2018 Washington State Legislative Priorities

During and between each state legislative session, Columbia Legal Services works on behalf of our client communities to ensure they have access to justice and fight for policies and funding that positively impacts their lives. In many cases, we take leadership roles in advocating for bills, while at other times, we work closely with allies and within coalitions. We also play defense in working to block proposals that threaten our communities.

In 2018, we stand with families, workers, and consumers to urge legislators to protect low-income Washingtonians and create opportunities for them to thrive. This has been a very exceptional year for the communities we serve with the passing of several bills.

Protect adults, families, and children facing poverty

  • The Washington Voting Rights Act (SB 6002), will help local jurisdictions better ensure that their election system provides full and equal access of all Washington voters to our democracy. This bill allows Washingtonians to seek a change in their voting system if the current system denies an equal opportunity to elect candidates of their choice. Read More
  • We move towards modernizing an outdated personal property limits to help more families qualify for safety net program. This bill (ESSHB 1831) allows applicants for public assistance programs to own a vehicle worth up to $10,000. This is a reasonable increase from the current $5,000 limit which hasn’t changed since the mid-1990s. Read More
  • HB 1239 will help individuals with disabilities get access to their medical records. The bill allows individuals appealing a Social Security disability benefits decision to order one free copy of their medical record. Read More
  • Protecting youth in the justice system, SB 6160 will significantly limit the number of youth who can be transferred into adult court but other concerns remain. Read More
  • HB 1783 helps address Washington State’s broken system for imposing and collecting legal financial obligations (LFOs) from people too poor to pay. Read More
  • Expansion of Extended Foster Care Eligibility (SB 6222) allows foster youth ages 18 to 21 years old access to needed support to help them become successful adults. Read More

Protect low-income workers

  • A pesticide application safety work group was created to shield farm workers and other community members from being exposed to pesticides without notice (SB 6529). The group is charged with reviewing data to help develop strategies to make pesticide application safer. Read More

Protect low-income consumers

  • SB 6273 will change how hospitals must notify patients of the availability of financial assistance through charity care. Read More
  • Borrowers who struggle to pay student loan debt can continue to pursue their dreams of education with the signing of the Student Opportunity, Assistance, and Relief (SOAR) Act (HB 1169). Read More
  • HB 2057 creates important new protections for low-income consumers, senior homeowners, and communities facing foreclosure. Read More

Contact Antonio Ginatta, CLS Policy Director, with any questions or suggestions about our 2018 Legislative Priorities: antonio.ginatta@columbialegal.org