Happy Friday!

 

The legislative session has been fast and furious, and we find ourselves nearly halfway through. Wednesday marked the first cutoff, requiring bills to be out of their committee of origin by the end of the day, rendering them “dead” if not. However, bills in fiscal committees have until Monday the 5th to move out of committee. With the first cutoff behind us, the number of bills we are tracking has significantly decreased.

 

A picture of the Washington State Capitol building.
A picture of the Washington State Capitol building.

This year, the legislature has been resolute that this is a true “supplemental” session, focusing on policy issues rather than costly new programs. One notable bill still in play is HB2276/SB6191, aiming to “Increase the supply of affordable and workforce housing,” which includes a 15% set-aside for DD Housing. Thanks to those who responded to our alert and testified on the bill.  Legislators mentioned particularly the impactful testimony from self-advocates. Please consider reaching out to your legislators and asking them to support this crucial bill as it progresses.

 

We are particularly excited to see three education bills moving forward: SB 5883, the “Burden of proof” bill, has successfully passed the Senate. This bill seeks to shift the responsibility of providing evidence in a due process hearing from families to school districts. We urge you to contact your House members and request their support for this bill. Additionally,  2180, increasing the special education cap, is under review by the Rules Committee. After significant negotiations and an amendment, E2SHB 1479 concerning the restraint and isolation of students has passed out of committee.

 

Lastly, the Preservation of Records Bill 6125, preserving records and artifacts at Residential Habilitation Centers, has a hearing in Ways and Means on Saturday, 3/3, at 9:00. This bill is crucial as it allows us to share the history and stories of individuals with I/DD.

 

To check the status of bills, refer to our bill tracker. Post fiscal cutoff, bills that survive will start all over again in the opposite house.

A screenshot of the 2024 Advocacy Days Zoom.

Join us for Advocacy Day to delve deeper into the issues and understand how you can take real-time action. Recordings are available on our website if you’ve missed any. Keep an eye out for Action Alerts you can act on.  You can make a real difference—legislators pay attention when they hear from those they serve.

 

Cathy Murahashi,

 

Public Policy Specialist, The Arc of Washington

 

“Never doubt that a small group of committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” ~ Margaret Mead

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