Washington state’s 2022 Legislative Session ended on March 10 with very little action taken on our priority bills, but BIG investments that will have a meaningful impact for low-income Washingtonians.
In the final two weeks of the session, advocates sent over 200 emails to lawmakers urging them to use the state’s budget surplus to protect working families. This month, the legislature voted to:
- Double the Aged, Blind, or Disabled (ABD) cash grant from $197 to $417 per month starting September 2022
- Keep the current COVID time-limit extensions for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program through June 2023
- Add $100 per month to the TANF cash grant to help with the cost of diapers for families with children under three starting in November 2023
- Fund community-based outreach and language access for the Working Families Tax Credit (WFTC) so every eligible family can get this credit starting next year
- Increase dental coverage for kids insured through Apple Health ($21 million)
- Bolster healthcare coverage for undocumented Washingtonians ($4.2 million)
- Provide additional refugee support services ($72 million)
- Add funding for a study of the racial wealth gap in Washington for a baby bond program ($450,000)
- Fund an “Integrated Eligibility System” to simplify applying for state benefits ($19 million)
Read Statewide Poverty Action Network’s final budget analysis to learn more, then tell your lawmakers what you’re happy to see in the budget and what action you want to see next session!
This session, we looked to our lawmakers for bold action on policies that would protect working families hit hardest by the pandemic and decades of harmful, racist policies in our state’s safety net.
However, what we hoped lawmakers would accomplish this year – boosting direct cash assistance, expanding dental access, and strengthening police accountability – stalled.
We’ll continue our advocacy with those in office and candidates running in this year’s elections to fight for strong policies that protect working families and build equity for communities of color:
- Increased direct cash assistance through TANF and Guaranteed Basic Income (GBI) programs
- Expansion of dental therapy for health equity
- Stronger police accountability measures
- A tax code that makes sure the wealthiest in our state pay what they owe
Now that session is over, we’ll shift our focus to voter engagement, strengthening current community relationships and building new ones across the state, and working with lawmakers to build support for our policy priorities.
Thank you for your partnership, advocacy, leadership, and action throughout the session. We look forward to our work with you in the coming months!