Washington State Catholic Conference Newsletter
  January 14, 2022  
  The 2022 Legislative Session  
  A New Legislative Session  
 

Happy New Year, and welcome to the 2022 state legislative session!  The session began on January 10 and will run for 60 days. There will be opportunities for you to sign in pro/con for legislation and to contact your legislators at critical moments as bills are being considered.  Reading this Catholic Advocacy Bulletin is the best way to be informed about how to advocate alongside the Washington State Catholic Conference (WSCC).  The bulletin will be published every Friday during the session. Thank you for joining the Washington bishops in advocating for the common good. 

Some useful links during the session:

Legislative Priorities of the Washington State Catholic Conference

Identify your district and legislators

Washington State Legislature - Information on bills, hearings, legislators, and more

Find bill information

WSCC website 

 
  Bills Requiring Your Action Now  
  Action Alerts: Sign in "Pro" or "Con" for the Following Bills  
 

Due to the pandemic, the legislative session is currently virtual.  Accordingly, you will have many opportunities to sign in "pro" or "con" for bills via the legislative website.  Your position will become part of the legislative record.  The bills in this section of the bulletin have hearings this upcoming week and include the opportunity to sign in.  Click on the links provided to make your position known. Thank you for your advocacy!

 
  Action Alert: Sign in "Pro" for the Renew Act  
 

Sign in "pro" for the Renew Act, Senate Bill 5697 (SB 5697).  Please sign in prior to the bill's hearing on Tuesday, January 18 at 10:30 AM. When signing in you may leave the "organization" box blank or write in "parishioner of --- Church."  The Renew Act addresses plastic that is filling landfills and polluting the marine environment.  The bill calls for modernizing Washington's recycling system, reducing waste, providing uniform recycling access to residents across the state, increasing recycling and reuse targets over time, and incentivizing companies to make product packaging more sustainable.  Additionally, producers of plastic will be held more accountable for the lifecycle of their products. The Renew Act will also result in 1,650 new green jobs.  In accordance with WSCC's care for God's creation legislative priority, the WSCC supports the Renew Act.

 
  Action Alert: Sign in "Pro" for Understanding the Needs of Farmworkers  
 

Sign in "pro" for House Bill 1847 (HB 1847), which aims to assess the needs of farmworkers in Washington state.  Please sign in prior to the bill's hearing on Friday, January 21 at 8 AM.  When signing in you may leave the "organization" box blank or write in "parishioner of --- Church."  Washington is one of the largest exporters of food and agricultural goods in the country, and farmworkers play a vital role.  HB 1847 establishes a study to assess the needs of farmworkers, focusing on health and safety in the workplace; wages, nonpayment, and wage theft; and preventing harassment and discrimination.  The study will inform future policy and assess current programs, policies, and statutes.  Related to the bishops' two legislative priorities of racial justice and the dignity of work and the rights of workers, the WSCC supports HB 1847.

 
  Assisted Suicide Bill Moves to the Senate  
 

Thank you to advocates who participated in our action alert this week and urged their House representatives to oppose House Bill 1141 (HB 1141), the expansion of assisted suicide. Unfortunately, HB 1141 did pass out of the House and is now in the Senate.  In 2008 Washington voters approved Initiative 1000, the Physician-Assisted Death Initiative, but only after being assured that certain "safeguards" would be in place. HB 1141 loosens safeguards, increasing access to physician-assisted suicide and accelerating the process.  The bill broadens the definition of a "qualified medical provider" who can make a diagnosis and prescribe lethal medication. Two physicians are no longer required to diagnose a patient.  HB 1141 also loosens the definition of those who can provide counseling; in lieu of a psychiatrist or psychologist, a social worker, mental health counselor, or psychiatric advanced nurse practitioner may determine if a patient is suffering from a psychiatric or psychological disorder or depression causing impaired judgement.  Additionally, this bill shortens the minimum amount of time from 15 days to just 72 hours that a patient is required to wait between making a request and receiving a prescription to terminate his or her life. The 72 hour wait time may even be waived if the "qualified medical provider" deems that a patient has less than 72 hours to live.  HB 1141 also permits assisted suicide prescriptions to be delivered via the mail. In accordance with the bishops' legislative priority to respect life, the WSCC opposes HB 1141.

 
  House Committee to Vote on Solitary Confinement Restriction Act  
 

Targeted Action Alert:  If one of your House representatives is a member of the House Committee on Public Safety, please urge your representative to pass House Bill 1756 (HB 1756), the Solitary Confinement Restriction Act. Identify your district and House representatives hereThe House Committee on Health Care and Wellness is scheduled to vote on HB 1756 on Thursday, January 20 at 1:30 PM.  Solitary confinement can have devastating and inhumane effects on incarcerated individuals.  Those placed in prolonged solitary confinement have higher rates of medical conditions, shorter life expectancy, and higher recidivism rates.  Solitary confinement is also disproportionately imposed on Black, indigenous, and Hispanic individuals.  The United Nations defines solitary confinement of 15 days or more as torture. HB 1756 limits the use of solitary confinement.  WSCC executive director, Mario Villanueva, testified in support of this bill this past week.  View his testimony here.  In accordance with the bishops' restorative justice legislative priority, the WSCC supports HB 1756.

 
  House Committee to Vote on the Dementia Action Collaborative  
 

Targeted Action Alert:  If one of your House representatives is a member of the House Committee on Health Care and Wellness, please urge your representative to pass House Bill 1646 (HB 1646) to continue the work of the Dementia Action Collaborative. Identify your district and House Representatives hereThe House Committee on Health Care and Wellness is scheduled to vote on HB 1646 on Wednesday, January 19 at 8 AM. By the year 2025, it is expected that there will be 140,000 Washingtonians living with Alzheimer's disease, or another form of dementia.  The Dementia Action Collaborative was first established in 2014, and HB 1646 ensures that its work continues.  The Dementia Action Collaborative will assess services and resources for persons with Alzheimer's disease and other dementias and their families and caregivers, examine strategies to rectify disparate effects on people of color, and develop a strategy for a state response to this public health crisis.  The Dementia Action Collaborative will also review and revise the Washington State Alzheimer's Plan.  Per the bishops' legislative priority of caring for the aging and those with disabilities, the WSCC supports HB 1646.

 
  House Committee to Vote on Endangered Missing Person Advisory Designation for Indigenous Persons  
 

Targeted Action Alert:  If one of your House representatives is a member of the House Committee on Public Safety, please urge your representative to pass House Bill 1725 (HB 1725), which creates an endangered missing person advisory designation for missing indigenous persons.  Identify your district and House representatives hereThe House Committee on Public Safety is scheduled to vote on HB 1725 on Thursday, January 20 at 1:30 PM.  Indigenous people experience disproportionate rates of violence in Washington state. To address the crisis of missing and murdered indigenous people, HB 1725 creates a special alert for missing indigenous women and persons.  This alert is akin to amber alerts designated for missing children.  In accordance with the legislative priority to respect the dignity of life, the WSCC supports HB 1725. 

 
  Program Eligibility for Victims of Human Trafficking  
 

Targeted Action Alert:  If one of your House representatives is a member of the House Committee on Housing, Human Services, and Veterans, please urge your representative to pass (HB 1748), which establishes program eligibility for victims of human trafficking.  Identify your district and House representatives hereThe House Committee on Public Safety is scheduled to vote on HB 1748 on Thursday, January 20 at 1:30 PM.  HB 1748 assists victims of human trafficking by establishing their eligibility for the Housing and Essential Needs (HEN) program and the Aged, Blind, or Disabled (ABD) program, which provides cash assistance to eligible individuals in need.  This bill is in line with the bishops' legislative priority of respecting the dignity of life of every human person, and the WSCC supports HB 1748.

 
  TANF Time Limit Extension  
 

Targeted Action Alert:  If one of your House representatives is a member of the House Committee Housing, Human Services, and Veterans, please urge your representative to pass House Bill 1755 (HB 1755), which extends the time limits of the Temporary Assistance for Needs Families (TANF) program. Identify your district and House Representatives hereThe House Committee on Housing, Human Services, and Veterans is scheduled to vote on HB 1755 on Thursday, January 20 at 1:30 PM.  TANF provides temporary cash assistance, subsidized childcare, and work programs for low-income families.  There is a five-year limit to TANF eligibility.  HB 1755 extends the time limits of this program to account for hardships experienced during the pandemic.  The extension goes into effect when the state unemployment rate is 7% or higher.  In accordance with the bishops' economic justice legislative priority, the WSCC supports HB 1755.

 
  Access and Representation for Individuals With Disabilities  
 

Targeted Action Alert:  If one of your House representatives is a member of the House Committee on State Government and Tribal Relations, please urge your representative to pass House Bill 1802 (HB 1802), which increases access and representation in policy-making for individuals with disabilities. Identify your district and House representatives hereThe House Committee on State Government and Tribal Relations is scheduled to vote on HB 1802 on Monday, January 17 at 1:30 PM.  The WSCC supports HB 1802, as it is in line with the bishops' legislative priority of caring for the aging and those with disabilities.

 
  Housing Opportunities for People with Disabling Conditions  
 

Targeted Action Alert:  If one of your House representatives is a member of the House Committee On Housing, Human Services, and Veterans, please urge your representative to pass House Bill 1724 (HB 1724), which creates a permanent supportive housing advisory committee that will provide advice, recommendations, stakeholder engagement, and oversight of resource coordination to bring high quality permanent supportive housing to scale for individuals with disabling conditions. Identify your district and House representatives hereThe House Committee on Housing, Human Services, and Veterans is scheduled to vote on HB 1724 on Thursday, January 20 at 1:30 PM. In line with the WSCC's legislative priorities of affordable housing and caring for the aging and those with disabilities, the WSCC supports HB 1724.

 
  WSCC Testifies Against the Discriminatory Use of Credit Scores for Insurance  
 

On January 11, WSCC executive director, Mario Villanueva, testified to oppose Senate Bill 5623 (SB 5623), which perpetuates the discriminatory use of credit scores for insurance for new applicants and during renewals. View his testimony here. Inequities are embedded in the use of credit scores for insurance, as they have a disproportionate negative impact on people of color and low income individuals. Mortgage payments are factored into credit scores, but on-time rent, cell phone, and utility payments are not factored into credit scores.  Only 46% of Black Americans and 50% of the Latino population own homes, as opposed to 75% of white Americans.  Consequently, relying on credit scores for determining insurance rates puts people of color and low income individuals at an unfair disadvantage.  Additionally, a lower credit score rating is not a clear indicator of risky driving behavior.  In accordance with WSCC's legislative priorities of racial justice and economic justice, the WSCC opposes SB 5623. 

 
  WSCC Testifies for Exemptions to Long-Term Care Program  
 

On January 13 WSCC executive director, Mario Villanueva, testified at the committee hearing for House Bill 1733 (HB 1733), which provides exemptions to the Long-Term Services and Support Trust Program.  View Mario's testimony here.  The WSCC proposed that diocesan priests be exempt from the long-term care tax, as the three dioceses in the state all provide long-term care for their priests.  The WSCC supports amending HB 1733 to include exemptions for priests in Washington's dioceses.

 
  Year-Round Advocacy and Catholic Advocacy Day Retirement  
 

The Washington State Catholic Conference and Catholic advocacy partners are working to grow a year-round, statewide legislative and policy advocacy network.  Advocacy resources and more on this plan may be found here

As the WSCC and its advocacy partners grow year-round efforts, we are retiring the Catholic Advocacy Day (CAD) model.  Read more about this here.  At the same time, the WSCC will continue to guide the faithful during the state legislative session.  Be sure to check this Catholic Advocacy Bulletin weekly during the session, as we will provide specific directions on advocating for and against bills of importance to Catholics.

 
   
 

Registration is now open for the Eastern Washington Legislative Conference

 
  From The US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB)  
  Catholic Social Ministry Gathering  
 

Sign up now to attend the virtual Catholic Social Ministry Gathering! You will have the opportunity to pray, learn, and advocate for communities of justice where all can thrive. 

 
  Supreme Court Hears Abortion Case  
 

On December 1 the US Supreme Court heard oral arguments for Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health.  The Court will decide if pre-viability bans on abortions are unconstitutional.  In doing so, the Supreme Court will consider the correctness of its previous rulings in Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which severely limit the ability of states to protect their interests in unborn life and maternal health. A decision is expected to be issued this summer.  The US Conference of Catholic Bishops urges prayer for the Dobbs case.  Resources and further information about the case may be found here.  Additionally, Archbishop William E. Lori, chair of the USCCB Committee on Pro-Life Activities, issued this statement.

 
  Important Dates  
 
January Poverty Awareness Month 
JanuaryNational Human Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month
January 19Nine Days for Life Novena begins
January 22 

Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children,

National Prayer Vigil for Life,

Archdiocese of Seattle Mass for Life: St. James Cathedral at 8 AM

January 22Eastern Washington Legislative Conference
January 23

Diocese of Spokane Mass for Life at the Cathedral of Our Lady of 

Lourdes at 11 AM.  Walk for Life NW to follow at noon at Riverfront Park.

January 30Catholic Schools Week begins 

WSCC Staff

We invite you to contact us at any time.

Mario Villanueva, Executive Director 

mario.villanueva@wacatholics.org

Adrienne Corpuz Joyce, Director of Policy and Communications     

adrienne.joyce@wacatholics.org

Tracey Wilson Yackley, Operations Manager

tracey.yackley@wacatholics.org

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