What Communities of Color are Pushing for in Olympia this Legislative Session

This year in Washington State, more legislators of color were sworn in on Monday than ever before! Black and Brown communities are entering this legislative session more organized and more powerful than ever.

Washington Community Alliance is getting to work! Sign up for our legislative newsletter The Tally to keep up with the action. This is what we’re focusing on this legislative session:

The Big Five

️1. Local Options to Strengthen Democracy (HB 1156)

We need to get rid of the racist ban on ranked-choice voting. Our current voting system prevents multiple candidates of color from running and appealing to the same communities, while giving a free pass to racist politicians who can get away with demonizing Black and Brown communities if they represent a minority of voters. By passing the Local Options Bill for ranked-choice voting, we’ll strengthen one of the safest and most secure voting systems in the country.

2. Community Oversight for Police Accountability (HB 1203)

This bill dropped on Wednesday and represents the largest shift in power away from the police toward the community. It would create a statewide standard for community oversight boards, which would have the power to select candidates for police chief, investigate misconduct, and create other accountability mechanisms. Having already garnered national attention, it is the flagship bill for the police reform task force this legislative session.

3. Unemployment Insurance for Undocumented Workers

Even though undocumented immigrants pay into our unemployment insurance program, they’re banned from accessing it — even now during record high lay-offs from the pandemic. This bill would right that injustice, and is part of a broader legislative agenda that also includes healthcare access for undocumented immigrants and closing the Northwest Detention Center.

4. Healthy Environment for All (HEAL) Act (SB 5489)

After a summer where the sky literally turned red, we know tackling climate change through environmental justice is critical. It’s part of an ambitious agenda to get us to a Resilient Future quickly. The agenda is supported by local Sunrise Movement chapters and is part of FutureWise’s #WACantWait campaign on reforming the Growth Management Act.

5. Progressive Revenue

Washington state has the most upside down tax code in the country. Working-class Black and Brown people pay more in taxes than the white billionaires in our state. To address the most pressing issues facing our communities and provide economic relief brought on by the pandemic, we need to pass a suite of progressive tax policies. There are several awesome bills this session:

  • Working Families Tax Credit (HB 1297/SB 5387)

It’s a positive sign that a new crop of progressive legislators are ratcheting up the pressure and Governor Inslee proposed a capital gains tax on the top 2% of income earners Washingtonians.

  • Community: Balance Our Tax Code

Join Us!

Sign up for our legislative newsletter The Tally to stay up to date as the bills move through the session and take action with us.

We are organizations led by and working in communities of color. We advocate for the unique needs of our communities.

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