February 26 is Senior Lobby Day
By Chuck Richards
The 2015 legislative session begins on Monday January 12. And Puget Sound Advocates for Retirement Action (PSARA) members will be going to Olympia on Thursday, February 26, for Senior Lobby Day, to once again urge legislators to consider both increasing revenue and to share with seniors and working families the prosperity slowly returning to the state’s economy.
State government has a looming $2.35 billion budget shortfall. Many health and human services programs face cuts without strong advocate support. The state Supreme Court has ruled the state must increase funding for education and improved mental health treatment. Court cases are also challenging prison conditions. Now is the time for state legislators to make the needed revenue increases.
PSARA members discussed their 2015 legislative agenda at the November 12 legislative conference. It includes a mix of funding suggestions and advocacy for policy programs. Attendees committed to contact their legislators before the new session begins, either by personal call or group visitations. With the legislature so closely divided between the two major political parties, it is important for PSARA members to have conversations with Republican as well as Democratic legislators about the PSARA Legislative Agenda.
Members will be heading to Olympia on Senior Lobby Day to ask legislators to seriously consider the essential priorities for Washington residents in the years ahead. By the second month of this year’s long session, it will be clear which bills have cleared one house and are still viable for legislative action.
Working arm in arm with labor and community allies, we are promoting PSARA’s 2015 Legislative Agenda:
- Elimination of tax exemptions with no public benefit
- Allocation of new resources for low income housing
- Supporting steps to expand health care coverage
- Establishing a state minimum wage
- Investment in public transportation creating Green Jobs
- Studies of costs for creating a long-term care social insurance program and a supplemental Social Security program for Washington residents.
And, as in years past, PSARA is offering its members transportation to reach Olympia on February 26. If you haven’t already signed up, then contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or the PSARA office at (206) 448-9646. We are helping neighbors network within their legislative districts so that we can lobby together most effectively.
Chuck Richards is Co-Chair of PSARA’s Government Relations Committee