News from the Skagit County Democrats

Posted on March 19th, 2023

Skagit County Democrats Action Newsletter for March 20, 2023



1. UPDATEDLegislative Committee Report for March 20
With the State Legislature in session our Legislative Committee is hard at work going through as many bills as possible to make sure we keep you well informed. Each week we will feature bills that we need your help getting passed. So far, the following bills we have supported are through their house of origin:

  • SB5371 – sponsored by Senator Liz Lovelett. Protecting southern resident orcas from vessels.
  • SB5189 – Establishing behavioral health support specialists.
  • HB1355 – Updates property tax exemptions for service-connected disabled veterans and senior citizens.
  • ESHB1042 – Creation of additional housing units in existing buildings.

You are all doing a fantastic job helping make a positive impact in our state! Thank you so much for contacting your legislators, please continue the good work! Read through the bills below, click the “email your legislators” link below the bill information, copy and paste the recommended text (or write your own) then send it to your state legislatures.
-Here are this week's featured bills-

  • ESHB1042 – Creation of additional housing units in existing buildings.
    • Passed the house! Now please email your senator. This bill would enable conversion of existing non-housing buildings for construction of multiple housing units. Municipalities would be restricted from blocking such housing construction within zones where multi-housing units are permitted.
      • Email Your Legislators to Support ESHB1042 -Recommended text-
      • Washington state is in the throes of a housing crisis. Unless changes are made to restrictions preventing multi-unit housing construction, Washington will not be able to catch up to our dramatic needs for additional housing at all income levels, but especially for affordable housing. Density housing will accelerate availability of homes for Washingtonians. I urge you to support passage of ESHB 1042.
  • SB5371 – sponsored by Senator Liz Lovelett. Protecting southern resident orcas from vessels.
    • Currently in the Senate Rules Committee. Increases the distance a vessel must maintain away from a southern resident orca from 400 yards to 1000 yards. Protections need to be fortified to allow the SRKW* (Southern Resident Killer Whale) time and space to find food. The SRKW population is the most endangered mammal in the world. This bill enables the Department of Fish and Wildlife to hold recreational boaters to the same distance standards for SRKW as commercial whale watching boaters. *SRKW (Southern Resident Killer Whale) is the federal Endangered Species Act designation for the southern resident orca.
      • Email Your Legislators to Support SB5371 – Contact your House Representatives -Recommended text-
      • “Please support SB5371 and increase the distance a vessel must maintain away from a southern resident orca from 400 yards to 1000 yards. This will allow Orcas the time and space necessary to find food that is in dwindling supply. The Southern Resident Killer Whale population is the most endangered mammal in the world. I urge you to support SB5371.”

Unfortunately some bills do not pass or are blocked like the following: HB1389 – Would have created a 7% rent cap. As has been the trend this year, bills aiming to protect tenants from price gouging have been shot down or stalled out by Republicans. HB1389 was no different. It sought to cap rent increases at the rate of inflation up to 7%. The bill failed to reach the House floor for a vote by its March 8th deadline.

HB1389 applies to residential housing and manufactured homes, including mobile homes. It prohibits a landlord from increasing rent by more than 3% or the inflation rate of the CPI-U (The Consumer Price Index), whichever is greater, maxing out at 7%. It would also prevent a landlord from increasing rent in the first 12 months of a tenancy. There are exemptions to the maximum annual rent increase limit, including dwelling units less than 10 years old and tenancies where the landlord is required to reduce the rent to 30% or less of the tenant's income due to federal, state, or local programs or subsidies. HB1389 also protects tenants against over-zealous landlords by proposing that should a tenant be evicted, for any rental agreement entered within 12 months of the termination of the prior tenancy, the amount of rent that a landlord may charge a new tenant is limited. The bill creates a private cause of action for tenants who wish to recover damages and reasonable attorneys' fees. The banked capacity program allows landlords to increase rent by an additional 3% for each year of participation. The bill has an emergency clause and an immediate effective date.

This fantastic bill was sponsored by Representatives Alex Ramel and Debra Lekanoff! See this Cascadia Daily news article for more information

2. NEWTruck Volunteers Needed to Help with the Spring Garage Sale
We need trucks to transport from storage to the Fairgrounds and then take what doesn't sell back to storage:

  • Wednesday, Apr 5 – from around 9:00am to 2:00pm (ballpark time)
  • Friday – Apr 7 – from about 3:00pm -5:00pm (also ballpark time)
  • Saturday, Apr 8 – from 4:00pm until our garage sale space is empty

Please call Sheila (360-899-4220 or volunteer or with questions.

3. Spring Garage Sale, Friday and Saturday, Apr 7 and 8, 9:00am – 4:00pm, Skagit County Fairgrounds, 501 Taylor Street, Mount Vernon
Thanks to all of you who have donated for our space at the garage sale. We are filling our storage areas with fun, interesting, and in some cases unidentifiable, items. Please keep them coming! The deadline for donations is Tuesday, Apr 4.

We cannot take everything, so here are some guidelines:

  • Clothing accessories (i.e., hats, gloves) are fine but no clothing (dresses, suits, coats, etc)
  • We don't have space for large pieces of furniture.
  • Please make sure any mechanical or electronic donation works

We are accepting donations at our office – location above. Our hours are Mon-Thu, 12:00-4:00. Please call 360-336-1555 with questions or to arrange an off-hour time to drop off donations.

4. UPDATEDThe 40th Legislative District Democrats will conduct a General Membership Meeting Sunday, Mar 26, 6:00pm, via Zoom
Click Here for the Zoom link. Meeting ID: 372 671 4899 – Passcode: 40th.

5. The 39th Legislative District Democrats Executive Board meets Tuesday, Mar 28, 7:00pm – 08:30pm, via Zoom
Click Here for the Zoom link.

6. NEWThe Fidalgo Democrats' most recent offering on the Anacortes Public Safety Levy is available
Click Here to view the session. Click Here for information on the Levy Lid Lift Proposition.

7. Indivisible Skagit is recruiting possible School Board candidates
"It is that time of year to be looking for candidates to run for your local School Board. The following is from our friends at Indivisible. The Nonpartisan Guide to Running For School Board – A Pro-Public School Approach was conceived, edited, rewritten, reorganized and made beautiful by a small team of "Totally Grassroots Patriotic Pro Public School Pals". This guide is meant to appeal to anyone who believes in and cares about public school (as opposed to those trying to take over school boards who want public funds to go to private or religious schools, ban books, or stop educators from teaching honest history). Please share freely with anyone who might be thinking of serving, or anyone wanting to help someone run for school board. If that person is running in a bluer area, and is more progressive, there are also some resources to serve that type of candidate in a "Slightly Spicy Addendum for our Progressive Friends". Please take a look at both of these and share where appropriate."

8. Skagit County Democrats is again requesting anyone visiting our Headquarters to "mask up"

9. NEWLinks of the Week
The Links of the Week provide in-depth pieces and resources the Editor has found to be relevant, insightful, and thorough on important issues of the day.


1. NEWSkagit/Island Counties Builders Association (SICBA) 2023 Home & Garden Show, Friday 12:00pm – 7:00pm, Saturday 10:00am – 7:00pm, Sunday 10:00am -4:00pm, Mar 24, 25, & 26, Skagit County Fairgrounds, 501 West Taylor Street, Mount Vernon
Adults $7, Military $5, Seniors $5, Kids 15 & under are FREE.

2. NEWSkagit County Public Health has contracted with Perinatal Support Washington to provide their Perinatal Education and Resilience Collaborative (PERC) in Skagit County including  offering no-cost training for Washington State mental health professionals new to perinatal mental health care and treatment
Click Here for more information.

3. UPDATEDThe monthly Planned Parenthood sign-waving rallies are planned Wednesday Mar 22, 5:00pm – 6:00pm, AND Saturday, Apr 1, 11:00am – 12:00pm on the sidewalk in front of the Mount Vernon Health Center, 1805 East Division Street
This is to counter the "40 Days of Life" campaign of the choice opponents. Rain or shine! Bring your energy, your signs, your friends and your family! We're looking for a big show of support for Planned Parenthood!

4. UPDATEDNo More Bombs continues to protest on the viaduct over I-5 the 1st and 3rd Fridays of the month
Hours continue to be 3:00pm – 4:00pm at the overpass above the Skagit Valley Food Co-op. We’ll have our “NO NUKES” banner plus American, Ukrainian, and Peace flags. Join us! Ample parking is available on Fulton Street near the old YMCA. If the weather is inclement, we cancel. Write to if in doubt about weather.

5. The La Conner Daffodil Festival 2023 runs all month
Click Here for more information.

6. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Cuts in Washington State
"In March, 32 states and Washington, D.C., will end emergency Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program aid that helped individuals and families cope with food insecurity during the pandemic. The average person is projected to receive about $90 less in SNAP benefits per month." The Helping Hands program distributes food assistance from Anacortes to Marblemount. With the cuts in the SNAP program, more families become dependent on food banks. Click Here if you can donate to help.

7. The National Women’s Political Caucus of Washington is hosting their Annual Candidate Training for Women and Non-Binary Individuals
"National, state, and local campaign experts will help current, and future candidates, campaign managers, and community leaders learn the ins and outs of running for office. This training is perfect for anyone planning or thinking about running for office as well as for those who prefer to be the heroes behind the scenes as campaign staff or volunteers! Please share with your members and network to help increase the number of pro-choice candidates in public office by supporting our mutually crucial political work."

Links to training registration pages are below! We hope to see some great candidates there!

8. The Skagit County AARP TaxAide Program provides FREE tax preparation
"The Skagit AARP TaxAide program offers free tax return preparation, and tax consultation for most low- and middle-income tax situations. [Including for seniors] It is an all-volunteer community operation, sponsored by the AARP Foundation with Spanish language support from Goodwill. Your tax return is prepared by IRS certified tax preparers (called counselors), who must recertify annually. If you are interested in accessing our free tax preparation service, familiarize yourself with our process and call one of the sites for an appointment. Due to the pandemic, access to Skagit AARP TaxAide services will be limited so be sure to make your appointment early! Once we run out of appointments, you will have to find another way to get your tax return done." Click Here for more information.

9. COVID-19 Information
Click Here for the most current report and resources.


1. Anacortes Sunday Demonstrations
Democrats are again demonstrating in Anacortes each Sunday, 12:00pm – 1:00pm at the corner of 12th Street and Commercial Avenue. "We carry signs for Dem candidates, get out and vote signs, women's right-to-chose in healthcare and so on and so on. We need more people to show up."

2. Coffee & Cards, Wednesdays, 10:00am – 12:00pm, Skagit County Democrats Headquarters, 2021 East College Way, Suite 104, Mount Vernon
Coffee and Cards meets on Wednesdays from 10:00am – 12:00pm. This is the group that was previously led by Carol Sullivan and is now lead quite capably by Judy Farrar. The group is a way for us to express ourselves about issues of importance to us all.  

We will write messages of encouragement and support to people who are making positive contributions as well as messages of concern and opposition to people who are negatively impacting our world. This includes legislators on the local, state, and federal level as well as CEOs of corporations and other people having a significant impact in our world. We will share ideas for people to write to and issues to address.  

Postcards and stamps will be provided, but we ask that people bring money to cover the cost of the postcard stamps which are currently $.44. Coffee will be provided or bring your own. As Carol always reminded us, “We are stronger together.” Our office is located at 2021 East College Way, Suite 104, Mount Vernon, 360-336-1555."
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