Current Issues & Priorities

The Thurston County LWV works on issues of local and state-wide interest.  Some of the issues are of an educational nature, while others fall into the realm of advocacy.  Although the League is strictly nonpartisan, there are many policy proposals we take a stand on.  And, we also put time and effort into furthering issues we support.  

At the bottom of this page you will find the range of issues we have been involved in recently.  Specific issues noted below are ones our members are currently working on.  We invite you to join us as we continue Empowering Voters, Defending Democracy.

Health Care for All

On March 16 the LWVWA board endorsed I-1600, the initiative that would require the establishment of a comprehensive state program to pay for health care for all Washington residents. If approved, this coverage would be effective by November 2019, funded by premiums and taxes on employers, individual income, and capital gains. Find out more about this initiative at www.yeson1600.org.

In the 2017-2018 Legislature a number of universal health care bills were introduced. Four had public hearings: HB 1026, SB 5701, SB 5747, and SB 5957. None of them were passed out of the committee of origin. As a result, a grass roots organization, Whole Washington, decided to ask the Washington Secretary of State to approve the initiative that has been in the works for about a year.

Dr. Gerald Freidman, a national economist, was hired to do a funding study that would enable Washington State to cover health care costs for all residents. Friedman has worked with other states to study funding for health care plans that would cover all state residents. He designed the health care proposal that Bernie Sanders presented. I-1600 is similar to universal, single payer, legislation that has been introduced in the Washington State Legislature for many years.

The League of Women Voters has a long standing position on universal health care.

In 1990 Washington State established a Health Care Commission, to which League members monitored and provided input. After studying the health care issue, the League of Women Voters of Washington (LWVWA) agreed on the following position on health care in 1992:

Position HC-1: The League of Women Voters of Washington supports policies, as part of comprehensive reform of the existing health system, which

  • Ensures universal access for all residents to a comprehensive, uniform, and affordable set of health services. These services shall be available regardless of one’s health status or financial status.
  • Provide “seamless” coverage and continuity of care, to the extent possible, regardless of changes in the life circumstances such as change in employment, marital status, financial status, or health status.
  • Establish a mechanism to adequately control total system expenditures for health services while maintaining quality standards of care.
  • Assure that no one shall be forced into poverty because of medical or long-term needs.

I-1600 would establish a comprehensive state program to pay for health care services, prescriptions, and medical equipment for all Washington residents.

Your help is needed to gather enough signatures for I-1600 to be approved for placement on the November 2018 ballot. Donations are needed to enable positive communication of this initiative and for signature gathering costs. At the present time there are no paid staff members working on this initiative, only volunteers working on a grassroots level. Please help as much as you are able.

The League Endorses Initiative 1631, Action Against Climate Change

The Board of LWVWA voted to endorse Initiative 1631, the "Protect Washington Act." This measure would charge pollution fees on sources of the greenhouse gas pollutant carbon dioxide, and use the revenue to reduce pollution, promote renewable energy, and address climate change impacts, with the oversight of a public board. 

The Initiative is sponsored by The Alliance for Jobs and Clean Energy, a coalition of 201 organizations, mostly labor, environmental and social justice groups. It will require 260,000 signatures by July 6th. The League supports addressing climate change by putting a price on carbon, and we believe this is the next best opportunity and the place we must start...read more about the League's endorsement of I-1631 and how to get involved.

 

I-940 Might Need To Go For A Vote Of The People

LWVWA members, among other supporters, worked hard to get enough signatures to get Initiative 940 before the Legislature.  After much negotiation, lawmakers passed I-940 and a compromise measure to amend it with changes called for by police groups and supported by activists. However, a lawsuite filed soon after passage contended that the process used was illegal.  Judge Christine Schaller ruled that the Washington lawmakers violated the state Constitution when they used a procedure to make it easier to prosecute police for negligent shootings.

This means that I-940 might need to go onto the November ballot!  However, the Washington State Attorney General immediately appealed. This means the lawsuit will be heard by the Supreme Court.  It may be several months before we know if I-940 will need a vote of the people. Check back to the LWVTC website often to keep up with development related to I-940.

 

GENERAL ISSUE AREAS

Government Issues

  • Municipal Governments
  • Thurston County Critical Areas 
  • Thurston County Governance

Natural Resources and Environment Issues

  • Coal Train Concerns
  • Shoreline Management
  • Climate Change
  • Water Resources
  • Alternative Energy
  • Sustainable Agriculture

Social Issues

  • Affordable Housing
  • Economic Equality
  • Racial Equity

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