Chisme Politico, Week 7
February 26, 2021
Read all the previous Chisme Politicos here to catch up!
Saludos, friends of LCF and Progreso!
Happy Friday, and end of February! We’ll be giving some legislative updates (all good news: most items on our agenda have been trucking along!), giving you calls to action, and sharing some really important Redistricting and voting rights info.
We made it past policy cutoff 😊
We can finally say we are inching past the “midterm” of this year’s virtual Legislative Session. A lot of folks are taking some deep breaths as fiscal and policy cutoffs have passed in the last week. However, we still have to consider the upcoming cutoffs such as March 9th: the last day for a bill to be passed out of the chamber it was originally introduced, otherwise it’s dead. (See more cutoff dates in the table here!)
Some bills have been able to get through, others have not. We are excited to share that HB 1078 concerning Voting Rights Restorations has passed the House and is ready to be heard in the opposite chamber, the Senate! Huge wins for the groups and individuals working on voting rights restorations for formerly incarcerated folks! Rep. Tarra Simmons is the (freshman!) sponsor of this bill, an attorney, and formerly incarcerated herself.
Here are the rest of the bills on our agenda where we could use your support:
Concept of the Week: Redistricting 🗺️✏️
The 2020 Census count is done, but its data has a purpose. After the Census (which happens every 10 years), we begin the process of Redistricting, which affects the way we vote and who represents us greatly! Redistricting is a hot-button issue which has massive ramifications, especially impacting communities of color. It has a history of gerrymandering, another word for manipulating boundaries to serve partisan interests, and severely diluting the votes of many key demographics.
Check out this recent article in the Tri-City Herald which gives an inside look to how Franklin County elections have been diluting the Latino vote over the years.
If you live in Central Washington, you may have heard of the OneAmerica voting rights lawsuit that swept over Yakima in the summer of 2020 against Yakima County and its board of commissioners, alleging the county’s election system disenfranchises Latino voters in violation of the state’s Voting Rights Act. The lawsuit points out that many Latino voters over many years had favored Latino candidates but one had never been elected to the city council. Keep in mind Yakima County is over 50% Latinx and a third of its voting age population!
The Redistricting commission has been appointed, and for the first time in history — it’s not an all white commission. Check out an article our own Margot Spindola wrote about the importance of keeping communities of color and Tribes intact in the upcoming redrawing of lines. The state commission meets every so often, but we’ll keep you posted the next time they’ll be meeting! Public feedback phase will come later in the summer.
Actions For You To Take 💢
SB 5226: End Debt-Based License Suspension Sign-On Letter
The most commonly charged crime in Washington state — Driving While License Suspended in the Third Degree (DWLS3) — disproportionately impacts poor people, young people, and people of color, and does little to keep us safe. Update: We have great news! Yesterday, SB 5226 was pulled from Rules, which means it could go to the Senate floor for a vote at any time. This is the most critical time for this bill.
Below is a list of lawmakers who may be key to getting SSB 5226 passed.Senator Cleveland (49th) — share the sign on to show broad community support for SSB 5226
Senator Mullet (5th) — Ask for support on SSB 5226
Senator Conway (29th) — Check in and encourage support for SSB 5226
Senator Hobbs (44th) — Thank for his past support and encourage continued support for SSB 5226
Feel free to use this template:
“Pass SB 5226 out of the Senate and do not let it be watered down with amendments that would continue the practice of debt based suspensions”. If you have relationships with any of these lawmakers or are a constituent, please reach out to them.
Sign onto this easy letter to send to all of the necessary legislators!
AMENDED SB 5172: Protections for Farmworkers
Credits to Community 2 Community for distributing incredible education and outreach on farmworker issues and employment rights
SEND A LETTER TO YOUR LEGISLATOR: https://actionnetwork.org/letters/protect-farm-workers-support-the-amended-sb-5172/
Thanks for making it this far! We’ll see you next week.
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