The Stand

2014 Legislative Report: ‘Another taste of political gridlock’

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OLYMPIA (April 29, 2014) — The 2014 session of the Washington State Legislature was “another bitter taste of Washington, D.C.-style political gridlock” as Senate Republicans blocked votes on dozens of pro-working family policies and job-creating infrastructure investments. Instead, the GOP launched aggressive election-year attacks against public employees and workplace standards that had no chance of passage in this blue state.

14-WSLC-LegReportThat is the assessment of the 2014 Legislative Report and Voting Record released today by the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, the state’s largest union organization which represents the interests of some 400,000 rank-and-file members in the state. The report describes the fate of 2014 legislation and includes the annual WSLC House and Senate voting records, which are published each year so union members can understand how their elected representatives voted on issues that affect their jobs, wages, and working conditions. The report is available at the WSLC web site in both HTML and PDF (printable) formats.

In particular, the report describes the WSLC’s “Shared Prosperity Agenda” for 2014, which included legislation to discourage unscrupulous employers from committing wage theft, to allow all workers in the state to earn paid sick leave, to close loopholes in the Affordable Care Act that let large corporations shift their employee health care costs onto taxpayers, and to raise the state minimum wage to $12 over the next three years. Those efforts and other labor priorities, including passage of a statewide transportation package and a capital budget focused on school construction, failed to pass in 2014.

“It was another year of lost opportunities on job creation, infrastructure investment, and even basic fairness for workers whose wages are literally stolen from them by their bosses,” said WSLC President Jeff Johnson. “Voters didn’t ask for this, but they got D.C.-style gridlock thanks to political gamesmanship in the Senate. As a result, basic governance has fallen victim to pointless partisanship. Important public priorities like the transportation and capital budgets, which have passed with bipartisan support in the past, fell victim to ideological arguments and inaction.”

Now, writes Johnson in his column for the Legislative Report, “It is time for us to reflect on our values and priorities at the ballot box this fall.”

Hundreds of delegates representing the WSLC’s affiliated unions from across Washington state will soon be looking at the WSLC’s 2014 Voting Records as they determine which legislators and which challengers deserve labor’s support this fall in the elections. The WSLC’s political endorsement convention will be held Saturday, May 10, at the Machinists 751 Hall in Seattle. Delegates will vote on endorsements for Congressional, judicial, and state legislative candidates, plus statewide ballot measures.

14-WSLC-LegReport-graphicThe following excerpt from the WSLC’s 2014 Legislative Report and Voting Record summarizes the session:

In 2013, two erstwhile Democrats traded control of the Washington State Senate to Republicans in exchange for better job titles and bigger offices.

In 2014, the real consequences of those partisan political machinations  are clearer than ever. Progressive policies and job-creating infrastructure investments supported by both Gov. Jay Inslee and the Democratic-controlled House were blocked by Senate Republicans. They killed dozens of House-approved labor-backed bills on everything from wage theft to electricians’ certification, in most cases without a public hearing.

For a second straight session, Senate Republicans refused to allow a vote on a desperately needed House-approved transportation package. GOP leaders talked (a lot) about “reforming” transportation first, but never produced a proposal their own caucus could support.

Right up to the session’s final day, Senate Republicans obstructed efforts to create jobs, blocking a school construction bill that had passed the House on a bipartisan 90-7 vote.

Instead, Senate Republicans spent the 2014 session launching aggressive attacks on labor standards and public employees. Pushed by national right-wing groups, these bills had little chance of passage in blue Washington. It was all about election-year posturing.

As you’ll read throughout this WSLC Legislative Report, voters in Washington state didn’t ask for it, but in 2014 they got another bitter taste of Washington, D.C.-style political gridlock.

Read the entire 2014 WSLC Legislative Report and Voting Record report here. If you have questions about it, contact the WSLC’s David Groves via email or by calling 206-281-8901 ext. 4911.

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Posted by on Apr 29 2014. Filed under STATE GOVERNMENT, TAKE A STAND!. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

2 Comments for “2014 Legislative Report: ‘Another taste of political gridlock’”

  1. dane

    Well, are Washingtonians ready to send any republicans packing? in Kidnap, I mean, Kitsap county they voted for a tea bagger who is also the head of ALEC for Washington as a senator. Anyone familiar with whats happened in Wisconsin, Michigan, and several other states? Its going to happen here too if these people take over.

  2. Freedom1Dan

    The real problem is there are too many socialists, sorry progressives in office. Please leave america and go to any other socialist communist country and live. We don’t like your values.
    It is not the governments job to creat jobs. It is the governments job to stay out of the way so that the free market can create jobs and it is not governments job to regulate wages, it is the free markets job to regulate wages.
    If you want more money get an education or get a second job or even a third. Get your liberal politicians to stop allowing business’s to send our manufacturing jobs out of country and for that matter now that so many are gone, bring them back….
    Throw the liberal BUM’s out of office and get people in there that want to make AMERICA great and not a NANNY state! ! ! ! !
    I guess a “tea bagger” would be called a real AMERICAN ! Non tea baggers please leave the country…………

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