September Public Policy Update

By David Streeter, Director of Public Policy & Advocacy

Weigh in on Washington Capital Budget Delay and Federal Overtime Rules

The fall season is shaping up to be full of public policy developments impacting nonprofits. Below is a round up of key items for your organization to be aware of. If there are other issues impacting your organization, or you would like to discuss these items further, please feel free to reach out to Washington Nonprofits’ Director of Public Policy and Advocacy David Streeter.

  • Washington State’s capital budget is currently delayed. If your organization is impacted by the delay, please email david@washingtonnonprofits.org to share your story. We want to hear from you on this important issue.
  • The U.S. Department of Labor has an open Request for Information on updating overtime pay rules, and we need your organization to comment so nonprofit voices are heard. We request that your organization respond to the RFI by conducting a mission-based analysis of the RFI’s questions and submitting a comment before the September 25th deadline. The Small Business Administration has also requested that nonprofits email their RFI response to Reyes@sba.gov. Even if your organization does not have time to submit detailed comments, consider submitting something short that conveys one or two key points, such as: (1) Updated overtime standards should apply to all employers so that nonprofits are not disadvantaged when it comes to attracting talent. (2) Any formula used to update overtime pay standards should be predictable so that agencies can accurately forecast personnel costs. (3) Publicly-funded contracts should be updated to reflect increases in personnel costs.
  • The coalition in support of nonprofit nonpartisanship is growing rapidly and making its voice heard. Importantly, 247 Washington State nonprofits signed onto the Community Letter in Support of Nonpartisanship, which was delivered to members of Congress when they returned from the summer recess. However, our work to maintain nonpartisanship is not over. If your organization has yet to sign the community letter, please sign today.
  • Federal tax reform appears to be on the horizon in Congress, with a proposal expected to be released during the week of September 25th. However, it is unclear what policy options are being discussed by negotiators, including charitable giving incentives. We will keep you updated as more information becomes available regarding federal tax reform.

September Advocacy Tip: Use Town Halls to Build Relationships with Legislators

Sending an individual or delegation to represent your organization at legislators’ town hall events is a great way to connect your organization with public officials — especially if the participants you send are constituents. Your organization can use the opportunity to share feedback on legislation or public policy issues; ask questions about particular issues; or simply introduce your organization to the official. Even though your time may seem limited with a legislator at the event, you can build on the contact at the event by proactively offering to follow up with the official or their staff at a later time. This will give you an opportunity to keep the conversation going between the official and your organization.

You can find out about upcoming town hall events by subscribing to your elected official’s email list or by following their social media channels. Click here to find your elected officials.

Upcoming opportunities to connect with officials include U.S. Representative Adam Smith’s (D-WA) town hall on September 24th in Bellevue, State Representative Christine Kilduff’s (D-University Place) town hall on September 30th in University Place, and the League of Women Voters’ “Finding Common Ground” event with State Representatives Sherry Appleton (D-Poulsbo) and Michelle Caldier (R-Port Orchard) on September 26th in Bremerton.

Washington Nonprofits will continue to look for town halls and other events during which nonprofits can connect with their legislators.