Legislative Update: Bills of Mine Becoming Law, Remembering Peggy Maxie, FAFSA News & More

Dear friends and neighbors, 

Sometime today, the 2024 legislative session will adjourn. This 60-day session has flown by. In today’s newsletter I: honor the late Representative Peggy Maxie; review my bills passed this session; provide an overview of how capital budget dollars from the ’23 biennial budget are spent in our district on community, arts and culture; and share info on student financial aid provided by Sen. T’wina Nobles.

Remembering Rep. Peggy Maxie

I find it poetic that we honor Peggy Maxie as we move from February, Black history month, into March, Women’s history month. She embodied both of these communities as Washington state’s first Black female elected to the Washington State House of Representatives, serving our own 37th district from 1971 to 1982.  

While our community is mourning her death, the legacy of Rep. Maxie is alive and well. She was the primary sponsor of the Landlord-Tenant Act, an effort still impacting the community today. Peggy also co-sponsored the Displaced Homemakers Act, which assisted women who lost income because of the death or disability of a spouse or following divorce.  

She also brought the first driver license testing facility to our district. Additionally, Maxie founded Women in Unity, a nonprofit organization focusing on employment and advocacy for Black women. After leaving the legislature, she worked as a consultant on community projects and as a mental health therapist at her private practice, Peggy Maxie & Associates. 

Rep. Santos, a personal friend of Rep. Maxie, Sen. Saldana, and I could not be prouder to build upon the foundation that Rep. Maxie built. Our work will just be one way that she continues to live on. 

Bills of Mine Becoming Law 

The three bills below have passed both the House and the Senate and await the governor’s signature before becoming law: 

House Bill 2012: This piece of legislation will expand the eligibility criteria for a property tax exemption for nonprofits providing affordable rental housing built using only city and county funds, supporting the vital work of nonprofit providers while ensuring minimal impact on other taxpayers. I introduced this legislation because I believe that we need to enable local governments to allocate resources for housing projects—it’s a simple, common-sense step to remove an arbitrary hurdle slowing the production of affordable housing.  

House Bill 2348: Once signed into law, this legislation will expand healthcare services upon which King County and rest of our region rely. Harborview has a unique charter to serve anyone, regardless of their ability to pay. Currently, 70 percent of the people who receive care at Harborview are on some kind of government medical assistance. It also houses the only psychiatric ER, outside of the state’s psychiatric hospitals. With 40 percent of the people receiving care at Harborview being from outside of King County, this hospital is truly a safety net for our region.  

House Bill 2354: Tax increment financing (TIF) is a new tool that can be used by jurisdictions to finance development of infrastructure, which promotes growth, and then use resulting increased tax revenue to pay off the infrastructure. We’re finding some kinks where TIF areas are impacting the tax revenue of fire, hospital, and EMS districts. Ultimately, our first responders are being asked to provide more services to these growing areas with fixed income. This isn’t in the best interest of our citizens and my bill makes sure that TIF areas must negotiate mitigations with impacted taxing districts.

Investments in the 37th Arts & Culture 

Sen. Saldana, Rep. Santos, and I secured over $69 million in the ’23-’25 biennial capital budget for projects located in the 37th. In previous newsletters, I’ve covered investments in healthcare and housing, as well as early learning and education. This edition focuses on arts and culture.   

  • Cham Community Center ($2 million): Construction of a new two-story 12,500+ square foot multi-purpose community center consisting of a cultural space, multipurpose hall, commercial kitchen, conference room, office, storage rooms, restrooms and wash area. 
  • EYFO Youth Enrichment ($1.2 million): Construction of a multi-use facility with six classrooms, a commercial-grade community kitchen for community and youth cooking and nutrition classes, a youth dance studio/ multi-use room, computer lab/ tech center, and three office spaces for EYFO and community use. This project is developed in tandem with Bellwether Housing’s new 182-unit affordable housing complex in South Seattle and will be located on the ground floor.  
  • Arte Noir ($1.1 million): Design and buildout of a maker space to be provided at no cost on limited-use bases, for artists without a place to create.  The scope also includes construction of a small recording studio, which has been roughed out within the existing larger space, to be used for training in music production.   
  • KCTS ($1 million): Funding to purchase the building at 316 Broadway to be renovated as a permanent new home for Cascade Public Media, which includes: PBS member stations KCTS 9 & KYVE 47, public-interest journalism site Crosscut, and creative services agency Piranha Partners. 
  • Garden House and Grounds Rehab ($1 million): Structural and aesthetic repairs to reactivate The Garden House property on Beacon Hill for diverse and accessible community use. 
  • Rainier Beach Playfield & Skate Park ($500,000): Construction of green stormwater infrastructure, a skateboard facility, picnic shelters, circular pathway, seating, tables, and landscaping in Rainier Beach, one of the most demographically diverse communities in Seattle and among the most underserved in Park resources.  
  • Eritrean Community Center Expansion ($312,000): Funding to renovate and expand our Eritrean Community Center located in Seattle’s North Rainier neighborhood. Our Community Center is a multi-use facility housing a wide range of programs serving the local Eritrean community, as well as providing a site for the activities of other local immigrant and refugee focused organizations and the neighboring community.
  • Boys and Girls Club HVAC ($309,000): Funding for a new HVAC system (adding cooling) to an aging Boys and Girls Club building in the First Hill neighborhood. 

Help for Washington Students: FAFSA 

Attention, Washington students! Looking to ease the burden of college expenses? The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) could be your ticket to financial assistance! Whether you’re a high school senior planning for college or currently enrolled in a program, don’t miss out on this valuable opportunity. 

The FAFSA opens doors to grants, scholarships, and work-study programs that can make your educational goals more achievable.  

 Ready to take the first step? Start your FAFSA application today — learn more at studentaid.gov. 

 Thank you, 

Chipalo Street signature

Rep. Chipalo Street