Washington Legislature Receives 'D' In Racial Equity Report

By Paige Browning

A new report gives Washington state lawmakers a “D” grade on their work on racial equity. The report card is based on policy decisions in the 2011-2012 session that advance or reverse racial and economic equity.

Washington Community Action Network released the report, praising bills like one in 2012 that extends foster care for youth enrolled in higher education. They shame other legislation like house bill 1544 that they say restricts immigrant’s access to health care.

Tia Griffen from Washington CAN says they are calling on the legislature to work to advance racial equity in the state, and she encouraged seven actions or bills.

“Number one, implementing the Medicaid expansion and the basic health option through health care reform. Number two, expanding access to dental care. Number three passing the Washington voter rights act. Number four, abolishing the death penalty.”

She also lists making early learning more accessible and taking away requirements on e-verify, the program requiring employers to check their workers residency status.

Also in the report is a grade on each lawmaker. Andy Billig from Spokane was one of six representatives who received an A for their work in racial equality. Billig is an incoming state Senator.

The only senator to receive an A in the previous session was Jeanne Kohl-Welles from the 36th district.

On the Web:

Facing Race: How Budget Cuts Are Increasing Racial Disparities (Washington CAN)

Copyright 2012 Spokane Public Radio

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