Support Bill HB 1550
We encourage our fellow community members to show their support/importance of bill HB 1550 by writing an email to Rep Frame, Washington State Legislature – Rep Frame, or other finance committee members, Finance Committee Members and Staff (wa.gov).
Read testimony from El Centro de la Raza staff to Rep Frame and to Rep Pollet. Check in on the bill’s progress here.
With the COVID pandemic starting to be on the dismay, schools will soon begin to open at full capacity. What does this mean for parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents, and guardians of children? Children can easily be peer pressured to engage in new acts that may not be the best choice, such as smoking/vaping. It is no secret that there is a growing vaping pandemic amongst youth. One in three high school students in Washington reported vaping in the last month, and this number is on the rise! It is a delicate time in their lives, as we know children are very impressionable, especially during adolescence. Children could get a hold of money to buy these products and figure out how to purchase them if they become addicted and want them. What is a step in deterring our youth from purchasing these products aside from cessation/prevention education? Imposing a higher tax rate on these products could make them more expensive and more difficult for youth to possess the funds to purchase.
There is a current house bill in the legislative session proposed to help prevent youth smoking/vaping use. The proposed bill is HB1550, Washington State Legislature – HB 1550 Info, and offers an excise tax that would be a massive resource in our efforts for Nicotine prevention & cessation. The taxed items would be tobacco vape products that have become popular amongst youth/young adult usage. The taxes collected from this bill would adequately fund public health by directing all money collected to go towards nicotine and substance use prevention, cessation, enforcement, education, and foundational public health services.
At El Centro de la Raza, we continue to reach out to our LatinX community members to raise awareness about tobacco & vaping and the effects these products are having amongst our community members. We have developed youth prevention power-point presentations and collaborated with Latin Youth organizations to spread our tobacco-free message and why. These presentations and information are given in both Spanish & English to reach as many members of our LatinX community as possible in our culturally related efforts to fight against tobacco use & addiction amongst youth and young adults. Our culturally related efforts are reflected in our collaborated work by attending legislative meetings related to youth tobacco use, prevention, and constant training to keep our skillset up to date in youth tobacco prevention. The money collected from taxes would help organizations like El Centro de la Raza continue to succeed in their fight for tobacco cessation/prevention.
As a parent of two middle school-aged boys, I cannot stress the importance of education, cessation, and prevention resources on Nicotine, whether it is vaped or smoked. I do not believe there is a parent, aunt, uncle, or grandparent out there that wants their loved one to become addicted to a substance, let alone one that we know is the leading cause of preventable death in the world!
King County Eviction Prevention and Rent Assistance Program Proposal for Allocating Rent Assistance Funds to BIPOC Community Based Organizations
King County received approximately $145M in federal funds to provide rent assistance to very low-income households (below 50% area median income) who are adversely impacted by COVID and at high risk for eviction. In response to feedback from BIPOC leaders in King County, King County is adjusting the Eviction Prevention and Rent Assistance Program (EPRAP) to provide funding to Community Based Organizations (CBOs) to support their communities. To do this effectively, DCHS will rely on the guidance and expertise of larger BIPOC CBO’s to support investing and building capacity in smaller organizations.
· In 2021, King County (KC) will allocate approximately $30-45 million in rent assistance funds to CBOs to support BIPOC communities. Due to the County budget process, this may occur through multiple funding rounds.
· Using a “hub and spoke” model, KC will provide grants of approximately $3 million dollars to 10-15 primary “hub” organizations. Per federal requirement, of this money, $2.7M could be used for rent assistance; $300K for administrative and operations costs.
· Hub agencies then contract with smaller “spoke” organizations to provide support to their communities.
· All hub and spoke organizations will need to comply with federal requirements.
· King County will support the hub organizations with training, learning circles, and ongoing technical assistance to ensure that federal program requirements are met. The hub agencies would in turn support the smaller spoke agencies in meeting these requirements.
· There may be a possibility of expanding the program if additional funding is allocated to King County later this year.
· Partner with BIPOC leaders to refine model.
· Through KC required procurement process, identify 10-15 organizations with the capacity to serve as hub agencies.
· Create a survey that potential hub organizations can use to guage interest and service capacity of spoke organizations.
· Accept applications from hub agencies detailing plans for contracting with spoke agencies and meeting federal requirements.
· Allocate funds
Working Washington’s Pay Up Campaign
Gig companies have been expanding rapidly throughout the pandemic. At the same time as they’re making their executives into billionaires, they’re getting away with paying as little as $2 a job to the people who do the work. Here’s 3 things you can do to support Working Washington’s Pay Up Campaign and help raise pay for tens of thousands of people in our city:
- Build the coalition: Share our sign on with other people and organizations. (Need more information? Let me know! Happy to share more detail about the policies we’re fighting for!)
- Spread the word: Share our worker survey with any delivery drivers & other gig workers you may know to help us make sure the policies we’re advancing are grounded in workers’ needs.
- Help make gig workers a priority at City Hall: Send a quick personal message to your city councilmembers and the mayor, letting them know that raising pay in the gig economy is a priority!
To achieve the pandemic recovery we ALL want to see, we must ensure that everyone is included in it. That means ensuring that we stabilize our workforce by protecting immigrants serving as essential workers and providing them with an earned path to citizenship. We must honor and protect those who have spent so much effort protecting us by keeping our hospitals running, stacking our grocery shelves, and cleaning our homes and offices.
We call on the Biden administration to commit to including a pathway to citizenship for essential immigration workers in the president’s Build Back Better recovery package.
Let’s truly “build back better” by stabilizing our workforce and families.
Health care should be available to all, regardless of immigration status.
Access to affordable health care is particularly crucial now, as underlying inequities have been exacerbated by the pandemic. Immigrants and communities of color are disproportionately contracting, hospitalized for, and dying from COVID-19.
Urge your lawmaker to ensure the state budget includes funding for health care services for uninsured and underinsured people regardless of immigration status