Seeking positive change through public policy

Disability Rights Washington’s public policy work includes research, analysis, community education and organizing, and education of policymakers.

Our public policy work relies on participation by people with disabilities.  Policy reform processes are often difficult for members of the public to access or understand.  Disability Rights Washington works with individuals with disabilities to meaningfully access, educate and influence policymakers on issues that matter to them.  Disability Rights Washington listens carefully to people with disabilities, then supports them in making their voices heard to bring policy reform.  This approach assures disability rights, protections, and perspectives are upheld in a manner consistent with the real, expressed interest of people with disabilities.

Disability Rights Washington provides policymakers with information about threats to the rights and interests of people with disabilities, and opportunities for positive change, and then assists with the tasks of writing and implementing policy reform.  Disability Rights Washington’s education efforts with legislators, administrative agency staff, and the courts have brought meaningful systemic change for people with disabilities.

Disability Rights Washington forges links between policymakers and their constituents who have disabilities at all levels of government.  This is done by working in coalition with both local and statewide advocacy groups, and working on policies that affect the rights of people whether in the state Legislature, city or county government, or in administrative departments and services.

Program Updates

2019 Public Policy Internship: Request for Applications

September 9, 2019DRW's public policy team is looking for one additional public policy intern for the 2020 legislative session.

State and national organizations denounce efforts to exclude people with disabilities from WA communities

September 6, 2019A state legislator has requested a formal legal opinion from the Washington State Attorney General’s Office asking whether anti-discrimination laws would prevent state lawmakers from creating methods for local governments to prohibit people with mental health disabilities from living in their communities after receiving inpatient treatment.

Trueblood bill, SB 5444, signed by Governor

May 16, 2019The Trueblood bill, SB 5444, was signed by Governor Inslee on May 9, 2019! We received strong support from advocates throughout the entire legislative process. Changes created through the bill will help transform Washington's mental health system.

HB 2822 will lead to more harassment of people with legitimate service animals, not less

February 12, 2018Disability Rights Washington opposes HB 2822 because it punishes people with disabilities as a response to business owners’ misunderstandings and the lies of nondisabled people using fake service animals.
More program updates