Greetings Catholic Advocate! As the 8th week of the 2019 Washington State Legislative Session draws to a close, we are less than a week from the important hurdle requiring bills to pass full votes in their house of origin in order to continue on the path to becoming law. Today we are encouraging you to contact your senators and representatives to improve mental health care for teens. Read more in the Social Justice section and TAKE ACTION!The WSCC continues to monitor, advocate, and defend on our priority issues. Be sure to keep an eye on our bill tracker!
March Madness: Shout out to Catholic State Champions!
The WSCC proudly supports Catholic Schools on policy matters, but we are also big fans of Catholic schools in other ways! Congrats to Tri-Cities Prep (2B Girls), O’Dea High School (3A Boys), and Gonzaga Prep (4A Boys) who were each crowned as State Basketball Champions last weekend!
March 8th is International Women’s Day
International Women’s Day honors the contributions of women and promotes equality in all aspects of society. In some of the world’s most violent and poverty-stricken places, Catholic Relief Services (CRS) upholds human dignity by empowering women to improve their lives, their families’ lives, and to heal communities. Read More.
On a related note, March is Women’s History Month. This year’s theme is:Visionary Women: Champions of Peace & Nonviolence, to honor women who have led efforts to end war, violence, and injustice, and have pioneered the use of nonviolence to change society. Among this year’s honorees is Sister Alice Zachmann, SSND. Sr. Alice is the founder and former Director of the Guatemala Human Rights Commission USA.
Update on Important Anti-Poverty Bills
Mental Health Care for Teens – HB 1874 / SB 5904 The bills would authorize mental health professionals to provide certain treatment information to a parent or guardian when they determine this would not be detrimental to the adolescent. Both bills require a full floor vote by Wednesday March 13, to move on to the opposite chamber.ACTION NEEDED – Please contact your state senator and representatives and urge them to bring SB 5904 and HB 1874 to a floor vote before the March 13 cutoff. TAKE ACTION
Homeless Seniors – SB 5839 brings Medicaid personal care to frail seniors and people with disabilities through a modest pilot project. The bill unanimously passed the Senate and is now before the House Human Services & Early Learning Committee.
Up for public hearing on March 12th in the House Education Committee, SB 5395 would require each public school in the state to adopt a “Comprehensive Sexual Education” (CSE) curriculum for grades K-12 by September 1, 2021. The WSCC opposes this bill because the planned approach does not include parent communities or school districts in determining the curriculum, the opt-out provided in the bill does not adequately inform non-English speaking families, and the bill fails to address complex moral issues tied to human sexuality.
UPDATED DATE AND TIME
Adjust your schedules! Friday, March 22 is the new date for the Lobby Day to End the Death Penalty, which will include a morning orientation followed by pre-scheduled meetings with your representatives regarding SB 5339 now before the House Public Safety Committee. Act fast to register and sign up for a carpool! Please register by March 18.
School Safety Legislation
Law Enforcement Emergency Notifications to Schools – SB 5514 This bill addresses the need for private schools and daycares to receive the same emergency communications that occur between first responders and public schools. If passed, situations requiring a lockdown and/or evacuation must be communicated to all known schools in the vicinity of an ongoing threat. The bill passed the Senate in a unanimous vote this week and has been sent to the House Committee on Public Safety.
Bills Introduced in Congress to Support Greater School Choice