April 30, 2014
Lutheran advocacy in the state of Washington had a positive and significant impact on the 2014 legislative session.
During the course of the session, Faith Action Network advocated for the passage of the Dream Act, increases to the budget for state food assistance as well as for the breakfast after the bell bill, four separate bills regarding issues of wage theft, multiple bills related to dismantling the culture of violence through higher education in prisons and the sealing of juvenile records, and for a bill allowing state employees and students to take two unpaid holidays a year for reasons of religion or conscience. Although not all of these bills passed, several, including the Dream Act, sealing of juvenile records, the bill allowing for unpaid holidays for religious reasons, and minor increases in the budget for food and hunger related issues, passed and Governor Inslee signed them into law.
Furthermore, Faith Action Network dropped its first bill ever. The bill continued efforts to prevent human trafficking in the state of Washington by making it a felony for an employer to possess an employee’s immigration documents by threat or coercion of involuntary servitude. The bill passed with strong bipartisan support and Governor Inslee signed it into law on March 19, 2014.
Faith Action Network continues its advocacy efforts in regards to Initiative 594 which creates universal background checks. Through endorsements by faith communities throughout the state, FAN hopes to help this initiative pass into law in November.