2019 LEGISLATIVE PRIORITIES

Other Important Bills

 = bills that are still active this session

= bills that will not advance this session

X Reforming Non-Parental Custody Law

Legal Voice supports efforts to reform Washington’s non-parental custody statute to improve the ability of parents to regain custody of their children if they have overcome barriers to parenting that were present when the non-parental custody order was entered. This is particularly important to formerly incarcerated parents and parents who have overcome addiction to substances.

X Bolstering Support for Low-Income Parents

Families eligible for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) are required to assign their rights to child support to the state in order to receive TANF benefits. States may keep the child support payments, or pass them on to the parent who has custody, usually a mother. This bill will require the state to pass through at least a portion of child support to TANF recipients. Bill info: HB 1136 and SB 5144

Update as of 3/1/19: Both bills passed out of their respective policy committees with unanimous votes, but unfortunately, they did not make it out of their respective fiscal committees before the March 1st cutoff. Neither bill will progress this session.

✓ Reforming Washington's Third Degree Rape Law

This bill reforms Washington's third-degree rape statute to reflect the realities of sexual assault. Current law requires prosecutors to prove that the survivor’s lack of consent was "clearly expressed by their words or conduct."  This bill would remove that requirement from the third-degree rape statute, and instead focus on whether consent was freely given. Bill info: HB 1002 

 

Update as of 4/10/19: HB 1002 passed the House with a unanimous vote; it also passed Senate Law & Justice Committee with a unanimous vote! It is now awaiting a vote by the full Senate. Meanwhile, SB 5649—which includes a provision similar to HB 1002—passed both the Senate and the House and has been sent to the governor's desk to be signed into law!

✓ Protecting Trans Youth from Bullying

Legal Voice supports legislation to strengthen Washington’s law against student bullying, harassment, and intimidation to include additional training and specific policies and procedures to protect transgender youth. Bill info: SB 5689

Update as of 4/9/19: SB 5689 passed the Senate with a 29–20 vote, and passed the House with a 60–36 vote! The bill now heads to Gov. Inslee's desk to be signed into law!

✓ Restricting Employers' Use of Wage History

This bill will prohibit employers from using an applicant's wage history when making pay decisions. When employers rely on prior wages as a factor in pay decisions, people who have historically been underpaid—including women, people of color, and LGBTQ people—continue to make less than other workers. Bill info: HB 1696

Update as of 3/14/19: HB 1696 passed the House with a unanimous vote, and passed the Senate with a 37–10 vote! The bill now heads to Gov. Inslee's desk to be signed into law!

X Protecting Economic Rights of Caregivers

Currently, under Washington’s unemployment insurance (UI) law, many unemployed workers are required to be available 24/7 in order to receive unemployment benefits. This law denies access to UI for workers with family caregiving obligations for children and vulnerable adults. Women workers disproportionately have such caregiving responsibilities. This bill will update Washington’s unemployment insurance law to better reflect the needs of working families. Bill info: HB 1445

Update as of 3/14/19: HB 1445 passed both the House Labor & Workplace Standards Committee and the House Appropriations Committee; unfortunately it was not voted on by the full House before the cutoff and will not progress this session.

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