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State Legislative Advocacy

We advocate for positive changes that improve Washington State’s response to domestic violence and increase survivors’ options for safety and independence. We do this through tracking bills, lobbying in Olympia, and informing and mobilizing our membership to take action on important policy and budget issues.

Stay up-to-date on our priorities and events by signing up for our action alerts!

2022 Legislative Session

Session will run from January 10 to March 10, 2022. We will update this page regularly with information on the bills we are prioritizing. This report is summary of the bills we worked on during the 2021 session.

The following is a list of the bills we are working on, beginning with our priorities, other bills we are supporting, bills we are opposing, and ending with bills we are monitoring, but have no position on.

  • “SB” denotes bills originally introduced in the Senate. “HB” denotes bills originally introduced in the House of Representatives.
  • Bills listed together (e.g., “HB 1234 / SB 5678”) are “companion bills” that, as introduced, are generally identical in substance, but are given different bill numbers because they are introduced in both chambers. Only one of the bills, either the House or Senate version, must advance in order for the legislation to become law.

Bills we support

Protections and services for missing, murdered, trafficked indigenous persons (HB 1571)

 This comprehensive bill will work to address the lack of resources for missing, murdered, or trafficked Indigenous persons. It adds requirements for county coroners and medical examiners regarding spiritual practices, contacting family members, and returning remains. This bill increases law enforcement responses through trainings and establishing a Red Thunder Alert designation. Subject to availability of funding, the Office of Crime Victims Advocacy (OCVA) will establish a competitive grant program to establish a pilot project providing wraparound services to indigenous survivors of trafficking.

Expanding the Landlord Mitigation Program (HB 1593)  

Survivors may need to break their lease, or may incur damages in their rental because of domestic violence. This bill will expand the Landlord Mitigation Program to allow landlords to claim for damages related to rental when the tenant has terminated their tenancy because of domestic violence, sexual assault, unlawful harassment, or stalking. This expansion would improve safety by reducing barriers for survivors when exercising their right to terminate a lease early without repercussions.

REET Exemption (HB 1643)

Domestic violence puts families at risk of homelessness, if not because of safety needs, then because of economic impacts. Survivors are often caught in a cycle of homelessness. The Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence (WSCADV) Domestic Violence Housing First evaluation data shows that at baseline, 73% of participants reported a prior history of homelessness. Of those, 33% had been homeless at least once before the age of 18. The Real Estate Excise Tax (REET) Exemption serves as an incentive for the sale or transfer of real property to affordable housing developers. This would be a critical step in creating more low-income housing available to survivors in need of housing stability and safety.

Endangered missing indigenous persons advisory (HB 1725) 

This bill addresses the lack of resources that missing Indigenous people’s cases are facing. Indigenous people, particularly women, go missing and are murdered at higher rates than any other demographic in the nation. Currently, families of missing Indigenous persons bear the responsibility of searching for their missing loved ones due to inconsistent responses from law enforcement. This bill requires the Washington State Patrol to establish a Missing Indigenous Women and Persons alert designation as part of its Endangered Missing Person Advisory plan.

TANF time limit extensions (HB 1755)

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) plays a critical role in providing a safety net for survivors. State and federal laws limit the time an adult can receive TANF benefits to a total of sixty months in their lifetime. Time limit extensions are additional months of TANF when someone meets certain criteria. This bill will add time limit extensions during times of high unemployment in our state.

Creating new health profession for birth doulas (HB 1881)

This will recognize birth doulas as a new health profession and allow them to voluntarily apply for state certification, paving the way for doula coverage under Medicaid. Birth doulas not only advocate for birthing families in the systems they encounter, but also support medical self-advocacy. They increase self-determination for birthing parents by supporting them to define what they want and need before and after birth- very much like survivor-centered advocacy does. Recognition of the emotional support and advocacy of birth doulas also improves equitable access for Black and Brown survivors and their families to health care services during pregnancy and after giving birth – improving maternal mortality and prenatal outcomes for families. Everyone should be free to make decisions about their own bodies.

Working Families Tax Credit fix (HB 1888)

Allowing the department of revenue to adjust the rates of remittance reductions in the working families’ tax credit in order to align with federal maximum qualifying income levels. This is a technical fix to the Working Families Tax Credit law that ensures that the maximum qualifying income levels adjust each year to match the federal income tax levels. It means survivors who qualify for the EITC will also qualify for the WFTC.

Diaper subsidy for those receiving TANF (HB 1947 / SB 5838) 

This bill provides all Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) households with children under the age of 3 a $125 per month cash grant increase to help pay for diapers. The grant increase will cause a decrease in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, restricted to food purchasing, but will be offset by the overall increase of TANF funds. All TANF families with children under three will experience a positive net increase of unrestricted cash of $40-$60 a month to help pay for diapers. More unrestricted cash in survivors’ pockets helps them meet their needs and stay safe and stable. 

Evergreen basic income trust (HB 2009)

The Evergreen Basic Income Trust (EBIT) is a guaranteed basic income (GBI) program, which provides regular, unrestricted cash payments to Washington residents who meet certain criteria. Participants will receive a monthly payment that is equal to the cost of rent for a 2-bedroom unit in the participant’s area of residence and can be receive these payments for up to 36 months. This benefit could be a game changer for survivors who are dealing with or recovering from economic abuse, by giving them the cash they need to secure housing, transportation, or other things necessary to stay safe and stable.

Housing Justice Act (HB 2017) 

This bill addresses housing concerns for individuals impacted by the criminal legal system. Having a criminal history is a significant risk factor for housing instability and homelessness. This risk factor is also significant for domestic violence survivors who have a criminal history record. The current work WSCADV is doing with Domestic Violence Housing First (DVHF) is confirming that survivors with a criminal history face higher barriers to housing and need more intensive advocacy support in order to find safe and stable housing. This bill addresses housing discrimination against people impacted by the criminal legal system by restricting the use of a conviction history as a reason to deny housing. We know through our work with DVHF that housing is the first step toward stability, employment, treatment, mental health support, and services designed to help individuals with rehabilitation and healing. 

DSHS service requirements (HB 2075

This bill will require the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) to meet a minimum level of requirements when working with people eligible for services in our state. Specifically, it would require that DSHS ensure that clients may apply for and receive services in a manner that is suited to the clients’ needs, whether this is remotely or in person. It would require that Community Service Offices (CSOs) are open for in person services, both walk-in and appointments. If DSHS cannot meet these minimum standards, this bill will prohibit them from sanctioning cash benefits of people accessing services.  

Courthouse Dogs (SB 5127) 

This bill will increase access to therapy dogs that help children and vulnerable adults tell their stories of survival. Since courthouses have been closed because of the pandemic, this will allow those dogs access to public spaces so they can go to survivors to provide much-needed comfort when recounting their trauma. 

Crime victim notification (SB 5245)

This bill will expand the crimes eligible for the Department of Corrections (DOC) notification to victims and witnesses, adding domestic violence, among others. This notification will provide survivors with some additional time to plan for their safety prior to the release of the person who caused them harm.

Victim statements during DV hearings (SB 5612)

Currently, victims of crime are able to provide a statement at sentencing hearings for felony convictions. This bill expands the ability for domestic violence survivors, or their survivors, to provide a statement for convictions involving domestic violence.

Modifying Paid Family & Medical Leave (SB 5649)  

This bill will make Paid Family and Medical Leave more compassionate and equitable, and easier for survivors to access by: allowing people to apply up to 45 days in advance of an expected leave, extending family caregiving leaves up to 14 days after the death of the family member for whom the worker was providing care, or after the death of a newborn or stillborn child, and allowing people to take medical leave during the first six weeks after giving birth without requiring additional medical certification. 

Access to abortion care (SB 5766/HB 1851)  

This bill updates the Reproductive Privacy Act by using gender neutral language, expanding the list of professions who can provide abortion care, and adding protections for pregnancy outcomes and aiding a pregnant individual in exercising their right to reproductive freedom with their voluntary consent. Everyone should be free to make decisions about their sexual and reproductive well-being, including the decision to have children, or not. Survivors need access to reproductive health services that respect their dignity and safety.

Bills we oppose

Making coercive control a crime  (HB 1449) 

This bill seeks to establish the crime of coercive control as a gross misdemeanor. No one should have to endure coercive control in their relationship, but we are concerned that making coercive control a crime will have negative consequences for many survivors. Many laws designed with the best of intentions to support survivors can be the very same laws that an abusive and controlling person can use against them. 

Domestic violence registry  (HB 1678) 

This bill requires the Washington State Patrol to create and maintain a central registry of ‘serious domestic violence offenders’ who have been convicted of a felony and/or multiple misdemeanor crimes of domestic violence. WSCADV has concerns about the unintended consequences of this bill for survivor privacy. Due to the relationship between a victim and an offender in domestic violence cases, publicizing an abuser’s name would often lead to the identification of the victim as well. Concerns for their privacy can result in survivors deciding not to reach out for help.  

Bills we are monitoring

Civil protection orders (HB 1901/SB 5845)  

This is a trailer bill from E2SHB 1320, last session’s Protection Order Reform bill. The bill seeks to minimize delays and make the protection order system less complex, enable comprehensive use of electronic filing, case tracking and records management systems, provide judicial offers with expertise and training in protection orders and trauma-informed practices and continuity of judicial officers at hearings, ensure compliance with timely and comprehensive firearms relinquishment, and require courts to make publicly available in print and online information about their transfer procedures, court calendars, and judicial officer assignments. This bill also includes a comprehensive definition of coercive control that would be added to the definition of domestic violence for civil protection orders. While all can agree that coercive control is part of domestic violence, WSCADV member programs have a diverse range of opinions on how coercive control would be implemented in their local jurisdictions for DVPO’s. For this reason, our position on HB 1901 is ‘other’ as we continue to engage with members and legislators on this complex topic.

Previous Legislative Sessions

To view summaries of previous sessions of the Washington State Legislature, please see the “Public Policy” section of our Resource Library.

Wondering how laws are made in Washington State? Watch our short video, Ms. RCW.