Greater Spokane Action and Greater Spokane Progress 2023 State Legislative Agenda
Greater Spokane Action (GSA), Greater Spokane Progress‘ affiliated 501(c)(4) organization, led the process to develop our network’s state legislative agenda for 2023. This agenda is a reflection of the diversity of our network and their priorities.
Our goals include:
- Police accountability
- Housing justice
- Smart justice
- Rights for immigrants and refugees
- Climate justice
- Civil rights and equity (including health equity)
- Expanding and Protecting Democracy
This agenda is not a comprehensive list of all of the bills that GSP members are working on. It is based on GSA’s and Spokane Progress Plan goals, our member and partner organizations’ priorities, policies and campaigns that use a racial equity lens, support from the GSA and GSP Board of Directors and/or broad agreement amongst our members.
- Supporting legislative priorities of the Washington Coalition for Police Accountability that centers families and communities impacted by police violence. WCPA priorities for 2023 include:
- Traffic Safety for All (HB 1513): Ending traffic stops for non-moving violations and is a solution for the disproportionate stops involving BIPOC drivers.
- Independent prosecutor (HB 1579) to make the charging decisions for police use of deadly force.
- State Attorney General Investigations and Reforms (HB 1445): Grants authority to the state attorney general to do investigations of agencies where there is an alleged pattern and practice of violating the civil and constitutional rights of persons.
- Access to Fairness for families and survivors of police misconduct (HB 1025): Proposal authorizes civil suits for violations of state constitutional rights for police misconduct.
- Workgroup on vehicular pursuits (HB 1586/ SB 5533): Requiring the criminal justice training commission to establish a work group and grant program related to vehicular pursuits.
- Opposing rollback of vehicular pursuits law (HB 1363). (I Did the Time, Spokane Community Against Racism (SCAR), Peace & Justice Action League of Spokane, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Greater Washington and N. Idaho & Fuse Washington priority)
- Supporting the Free to Walk Campaign to end the enforcement of our state’s jaywalking laws (SB 5383/HB 1428): Jaywalking laws don’t protect people from getting hit by cars; are disproportionately enforced against BIPOC, low-income people, and unhoused individuals; and are an inefficient use of public resources. (Peace & Justice Action League of Spokane priority)
- Supporting suite of housing justice and tenant protection priorities of the Tenants Union of Washington State and Washington Low Income Housing Alliance (that are also supported by TU), which include:
- Stopping excessive rent increases (HB 1389/SB 5435): Cap yearly rent increases at 3% plus CPI (inflation), but with the provision that combined will not exceed 7%; and authorize the Attorney General to investigate rent gouging as a consumer protection violation (HB 1388).
- Extending the notice period for rent increases (HB 1124): Require landlords to provide 6 months’ notice of significant rent increases, provide tenants with the right to quit their fixed-term lease due to the rent increase, and cap late fees.
- Damage deposit reform (HB 1074) will define and clarify vague provisions of the current law that cause tenants to lose their own money through the withholding of damage deposits.
- Enforcement of the Washington Residential Landlord Tenant Act: Create an accessible and expedited enforcement process for tenants to use when their landlord does not abide by their basic obligations under the residential landlord tenant act.
- Rental registry (SB 5060): Requiring the registration of rental and vacant housing units.
- Supporting the Drug Decriminalization Coalition (organized by the ACLU) to pass legislation that codifies the recommendations adopted by the Substance Use Recovery Services Advisory Committee (SURSAC), including its recommendations to decriminalize drug possession, create a safe supply working group, and increase investment in public health alternatives for people with substance use disorders. (Smart Justice Spokane priority)
- Allow community input in deciding whether a person should be released early (HB 1180), and use a racial equity lens in the decision making process to address racial disproportionality in long term sentencing. (Supported by the NAACP Alaska, OR, WA Area Conference, I Did the Time & co-sponsored by Rep. Timm Ormsby)
- Ensuring Voter Access in Jail (HB 1174) by asking counties to get people the basic supports they need to exercise their freedom to vote. (WA Voting Justice Coalition priority)
- Solitary Confinement Reform (HB 1087): Reform solitary confinement practices in Washington prisons to make them more humane. (I Did the Time priority)
- Real Labor, Real Wages Act (HB 1024) to require that incarcerated workers in Washington prisons be paid minimum wage. (I Did the Time priority)
- Opposing (SB 5448) to create an “Alternative therapeutic unit”, a jail-based competency restoration unit, as jails are not therapeutic. (Smart Justice Spokane is opposed)
Rights for Immigrants and Refugees
- Supporting the Health Equity for Immigrants Campaign that works to improve access to affordable health care and coverage for all Washingtonians: Prioritizing equitable access for individuals who are uninsured and underinsured due to immigration status restrictions. (APIC Washington & Hispanic Business/Professional Association priority)
- Unemployment Benefits for Undocumented Workers (HB1095) to create a permanent, separate unemployment system that provides benefits to undocumented workers, creating a social safety net to help around 150,000 Washington residents and their families. (Led by WA Immigrant Solidarity Network (WAISN) & priority of APIC Washington & Hispanic Business/Professional Association)
- Funding community programs for refugees (led by Muslims for Community, Action & Support & Refugee and Immigrant Connections Spokane).
- Maintain funding for the Limited English Proficient (LEP) Pathways to better support low-income and limited English speaking immigrants. (APIC Washington priority)
- Maintain funding for Naturalization Services to better support low-income and limited English speaking immigrants. (APIC Washington priority)
- Incorporate community resilience and environmental justice in the state’s comprehensive planning framework (SB 5203/HB 1181). Coalition members working on this priority include: Front and Centered, a BIPOC led climate justice coalition, Futurewise, and The Lands Council.
Civil Rights and Equity (including Health Equity)
- Supporting Planned Parenthood Advocates of Greater Washington and North Idaho’s legislative priorities:
- Ending Cost Sharing for Abortion Care (SB 5242): Eliminate cost-sharing for abortion services in private insurance. Cost-sharing reduces access to care, particularly for those who already face significant barriers to health care. This bill will limit out-of-pocket costs for patients, including prohibiting copays for abortion.
- My Health, My Data – Protecting Patients’ Data Privacy (HB 1155): Protects private health data related to reproductive and sexual health care and gender affirming care from third-party intervention, purchase, and selling.
- Shield Law (SB 5489/HB 1469): Protecting patients and providers of abortion care and gender affirming care from attacks in hostile states; and protecting provider Licenses (HB 1340).
- Keep Our Care Act (KOCA)(SB 5241): To increase oversight of hospital mergers and affiliations that may adversely impact access to critical services such as abortion, gender affirming care, infertility treatment, miscarriage management, and more.
- Funding Abortion Access: Approve a package of funding items for both abortion providers and patients in the Biennial Budget and Supplemental Budget.
- Supporting Washington Safe + Healthy coalition work to pass SB 5236 to protect healthcare workers from high patient loads and enforce safe staffing standards. (UFCW 3000 & SEIU Healthcare 1199NW priority)
- Nothing About Us Without Us Act (HB 1541): Requires all statutory created or mandated task force, work group, advisory committee, council, commissions, or other similar entity to include people directly impacted by the issue, and for the Office of Equity to report on barriers to accessing policy making spaces for marginalized communities. (Co-sponsored by Reps. Riccelli & Ormsby)
Expanding and Protecting Democracy
- Supporting Washington for Equitable Representation (GSP is a member), a statewide multi-racial coalition fighting to achieve equitable representation through proportional ranked choice voting (RCV) and other democracy reforms. WER 2023 Priorities include:
- RCV for Presidential Primaries (HB 1592): Gives voters the power to express a personal preference between candidates when voting for presidential candidates. (HB 1592). Learn more about ranked choice voting here.
- Washington Voting Rights Act update: Strengthens prohibition on racialized vote dilution and provides a cost recovery mechanism for individuals or organizations who sue under the WVRA.
- Even Year Elections: Eliminates the statewide general elections in odd-numbered years.
- Democracy Vouchers and PDC: Expands the Democracy Vouchers Program for state legislative races, enact accountability requirements for candidates receiving vouchers, and strengthen the PDC.
- Supporting the Washington Voting Justice Coalition (GSP is a member), a group of community organizations and individuals dedicated to voting rights and access in Washington State, that believe that the vote is our tool, as ordinary people, to have a voice in our government. You can read their priorities here.