Legislator of the Week

For the week ending March 1, we're happy to recognize not one, but two outstanding senators this week. Senators David Frockt and Jeanne Kohl-Welles are working in close partnership and helped advance the Fair Tenant Screening Act (Senate Bill 5568), getting it over an important legislative hurdle this week.

First, What is a “Pull?"

After being voted out of a policy and/or budget committee, legislation is sent to the Rules Committee in its chamber. In order to be considered for a vote on the House or Senate floor, a bill must be "pulled" from the Rules Committee. Legislators on that committee have a limited number of "pulls" so they choose carefully. Many bills die in Rules. This week Senator Kohl-Welles and Senator Frockt collaborated to make sure the Fair Tenant Screening Act moved forward and now it's eligible for a vote on the floor of the Senate, where it must receive a majority vote by 5pm on March 13.

When we asked Senator Frockt to share more on why he used one of his pulls for the this bill, he said "This is the next step in the Fair Tenant Screening Act. We know that the components passed last year are working to help people obtain housing, and this year's bill is the right thing to do to make sure domestic violence victims are protected."

While we were thanking her, Senator Kohl-Welles expressed her gratitude to the housing community for continuing to work on this issue and went on to look toward future steps we can take to reduce barriers to rental housing. “I am thankful to the housing community for their relentless efforts in continuing to advocate for the thousands of tenants in our state who are wrongfully denied housing based on inaccurate information on their screening reports.

“SB 5568 is a step forward in protecting survivors of domestic violence from being wrongfully penalized by landlords for having filed a protection order against an abuser. Such an important recourse is meant to protect them, not further complicate their lives by placing their housing in jeopardy. I am hopeful in continuing this work in the future to gain further protections for tenants in eliminating additional barriers such as screening fees and wrongful evictions from appearing on screening reports.”

We are grateful to have such dedicated elected officials in Olympia. Thank you Senators!

More information about Part 2 of the Fair Tenant Screening Act can be found at the website of our sister organization, the Washington Low Income Housing Alliance.

Also, check out their new Bill Tracker, where you can quickly and easily check on the status of their state legislative priorities.