King County Democrats 2016 Legislative Agenda

11/24/15 Rev. 2.0 (PDF)

  1. Revenue & Tax Reform:
    • Progressive new revenue, including capital gains tax, to fulfill the state’s paramount duty to amply fund Basic Education in compliance with the McCleary decision (Budget)
    • Close corporate tax exemptions that lack accountable performance objectives and results
    • Require the Legislature to adopt a Tax Expenditure Budget (HB1239/SB5492)
    • Support Washington Investment Trust (i.e., state bank) (SB5553)
  2. Education:

    • Increase school construction funding as required by McCleary (Capital Budget)
    • Eliminate high stakes testing as a high school graduation requirement; reduce required testing to the minimum required by federal law
    • Restore a fair and accessible nonprofit GED test (SB5676;HB1743)
    • Significantly increase the state’s share of higher education costs
    • Support free tuition for two years of public college and technical school (Budget)
  3. Election Reform:

    • Support I-735 requesting the legislature to ask Congress to amend the U.S. Constitution to affirm that corporations are not people and money is not speech
    • Require campaign disclosure of “dark money” spending by nonprofits (SB5153)
    • Automatically register U.S. citizens to vote when they apply for a driver’s license or ID
  4. Environment:

    • Support the introduction of a meaningful price on carbon in WA State
    • Defend renewable energy standards & solar production initiatives
  5. Labor:

    • Raise the minimum wage statewide towards a goal of a living wage (HB 1355/SB5285)
    • Provide paid sick leave for workers statewide (HB1356)
    • Pass wage theft bills ( e.g., HB1354/SB5569)
  6. Housing and Human Services:

    • Increase the social safety net, especially for homeless children and families
    • Increase low-income housing in the capital budget
    • Reform and effectively fund the public mental health delivery system with a focus on preventive and supportive services (study bill)
    • Pass the Fair Tenant Screening Act—accurate, portable background checks (HB1257, SB5123)
    • Disallow rental discrimination based on Sec. 8, government or other sources of income (HB1565, SB5378)
    • Restore local authority over the ability to regulate rents
  7. Criminal Justice:

    • Pass criminal and juvenile justice reform, including Legal Financial Obligations (HB1390), Certificates of Restoration (HB1553), Ban the Box (HB1701) and Racial Impact Statements (SB5752)
    • Re-institute parole and support ex-prisoner re-entry programs
    • Pass a workable medical cannabis regulation that respects the needs of patients
    • Repeal the death penalty (HB1739/SB5639)
  8. Health Care:

    • Pass the Reproductive Health Act
    • Oppose parental notification requirements for reproductive health services (SB5289)
    • Support health care for all Washingtonians by 2020 (HB 1025/SB 5132 and HB 1321/SB5305)

November LAC Meeting and 2016 Legislative Agenda

If you want to participate in forming the 2016 King County Legislative Action Committee Legislative Agenda, please plan on coming to our next meeting Sunday November 15, 2 to 4 p.m. at the Maple Valley Library, 21844 SE 248th St., Maple Valley.

Go here for directions and a map.

Our speaker is 47th District Rep. Pat Sullivan, Majority Leader of the House Democrats. Pat will comment on the 2015 session and the challenges for the 2016 session. Our program is a free-form dialog, an unusual opportunity to go deep on policy issues with a legislator.

Majority Leader Sullivan’s conversation will set the stage for our second hour, where we will shape our 2016 Legislative Agenda. We updated our 2015 agenda (see attachment) and brainstormed at our October meeting (see notes). If we can complete this work in November, it will be voted by the KCDCC at our November 24th meeting. Otherwise, it will be finalized by the LAC December 13th and confirmed by the KCDCC January 26th. The short legislative session starts January 11th and ends March 10th, 2016.

Good advocacy practice limits the Legislative Agenda to one page. It’s a handout for legislators. Only issues that will be viable in this short session will be considered. Since legislatures (like Congress) last two years, bills from last session are still viable. Budget items and tax reform are likely to be overshadowed by solving McCleary education funding.

Each LD should send at least one delegate. Finalizing our Legislative Agenda is the only time this committee votes. All Democrats are welcome, but only an official representative can vote.

Of course, as Democrats, we have many other issues. If you want to promote something that doesn’t fit in this agenda, please consider joining your LD or King County Platform Committee. Your LD Chair appoints one King County Platform Committee member. The committee starts meeting weekly about February 1st and finishes about March 31st, in time for a draft platform to be available to the March 26th Precinct Caucuses.

You can review here the current King County Democrats Platform and the latest draft agenda

King County Democrats 2015 Legislative Agenda Status Update

  1. Revenue & Tax Reform:
    • Pass a capital gains tax on the wealthy to raise additional revenue to fund Basic Education and meet McCleary obligations (Budget—No bill #)
    • Close corporate tax exemptions that lack accountable performance objectives and results in terms of living-wage jobs and other measurable community benefits
    • Require the Legislature to adopt a Tax Expenditure Budget as part of the state biennial budget appropriations process (HB1249/SB5492)
  2. Transportation:
    • Authorize sustainable local, regional and state funding for transit (HB1180, etc.) (Done)
    • Move people and freight safely and efficiently while minimizing carbon pollution (SB5087) (Part done—move to Environment)
  3. Election Reform:
    • Send a resolution to Congress calling for a constitutional amendment that corporations are not people and money is not speech (Senate Joint Memorial 8002) (Replaced by I-735)
    • Require campaign disclosure of “dark money” spending by nonprofits (SB5153)
  4. Education:
    • Fully fund K-12 Basic Education consistent with the McCleary order (Budget)
    • Restore 70% state share of higher ed funding (2002) vs. students’ share 30%
    • Support school construction in the state capital budget (Budget)
    • Support funding for two free years of college or technical school (Budget)
  5. Environment:
    • Pass a carbon pollution cap and trade system to make polluters pay (HB 1314/SB5083)
    • Pass the Oil Transportation Safety Act (HB 1449/SB5087)
  6. Labor:
    • Pass a capital budget focused on repairing infrastructure to create jobs (Budget) (Done)
    • Raise the minimum wage statewide towards a goal of a living wage (HB 1355/SB5285)
    • Provide paid sick leave for workers statewide (HB1356)
    • Pass wage theft bills (HB1354/SB5569) (Also SB 5566, 5567, 5568, 5569)
  7. Housing and Human Services:
    • Maintain Increase the social safety net: Homeless, hungry, sick children can’t learn. (Budget, HB1295/SB5437, etc.)
    • Fund Increase low-income housing in the capital budget, at least $100 million recommended (Capital budget)
    • Create a Medicaid Supportive Housing Services benefit (Done)
  8. Criminal Justice:
    • Pass sentencing reform and juvenile justice reform (HB1481/SB5564) (HB1553)
    • Pass a workable medical cannabis regulation that respects the needs of patients.(SB5572)
    • Repeal the death penalty (HB1739/SB5639)
  9. Reproductive Rights:
    • Pass the Reproductive Health Act
    • Oppose parental notification requirements for reproductive health services (SB5289)

Legislative Action Report — April 17, 2015

Reminder: the LAC meets this Sunday, April 19, 2 to 4 p.m. at the Delridge Library, 5423 Delridge Way SW. We are looking forward to hearing from Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles (36th), especially about the compromise marijuana bill that passed, and from Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon (34th), Chair of House Environment and on the House Transportation Committee.

We’ll have a Bill Tracker update next week, reflecting cutoff for floor action for the two houses. What remains, of course, is agreement between the House and the Senate on the three budgets: the General Fund, the Capital (construction) Budget, and the transportation package. There is a good amount of agreement on the Capital Budget, with the Senate funding the Housing Trust Fund at $65 million and the House at $80 million. Please ask your legislators to go for $80 million for the Housing Trust Fund, to make up for $0 last year and only one earmarked project to King County the year before.

I’ve drawn on some of our wisest analysts to give you an overview of what’s going on behind closed doors in Olympia. Read on.

Continue reading

Legislative Action Report — April 6, 2015

Tuesday, April 7th is the deadline for fiscal bills to move out of committee. You will find our Bill Tracker here. Among our bills that died at the policy cutoff are Breakfast after the Bell, Paid Sick Leave, Equity in Contraceptive Care and Small Consumer Installment Loans. The Washington Voting Rights Act survives.

After long hearings Thursday and Friday, the Senate postponed its vote on its General Fund budget until Monday, when it passed 26-23, a straight party-line vote. Our best resource for budget analysis is the Washington Budget and Policy Center. Their analysis of the two budgets is here.

Democrats complained that the Senate no-new-taxes budget skims funds from local governments, infrastructure and many other sources, underfunds negotiated state employees’ contract increases by half, fails to address McCleary local levy deficits, cuts mental health and fails to restore TANF cuts and much of the $12 billion in cuts to the post-2010 recession budgets. Although the House and the Senate were nearly in agreement about K-12 (spending $1.3 Billion in Senate), their approaches to higher education funding were wildly different, with the Senate cutting tuition by some 25% (but not in community colleges), while the House stepped up the number of need grants funded, helping lower-income recipients more.

Still to come: the House Transportation and the House and Senate Capital budgets. Given the differences in the budget approaches, the go-home date of April 26 is increasingly in doubt.

Continue reading