Thank you to our JFS staff for working with our Government Affairs Committee to develop our priorities for the 2022 legislative session! It’s a short session this year (60 days). If you’d like to advocate for legislation that will have a positive impact on the individuals and communities JFS supports, you can join us for a virtual lobby day on February 17 along with our partners through the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle and its Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC).
Our priorities for this session include legislation that addresses ongoing and urgent health, housing, and safety needs for our community—from expanding support for victims of trafficking to ensuring families in need of temporary financial assistance during difficult times are able to access the benefits. If you’d like to stay updated on our advocacy efforts, be sure to sign up for our eNews (you can locate the link at the bottom of our homepage) or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
Families in Need
Our Community Stabilization Services (CSS) program provides food, financial assistance and social support services to community members. HB 1755 expands a necessary safety net for many Puget Sound families.
- TANF time limit extensions HB 1755 (Peterson): Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) plays a critical role in providing a safety net for survivors. State and federal laws limit the time an adult can receive TANF benefits to a total of sixty months in their lifetime. Time limit extensions are additional months of TANF when someone meets certain criteria. This bill will add time limit extensions during times of high unemployment in our state.
- Diaper allowance: Diapers are expensive. As a result, families in poverty are often forced to make horrible decisions—keep their baby in dirty diapers or pay for rent or food? Last year, the state pioneered a diaper allowance. This legislation would include a diaper benefit in the TANF program for those with children under three.
Refugee & Immigrant Services
Our Refugee & Immigrant Services (RIS) team supports refugees, immigrants and asylees from many countries to become economically, socially and civically integrated in our community. HB 1748 will expand who is eligible for referral to essential needs and housing programs to include victims of human trafficking, as well as promote respectful immigration language.
- Promoting Respectful Immigration Language
- Expanding Eligibility to Victims of Human Trafficking, HB 1748 (Entenman)
Support for Survivors of Domestic Violence
Project DVORA works with survivors of gender-based violence, including domestic violence and sexual assault. These bills aim to support survivors of domestic violence address issues related to housing, offer a platform to share a statement at sentencing hearings for their perpetrators, and offer expanded protection for survivors who experience coercive control from partners.
- Expanding the Landlord Mitigation Program HB 1593 (Leavitt) Survivors may need to break their lease, or may incur damages in their rental because of domestic violence. This bill will expand the Landlord Mitigation Program to allow landlords to claim for damages related to rental when the tenant has terminated their tenancy because of domestic violence, sexual assault, unlawful harassment, or stalking. This expansion would improve safety by reducing barriers for survivors when exercising their right to terminate a lease early without repercussions.
- Victim statements during DV hearings SB 5612 (Lynda Wilson) Currently, victims of crime are able to provide a statement at sentencing hearings for felony convictions. This bill expands the ability for domestic violence survivors, or their survivors, to provide a statement for convictions involving domestic violence.
- Updating laws concerning civil protection orders to further enhance and improve their efficacy and accessibility. HB 1901 (Goodman). Expanding the definition of coercive control allows the legal system to capture these nuanced ways in which power and control are manifested in abusive relationships. This bill can help create more protection for survivors who are experiencing coercive control from their current or former partners.