This is the latest edition of the weekly Legislative Update newsletter from the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO. If you didn’t receive it via email, subscribe to The Stand and you’ll get the Legislative Updates and all of the WSLC’s other legislative reports.
OLYMPIA (Feb. 25, 2019) — The action in Olympia was fast and furious last week with the Friday, Feb. 22 deadline for bills to pass out of policy (non-fiscal) committees in their houses of origin. This week promises to be the same, as the next cutoff date is this Friday, March 1. Bills must pass House fiscal committees and Senate Ways & Means and Transportation committees in their house of origin by that day.
Here’s a status report on legislation from the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO’s 2019 Shared Prosperity Agenda, plus some other labor-supported bills:
BUILDING UP OUR WORKFORCE
SECURE SCHEDULING — HB 1491, sponsored by Rep. Nicole Macri (D-Seattle), is a statewide “secure scheduling” proposal that would provide workers advance notice of schedules, access to additional hours, expanded flexibility, and more balanced lives. Read more about it. — It passed Labor & Workplace Standards and is in Appropriations, where it is scheduled for a public hearing this afternoon.
TAKE A STAND — Legislators need to hear workers’ stories about why unpredictable schedules make their jobs and lives harder. Please take a couple of minutes to click here and share your story.
REINVEST IN OUR COLLEGES — HB 1300, sponsored by Rep. Gael Tarleton (D-Seattle), would set goals for better funding of our state’s community and technical colleges, including increasing compensation for faculty, establishing an office for diversity and equity, and providing better wages for faculty and staff that work with incarcerated populations. Read more about it. — HB 1300 did not advance from House College & Workforce Development, so it missed last Friday’s cutoff. The WSLC, AFT Washington, Washington Education Association, and other advocates for reinvesting in working-class training and education will be pushing hard for better funding of state community and technical colleges in the biennial budget.
LONG-TERM CARE TRUST ACT — HB 1087, sponsored by Rep. Laurie Jinkins (D-Tacoma), would establish a Long-Term Care Trust to reduce the biggest uninsured risk Washingtonians now face. It will help protect future taxpayers from the cost of long-term care, both to their families and to the state budget. Most of all, it would give families the security of knowing they will get the care they need when they need it most without the added stress of how to pay for it. Read more about it. — HB 1087 passed the House last Thursday, 63-33.
PLAN 2 DEFAULT — SB 5360 / HB 1308, sponsored by Sen. Steve Conway (D-Tacoma) and Rep. Derek Stanford (D-Bothell), would change the default retirement plan for public workers from Plan 3 to Plan 2, if they fail to choose a plan within 90 days, to ensure more retirees are protected by defined-benefit pensions. — SB 5360 passed Ways & Means and is in Rules. HB 1308 passed Appropriations and is in Rules.
SIMPLIFY EMPLOYEE CLASSIFICATION — HB 1515, sponsored by Rep. Marcus Riccelli (D-Spokane), would simplify “independent contractor” definitions and improve enforcement when workers are incorrectly classified, which strips them of wages and access to worker safety nets, creates an unlevel playing field for businesses, and siphons away state revenue. Read more about it, or download a one-page PDF on the issue. — HB 1515 was amended in House Labor & Workforce Standards to create a work group of labor and business representatives to study this issue and present its findings to the Legislature this fall. The amended HB 1515 was then approved by the committee and is now in Rules.
HEALTHCARE MEAL & REST BREAKS — HB 1155 / SB 5190, sponsored by Rep. Marcus Riccelli (D-Spokane) and Sen. Karen Keiser (D-Kent), would ensure nurses and other frontline health care workers receive uninterrupted breaks and close a dangerous loophole in the mandatory overtime law. Read more about it. — HB 1155 passed Labor & Workforce Standards and has been heard in Appropriations but awaits committee action there. SB 5190 passed Labor & Commerce and, likewise, has been heard in Ways & Means but awaits committee action there.
KEEP WASHINGTON WORKING — SB 5497, sponsored by Sen. Lisa Wellman (D-Mercer Is.), establishes a statewide policy supporting Washington state’s economy and immigrants’ role in the workplace, and ensures their access to state services. Many of our state’s most important industries rely on the dedicated work of immigrants. This bill would develop strategies to protect our immigrant workforce, and secure their rights as workers and members of our communities. — SB 5497 passed Senate Law & Justice and is now in Ways & Means.
REGULATE NON-COMPETITION CONTRACTS — SB 5478 / HB 1450, sponsored by Sen. Marko Liias (D-Lynnwood) and Rep. Derek Stanford (D-Bothell), would regulate non-competition agreements in Washington state to ensure they aren’t being used to exploit workers and deny them the opportunities to find better jobs. Read more about it. — SB 5478 passed Labor & Commerce and is in Rules. HB 1450 passed Labor & Workforce Standards and is in Rules.
TRANSPARENCY IN AGRICULTURAL SUPPLY CHAINS ACT — SB 5693, sponsored by Sen. Rebecca Saldaña (D-Seattle), would provide transparency and corporate accountability for any labor abuses within the agricultural supply chain. Read more about it. — It passed Senate Labor & Commerce and is now in Rules.
WORK VIOLENCE / SEXUAL HARASSMENT — SB 5258, sponsored by Sen. Karen Keiser (D-Kent), requires companies that employ custodians, security guards, hotel or motel housekeepers, or others who spend a majority of their working hours alone to adopt a sexual harassment policy, provide sexual harassment training, provide a list of resources to employees, and provide panic buttons to isolated workers. — It passed the Senate 47-0 and is now in House Labor & Workforce Standards.
HB 1056, sponsored by Rep. Gina Mosbrucker (R), would create a task force to identify the role of the workplace in helping curb domestic violence. — It passed Labor & Workforce Standards and is in Rules.
WORKER PROTECTION ACT — HB 1965, sponsored by Rep. Drew Hansen (D-Bainbridge Is.), allows whistleblowers to sue on behalf of the state to enforce labor laws. — It passed the House Labor & Workforce Standards and is now in Appropriations.
UPDATE COLLECTIVE BARGAINING LAWS — HB 1575 / SB 5623 sponsored by Rep. Monica Stonier (D-Vancouver) and Sen. Kevin Van De Wege (D-Sequim), are companion bills that would update Washington’s collective bargaining statutes to reflect common practices, promote consistency for certifying union elections, assign record-keeping responsibility, and generally bring our state laws into compliance with the Janus decision. Read more about this bill or download this one-pager for more details. — HB 1575 passed the House Labor & Workplace Standards Committee and is now in Appropriations. SB 5623 passed Senate Labor & Commerce and is in Rules.
ALLOWING AAGs TO JOIN TOGETHER — HB 1299, sponsored by Rep. Laurie Dolan (D-Olympia), would extend collective bargaining rights to assistant attorneys general. Read more about it. — It passed House Labor & Workplace Standards and was heard in Appropriations, where it awaits action.
ALLOWING ALJs TO JOIN TOGETHER — HB 2017, sponsored by Rep. Noel Frame (D-Seattle), grants administrate law judges collective bargaining rights under the Personnel System Reform Act. — It has passed House Labor & Workplace Standards and is now in Appropriations.
INTEREST ARBITRATION FOR CORRECTIONS OFFICERS — HB 1042, sponsored by Rep. Brian Blake (D-Aberdeen), would provide interest arbitration for employees at the Department of Corrections. Read more about it. — It has passed both House Labor & Workforce Standards and Appropriations, and is now in Rules.
INTEREST ARBITRATION FOR CAMPUS POLICE — HB 1043, sponsored by Rep. Roger Goodman (D-Kirkland), would provide interest arbitration for police officers at four-year colleges and universities. Read more about it. — It has passed both the House Labor & Workforce Standards and the Appropriations committees, and is now in Rules.
INTEREST ARBITRATION FOR D.F.W. SERGEANTS — HB 2037, sponsored by Rep. Mike Sells (D-Everett), would provide interest arbitration under certain circumstances for sergeants at the state Department of Fish & Wildlife. — It has passed House Labor & Workforce Standards and is in Appropriations.
MORE EFFECTIVE & ACCOUNTABLE GOVERNMENT
SIMPLE MAJORITY SCHOOL BONDS— SJR 8201, sponsored by Rep. Lisa Wellman (D-Mercer Is.) at the request of Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal, would allow Washington voters to decide this fall whether to change the constitution’s unreasonable 60 percent supermajority hurdle required to approve school bonds. This has doomed many critical public school projects to failure, despite support from a majority of voters, and contributes to overflowing classrooms and unsafe crumbling schools. — It passed Early Learning & K-12 Education with NO ONE testifying in opposition, and will be heard in Ways & Means this Thursday at 1:30 p.m.
TAXPAYER PROTECTION ACT — HB 1521, sponsored by Rep. Laurie Dolan (D-Olympia), would ensure taxpayers are getting the best return on the hundreds of millions of dollars spent on for-profit contractors and private groups that provide public services. It would adopt performance metrics and accountability measures for all contracts. Read more about it. — HB 1521 passed State Government & Tribal Relations, and is now in Appropriations.
PRO-WORKER CLEAN ENERGY
100% CLEAN ENERGY — SB 5116 / HB 1211, sponsored by Sen. Reuven Carlyle (D-Seattle) and Rep. Gael Tarleton (D-Seattle), would transition all electric utilities away from coal-fired power by 2026 and would make all retail sales of electricity greenhouse gas neutral by Jan. 1, 2030. A committee amendment to this bill reflects that tax incentives are tied to important labor standards like prevailing wage, apprenticeship utilization, preferred hire for women- and minority-owned businesses. Also, higher rebates are available for signing a project labor or community workforce agreements. — SB 5116 has passed the Senate Environment, Energy & Technology and Ways & Means committees, and is now in Rules. HB 1211 has passed the House Environment & Energy and Finance committees, and is in Appropriations.
CLEAN BUILDINGS FOR WASHINGTON ACT — SB 5293 / HB 1257, sponsored by Sen. Carlyle and Rep. Beth Doglio (D-Olympia), aims to increase energy efficiency, reduce greenhouse gases, and create jobs by making buildings healthier places to live and work. — SB 5293 has passed Senate Environment, Energy & Technology and is now in Ways & Means. HB 1257 passed House Environment & Energy and has a hearing in Finance today.
HEALTHY ENVIRONMENT FOR ALL (HEAL) ACT — SB 5489 / HB 2009, sponsored by Sen. Rebecca Saldaña (D-Seattle) and Rep. Kristine Reeves (D-Federal Way), creating a definition of environmental justice, directing agencies to address environmental health disparities, and creating a task force to recommend strategies for state agencies to incorporate environmental justice principles into their responsibilities. — SB 5489 passed Environment, Energy & Technology and is in Ways & Means. HB 2009 passed State Government & Tribal Relations and is in Appropriations.
The WSLC Legislative Update is a weekly newsletter of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO. It describes legislation of particular concern to Washington’s working families during throughout the state legislative session. Links to previous editions are available here. Additional legislative news is posted at The Stand’s State Government section.