School has been back in session for a few months and the end of the year is near. What are the things you’ve noticed as a caregiver that our lawmakers could address in Washington State’s upcoming legislative session?
WHAT'S HAPPENING IN OLYMPIA?
The 2024 Washington State legislative session begins in January. We have the opportunity to remind our lawmakers that the one-of-a-kind care infrastructure that we have in Washington State needs to be accessible to as many people as it can for many years to come and to make sure we don’t allow book bans in our communities and schools.
Let’s rally to show that we want our lawmakers to strengthen Washington State’s care infrastructure and that we don’t want book bans in our state. We have several weeks before the legislative session begins. It’s now time to let our lawmakers know we want them to continue to focus on investing in early learning and child care, stop book bans by extremists, remove age restrictions on the Working Families Tax Credit, and make paid leave more accessible to families.
- Continue investing in Early Learning and Child Care: Expand infant and early childhood mental health consultation slots, increase the non-traditional hours bonus, expand WCCC eligibility for newly adopted or guardianship families, and increase the reimbursement rate for infant care.
- Ban Book Bans: Stop book bans by extremists. We are outraged and horrified by the work of extremists to ban books that center: lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex, asexual, and the continuously expanding and new understanding of gender and sexual identities; and stories from People of the Global Majority1 in our local schools and public libraries.
- Remove age restrictions in the Working Families Tax Credit (HB 1075/SB 5249): Remove age restrictions on the WFTC and allow anyone over the age of 18 who earns less than $22,000 a year to receive the tax credit.
- Make paid leave more accessible to families: Expand the family member definition in paid sick leave to match that in paid family and medical leave and include chosen family. Further, paid sick days need to be expanded to cover extreme weather events — like snow storms or extreme heat - when schools close and workers cannot leave their children home alone. We can also improve families’ experience with the state’s paid family and medical leave system by improving the medical certification process for patients by requiring a timely turnaround process from health care institutions.
We know that we have one of the most robust care infrastructures in the nation (thanks to people like you advocating and organizing in our communities!), but it’s not perfect. The care infrastructure in Washington State needs to be accessible to as many people as it can for many years to come and our state needs to make sure we don’t allow book bans in our communities and schools.
As we have done in years past, let’s advocate for greater representation from our community at the policy table, and make sure our lawmakers know what our communities need! Take action now!