Senn bill to prevent HOAs banning child care passes Senate

OLYMPIA – Earlier today, the Washington State Senate approved legislation to prevent homeowners’ associations and landlords from unreasonably restricting home child care operations. House Bill 1199, sponsored by Rep. Tana Senn (D-Mercer Island) was passed out of the Senate on a bipartisan vote of 37-11.

Washington state is in a child care crisis. Over half a million children in the state do not have access to licensed child care, leaving families in dire straits. This can often result in parents leaving the workforce and families experiencing financial instability. According to a report published by the Association of Washington Business, the child care crisis costs Washington businesses $2 billion a year, while working parents forgo $14 billion a year in lost wages due to the lack of child care access.

Despite this crisis, dozens of child care providers across the state are getting fined by their homeowner’s associations or being threatened with eviction, further exacerbating the problem. In addition, family home child care providers often provide care for low-income families, children with special needs, and children from communities of color. House Bill 1199 addresses this barrier by prohibiting homeowner’s associations and landlords from unreasonably restricting the operation of licensed family home child cares or licensed child day care centers.

“Not only does the child care crisis affect families and their financial well-being, but our state as a whole feels the economic effects of the strained child care system,” said Senn. “It’s clear that families simply need more child care options, and this bill ensures one of those options can be home child cares in their neighborhoods.”

House Bill 1199 is headed back to the House for concurrence on amendments, and then will be sent to the governor’s desk for his signature.