This January, YWCA Spokane CEO, Jeanette Hauck, and the Co-Chair of our Legislative Advocacy Committee and YWCA Director of Grants and Contracts, Liz Backstrom, went to Olympia to participate in DV Advocacy Day 2024. This annual effort is led by the Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence (WSCADV) and is supported by domestic violence service providers from across the state, including our agency and other local to Spokane including our partners at Mujeres In Action (MiA) and the Spokane Regional Domestic Violence Coalition (SRDVC).
Through this effort, agencies from across Washington State are working together to increase survivor’s options for safety and support.
Priorities for this legislative session include:
- Safety, health, & wellbeing for survivors
- Housing & economic security
- Anti-violence education & violence prevention
- Racial equity
- Human dignity
Bringing Issues Impacting Survivors in Spokane to Olympia
“It is important, every time we have the opportunity, to take our voice to Olympia. Our legislators want to hear from their constituents. They want to know about what is working and what is not—what our specific needs are. Our voice matters and the message we bring about the women, children, and families we serve is bold and powerful.” – Jeanette Hauck, YWCA Spokane CEO
While we were there, we partnered with both MiA and SRDVC to ask legislators to support a number of bills. We support the language access bill to expand the pool of interpreters that may be appointed by the courts. Access to justice in a survivors primary language is vital.
We also advocated for changes in legislation that would support greater access to childcare for survivors. Although this is not a budget year (the legislature passes a budget every two years) we reminded all the legislators about the importance of early childhood education and fully funding ECEAP needs.
In addition, currently there is a bill on housing that proposes an emergency housing voucher for survivors of intimate partner violence and recommends a competitive grant proposal for community–based domestic violence programs to acquire or renovate units to provide emergency shelter. Domestic violence is a major factor contributing toward homelessness in our community.
Bills discussed during this visit including:
- HB 1045: Expanding Guaranteed Basic Income
- HB 2006: Court Interpreters and Language Access
- HB 2114: Improving Housing Stability For Tenants
- HB 2124: Expanding Childcare Access
You can learn more about legislative advocacy efforts led by WSCADV to support survivors of domestic violence in Washington State by visiting wscadv.org. To learn more about the legislative process, WSCADV also created this Guide to Legislative Advocacy.
Actions You can Take
- If you have 5 minutes: You can sign in pro or con to a bill YWCA Spokane or one of our community partners asks you to support. Sign up for a bill tracker like this one from Fast Democracy to see where your bills are in the lawmaking process.
- If you have 15 minutes: You can email or call your legislator about a bill YWCA Spokane or one of our community partners asks you to support (these calls do matter – legislators count them to determine how interested the public is in various bills.) Use this tool to find your district and legislator’s contact information.
- If you have 30-60 minutes: You can sign up to testify virtually or tell your story about a specific bill and how it will affect you or your family, clients or neighborhood. You can also do this locally at the Spokane City or Spokane County Council.