The Department of Revenue has launched the new website portal for the state's Working Families Tax Credit.
DOR estimates about 420,000 Washingtonians will be eligible to receive a check or direct deposit of up to $1,200. The credit will be available in the upcoming tax return season, and Washingtonians can check now to see whether they might be eligible for the credit at workingfamiliescredit.wa.gov.
Gov. Jay Inslee signed HB 1297 and approved funding for the program in 2021. This is an ongoing program that will allow lower-income families to apply for a rebate every year. DOR will begin an outreach campaign later this year to make sure people are aware of the program and know how to apply.
Partisan Activists Post
Ballot "surveillance" Signs
in Attempt to Intimidate Voters
King County officials discovered and removed hostile signs placed near ballot boxes in the Seattle area, warning voters that the site was "under surveillance." The King County elections office immediately called for an investigation by the Sheriff's office. Gov. Jay Inslee and U.S. Attorney Nick Brown swiftly admonished the illegal tactic to intimidate voters.
"This is an outrage. This is an absolute affront to everything we hold dear, which is the right to vote. Democracy is our greatest blessing, and this is an assault on democracy," said Gov. Jay Inslee. "I can hardly think of something more un-American and un-Washingtonian."
"Voter intimidation is a federal crime and any attempt to harass or discourage citizens from voting at our state's secure election drop boxes will be investigated and prosecuted in federal court," said U.S. Attorney Brown.
Under federal law, it is a felony to intimidate or threaten other persons to discourage them from voting or for assisting others in voting.
Washington state voting systems are accredited by an independent authority and are routinely tested for security by state and independent agencies. Washington state's voting systems are among the most accessible and secure in the nation.
Inslee Talk Agriculture,
Housing, Gang Violence
Gov. Jay Inslee visited Yakima on Tuesday, July 19, making several stops to talk with locals about issues related to homelessness, housing, and agriculture. The governor's first stop was at Gilbert Orchards, a tree fruit grower. Washington's growers have faced challenges from labor shortages, retaliatory tariffs, and climate change - three issues that state legislators and agencies are working to address.
Inslee also visited Rod's House, a supportive housing facility for homeless youth. Rod's House goes further than putting a roof overhead - they help young tenants access behavioral health services, treatment, rehab, and more.
Inslee also visited Walk About Yakima (WAY), a local partnership that is successfully reducing gang recruitment and gun violence. Inslee met with one man whose father had been a drug dealer and whose path was likely to lead him to gang involvement. WAY intervened, and helped the young man find an apprenticeship as a diesel mechanic.
Inslee ended the day with a visit to the Yakima Valley Partners Habitat for Humanity office, which had solar panels installed thanks to funding from the state. The savings they enjoy from solar power go right back into their high-impact community investments.
Inslee, Law Enforcement
Leaders Propose Expansion
of Police Training to Campuses
State and local law enforcement leaders joined Gov. Jay Inslee last Thursday to announce united support for the proposed expansion of the Criminal Justice Training Committee (CJTC). Nearly all trainings - which take several months to complete - currently take place at the CJTC's Burien facility. Regional campuses would help agencies respond to a national officer shortage and would facilitate recruitment of officers more representative of their home communities. The addition of new regional campuses would accelerate the process for new recruits to be trained and ready to work, and would facilitate recruitment of officers more representative of their home communities.
"As we heard from law enforcement today, this effort to fund more training and establish new training locations will not only help with the number of officers, but will also help the recruitment of officers that better reflect the communities in which they work," said Inslee.
Expanding to regional campuses would accelerate the process for new recruits to be trained and certified, helping agencies overcome manpower deficits. The expansion would also diminish the compromises trainees must make to attend extended training. Agencies also expect that the strategy would facilitate the hiring of more local officers, helping agencies better represent the communities they serve.
"The regional academy concept will help us find talented officers and allow for local cultural influences that will better reflect our communities," said Pasco Chief of Police Ken Roske. "The Tri-City law enforcement agencies are excited for the prospect of training new police officers at a Pasco BLEA Campus."
Officer recruitment is competitive nationwide. Many agencies are taking unusual steps such as offering hiring bonuses and staging out-of-state recruitment events to attract officers. Hampered by attrition and challenging recruitment, some larger agencies are recruiting for hundreds of vacancies.
Pasco is one of the locations slated for a new regional training office.
"The regional academy concept will help us find talented officers and allow for local cultural influences that will better reflect our communities," said Pasco Chief of Police Ken Roske. "The Tri-City law enforcement agencies are excited for the prospect of training new police officers at a Pasco [Basic Law Enforcement Academy] Campus."
This expansion would be in addition to the increased funding approved by the governor last session for additional classes at the Burien campus.
988 Lifeline launched,
Continues to Progress
Gov. Jay Inslee hosted news media for a general availability last Wednesday, fielding questions in response to a variety of topics. The 988 crisis lifeline launched nationwide on Saturday, July 16 - three call centers in Washington state now operate 24/7 with trained operators to help people navigate crises related to mental health or substance use disorder. Call centers reported a 50 percent increase in call volume following the launch of the new, easy-to-remember 988 dialing code.
Inslee also reviewed the progress of the state's right-of-way safety program underway by the state Department of Commerce, state Department of Transportation, and Washington State Patrol. Agencies began to partner with local governments and non-profits earlier this summer to help transition people living in four encampments along I-5. Discussions are underway for additional sites, including the Camp Hope site in Spokane. Crews frequently remove several tons of debris and trash at each site, including more than 100 propane tanks from just one site in Seattle.