source of income discrimination

Housing Advocacy in Action! Week of Feb 27

Michele Thomas, Director of Policy and Advocacy

Two major cutoffs have come and gone, and Thursday (March 2) marks the halfway point of this 105-day legislative session. In order to still be viable, bills must have cleared the policy and/or fiscal committees in their chamber of origin, either the House or the Senate, unless they are given the special status of “NTIB”.  NTIB means necessary to implement the budget – see last week’s “Ask a Lobbyist” column for more on NTIB. The good news is that many affordable housing and homelessness bills are still alive, including top priority bills SHB 1570/Macri and HB 1633/Riccelli. Download this comprehensive bill tracker for the status of the many affordable housing and homelessness bills introduced this session. We’ve also included bills that we are opposing, and important bills we are supporting that will improve the safety-net, will prohibit discrimination, and will improve the lives of low-income households, people of color, and immigrants. 

Substitute House Bill (SHB) 1570/Macri, the Washington Housing Opportunities Act

This top priority bill cleared two major hurdles last week when it was given a hearing and then a vote in the House Appropriations Committee. The hearing on Thursday, February 23 featured three stellar testifiers; Realtors Tonya Hennen and Sol Villarreal, and Debbie Trosvig from the Snohomish County Human Services Department. All three passionately shared why it is imperative that Washington lawmakers take action to prevent over 60% of the Homeless Housing and Assistance Surcharge from expiring, and that local communities have the opportunity to increase the surcharge. The two realtors shared that there is a clear nexus between real estate activity and homelessness. They also shared that the surcharge does not discourage home ownership and that many new homeowners are in fact happy that they can help ensure that people in their community have a roof over their heads. This testimony was particularly striking in the face of the Washington Realtors testifying “with concerns”.

After the hearing, the bill was quickly added to the list for “executive session” (when a bill can be voted out of committee) and on Friday evening it was voted out on a party-line vote. If one of your lawmakers sits on the House Appropriations Committee and voted yes (see the list below), please send them a quick email to thank them for their leadership and to encourage them to vote yes again on the House Floor! And if your lawmaker voted no, please email them to let them know that you are disappointed and that you hope that they will reconsider their position and vote yes when it comes up on the House Floor. 

The following lawmakers voted yes on SHB 1570 on Friday, February 24 in the House Appropriations Committee. Please thank them, especially if they are your lawmaker! You can call their office directly or email them.  

Lawmaker

District

City/County

Phone Number

Email

Timm Ormsby (D), Chair

3rd LD

Spokane

(360) 786-7946

timm.ormsby@leg.wa.gov

June Robinson (D), Vice Chair

38th LD

Everett, Marysville

(360) 786-7864

june.robinson@leg.wa.gov

Steve Bergquist (D)

11th LD

Tukwila

(360) 786-7862

steve.bergquist@leg.wa.gov

Eileen Cody (D)

34th LD

Vashon Island, West Seattle

(360) 786-7978

eileen.cody@leg.wa.gov

Joe Fitzgibbon (D)

34th LD

Vashon Island, West Seattle

(360) 786-7952

joe.fitzgibbon@leg.wa.gov

Zack Hudgins (D)

11th LD

Tukwila

(360) 786-7956

zack.hudgins@leg.wa.gov

Laurie Jinkins (D)

27th LD

Tacoma

(360) 786-7930

laurie.jinkins@leg.wa.gov

Ruth Kagi (D)

32nd LD

Shoreline

(360) 786-7810

ruth.kagi@leg.wa.gov

Kristine Lytton (D)

40th LD

Mount Vernon, Burlington

(360) 786-7800

kristine.lytton@leg.wa.gov

Eric Pettigrew (D)

37th LD

South Seattle

(360) 786-7838

eric.pettigrew@leg.wa.gov

Gerry Pollet (D)

46th LD

Lake Forest Park, Kenmore

(360) 786-7886

gerry.pollet@leg.wa.gov

David Sawyer (D)

29th LD

South Tacoma, Spanaway

(360) 786-7906

david.sawyer@leg.wa.gov

Tana Senn (D)

41st LD

Bellevue, Newcastle

(360) 786-7894

tana.senn@leg.wa.gov

Larry Springer (D)

45th LD

Woodinville

(360) 786-7822

larry.springer@leg.wa.gov

Derek Stanford (D)

1st LD

Bothell

(360) 786-7928

derek.stanford@leg.wa.gov

Pat Sullivan (D)

47th LD

Auburn, Covington

(360) 786-7858

pat.sullivan@leg.wa.gov

Steve Tharinger (D)

24th LD

Port Townsend, La Push, Most of Olympics

(360) 786-7904

steve.tharinger@leg.wa.gov

These lawmakers voted no on SHB 1570 on Friday, February 24 in the House Appropriations Committee. If you see your lawmaker on this list, please contact them to ask that they reconsider their position and vote yes when the bill comes up on the House Floor.

Lawmaker

District

City/County

Phone Number

Email

Bruce Chandler (R)

15th LD

Sunnyside, Grandview, E Yakima County

(360) 786-7960

bruce.chandler@leg.wa.gov

Drew MacEwen (R)

35th LD

Mason County

(360) 786-7902

drew.macewen@leg.wa.gov

Drew Stokesbary (R)

31st LD

Bonney Lake, Upper half Pierce County

(360) 786-7846

drew.stokesbary@leg.wa.gov

Vincent Buys (R)

42nd LD

Bellingham

(360) 786-7854

vincent.buys@leg.wa.gov

Michelle Caldier (R)

26th LD

Bremerton, Port Orchard

(360) 786-7802

michelle.caldier@leg.wa.gov

Carry Condotta (R)

12th LD

Chelan and Douglas counties

(360) 786-7954

cary.condotta@leg.wa.gov

Larry Haler (R)

8th LD

Richland

(360) 786-7986

larry.haler@leg.wa.gov

Paul Harris (R)

17th LD

Vancouver

(360) 786-7976

paul.harris@leg.wa.gov

Matt Manweller (R)

13th LD

Ephrata, Grant county

(360) 786-7808

matt.manweller@leg.wa.gov

Terry Nealey (R)

16th LD

Dayton, Walla Walla

(360) 786-7828

terry.nealey@leg.wa.gov

Joe Schmick (R)

9th LD

Pullman, and Adams, Asotin, Franklin, Garfield, and Whitman counties

(360) 786-7844

joe.schmick@leg.wa.gov

David Taylor (R)

2nd LD

South Pierce county

(360) 786-7874

david.taylor@leg.wa.gov

Brandon Vick (R)

18th LD

Battle Ground, Camas

(360) 786-7850

brandon.vick@leg.wa.gov

Mike Volz (R)

6th LD

Cheney

(360) 786-7922

mike.volz@leg.wa.gov

J.T. Wilcox (R)

2nd LD

South Pierce county

(360) 786-7912

jt.wilcox@leg.wa.gov


House bill (HB) 1633/Riccelli, Outlawing Discrimination based on Renter’s Source of Income.

This top priority bill cleared another hurdle last week when it was “pulled” from the House Rules Committee to the House Floor Calendar for a “second reading”. Bills have to clear three “readings” in each chamber to pass the legislature. The first reading happens to all bills introduced when they are read on the floor and referred to a committee. If the Rules Committee moves a bill out, they technically open it up for a second reading. During second reading a bill can be amended. It is during the third reading that a bill is brought up for a vote on the floor. HB 1633 is now in second reading status and therefore could be placed on the “order of consideration” at any time. The order of consideration is a list of the bills up for a vote on the floor. From now till 5:00 pm on March 8th, both chambers will spend a lot of time on the floor passing bills out. HB 1633 must move out of the House by that date in order to be considered by the Senate. Since its companion bill (SB 5407/Frockt) died in the Senate policy committee, don’t be surprised to see amendments passed on the floor to better position it for support by Republicans who control the Senate chamber. 

Ask A Lobbyist: How often can I contact my lawmaker? 

In our second “Ask a lobbyist” column, we tackle the question of how often an advocate can contact their lawmaker and still be an effective advocate. 

We get this question often, especially during busy legislative sessions like this where there are many affordable housing and homelessness issues on the table. It comes up even more often when an advocate wants to contact a lawmaker more than once on a the same bill or same budget issue. Because this comes up often, the Housing Alliance has asked many different lawmakers for their perspective. And each time we ask, lawmakers, regardless of their political party, answer the same way - they want to hear from their constituents! You can contact them on the same issue, or on different issues, as often as you want. The key is how you communicate, not how often. Respectful communication with your lawmakers, even when you are expressing your dismay with their position, is totally acceptable. Repeated communication with your lawmaker on the same issue is also totally acceptable, especially if the issue is still pending (e.g. a bill hasn’t yet been brought up for a vote). In fact, being persistent is a very good thing. It communicates to your lawmaker that the issue is of upmost importance to their constituents, and that you will be closely watching for how they vote. So don’t be shy or hesitant to contact your lawmakers often. Being persistent can often be the key to developing a relationship with your lawmaker – once you develop such a relationship, they may even reach out to you to ask where you stand on a issue. 

Have a question? Submit it here!

Thank you for being an advocate for affordable housing and homelessness. Our movement is strong and thanks to our persistence and strategic advocacy, we have consistently been able to move mountains and achieve the impossible. Please help  continue this tradition by taking action this week! And please consider attending your local lawmaker town hall meetings. Many lawmakers are hosting in-person or telephonic town halls and your voice is needed! Check out this page for a list of town halls and for a guide to asking your lawmakers to stand up for affordable housing and homelessness issues this session! 

Thank you for all you do!

Michele

 

Housing Advocacy in Action! Week of Feb 13th

Michele Thomas, Director of Policy and Advocacy

For the last several weeks in Olympia, affordable housing and homelessness has been top of mind. Many bills impacting these issues have had hearings, and of course, over 650 advocates came to the capitol on February 2nd for Homelessness and Housing Advocacy Day.

The week of February 13 marks the beginning of the 6th week of this legislation session. Scheduled to end in April, we are about 1/3 of the way through and Friday February 17 brings the first cutoff. Successive policy hurdles called “cutoffs” segment the state legislative session. The first one requires that bills clear policy committees by getting a hearing and then a vote by the cutoff date. The next cutoff pertains to fiscal committees. Bills with a fiscal impact have to be heard and voted on by February 24. You can see the whole legislative calendar and all the cutoffs here.

The Olympian recorded Representative Macri addressing Affordable Housing and Homelessness advocates during the rally and you can watch it here.

Especially near policy cutoffs, when so many bills are competing for the limited time and bandwidth of the legislature, your lawmakers need to hear from you. During the rally on the Capitol Steps on Homelessness and Housing Advocacy Day, Representative Marcri (D – 43) and Senator Saldaña (D – 37) both urged advocates to do more to make our voices heard. They both spoke about how many emails and calls they get each day on a wide range of issues. They shared that while affordable housing and homelessness are top-of-mind for them, it isn’t because their constituents are reaching out. They both came to Olympia caring deeply about our issues, but they are not hearing enough from their constituents. This suggests that lawmakers who need to be swayed are unlikely to be hearing from their constituents either. As Representative Macri shared, “We’ve got to amp up the volume. We need more calls, more emails, more demands!” So please TAKE ACTION NOW and ask your lawmakers to support a ban on source of income discrimination. These actions really do work! And don’t stop there. Share this with your boards, with your colleagues, with your friends, your networks, and your families. Tell them why you took action and encourage them to join you.

Update on SB 5407/Frockt and HB 1633/Riccelli – to outlaw discrimination based on a renter’s source of income

On February 7, testifiers braved the snow and ice to come to Olympia to urge lawmakers to vote yes on HB 1633/Riccelli.

Pictured from left to right:
Patricia Abbate, Solid Ground/ Claude DaCorsi, Auburn City Council and the Affordable Housing Advisory Board/ Megan Hyla, King County Housing Authority/ Toya Thomas, Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher tenant/ John Hannaman, Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher tenant/ Michael Mirra, Tacoma Housing Authority/ Dimitri Groce, Washington Low Income Housing Alliance and Tamaso Johnson, Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence. 

The last two weeks have been action-packed. Lawmakers in the House and the Senate in three different committees have heard testimony on the need to pass SB 5407/HB 1633 banning source of income discrimination. Over 25 individuals have come to the Capitol to testify on the harm that this kind of discrimination causes to households and communities. People directly impacted by this discrimination have shared their stories, including Toya Thomas who was told to move from her Renton home this fall when a new property management firm took over her apartment building. All the section 8 families were told to go because they were using vouchers to help pay the rent. Most were single parent headed households with young children and most were African American. You can learn more about Toya’s experience through a recent KCTS 9 feature on the ordeal.

The Housing Alliance and our allies also weighed in last week against a bill that would repeal local fair housing protections. SB 5569/Angel would undo all of the local laws that have outlawed discrimination based on a renter’s source of income and would prevent any city or county from passing any local protections (it would also repeal Seattle’s protections against discrimination based on political ideology). If the bill were to pass, it would leave the state as the sole fair housing protector. Proponents of this bill represent the same organizations working to block passage of state level source of income discrimination protections. And even though the bill begins with the premise that fair housing is so important that it should solely be a state duty, the intent is clearly to prevent such protections by any means possible.

Budgets Coming Soon

As the session moves forward, it will remain critical that advocates from across the state weigh in to push our lawmakers to do more to end and prevent homelessness. As policy bills move through the process, lawmakers are also starting to make decisions about the budgets. Although the first legislative budget proposals won’t be released until mid-March, lawmakers are fine-tuning their priorities and the budget writers are sorting through the many requests. Stay tuned for opportunities soon to take action on the Housing Trust Fund and on other budget priorities like the Housing and Essential Needs program. And stand by for updates on HB 1570/Macri to eliminate the looming sunset on 62.5% of the state’s homelessness dollars. That bill is exempt from the cutoffs because it is considered “necessary to implement the budget”, so don’t be alarmed if you don’t see it moving as quickly as other bills that are subject to the cutoffs. For more updates, please join our upcoming advocate’s call. The next one is scheduled for Friday the 17th at 11:00. All affordable housing and homelessness advocates are welcome to join – so feel free to invite your colleagues and boards. Use this call in number and code: (866) 339-4555 / Access code: 2064674522

Thank you for all you do. Please help us to “ramp it up” so that lawmakers know that their constituents want them to prioritize our issues.

Michele

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