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.
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2021 Legislative Session
This year has brought a pandemic, economic upheaval, and a racial reckoning. We are listening to domestic violence survivors and the organizations who serve them in preparation for the 2021 Washington State legislative session. Session will run from January 11 to April 25, 2021. 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 2020 session.
Our 2021 policy priorities strive to expand options for survivors and their families through community economic resilience and housing security. Below is a list of the bills we are supporting.
- “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.
Working Families Tax Credit / Recovery Rebate (HB 1297) * WSCADV Priority
One of the main reasons people stay with an abusive partner is that they don’t have the money to support themselves or their children. The Working Families Tax Credit/Recovery Rebate provides direct cash assistance to the households that need it most.
Economic assistance programs (SB 5214)
This bill expands access to Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) time limit extensions by including those who are currently homeless, actively participating in required activities, in need of substance abuse or mental health treatment, or temporarily prevented from working or looking for a job. These changes would give survivors greater access and fewer barriers to safety net cash assistance.
Restoring voter eligibility (HB 1078)
This bill restores the voting rights of people – including survivors who have been incarcerated – who have been convicted of a felony but are not serving a sentence of total confinement. Barring people from their right to vote and participate in our democracy does not increase public safety or victim safety. We believe that when people are civically engaged and feel like they are a part of a community, they become more invested in keeping that community safe.
Requirements for law enforcement tactics and equipment (HB 1054)
This bill establishes some restrictions on the tactics and equipment that officers can use, including prohibiting the use of chokeholds, neck restraints, and certain types of military equipment. As a coalition dedicated to ending domestic violence, we seek to end all violence in our homes and communities, including institutional abuses of power that systematically take away people’s freedom and safety.
Throughout session, the House of Representatives and Senate will be negotiating an operating budget for all state spending over the next two years. We will be monitoring the proposals and advocating for increasing revenue to help fund programs that support survivors and their families.
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: