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2022 Legislative Session Summary

The 2022 Washington State legislative session adjourned on March 10, marking the end of another historic virtual session. WSCADV member programs identified continuation of domestic violence services and affordable housing as the highest priorities for survivors and their families. We are delighted to share that our funding priorities were included in the final supplemental budgets. The following is a summary of legislation we tracked during this session, sorted by the position WSCADV took on these bills (support, oppose, monitor).

Legislation WSCADV Supported

Crime Victim Services Funding *WSCADV Priority

Our budget request of $7.5 million for crime victim services was included in the supplemental operating budget! Domestic violence programs count on federal Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) funding to meet survivor needs like legal advocacy, mental health support, and safe housing assistance. This funding also allows programs to invest in adequate staffing, living wages, and advocate training. In 2021, the legislature passed our request for $15 million in supplemental funding, but due to further shortfalls, more was needed. This was our top priority this session. Thank you to our membership for their advocacy and stories, and to our legislative champions for recognizing the importance of this funding.

Affordable Housing Funding *WSCADV Priority

Domestic violence survivors and their families desperately need both temporary and permanent housing. This year’s capital budget includes $113 million for the Housing Trust Fund. Domestic violence programs have access to these funds to build or purchase and renovate housing dedicated to survivors. An additional $300 million for rapid acquisition was also included. Thank you to the legislature for working toward ending the cycle of violence and homelessness with these investments.

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

Passed, effective 90 days after the end of session.

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 (SHB 1593)

Passed, effective 90 days after the end of session.

Survivors may need to break their lease, or may incur damages in their rental because of domestic violence. This bill expands 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 can improve safety by reducing barriers for survivors when exercising their right to terminate a lease early without repercussions. The operating budget includes $2 million for claims made pursuant to this bill.

Real Estate Excise Tax (REET) Exemption (ESHB 1643)

Passed, the bill contains several effective dates.

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 is 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) 

Passed, effective 90 days after the end of session.

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.

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) time limit extensions (HB 1755)

Passed, effective 90 days after the end of session.

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 adds time limit extensions during times of high unemployment in our state.

Prohibiting nondisclosure agreements (ESHB 1795)

Passed, effective 90 days after the end of session.

This bill repeals the statute prohibiting nondisclosure agreements regarding sexual harassment and sexual assault in the workplace. It makes void and unenforceable provisions in agreements between an employer and employee that prohibit disclosure of conduct that is illegal discrimination, harassment, retaliation, a wage and hour violation, or sexual assault. This bill has a retroactivity clause.

Access to abortion care (EHB 1851) 

Passed, effective 90 days after the end of session.

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.

Safe staffing in healthcare (E2SHB 1868/SB 5751) 

Failed to pass.

This bill sought to ensure healthcare workers receive fair compensation, overtime pay, adequate breaks, and secure scheduling, and are better able to navigate the complex safety considerations for themselves and their families. This would have allowed survivors who are healthcare workers to have access to these necessary benefits. Also, when survivors need to access emergency or urgent healthcare related to the abuse they experience, this law would have ensured that healthcare workers are better able to be present, listen, and address their medical and safety needs at the time of the incident.

Creating new health profession for birth doulas (ESHB 1881)

Passed, effective 10/1/2023.

This recognizes birth doulas as a new health profession and allows 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.

Working Families Tax Credit fix (HB 1888)

Passed, effective 90 days after the end of session.

This fix allows the Department of Revenue to adjust the rates of remittance reductions in the Working Families Tax Credit (WFTC) 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 Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) will also qualify for the WFTC.

Civil protection orders (SHB 1901)

Passed, effective 90 days after the end of session.

This is a trailer bill from E2SHB 1320, last year’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 adds coercive control 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. This bill appoints the Gender and Justice Commission to conduct a study on the impacts of including coercive control in protection order laws.

Public disclosure (ESHB 1956)

Passed, effective immediately.

This bill will protect sensitive prison records from being released through the Public Records Act. Current law allows the Washington Department of Corrections (DOC) to release highly personal records to anyone who requests them. Sensitive records at risk of disclosure include body scanner images of women in prison, sexual abuse prevention plans, transgender status, genital anatomy, sexual orientation, disability status, and mental health information. This legislation protects the dignity, privacy, and safety of currently and formerly incarcerated Washingtonians.

Evergreen basic income trust (HB 2009)

Failed to pass.

The Evergreen Basic Income Trust (EBIT) is a guaranteed basic income (GBI) program, which sought to provide regular, unrestricted cash payments to Washington residents who meet certain criteria. Participants were to 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 could have received 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)

Failed to pass.

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.

Enforcing tenant protections (HB 2023)

Failed to pass.

This bill would have provided tenants a quick way to enforce their protections. Under this bill, tenants could have filed a petition with the court and be heard within 14 days to address any violations of tenant law, their rental agreement, or abusive practices by the landlord. Examples of violations included incompletion of necessary repairs to a unit, a landlord that harasses or uses retaliation against a tenant, and any violations of victim protection laws for survivors. This bill would have provided a critical avenue for all tenants of Washington, including survivors, to receive relief from violations of their rights.

TANF time limit (SSHB 2048)

Failed to Pass.

This bill sought to broaden exemptions for families on Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) beyond the 60-month lifetime limit. Exemptions were extended to those who are temporarily prevented from working, are in need of mental health or substance use disorder treatment, are homeless or at risk of losing stable housing, or demonstrate another basis by which time limits would cause undue hardship. These changes would have increased racial equity in access to TANF and given survivors more ways to ensure that they can keep this vital benefit when they need it most.

DSHS service requirements (ESSHB 2075)

Passed, effective 90 days after the end of session.

This bill requires 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 requires that DSHS ensures 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 requires 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.

Working Families Tax Credit fixes (EHB 2096)

Passed, effective 90 days after the end of session.

This bill was request legislation from the Department of Revenue. Its purpose is to codify technical fixes to the Working Families Tax Credit legislation as the Department prepares to implement this program in 2023. WSCADV supports these technical fixes that will ensure that people with lower incomes, many of whom are survivors, will have easy access to the Working Families Tax Credit.

Courthouse Dogs (SSB 5127)

Failed to pass.

This bill would have increased 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 would have allowed those dogs access to public spaces so they can go to survivors to provide much-needed comfort when recounting their trauma.

Crime victim notification (ESSB 5245)

Passed, effective 7/1/2022.

This bill expands 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)

Passed, effective 90 days after the end of session.

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 (2SSB 5649) 

Passed, the bill contains several effective dates.

This bill makes 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. It also creates a legislative task force to review program premiums and audits.

Good cause exception to deadlines (SSB 5729) 

Passed, effective 7/1/2023.

This bill provides good cause exceptions for some public benefits recipients. When an applicant or recipient of public assistance or any medical service program is aggrieved by a decision by the Department of Social and Health Services or the Health Care Authority and fails to meet the 90-day deadline to request a proceeding, they are entitled to show that they had good cause for not meeting the deadline. Good cause to fail to meet a hearing deadline may include military deployment, medical reasons, housing instability, language barriers, or domestic violence.

Transitional food assistance (SSB 5785)   

Passed, effective 1/1/2024.

This bill directs the Department of Social and Health Services to provide transitional food assistance for five months to a household that can no longer receive Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and isn’t in full-family sanction status. If a member of a household has been sanctioned but the household is still receiving benefits, then remaining eligible household members may receive transitional food assistance. This bill ensures low-income survivors and their families don’t have to go without food while they transition off of TANF.

Stipends for community members (2SSB 5793)  

Passed, effective 90 days after the end of session.

Impacted community members, including survivors, spend their valuable free time providing input, telling their stories, and publicly engaging in statewide efforts to create policy and systemic changes. Their participation is essential to creating equitable policies in our state. They tell their stories, provide invaluable information to organizations, and spend many hours sharing their expertise. This bill allows agencies to provide a stipend and allowance for child and adult care reimbursement, lodging, and travel expenses to individuals who are low income or have lived experience to support their participation. Agencies must work to minimize the impact of stipends and reimbursements on public assistance eligibility.

Legislation WSCADV Opposed

Making coercive control a crime (HB 1449)

Failed to pass.

This bill sought to establish the crime of coercive control as a gross misdemeanor. No one should have to endure coercive control in their relationship, but we were 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)

Failed to pass.

This bill would have required 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 had 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. 

Reforming state tax system (SB 5769) 

Failed to pass.

This bill sought to cut taxes, including getting rid of the Capital Gains Tax we fought for last session, without a promise or a plan to fund the things that would take a hit, like education and basic needs for Washingtonians. The Capital Gains Tax passed last year was the most equitable change to our tax code in the last 80 years. This bill would have been a huge blow to survivors and their families across Washington by further limiting resources that help them make safe choices.

Concerning Parenting Plans (SSB 5920) 

Failed to pass.

This bill  sought to increase the legal standard that parents must meet to change parenting plans  when custody restrictions were based upon a finding of drug, alcohol, or other substance abuse. Substance use is already a factor considered in parenting plan decisions. Many survivors use substances throughout the course of surviving abusive relationships or have struggled with substance use in the past. Our member programs consistently see these same survivors lose parenting time with their children when their substance use history are leveraged in court by their abusive partners. This would have imposed even greater barriers for survivors with substance use issues to parent their children.

Legislation WSCADV monitored

Standard for use of force by peace officers (SHB 1735)

Passed, effective immediately.

This bill expands peace officer authority to use physical force and modifies the requirement to exercise reasonable care, including de-escalation tactics. It also provides that the standard for use of physical force does not limit or restrict a peace officer’s authority or responsibility to perform lifesaving or community caretaking functions. It also provides that the standard for use of physical force does not prevent a peace officer from responding to requests for assistance or service.

Victims of human trafficking eligibility (HB 1748)

Passed, effective 1/1/2022.

This bill makes victims of human trafficking eligible for the Housing and Essential Needs (HEN) program and the Aged, Blind, or Disabled (ABD) program, and the Pregnant Women Assistance Program. This bill builds upon previous legislation that allows victims of human trafficking, and qualifying family members, to be eligible for various state-funded assistance programs.

Commercial sexual exploitation (SHB 1989) 

Failed to Pass.

This bill required the Department of Commerce to administer funding for healing and transition centers for commercially sexually exploited adults. These healing and trauma centers were required to enhance safety and prevent further exploitation rather than intervene, incorporate leadership from communities with unique risk factors for violence and exploitation in the commercial sex trade, meet core needs, provide long-term services, and offer skill training to increase options available, including an exit path. This bill also required the Department of Children, Youth, and Families to provide shelter and services within its receiving center programs for commercially sexually exploited youth up to 30 days. Law enforcement, the Department of Children, Youth and Families, juvenile courts, community service providers, a parent or guardian, and a child themselves may refer a child to receiving center services. A substitute version of this bill sought to add a definition of “commercial sexual exploitation of an adult”.

Physical use of force by peace officers (ESHB 2037)

Passed, effective immediately.

This bill authorizes law enforcement to use physical force to “the extent necessary” including immediate threat, to protect against a criminal offense with probable cause, to prevent a person from fleeing a temporary investigative detention (Terry stop), or to take a person into custody. Previous use of force bills explicitly called out approval of use of physical force when necessary to protect against a violent offense, a sex offense, or domestic violence when there is reasonable suspicion. This bill does not call out gender-based violence crimes in its definitions.

Cyberstalking and cyber harassment (ESSB 5628)

Passed, effective 90 days after the end of session.

This bill creates the crime of cyberstalking, while also renaming the crime of cyberstalking to “cyber harassment” and changes the elements of the crime. It also allows certain victims of cyber harassment to apply to the states’ confidentiality program.

Reentry and rehabilitation (2SHB 1818)

Passed, effective 90 days after the end of session.

This bill strengthens housing stability and options for any person who has recently been released from jail or prison. It allows the Department of Corrections (DOC) to provide housing vouchers for three to six months after a person’s release. It also eliminates supervision fees for people who have committed criminal offenses.

Restoration of firearm possession (ESB 5561)

Failed to pass.

This bill authorizes the court to restore firearm rights of a person convicted of a felony offense involving a firearm or finding of not guilty by reason of insanity, if ten years have passed without the person being charged with a new crime and the person proves they are sufficiently rehabilitated to warrant restoration.

Standard use of force by a police officer (ESHB 2037)

Passed, effective immediately.

This bill modifies the standard for use of physical force by a police officer to include the need to use reasonable care. It also defines “physical force” as any act reasonably likely to cause physical pain or injury or any act used to control or constrain a person. A police officer may only use deadly force against another person when necessary to protect against an imminent threat of serious physical injury or death to the officer or another person.