New Year, New Policy Environment

Welcome to 2019! We’re only half way through January and there are already key developments and challenges impacting nonprofits at the federal and state government levels. 

At the federal level, Democrats re-took control of the House of Representatives, leaving the federal government divided between the Democratic-led House and Republican-led Senate and White House. Currently, the federal government is shut down due to lawmakers’ inability to compromise on a funding package at the end of 2018. As of writing this, it is uncertain when the shut down will end.

We know that federal workers and nonprofits across our country are impacted by the shutdown. If you have a story about the impact, please share it with us so that we know what your community and organization are experiencing. In particular:

  • Do you have federal funds that are being delayed?
  • Are you seeing an increase in clients or needs?

We know that reporters are looking for stories, so we can help get you connected to local and national media to share your story. Just let us know how we can help. 

One other important federal item to note is that there is a new member of Washington State’s federal congressional delegation. Democrat Kim Scarier now holds the seat formerly held by Representative Dave Reichert. If your organization is based in her district, now is a great time to start building a relationship with her and her staff. 

At the state level, Democrats increased their majorities in the House and Senate. There are a lot of new faces this year, so make sure you double check who represents you in Olympia. This year is a long 105-day session, and the top priority for our lawmakers is to pass the two-year operating and capital budgets on time. The Governor released his budget proposal and revenue package, but it’s ultimately up to the legislature to compromise on the final budget. Key issues that will be on the legislature’s agenda this year include behavioral health, school safety, the environment, and housing. It is also yet to be seen if the legislature has fully satisfied its responsibilities on school funding that resulted from the McCleary court decision. In addition to all of these big-ticket policy items, many bills were pre-filed and many more will be introduced during session. You can review the bills and set up a tracking profile using the resources on the legislature’s website here.

If a bill sparks your interest, feel free to weigh in on it. You can do so by emailing your legislature or testifying on the bill if and when it receives a hearing. If you’re not sure how to get started, feel free to contact me and I can walk you through the process and strategize with you. I’m here to help you be successful this session with your advocacy, so don’t be shy. 

With so many moving pieces in DC and Olympia, I hope that you will connect with us on public policy in 2019. Click here to check out our Public Policy Agenda; and click here to subscribe to our Public Policy Email List. Additionally, we’ve organized a day in Olympia for February 12, 2019. We are holding an advocacy training sessionduring the day before our 6thAnnual Legislative Receptionat the Governor’s Mansion. We hope you will join us for a day of building your advocacy muscle, followed by an opportunity to do some interacting with officials and peers at the reception. 

This year is going to be a fun and exciting year. Make sure you connect with us to learn more.  

About David Streeter 48 Articles
David Streeter is Washington Nonprofits’ Director of Public Policy and Advocacy.