Dear friends and neighbors,
This is a quick update with important dates and resources, including information on housing protections and vaccine booster eligibility.
Housing stability “bridge” extended through Oct. 31
Many renters and landlords in our state have been severely impacted during the pandemic. However, more than a year and half into this crisis, it remains clear that far too many people still face an imminent risk of eviction, displacement, and homelessness. Black, Indigenous, and People of Color renters, and families with children are most at risk—and nearly half of Washington’s at-risk renters live in the Puget Sound area. That’s why I joined over 50 of my legislative colleagues in sending a letter urging Governor Inslee to extend the housing stability “bridge” proclamation to continue providing protections for certain renters who are struggling to recover financially from the pandemic.
The proclamation was extended, in part, to allow more of the protections the legislature enacted and to get them up and running. Many programs, like tenants’ right to counsel and dispute resolution, are brand new and need to be established. Plus, millions of dollars in rental assistance remain undistributed, leaving many renters and landlords vulnerable.
If you currently need assistance or anticipate not being able to pay rent, apply now to ensure you are protected, even if your application is not processed before October 31. Information and applications are available in 28 languages.
Landlords who lost rent or have property damage caused by tenants can access funding through the Landlord Mitigation Program.
- Housing and other rights in multiple languages: www.walawhelp.org
- Toll Free Eviction Defense Screening line: 855-657-8387.
- King County 2-1-1 is open weekdays 8:00 am – 6:00 pm and will identify and refer callers to the appropriate free legal aid provider.
- Washington State Attorney General’s question/complain form: submit questions or concerns online here, or call 1-833-660-4877 to leave a message.
Vaccine updates—booster shots available to certain populations
Now that a third “booster” shot of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine has been approved by the federal government and the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup, I urge all qualified individuals to get their booster shot as soon as possible.
The CDC recommends booster doses of Pfizer vaccine for people who have completed two doses of Pfizer at least 6 months ago and are:
- 65 years or older
- Residents in long-term care facilities
- 50-64 years who are at high-risk because of underlying medical conditions
- Essential front line and health care workers who face a high risk of exposure and transmission
The following people may also receive the booster shot at least 6 months after receiving two doses of Pfizer vaccine based on their individual benefits and risks:
- 18-49 years who are at high-risk because of underlying medical conditions.
- 18-64 years in occupational or institutional settings that put them at high risk for COVID-19 (healthcare, schools, childcare, homeless shelters, correctional facilities).
The FDA has so far only authorized booster doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine as detailed above, and third doses of Moderna only for people who have significantly compromised immune systems, such as those receiving cancer treatments or organ transplants. Booster shots of Moderna and Johnson & Johnson for the general population have not been authorized yet.
YOU can help determine how to re-balance and modernize our tax code
Washington state’s tax structure places a heavier burden on working families and small businesses than those at the very top of the income bracket and relies on sales, property, and other excise taxes to fund schools, public health, and other vital services. It’s fundamentally inequitable, and it needs to change.
Two years ago, the legislature created the Tax Structure Workgroup to engage all taxpayers—individuals and families, and businesses large and small—on ways to create a more equitable, transparent, and stable tax code.
Now the workgroup is going on the road, and YOU have an opportunity to share your input
On Wednesday, November 3, I hope you can join one of the interactive webinars for residents and businesses in the South/East Puget Sound Region—which includes the 48th Legislative District.
Afternoon session: 2:30-4:00 p.m.—click here to register
Evening session: 6:30-8:00 p.m.—click here to register
Learn more about the Tax Structure Workgroup here.
Legislative internship applications due soon!
The Washington legislature has one of the best undergraduate legislative internship programs out of all fifty states, and I take great pride in hosting an intern in my office each session.
Interns are paid, earn college credit, and serve as full time staff solving problems for Washington residents and helping run our legislative offices. They also participate in mock committee meetings and a mock floor session to pass bills—often with the Lieutenant Governor or Speaker Pro Tempore serving as presiding officer when possible.
Undergraduate juniors and seniors in any major are encouraged to apply. Applications are open for the 2022 session with a priority deadline of October 15 and a final deadline of October 20.
Visit the internship program website to learn more and apply.
Thank you so much for reading this newsletter, I hope it was helpful. Please don’t hesitate to contact my office if you need more information or have questions on any of the topics discussed here or on any other legislative issue.