Thursday March 22, 2018
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Inside this issue                                                                        February 19, 2018
(Click on the links to visit the WSCC website; scroll down to read here)

Less than three weeks remain in the 2018 legislative session and another legislative deadline looms this coming Friday. By then all bills must clear their assigned policy committees in the opposite chamber if they are to remain viable. Any bills with a budgetary impact will need to clear one of the fiscal committees by next Monday, February 26. The fast pace of this short session has noticeably increased as the end of the session on March 8 rapidly approaches.

The major event this week is Catholic Advocacy Day on Wednesday. The WSCC staff look forward to seeing many of you there.


Abortion Insurance Mandate (SB 6219) -
This bill mandates abortion coverage in insurance plans in the state of Washington. The Bishops of Washington strongly oppose it because it expands existing contraception coverage requirements and promotes abortions while violating constitutionally-protected conscience rights. On February 16, the House Health Care & Wellness Committee approved SB 6219.  We continue to push for conscience protection language to be added to the bill.

Repealing the Death Penalty (SB 6052) -
The U.S. Bishops have long supported abolishing the death penalty. The full Senate passed SB 6052 by a 26-22 vote after a dramatic but respectful debate. The legislation now moves to the House Judiciary Committee where it is scheduled for a hearing on February 20.

Expanding Access to Contraception (SB 6102) -
This legislation elevates access to contraception to a right and creates legal risk for every employer in the state if contraceptives are not offered. As currently written, this legislation does not adequately protect religious liberty nor conscience rights. On February 12, the full Senate passed SB 6102 by a 26-21 margin. The bill moves on to the House Judiciary Committee, which will hear the bill on February 22.


School Safety (SB 6410) - This bill requires first responders to notify all schools (public or private) in the vicinity whenever an evacuation or lockdown is ordered at a nearby school. The bill unanimously passed the Senate on February 14 and will be heard by the House Education Committee on February 19.





TANF Resource Limits (HB 1831) - Eligibility for public assistance is determined by a combination of factors, including the resources or assets of an applicant, such as a personal car. HB 1831 authorizes the state to exempt one motor vehicle (other than a motor home) per applicant for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) from being counted as a personal asset if that vehicle is used for transportation. The current vehicle limit is $5,000. HB 1831 also exempts certain other resources. Without this legislation, some people who would otherwise qualify for TANF would be denied because the value of their car pushed them over the resource limit. The Senate Human Services & Corrections Committee will hold a hearing on Wednesday, February 21.

Legal Financial Obligations (LFO) (
HB 1783) - The bill helps people convicted of crimes get back on their feet after being incarcerated by eliminating the interest on most of the court-imposed debt and limiting the sanctions for those with an inability to pay. The Senate Law & Justice Committee passed the LFO reform bill by a 4-3 vote on February 15.

Homeless Housing and Assistance (
HB 1570) - This legislation makes the temporary Homeless Housing and Assistance surcharge permanent while increasing the surcharge from $40 to $90. Without extending the surcharge, thousands would likely become homeless. Having passed the full House, the bill will be heard by the Senate Human Services & Corrections Committee on Monday, February 19.







Catholic Advocacy Day - Sign Up Now


February 21 - Catholic Advocacy Day: Gather at St. Michael, Olympia, before meeting with state legislators. Includes Mass celebrated by Archbishop J. Peter Sartain and Auxiliary Bishops Elizondo and Mueggenborg. For additional details, see the flyer in English and SpanishPlease register now.For questions, call: 206-223-1138 or email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

February 26: National Call-In Day to Protect Dreamers


The US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has designated Monday, February 26, as a National Catholic Call-In Day to Protect Dreamers. The US Bishops are asking American Catholics to call their Members of Congress to urge them to protect Dreamers from deportation, to provide them a path to citizenship, and to avoid any damage to existing protections for families and unaccompanied minors in the process.  In announcing the call-in the day, the USCCB leadership stated that "Our faith compels us to stand with the vulnerable, including our immigrant brothers and sisters. ... Now is the time for action." Next Monday's Advocacy Bulletin will provide more details and call-in information.

Archbishop Lori Releases Pastoral on Nonviolence

On Ash Wednesday, the Archbishop of Baltimore, the Most Rev. William E. Lori issued a pastoral letter, "The Enduring Power of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s Principles of Nonviolence." Archbishop Lori called on everyone "to walk this path of nonviolent hope." To read the entire pastoral letter, click here. The website also offers a short video of Archbishop Lori discussing his reasons for writing his pastoral letter.


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