King County delivers!
In my previous newsletter I told you that King County would be opening vaccination sites in our area. Sure enough, they’re coming through on their promise. Starting tomorrow, February 1, sites in Kent and Auburn will begin administering vaccines to the most vulnerable older adults. Please keep in mind that, as of right now, vaccine demand has outstripped supply, however, we hope to see the tide turning with deliveries of vaccines from the federal government ramping up very soon. So please be patient. Click on the image below for more information.
Foreclosure Fairness Act expansion
Ten years ago, as the nation was slowly climbing out of the worst recession in recent history, foreclosure signs were popping up everywhere. It was heartbreaking to see so many working families losing everything they had taken years to build.
I was beginning my second term serving you in the State House when I took on the challenge to do something about this issue by sponsoring legislation to create the Foreclosure Fairness Act Mediation Program (FFA). It has been running since then, helping homeowners find a resolution to foreclosure proceedings with their lenders.
Fast-forward to today, when the coronavirus has wreaked havoc in so many aspects of our lives, including the inability of many homeowners to keep up with their mortgage payments. This pandemic will likely lead to a rush of foreclosures once moratoriums are lifted; it was imperative that we act right away.
So we did. This past Friday the House unanimously approved my legislation to maintain funding for the FFA program. The bill was amended on the Floor to expand the scope of the FFA by providing counseling and mediation services to small landlords, not only to homeowners.
If you are unfamiliar with the program, I encourage you to watch this 4-minute video, put together by Seattle University School of Law and the City of Seattle, showing the foreclosure process in our state and how the FFA can help. You can also visit the program website for more information.
If you, a family member or a friend are facing foreclosure, please call the Washington State Homeownership Hotline, which provides free, state-sponsored counseling: 1800-606-4819.
Early Action bills
We introduced a couple of early action bills to help Washington families and businesses who have been hit hard by the financial consequences of this pandemic, particularly struggling renters and landlords, small restaurants and other neighborhood businesses, school districts, uninsured and under-insured individuals, and communities of color.
Unemployment Insurance tax relief bill
Because of the thousands of COVID-19 layoffs last year, now many employers are facing unprecedented hikes in their Unemployment Insurance premium tax bills due in April.
And many workers, who are still out of a job, are struggling to make ends meet with their UI checks.
To address both issues, on Friday, the Legislature passed SB 5061, which cuts UI tax bills for employers and increases benefits for the state’s hardest-hit, lowest-wage workers.
For all the details, please go here.
Find me on Facebook!
Thank you for reading my newsletter. If you need more information on any of the issues discussed here, or on any other legislative matter, please don’t hesitate to contact my office. And be sure to follow and like my Official Facebook page.
Rep. Tina Orwall