We are halfway through the 2016 Legislative Session

Published Feb. 13, 2016

We are halfway through the 2016 Legislative Session

For a short legislative session (this year it is supposed to finish in 60 days), we have been monitoring more than 40 bills. 22 of those bills are still alive and making their way through the process. By February 17th, bills must have made it all the way through the process in one of the chambers, either House or Senate. If they make it past that cut-off date, then go through the same process all over again in the other chamber.

To see where our bills of interest are and find out which bills are still alive, visit our web site at:

Where is the budget?

The Governor’s budget proposal was released in December. The Economic & Revenue Forecast Council will meet on February 17, 2016 and finalize their revenue forecast, which will let the Legislature know whether there is expected to be more revenue for the State than expected or less. Shortly after that we should see budget proposals from both the House and the Senate. Stay tuned…

Advocacy Day Superheroes

This year our theme for Advocacy Days was “Will you be a Superhero?” Legislators were provided with an individualized button with their name and picture on it asking them to be a Superhero for Developmental Disability issues. Each week we provide legislators with a new Superhero button for their blue scarves (given to them last year) with the relevant topic for the week.

January 20th we held the 35th Annual Disability Legislative Briefing and Reception. Information sheets on pertinent issues for the 2016 legislative session, along with charts and data from the Developmental Disabilities Administration, were shared and discussed with advocates at the Briefing. The Legislative Reception was well attended by advocates and legislators. We gave the personalized buttons to legislators early in the day and a number of them wore them to the Reception.

On January 27th we discussed the critical funding need for Supported Living Services. Self advocates, supported living providers as well as family members and others join to let legislators know how important living in the community is and ask them to ensure that providers of these supports are paid a fair living wage. After an overview of what is needed, we then headed over to the capitol steps for a rousing rally with hundreds of attendees.

A Budget Overview was the topic for February 3rd. Creating a supplemental budget is the one thing legislators are required to do during this legislative session.

February 10th brought the Self-Advocates to Olympia in force to show their Disability Pride. Self-advocates wanted legislators to know what services help them live in their community as independently as possible and show their pride in being valued members of society. In addition, Senator Karen Fraser sponsored a Senate Resolution to honor Cherie Tessier, a self advocate who was active in Olympia for many years, but who recently passed away. Advocates attended in the Senate gallery to watch as Cherie was honored by the Senate.

Still to come:
February 17th - Power Up Families
February 24th - Disability Protections – Toxic Flame Retardants and more
March 2nd - Employment for All

What can you do now?

Attend an Advocacy Day. Keep an eye on The Arc’s Action Alerts. Let us know how we can help YOU be involved!

 Check out our web site at www.arcwa.org and click on the “Take Action” tab.
 Read the Olympia Reporter for in-depth news happening in Olympia during legislative session.
 Subscribe to the Olympia Insider YouTube channel during session for video updates.
 Sign up for The Arc of Washington State’s Action Alerts.
 Be sure to follow TheArcofWA on Twitter for quick updates texted to your cell phone.
 Become a fan of The Arc - Washington State on Facebook.
 Get the Advocacy Partnership Project “News to Know” email newsletter. Email Diana@arcwa.org.
 Write Letters to the Editor of your local newspaper. The Arc makes this easy for you to do. Simply go to http://capwiz.com/arcwa/home and click on the “Media Guide” tab. Choose five newspapers to send to, then write your message and click send.

Questions? Need more information? Email me at Diana@arcwa.org.

Remember, change is being made by those who show up!