Advocacy Updates and Actions You Can Take

Quick Links to: State Actions

Quick Links to: Federal Actions


WA 2018 Legislative Session:

Legislative Session began January 8th 2018 and ended March 8th 2018:


And….It’s a Wrap!
What an incredible 2018 State Legislative Session!
There is so much to celebrate this year as the session ended on Thursday March 8th.
Bills we were watching and supporting that passed:
HB1508: Breakfast After the Bell
HB 2610: Hunger-Free Student’s Bill of Rights bans stigmatization of kids with outstanding school lunch bills and strives to instead connect students and families to free and reduced priced lunch programs.
HB1570: Housing and Homelessness support via document recording fee. This bill eliminated the sunset of the current rate of this fee, and increased the fee to $60 from $50. This is the single largest source of funding for housing and homelessness prevention in the state.
HB2578: Bans source of income discrimination on the part of landlords screening potential tenants.
HB 1831: Raised asset limits under TANF. Vehicle asset limits are raised to $10,000 and additional assets limits increased to $6000 for folks applying for TANF
HB1298: The Fair Chance Act bans the box on employment applications that asks if the candidate has ever had a conviction.
For more to celebrate on housing issues from this session, check out our friends at WA Low Income Housing Alliance, here.
Some items to keep an eye on for next year:
Food Waste Reduction Bill
Elimination of school lunch reduced-price co-pays


Week5 (Feb 5th-Feb11th):

With Hunger Action Day and the first cut off deadline this week it has been busy! 
Hunger Action Day brought 120+ anti-hunger advocates to the capitol to celebrate the long awaited passing of Breakfast After the Bell, and speak out about a whole range of additional issues. Some of these included:
  • Eliminating reduced price lunch co-pays
  • Anti-shaming legislation for overdue school lunch accounts
  • Funding for housing and homelessness through document recording fees
  • Banning source of income discrimination by landlords
  • Increasing asset limits for folks applying for TANF
Following this great start to the week, we saw many of the bills we have been watching successfully pass out of their house of origin!

ESHB1570 Concerning Housing and Homelessness - passed out of the House on 2/7, and has now been referred to the Senate Human Services and Corrections Committee
HB2578 seeks to ban landlords from discriminating based on source of income - passed out of the House 2/9, and has now been referred to the Senate Committee on Financial Institutions and Insurance.
HB1298 the Fair Chance Act eliminates the use of convictions as a first filter in screening job applicants - passed the House 2/7, and has now been referred to the Senate Labor and Commerce Committee.
HB1831 concerns asset limits for applicants seeking assistance through TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) - passed out of the House 2/7, and has been referred to the Senate Human Services and Corrections Committee.
HB2610 is a Hunger Free Students' bill of rights act is an anti-shaming bill that would protect kids whose lunch meal accounts are behind in payment from being called out in any way - this passed out of House Appropriations on 2/6.

Week4 (Jan29-Feb4th):

This is turning into a week to celebrate! After 5 years of tireless advocacy, Breakfast After the Bell legislation has passed! This will ensure that high need schools make breakfast more readily available to students by offering breakfast after the school day has officially started. HB1508, the vehicle through which this has now passed both houses, also increases provisions for another beloved program, Farm to School/Small Farms Direct Marketing. We couldn't be more thrilled for this victory!

HB1508 Kids Ready to Learn passed out of the Senate 43-5 on Jan 31st.

Of interest may also be HB2411 regarding Food Waste Reduction to fight hunger and environmental impact. This bill looks to reduce food waste by 50% by 2030, based on 2017 levels of estimated food waste in WA. The ties between food waste and environmental impact have been of growing interest to our coalition members, and growing partnerships have been occurring between local county waste management offices and hunger relief agencies to this end. HB2411 was passed out of the House Committee on the Environment on Jan 30th.

Week3 (Jan22-28th):

HB1508 Kids Ready to Learn  had a public hearing on  Wednesday Jan 24th, and was passed out of the Senate Ways and Means Jan 25th.

HB2712 which would eliminate lunch co-pays for children from kindergarten through 12th grade who qualify for reduced price school meals had a hearing on Wednesday Jan 24th in the House Appropriations Committee.

SB6003 Breakfast After the Bell was referred to the House Education Committee on Jan 23rd.

ESHB1570 Concerning Housing and Homelessness, was passed out of the House Appropriations Committee on Jan 22nd.

Week 2 (Jan15-21st):

We had a great start to session last week with HB1508 Kids Ready to Learn passing out of the House, and a hearing on SB6003 Breakfast After the Bell

HB1508 Kids Ready to Learn has now been referred to Senate Committee on Ways and Means. The next scheduled hearing on this bill is currently set to be January 24th at 3:30pm in the Senate Ways and Means Committee. For more info on this bill, or to see fiscal notes, history and amendments, click here.

SB6003 Breakfast After the Bell has passed out of the Senate Committee on Early Learning and K-12 Education, was passed to the Rules Committee, and is now ready to be scheduled for a second reading on the Senate floor. For more info on this bill, click here.

This week there is a lot happening around Housing and Homelessness with several hearings on housing related bills.

One bill that we were following a bit last year is back: ESHB1570 - concerning document recording fees, which provide the largest source of funding for homelessness programs in the state. This bill would increase document recording fees and eliminate the sunset clause for the increased fee. Hearing - Jan 17th, 3:30 in the House Appropriations Committee

If you want to weigh in on housing and homelessness issues, the folks at Washington Low Income Housing Alliance (WLIHA) are coordinating sign in support. If you want to support their legislative agenda in full, you can review and sign yourself and/or your organization to their 2018 legislative agenda here.


Week 1 (Jan 8-14th): 

There are two bills that are on the table currently that include Breakfast After the Bell (HB 1508 and SB 6003). HB 1508 has been carried over from the 2017 legislative session and includes funding for Farm to School/Small Farm Direct Marketing. 

House Bill 1508 Kids Ready to Learn will be on the House floor for a vote Wed Jan 10th. 

A few things that you can attend, watch or weigh in on this week:

House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee: Work Session presentation on - Farmers markets, farm direct marketing, and farm viability - Wednesday Jan 10th, 8am - House Hearing Rm B, John L O'Brien bldg, Olympia.

Senate Early Learning and k-12 Education Committee: Public Hearing on SB 6003 - Thursday Jan 11th, 1:30pm, Senate Hearing Rm 1, Cherberg bldg, Olympia.

If you wish you weigh in or be signed in support of this Breakfast After the Bell bill, for this hearing, contact Lauren McGowen ( by noon on Thursday the 11th of January. 

This hearing will also be publicized via TVW (


On the Federal Front:


For some resources on the value of SNAP to people that need it, to our local economies and our communities, see these resources from our partners at FRAC:
What you can Do:
Congress is home on recess right now…This is a great time for them to hear from you, their constituents speaking up for the communities they are elected to represent.
What we would like to see: a real effort to strengthen SNAP by increasing the benefit rate based on the "low cost" food plan as opposed to the "thrifty" food plan as described by USDA, among other things. This would increase the ability of food stamp recipients to purchase healthier food. A great example of what strengthening SNAP and its positive impacts could look like is contained in HR1276 Closing the Meal Gap Act, a marker bill that you can urge (or thank) your lawmakers for signing in support of.




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