TANF Resource Limits (HB 1831) - Eligibility for public assistance is determined by a combination of factors, including the resources or assets of an applicant, such as a personal car. HB 1831 authorizes the state to exempt one motor vehicle (other than a motor home) per applicant for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) from being counted as a personal asset if that vehicle is used for transportation. The current vehicle limit is $5,000. HB 1831 also exempts certain other resources. Without this legislation, some people who would otherwise qualify for TANF would be denied because the value of their car pushed them over the resource limit. It is expected to get a vote of the full House within the next few days.
Legal Financial Obligations (LFO) (HB 1783) - The bill helps people convicted of crimes get back on their feet after being incarcerated by eliminating the interest on most of the court-imposed debt and limiting the sanctions for those with an inability to pay. The Senate Law & Justice Committee will hear the LFO reform bill on Wednesday, February 7, at 10:00 am. Bishop Joseph Tyson of Yakima will be testifying in support of the bill.
Homeless Housing and Assistance (HB 1570) - This legislation makes the temporary Homeless Housing and Assistance surcharge permanent while increasing the surcharge from $40 to $90. Without extending the surcharge, thousands would likely become homeless. The bill is expected to be voted on soon by the full House.
Source of Income Discrimination (SB 5407) - SB 5407 prohibits a landlord from discriminating against applicants or tenants based on their source of income. After passing its policy committee, the bill will be heard by the Senate Ways & Means Committee on February 5 at 10:00 am.
Healthy Food Packaging (HB 2658) - Perfluorinated and polyfluorinated chemicals (PFAS) are used in food packaging such as microwave popcorn bags, sandwich wrap, and muffin papers. PFAS have been found to migrate into food. The Department of Ecology has identified PFAS as a toxic substance. The bill conditionally restricts the inclusion of PFAS in food packaging beginning in 2021. The House Environment Committee approved HB 2658 on February 1. The companion bill, SB 6396, passed the Senate Agriculture, Water, Natural Resources & Parks Committee on the same day. It will be heard today by the Senate Ways & Means Committee. Real Estate Excise Tax (REET) Exemption (HB 2444) - This measure provides a real estate excise tax exemption for the transfer of a qualified low-income housing development or controlling interest in a low-income housing development meeting specific criteria. The legislation is important for Catholic Housing projects who can use the funds for other program needs. The House Finance Committee voted on the bill on February 2. It was passed unanimously and is now before the House Rules Committee.