The 2024 Legislative Session Has Arrived!
This blog post was written by Nancy Lu, United Way of King County Systems Change & Public Policy Intern, and Amanda Sandoval, United Way Associate Director for Systems Change & Public Policy.
United Way of King County’s Systems Changes and Public Policy team is back in action at the State Capital for the third week of the 2024 legislative session. This year’s session is a short 60 days. During this window, our legislators will create new laws, change existing laws, and enact budgets on a wide variety of issues concerning Washingtonians, including housing, education, behavioral health, workforce, and public safety. The policy cutoff date by which all bills must pass a floor vote in their houses of origin is February 21, 2024.
United Way and our partners are taking the lead on two legislative priorities: Open Doors Barrier Reduction funding and Postsecondary Basic Needs funding. We are building on last year’s success with Open Doors’ 12-month funding pilot by requesting one year of barrier reduction funding. Barrier reduction funding is provided to eliminate students’ barriers to educational success and completion. These funds can be used for needs such as school supplies, transportation, food, clothing, and child care.
We are also continuing the work with the Post-secondary Basic Needs Coalition. The Coalition is seeking to increase state funding from a three-fourths time position to a full-time on-campus navigator at every public 2- and 4-year college to address basic needs barriers and support students’ pursuit of higher education. We are excited for the Coalition’s Lobby Day (February 1), where we’ll have a chance to show support for accessible on-campus navigation.
There are also two initiatives that would have significant funding implications and would impact communities that United Way and our partners care about.
Initiative Measure No. 2109 would repeal the capital gains tax, which has brought in close to $900 million in its first year alone. Those tax revenues are earmarked for K-12 education, early learning, child care, and school construction. If the proposed repeal is passed, it would create a $1 billion dollar state budget shortfall that would negatively impact Washington’s education and early learning systems.
There is also Initiative Measure No. 2117, which would repeal the Climate Commitment Act (carbon emission tax) which established Washington’s cap-and-invest carbon pricing system. If the proposed legislation is repealed, funding would be taken away from the new two-year capital-construction budget and funding that goes toward the state’s main operating budget, which funds an array of government services, from K-12 schools and the mental health system.
Get familiar with the rest of our board-approved 2024 state legislative agenda using this link! Click here to sign up for action alerts and keep up to date on public policy!