Advocacy



Advocacy is one of the four pillars of GSBA in our mission to combine business development, leadership, and social action to expand economic opportunities for the LGBT community and those who support equality for all. Founded with a social justice mission,GSBA is proud to be an avowedly progressive business organization. Representing the voice of our community, of our businesses, and of our nonprofits is critical. It is the membership that drives our policy work - each of our civic engagement events is organized by and for our members. 

GSBA priorities during the 2018 legislative session


Banning conversion therapy (SB 5722) - Would protect the physical and psychological well-being of minors against exposure to serious harms caused by conversion therapy. Performing conversion therapy would be considered unprofessional conduct for any licensed health care provider and subject them to losing their license. Learn more.

Preventing harassment and bullying of transgender students (SB 5766) - Expands the existing law prohibiting the harassment, intimidation, and bullying of any student to specifically include transgender students. Learn more.

Require long-term care providers to be trained on LGBTQ issues (SB 5700) - Requires long-term care workers to include LGBTQ cultural competency as part of their continuing education program.

Update the Uniform Parentage Act (SB 6037) - Strengthens protections for LGBTQ parents and non-biological parents. Would allow for compensated surrogacy while protecting health, wellbeing, and autonomy of women acting as surrogates.

Support the Equal Pay Act (HB 1506) - Would protect workers from practices that perpetuate inequality. Allows workers to discuss and inquire about pay without retaliation. Requires pay to be based on bona fide job-related criteria. Learn more.

Create a statewide tourism marketing fund (SHB 1123, SSB 5251) - Create a marketing plan and campaign focusing on bringing more tourists to WA, managed by a nonprofit entity representing the geographic and cultural diversity of the state. WA is the only state in the country without a tourism board, and the significant economic opportunities brought by tourism will be a boon to small businesses.

Other priorities - GSBA is very active during session and is supporting many other efforts such as the Voting Rights Act, net neutrality, creating uniform statewide business regulations, and more.
Find our who are your elected officials and register to vote or update your registration at MyVote (part of the Washington Secretary of State's office).

Public Policy Task Force


Are you interested in LGBT and/or small business policy issues? GSBA's monthly Public Policy Task Force comes together to discuss issues of importance to the LGBT and small business communities. We often bring in elected officials, advocates, and other policymakers to present to our members.

PPTF meets on the third Monday of every month, except where otherwise noted.

Attendance FREE and is open to all GSBA members

Please contact Matt Landers, GSBA Public Policy and Communications Manager for more information.



GSBA Blog: Advocacy Posts


GSBA Letter on Proposed Seattle Head Tax

| Nov 04, 2016

GSBA sent this letter to the Seattle City Council in response to a proposal to implement an employee headcount tax to fund the Office of Labor Standards.


Honorable Councilmembers,

GSBA, one of the largest chambers in Washington with over 1,200 members, has supported the creation of an Office for Labor Standards and was a champion that this office be independent from the Office of Civil Rights. Given the importance to economic health of small business in our city, GSBA feels it is essential that this funding come from the city’s general fund and we applaud that the Mayor’s budget proposal shows that the City’s general fund can indeed readily address a much-needed expansion of the office.

 

The current proposal by the City Council to fund the Office for Labor Standards with a head tax on businesses of all sizes is the surest way to discourage growth and give a disincentive to businesses considering expansion. The increase in fees would range from several hundred dollars per year to hundreds of thousands of dollars. For small businesses, increasing taxes on an already fragile existence in this increasingly expensive city could push them out of business or put a curb on any expansion. This increase would come as businesses in our city have consistently invested in what is best for this city and our communities. We already generate 50 percent of the tax revenue for the City of Seattle’s general fund and have been waiting for the city to do its part to demonstrate its support for our business community.

 

GSBA believes in businesses investing in their employees and treating them right. That is why we are a proud supporter of Initiative 1433 to raise the minimum wage and implement paid sick and safe time at the state level. We have been a good-faith partner to the City as Seattle proposes and implements additional labor standards every year, even as the concerns and realities of small businesses are dismissed at nearly every turn.

 

The cost of living and the cost of doing business is rising fast for Seattle, partially through the growth we are currently experiencing and partially through the intentional work of the City. While each individual policy might not have a significant impact, the cumulative effect is piling on our businesses, especially for the smallest businesses which anchor our neighborhoods and communities. A head tax on businesses makes it harder for businesses to increase their staff – the opposite of what should be the City’s goal.

 

As you continue your deliberations, we strongly urge you to support the Mayor’s proposal for continuing to fund the Office of Labor Standards through the general fund. Implementing our city’s labor laws does not require a separate funding source but a clear commitment of support that the City of Seattle understands that everyone benefits from a healthy business environment and therefore, funding for this vital office be supported by Seattle’s General Fund.

 

For equality,

Louise Chernin, President & CEO