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What is happening in Washington’s 2021 State Legislative Session?

SB 5096

State investments in child care and early learning make up only 1.1% of the state budget. Senate Bill 5096 would create a 7% capital gains tax for Washington’s wealthiest residents to provide the state’s early learning system with new, stable funding.

Status: Senate Bill 5096 passed the state Senate and was scheduled for public hearing on March 15, 2021 in the House Committee on Finance.

SB 5377

Senate Bill 5377 would increase the affordability of standardized plans on the individual market through the Health Benefit Exchange. Currently, people who must purchase such plans can spend up to one-third of their income just on health insurance. With SB 5377, legislators have the opportunity to address income, racial, and age disparities by making health coverage more affordable, supporting small business owners who are financially strained by health insurance premiums, and ensuring a faster recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and economic recession.

Status: SB 5377 passed the Senate and is scheduled for public hearing in the House Committee on Health Care and Wellness on March 17th, at 8 am. If you would like to sign in with your position before the meeting, you can do so HERE.

SB 5237

SB 5237/HB 1213, “The Fair Start for Kids Act,” would expand child care and early learning programs across the state. This bill would change the formula that determines eligibility for childcare subsidies, increasing access to more families across the state. Additional provisions include: 1.) families up to 60% of the state median income will be eligible for Working Connections Child Care starting in July; 2.) more student parents will be eligible for Working Connections Child Care starting in July; 3.) the Early Learning Advisory Council is directed to convene a licensing subcommittee to provide recommendations that would result in increased numbers of licensed child care programs and model policies

Status: SB 5237 passed the Senate floor and is scheduled for public hearing in the House Committee on Children, Youth & Families on March 18th, at 10 am. You can comment on this bill HERE.