This list of priorities was created through several months of work in the Public Policy Task Force and Policy Council, drawing on input from the membership. The GSBA Board of Directors gave final approval of the 2017 Legislative Agenda at the December 7, 2016 Board meeting. The Legislative Agenda will serve as a guideline for the organization’s policy and advocacy work. GSBA will not endorse any specific legislation without first completing the Board-approved vetting process.
Equality and access under the law for all persons.
As an organization founded by and for members of the LGBT community civil rights and equality for all will always be the top priority in our advocacy efforts. Like other marginalized communities ours has been and still is denied rights and responsibilities granted to the general populous. Here in the Washington State we have some of the strongest protections for the LGBT community. But we still face hurdles because of who we are, especially the trans community. Even as we have successfully passed antidiscrimination and marriage equality laws, there remain groups who try to weaken or circumvent those vital protections.
GSBA’s 2016 Civil Rights Priorities Are:
City of Seattle: Increase recognition of LGBT equity at the City
Washington State: Defend Washington’s anti-discrimination laws
Federal Government: Pass the Equality Act
GSBA will also advocate to:
- Oppose all broad religious exemptions laws
- Oppose federal First Amendment Defense Act, oppose similar efforts in Washington
- Ban sexual orientation & gender identity change efforts / conversion therapy: pass federal Therapeutic Fraud Prevention Act, pass conversion therapy ban in Washington
- End discrimination against transgender people in all arenas, especially healthcare
- Pass the federal End Racial Profiling Act
- Increase funding and support of LGBT homeless youth.
- Increase funding and support of LGBT seniors, particularly around housing needs.
- Defend the right of all people to have control over their own bodies, including a woman’s right to choose.
- Support the Youth Equity And Reinvestment (YEAR) Act
- Support a ban on assault rifles and limits to gun magazine size
A vibrant economy strengthened through the full participation and collaboration of diverse local communities.
As a chamber of commerce, a robust economy is a fundamental value of GSBA’s mission. The health and wellbeing of a community is dependent upon local economic support and funding for local projects from city, county, state and federal resources. While both businesses and communities must adapt to the changing global economy, our success and sustainability begin at a grassroots level – at home. GSBA seeks to be the go-to voice for small businesses in policy.
GSBA’s 2016 Economic Development Priorities Are:
City of Seattle: Recognize LGBTBE certification in supplier diversity efforts
Washington State: Expand contracting opportunities for all minority communities:
Recognize LGBTBE Certification in supplier diversity efforts
Support TABOR 100’s proposal amending I-200
Federal Government: Recognize LGBTBE certification in supplier diversity efforts.
GSBA will also advocate to:
- Strengthen the voice of small businesses in the policymaking process at all levels, particularly in the anticipated arenas of paid family leave and labor standards
- Increase public support of small business education and technical support
- Track and encourage adoption (where appropriate) of Seattle Mayor’s Commercial Affordability Advisory Committee recommendations
- Oppose the imposition of a headcount tax on Seattle businesses
- Ensure a seat around the table for the LGBT community on economic issues
- Increase state support for tourism, particularly for LGBT tourism and for the WA Tourism Alliance’s self-assessment proposal.
- Enact systemic, progressive tax reform to address chronic underfunding of critical services, including a reform of the B&O tax on gross receipts
- Support comprehensive public transportation initiatives
- Coordinate and streamline regulations across administrative scales.
Education for All
Invest in future leaders.
Education is the foundation for strong, vibrant and diverse communities. Excellence in education is key to create and maintain educated workforces, to attract the best and brightest to our state, to foster innovation and to nurture our future leaders. A highly educated workforce generates and grows local business enterprises and in turn leads to higher wages and standards of living. Excellence in education cannot be achieved by simply funding programs. Schools must also provide healthy and safe environments for their students in order for them to learn and thrive.
GSBA’s 2016 Education Priorities Are:
Washington State: Fully fund Washington’s education system, particularly community colleges
GSBA will also advocate for:
- Tyler Clementi Higher Education Anti-Harassment Act
- Student Non-Discrimination Act
- Federal student aid for DREAMers
- LGBTQ curriculum inclusion efforts