Washington State Legislature wrapped up their first session of 2018 earlier this month. At YWCA Clark County we are immensely pleased with several pieces of legislation that passed that improve access to reproductive rights, support affordable housing, and strengthen and expand voting and immigrant rights. Additionally, we are proud of our Public Policy Committee’s tireless advocacy for these changes to our legislation.
YWCA Clark County’s Public Policy Committee provides direction and action items for our organization around policy issues directly related to our mission, and those with potential impact on our clients, programs, and community, both at the regional and national level.
Specifically YWCA Clark County’s Public Policy team advocated for, and is celebrating the passage of:
- Washington Housing Opportunities Act (HB 1570) increases funding for housing and homelessness services that were set to expire in 2019. It also improves access to the funds for non-profit housing organizations.
- HB 2578 prohibits source of income discrimination in rental housing, meaning landlords are prohibited from discriminating (including refusing to lease or rent, or expelling a tenant) against tenants and applicants because of a tenant’s source of income, such as housing vouchers or public assistance.
- SB 6219 improves access to reproductive health by mandating that Washington state insurers offering maternity care to also cover elective abortions and contraception. Additionally, this bill requires the governor’s interagency coordinating council on health disparities to conduct a literature review on disparities in access to reproductive health care based on socioeconomic status, race, sexual orientation, gender identity, ethnicity, geography, and other factors.
- U-Visa Certification Uniformity (HB 1022) strengthens immigrant rights by requiring law enforcement and prosecution agencies to provide victims who have been helpful in an investigation or prosecution of crimes such as domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, etc., the certification form they need to help them qualify them for a U-visa.
- Washington Voting Rights Act (SB 6002) which makes it easier for communities to improve minority representation in their local government.
Each of these bills will serve to make Washington a more equitable and progressive state, and we’d like to thank our legislators for championing them.
We’re also grateful to those in our community who attended rallies and letter writing campaigns, reached out to legislators, and passed along important information via social media. Without your active participation, this kind of progress doesn’t happen. So cheers to a productive beginning to 2018, and let’s keep working just as hard to encourage our government officials to keep passing legislation that supports social justice, and works to empower all members of our community!