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Thursday May 23, 2019
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May 3, 2019  
     
  2019 Legislative Recap  
 

On the final day of the 2019 Legislative Session, lawmakers passed Washington state's biennial budget and adjourned just before the stroke of midnight.  For the WSCC, this session was marked by extensive grassroots activity by the Catholic Advocacy Network.  These efforts included a successful Catholic Advocacy Day, the first Catholic Schools Day, a great turnout from parishes and schools at the annual March for Life, and impactful outreach to lawmakers via the WSCC's Action Alerts. The WSCC team would like to sincerely thank you for all your efforts during the Legislative session.  Each effort has made a difference to ensure that the Catholic voice is heard in Olympia.  There is certainly more work to be done to support policies that promote the common good.  We believe that many hands make light work.  Please consider forwarding this Advocacy Bulletin to other Catholics.  They can register to receive our Advocacy Bulletin, Action Alerts, and special bulletins at WACatholics.org/joinThis week's Advocacy Bulletin revisits the various bills covered by the WSCC over the 105-day session.  Many of the bills which passed both houses of the legislature are still awaiting action by the Governor.   We encourage you to consult our Bill Tracker for real-time updates!
 
Next Friday, our network will receive a special bulletin about the 2019 Cornerstone Catholic Conference (October 18th and 19th at the Greater Tacoma Convention Center).  This announcement will include a full listing of speakers and workshops, as well as links to register now!  We hope to see you all there in October!God Bless,The WSCC Team

 
  Life and Liberty  
  Repeal of State's Death Penalty Fails  
  The bill to repeal the death penalty (SB 5339) did not receive a vote by the House of Representatives and has been sent back to the Senate Rules Committee.  This means that, during the 2020 session, the bill will need to receive another vote by the Senate before beginning the committee process again in the House.  The WSCC's legislative efforts to repeal the death penalty will resume in January.   
  Lawmakers Pass Human Remains Bill, Awaits Governor's Action  
  SB 5001 legalizes two new technologies for treatment of human bodies after death, in particular, alkaline hydrolysis and "recomposition" (which accelerates decomposition in a composting method). The WSCC opposed this legislation because these emerging technologies do not show sufficient respect for the human body. Having passed the legislature, the bill awaits action by the Governor.  
  Respect Life Bills Fail to Gain Traction  
  Early in the session, several bills to protect the lives of the unborn and respect the rights of parents were introduced.  Unfortunately, none of these bills were granted a public hearing: Parental Notification (SB 5185); Washington Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (HB 1526); Prohibition on Certain Types of Abortions (HB 1560); and Regulation of Abortion Facilities (SB 5721).   
  Social Justice  
     
 
Attendees at this year's Catholic Advocacy Day witness the lawmaking process from the gallery.
 
  Operating Budget  
  The 2019-2021 operating budget, HB 1109, includes $14.5 million in increased funding for Housing and Essential Needs (HEN) - a vital program for preventing homelessness.  Also, $155 million has been allocated for new K-12 special-education funding over the next two years.  Finally, the WSCC is pleased that a pilot project to bring Medicaid personal care to homeless seniors and people with disabilities has received funding.  The operating budget has been delivered to the Governor and awaits his action.  
  Capital Budget  
  The 2019-2021 capital budget, HB 1102, contains $175 million for the Housing Trust Fund, which will enable organizations like Catholic Charities agencies to build more affordable housing. The capital budget also awaits action by the Governor.  
  Mental Health  
  Expanding Mental Health Care for Teens - HB 1874 authorizes mental health professionals to provide certain treatment information to a parent or guardian when they determine this would not be detrimental to the adolescent. The bill has passed the legislature and has been delivered to the Governor.
 
Increasing Peer Services - SB 5055 directs the Health Care Authority to continue developing a peer support program for individuals with substance use disorder. The bill did not receive a vote by the Senate and is now dormant until 2020.
 
Comprehensive Behavioral Health - Proposed by the Governor, SB 5432restructures the provision of key behavioral health programs in the state. The bill awaits action by the Governor.Children's Mental Health - SB 5903 requires Educational Service Districts to coordinate behavioral health efforts for school districts. The bill has been delivered to the Governor.
 
  Anti-Poverty  
  Religious Organizations Providing Affordable Housing - HB 1377 requires certain cities and counties engaged in comprehensive planning to allow an increased density bonus for certain affordable housing development on property owned or controlled by a religious organization. The Governor has signed the bill and it will become effective on July 28.Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF)/WorkFirst provides assistance to low-income families to help them meet their basic needs. HB 1603 rolls back harmful cuts to TANF/WorkFirst. This has been delivered to the Governor.
 
H-2A Agricultural Workers - This visa category allows employers to temporarily hire foreign workers when there is a lack of qualified U.S. workers. The WSCC supported SB 5438 which provides state funds until the federal government fully funds this program. It is on the Governor's desk.
 
  Education  
     
 
Catholic school students from across the state stop for a photo op with the Lieutenant Governor.School Safety Notifications - The WSCC is proud that SB 5514 has become the law - it will take effect on July 28, 2019. The bill provides for emergency notifications to public and private schools from first responders during events that would otherwise call for lockdowns or evacuations. School Safety Centers - HB 1216 seeks to create a formalized network of regional and statewide "safety centers" that will work to implement best practices in emergency planning and response across the state. The bill has been delivered to the Governor.
 
Comprehensive Sex Education - SB 5395 would have required each public school in the state to adopt a "Comprehensive Sexual Education" (CSE) curriculum for grades K-12 by September of 2021.  While the bill failed, the operating budget includes language that directs the state superintendent to develop a "work group" to evaluate existing sex education curricula in the state and to consider the "merits and challenges associated with requiring all public schools to offer comprehensive sexual health education to students in all grades by September 2022." 
 
It is safe to say that the effort to require CSE curricula will continue in the next session.  The WSCC stands ready to advocate on behalf of parents and local communities, who stand to lose decision making power should the state mandate such a practice.
 
  Upcoming Events  
  Walking + Witnessing for Migrant Families - April 29 to May 11
 
Catholic Immigration Summit, Seattle - June 8
 
Cornerstone Catholic Conference, Tacoma - October 18-19, 2019
Did a relative or friend forward the WSCC Catholic Advocacy Bulletin to you? Sign up for your own free subscription here.Click here to view WSCC bulletins on our website.
 

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