregations and community groups. An excellent video to facilitate the discussion is “The Climate Crisis and the Green New Deal” by the Sanders Institute. It can be found here.
The League of Women Voters WA and Fix Democracy First are happy to welcome Joshua Douglas to Seattle. Professor Douglas, an expert on US election law and advocacy will be discussing his new book Vote for Us: How to Take Back Our Elections and Change the Future of Voting at Third Place Books, Seward Park at 7 PM on Tuesday, July 2.
Please join us before that event for a private, VIP reception with Josh. He will share with us insights into the latest developments around issues of democracy, including the two new partisan gerrymandering cases and the Census case that the Supreme Court is expected to have decided by that time.
Come join us to learn more about not only the challenges facing our democracy, but the ways that everyday citizens are successfully facing those challenges.
Date of Event: Tuesday, July 2nd, 2019
*Time of Event: Reception @ 5:30 pm & Book Reading @ 7 pm
*Location: Reception @ 5511 52nd Ave S, Seattle, WA 98118-2579 (a short walk to Third Place Books) & Book Reading @ Third Place Books, Seward Park, 5041 Wilson Ave S, Seattle, WA 98118
Sign a petition to support this amendment here.
". . . corporations have no consciences, no beliefs, no feelings, no thoughts, no desires. Corporations help structure and facilitate the activities of human beings, to be sure, and their 'personhood' often serves as a useful legal fiction. But they are not themselves members of “We the People” by whom and for whom our Constitution was established." ~Supreme Court Justice Stevens, January 2010 Look for more action on this issue. More info.
On a given day in Washington State, up to 50% of the people in county jail are there because they are poor. Cash bail enforces a guilty until proven innocent structure on the poor. It does not have to be this way. According to 2019 studies by the Washington State Auditor, bail alternative services in Yakima and Spokane counties showed the following:
The benefits to those detained because they cannot afford bail are important. Several studies show people who stay in jail before trial often have worse outcomes in their legal cases, even after accounting for factors like criminal history. Multiple studies in different places show remaining in jail before trial increases the probability of conviction, guilty pleas and jail sentences, including longer sentences.JUUstice Washington supported bail reform in the 2019 legislature, but we were not successful at passing the bills. This issue may stand a better chance in the 2020 if we ask our legislators to pay attention to common sense solutions. Kelly Thompson
Community Listening Forums on Implementing I-940 to Improve Police Procedures, May 2 and 8, Kent and Seattle WA
Initiative 940 is officially law in Washington State. However, the road towards implementation has just begun.
We have an opportunity to speak up on how this law is shaped and practiced. Two very crucial components are being developed: law enforcement training and independent investigations (when deadly force is used). We will provide an update on what steps have taken place since its passage and discuss what our communities envision for how this law is carried out. Comments shared at the event will be submitted to the Criminal Justice Training Commission who is responsible for finalizing the new training rules.
The 2019 Legislative Session is officially over.
First, we’d like to recognize the hard work of all of you—our advocacy community. This legislative session was an important one, and because of your action, a number of critical policies (plus an entire 2 year operating budget!) are now a reality. These policies will make a huge difference in the lives and futures of Washington’s communities of color and low-income communities. Thank you to everyone who took the time to send action emails, make phone calls, post on social media, and even come to Olympia to advocate in person—these session wins could not have happened without you!
Let’s look back on session and all that we accomplished together!
On Saturday, April 27, lawmakers met the session deadline and passed a 2 year operating budget. This budget will dictate how our state spends its money over the next 2 years, and what state programs and offices will be funded. Your advocacy created the following investments (for a deeper analysis, click here):
-$14.5 million towards Housing & Essential Needs (HEN), our state’s most effective anti-homelessness program. This investment will help ensure that people experiencing homelessness will receive housing assistance, and will work to diminish the long waiting list for HEN.
-$5.02 million allocation for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and Working Connections Child Care (WCCC). This investment will fund the implementation of Second Substitute House Bill 1603 which also passed this session, which has eliminated permanent disqualifications and adds a time-limit extension for families experiencing homelessness.
-$175 million towards the Housing Trust Fund, which will fund the development of 5,000 new affordable homes and support anti-homelessness efforts throughout the state.
-$146,000 to support the implementation of a full dental benefit for patients receiving Medical Care Services.
Your advocacy also made some positive changes to the state tax structure. Washingtonians will now see:
-A graduated real estate tax, which will lower the real estate tax for properties valued at $250k or below and raise the tax for properties valued at $1 million and higher.
-Property tax exemptions for seniors, veterans, and people with disabilities.
-An increased Business & Occupation tax on financial institutions that have an income surpassing a billion dollars.
-The elimination of some outdated tax exemptions, such as a non-resident sales tax exemption.
Overall, we are happy to see much-needed investments in the health and human services programs that low-income children and adults in Washington state rely on during hard times. It is also notable that some modest changes to our upside-down tax code were enforced. However, it is disheartening to see that lawmakers made no significant, truly progressive changes to our state tax code, despite the best efforts of community members to advocate for a tax code that works for everyone, not just wealthy people. A progressive tax on capital gains, which lawmakers ultimately refused to pass, would have generated the necessary revenue to make truly bold investments in anti-poverty programs, and in our state overall. It would have also been a step closer to ensuring that wealthy households paid their fair share in taxes. We will keep up our advocacy work to fight for a state tax code that is truly equitable, and that relies on sustainable revenue streams.
Your advocacy also was integral in passing several important new bills. Among them are:
-The New Hope Act, which allows people with certain felony and/or misdemeanor convictions a second chance by vacating convictions from a criminal record.
-Second Substitute House Bill 1603, which strengthens the state’s TANF program (a program relied on by thousands of low-income families in Washington) by eliminating permanent disqualifications and adding a time-limit extension for families experiencing homelessness.
-A package of consumer protection bills, which lowered the rate on post-judgement interest, regulated rules around garnishment, made key changes to medical debt collections and shady debt collections practices, and offered resources to people struggling to pay their property taxes.
Once again, thank you for your advocacy this session. None of this could have been accomplished without you! Take a minute here to send your lawmaker a note thanking them for their action this session as well.
Send lawmakers a thank you here!
The legislature has passed most of the climate bills, which are awaiting signature by Governor Inslee:
SB 5116, 100% Clean Energy
HB 1112, Hydroflurocarbon Phaseout
HB 1257, Buildings Efficiency
HB 1578, Oil Spill Protection
HB 1512, Electrification of Transportation
One bill, HB 1110 (Clean Fuels) was stopped by the Senate Transportation Committee because of funding issues.
For more information, please go to https://juustwa.org/program-
Auditi Guha, Rewire.News
The Washington State Senate's version of the legislation expands reproductive health coverage to undocumented people. The state house's version doesn't.
The state senate passed the Reproductive Health Access for All Act (RHAA) on March 7, a bill aimed at eliminating the barriers to care faced by young people, immigrants, rural residents, transgender and gender non-conforming people, and people of color. The legislation uses gender-neutral language and includes anti-discrimination protections for transgender and non-binary people, and it expands reproductive health coverage to include cancer screenings and birth control for all. The version passed in the senate would expand that access to undocumented people . . . house Democrats passed a version of the bill that removed the coverage for undocumented people. The two chambers will have to agree on a version of the bill before the legislation can head to to Washington Gov. Jay Inslee’s (D) desk. Inslee’s office said on Friday he had not reviewed or weighed in on the amended bill.
Read more here.
Help Protect the Lives of Working People- On Workers' memorial Day (April 28)Tell OSHA to Hire More Inspectors
Join Interfaith Worker Justice to tell OSHA to hire more inspectors. Add your name to help us protect the lives of working people. For almost fifty years now, we have come together on April 28th for Workers' Memorial Day to demand real action to prevent unnecessary injuries and deaths in the workplace.This Workers' Memorial Day, let’s send OSHA’s Deputy Assistant Secretary, Loren Sweatt, an email on Workers' Memorial Day! Tell her to hire more inspectors and put them to work protecting the lives of working people!
We are working alongside community members and partner organizations to ensure that lawmakers fund and modernize the Working Families Tax Credit. We’re holding a phone bank on Thursday, April 18, to urge passage and we need volunteers! The phone bank will be at Poverty Action’s office in Wallingford, Seattle (1501 N 45th Street), from 5-7:30 PM. Volunteers will receive training and support from staff and a free pizza dinner. If you can’t stay for the whole time, no sweat. Join us for as long as you can! For more information or sign up, please call 206-694-6794. We hope to see you there!
During these final weeks of the 2019 Legislative Session, lawmakers must negotiate and pass a 2-year state operating budget for 2019-2021. It is crucial that the final version of this budget contains a progressive restructuring of our state’s tax code and bold investments in social service programs that support Washington’s low-income communities and communities of color.
In addition to supporting the working families tax credit (funded by a tax on capital gains, which is also included in budget proposals), we are working alongside community members and partner organizations to ensure that lawmakers provide a bold and much-needed funding increase to Housing & Essential Needs, stop the sweep of money from the state’s TANF program, and reject the Senate’s proposed cuts to the state’s Medicaid Dental Program. (For more information and our analysis on both the House & Senate’s budget proposals .)
Send an email here to urge lawmakers to pass a progressive budget that tackles poverty head-on!
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.
We have just 24 hours left to bring the Death Penalty Repeal bill (SB 5339) up for a vote on the House floor by 5 PM on Wednesday, April 17. Your Representative has the power to bring it to the floor - please ask them to do so as soon as possible! The Supreme Court decision is not enough. It was stalled at this point last year. Now is the time to take this policy off the books!
Please urge your Representative to take action today.
One of the major bills FAN has been following this session has been Keep Washington Working (E2SSB 5497). We invite you to take action TODAY, and we share below more information on KWW from our partners at the ACLU: This important bill protects the privacy and civil rights of all Washington residents, focuses local law enforcement resources on protecting local communities, and defends local autonomy—putting Washington first.