Photo of Washington State capital building with the text on top that says "2021 legislative agenda." DRW logo is below in blue with a blue tree.

2021 Legislative Agenda

These issues have been identified by Disability Rights Washington (DRW) Programs and their constituents for focus during the 2021 legislative session. This list is not exhaustive and may change as the session progresses and new issues arise. Issues are not listed in a particular order. This legislative agenda was developed based on DRW’s Principles for Proposed Budget Cuts.

In addition to these items, DRW will oppose legislation that undermines the self-determination rights of DRW constituents with disabilities.  This includes bills related to restrictions on community placement, guardianship, and involuntary treatment.

For questions please contact Darya Farivar, Director of Public Policy by email (daryaf@dr-wa.org) or cell phone (206-471-9425).

Lead Agenda

  1. Fund the Trueblood Settlement
    • Maintain funding for Phase I and fund Phase II of the settlement agreement.
  2. Close and prevent future institutions
    • Stop the building of a costly, new facilities, including a forensic hospital at Western State Hospital and a nursing facility at Fircrest.
    • Support closure of state institutions for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (RHCs), and instead focus on building up community-based resources.
  3. Update the Developmental Disabilities Ombuds Statute
    • Changes will improve client privacy and independence of the Ombuds.
  4. Restrict the use of solitary confinement in the state’s prisons
    • Ban the use of prolonged solitary and limit its use entirely among vulnerable populations.
  5. Ensure meaningful discharge planning and appropriate community placements for people releasing from the Special Commitment Center
    • Pursue recommendations by the Sex Offender Policy Board that would place the responsibility for discharge planning and community releases with the SCC and ensure that safe and appropriate placements are distributed across the state.
  6. Expand the rate at which incarcerated people receive earned release time
    • The percentage of time an incarcerated person can earn off their sentence should be at least 33%, irrespective of the person’s crime or where they are serving their sentence.

Support Agenda

  1. Improve access to the legislature
    • In order to improve representation of people with disabilities we must make the structures of the legislature accessible.
  2. Increase police accountability
    • Through reforms to collective bargaining agreements, independent investigations, types of force.
  3. Create a post-conviction review process for those with long term sentences
    • People who have been incarcerated for more than twenty years should get a “second look” for release by an independent review board.
  4. Improve and increase emergency behavioral health response
    • Provide behavioral health crisis services which are independent of law enforcement.
  5. Increase investments in student wellness by limiting the number of school security guards
    • School security guards should not exceed the recommended ratio of 250:1 used for social workers, counselors, and nurses.
  6. Implement recommendations from the ESHB 1130 language access workgroup
    • Recommendations for people who use spoken and sign language interpreters and non-written communication.
  7.  Close the digital divide
    • Internet as a public utility, access to technology and training.
  8. Regular audits of the long-term in-home care program
    • Alternating performance or accountability audits every other biennium.
  9.  Improve understanding of and strengthen Mental Health Advance Directives
    • Individuals need to have control over how they are served when experiencing a crisis.
  10. Prevent cuts to services which address basic needs
    • Cutting programs will amplify the humanitarian crisis created by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  11.  Divest from systems which harm marginalized communities, invest in community based support.
    • Support policy proposals which reduce the amount of people who are incarcerated and institutionalized and use this funding to support individuals in the community. 
  12.  Create long-term, equitable, and sustainable revenue and address the immediate budget crisis.
    • We cannot cut our way out of the budget crisis and need to flip our regressive tax system which will take time. In the meantime, we have a significant budget shortfall which must be addressed this session.
  13.  Increase funding for the multimodal account to support public transit, paratransit, transportation demand management, and walking/rolling infrastructure.
    • Transit is vital to the independence of disabled people and must be prioritized for a just recovery.

12/16/20                     Contact: Darya Farivar daryaf@dr-wa.org