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Job-creating 100% clean energy bill advances

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Plus, a status report on labor-supported bills following Friday’s cutoff

 

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 (March 4, 2019) — On Friday, the Washington State Senate voted to transition Washington to 100 percent clean electricity by 2045 on a 28-19 vote. This is the first of a suite of bills supported by the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO and other union organizations, plus environmental and community partners, to address climate pollution that has advanced on a floor vote.

“The world is moving to a clean energy future and Washington state can lead in that transition by passing strong one hundred percent clean energy legislation,” said Senate Majority Leader Andy Billig (D-Spokane). “This is a critical step towards addressing the worst impacts of climate change in the Pacific Northwest.”

“We owe it to Washingtonians now and the next generation to act boldly on climate,” said Sen. Reuven Carlyle (D-Seattle), prime sponsor of SB 5116. “Strong and equitable legislation to move to 100 percent clean electricity legislation would be a game-changer for Washington state, accelerating the closure of some of the most polluting coal plants in the American West. It’s time for Washington to rise up to this challenge.”

There is diverse demand for a move to 100 percent clean grid, with groups representing working families, communities of color, the clean energy sector, medical professionals, conservation experts and small businesses from around the state all showing strong support for SB 5116. The Alliance for Jobs and Clean Energy has prioritized the passage of this policy in 2019.

“The Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO is committed to advancing good, equitable environmental policy that is also good labor policy,” said WSLC President Larry Brown. “Building a 21st Century clean energy economy with good, family-wage union jobs is a priority for us and for our community partners. Strong 100 percent policy should meet the needs of our environment, our communities and our workforce, and we are happy to support it.”

“One hundred percent clean electricity is a strong policy to cut carbon, while creating real family wage jobs, and more value for the clean energy we do have.  It also curtails the fossil fuels we still need to wean away from in the electrical industry,” said Matthew Hepner, Executive Director of the Certified Electrical Workers of Washington.

The legislation would:

  • Increase investments in clean, renewable energy and energy efficiency, adding more jobs to the state’s clean energy industries that already employ more than 82,000 Washingtonians.
  • Tie tax incentives to important labor standards like prevailing wage, apprenticeship utilization, preferred hire for women- and minority-owned businesses. Also, higher rebates would be available for signing a project labor or community workforce agreements.
  • Invest in low-income communities to address historic energy inequities and inclusion of equity in the planning and acquisition of clean energy.
  • Phase out of coal from our electricity grid by 2025.
  • Commit to powering Washington state’s entire electric grid with 100 percent clean energy by 2045.

The other WSLC-supported bills to address climate change are:

CLEAN BUILDINGS FOR WASHINGTON ACT SB 5293 / HB 1257, sponsored by Sen. Carlyle and Rep. Beth Doglio (D-Olympia), which 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 Ways & Means, and is now in Rules. HB 1257 didn’t make it out of Appropriations before Friday’s cutoff.

HEALTHY ENVIRONMENT FOR ALL (HEAL) ACTSB 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 Ways & Means, and is now in Rules. HB 2009 didn’t advance from Appropriations.

 


Status report following Friday’s cutoff

 

Another cutoff deadline passed last Friday, March 1 for bills to pass from fiscal or appropriations committees. Bills now have until Wednesday, March 13 to advance from Rules committees and be approved on floor votes in their houses of origin.

Below a status report on legislation from the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO’s 2019 Shared Prosperity Agenda, plus some other labor-supported bills. (Bill numbers listed in bold are still alive. Those not in bold can still be resurrected, but only through extraordinary procedural means.)

 


LABOR RIGHTS

 

KEEP WASHINGTON WORKINGSB 5497, sponsored by Sen. Lisa Wellman (D-Mercer Island), 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. See a one-page backgrounder from the ACLU on this bill, which is strongly supported by the WSLC. — SB 5497 passed Senate Law & Justice and Ways & Means, and is now in Rules.

HEALTHCARE MEAL & REST BREAKSHB 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 and SB 5190 have bthe been approved by policy and fiscal committees, and are now in Rules.

REGULATE NON-COMPETITION CONTRACTSSB 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. — Both bills are 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.

TRANSPARENCY IN AGRICULTURAL SUPPLY CHAINS ACTSB 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 HARASSMENTSB 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 ACTHB 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 Appropriations, and is now in Rules.

 


BUILDING UP OUR WORKFORCE

 

SECURE SCHEDULINGHB 1491 / SB 5717, sponsored by Rep. Nicole Macri (D-Seattle) and Sen. Rebecca Saldaña (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. — Both bills passed their policy committees, but failed to make it out of fiscal committees before Friday’s cutoff.

REINVEST IN OUR COLLEGESHB 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. 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.

 


COLLECTIVE BARGAINING

 

UPDATE COLLECTIVE BARGAINING LAWSHB 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. — Both bills passed policy and fiscal committees, and are now in Rules.

ALLOWING AAGs TO JOIN TOGETHERHB 1299 / SB 5297, sponsored by Rep. Laurie Dolan (D-Olympia) and Sen. Sam Hunt (D-Olympia), would extend collective bargaining rights to assistant attorneys general. Read more about it. — SB 5297 is alive in Rules. HB 1299 failed to advance from Appropriations.

ALLOWING ALJs TO JOIN TOGETHERHB 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 but died in Appropriations.

INTEREST ARBITRATION FOR CORRECTIONS OFFICERSHB 1042, sponsored by Rep. Brian Blake (D-Aberdeen), would provide interest arbitration for employees at the Department of Corrections. Read more about it. — It is in Rules.

INTEREST ARBITRATION FOR CAMPUS POLICEHB 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 is in Rules.

INTEREST ARBITRATION FOR D.F.W. SERGEANTSHB 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 is in Rules.

 


MORE EFFECTIVE & ACCOUNTABLE GOVERNMENT

 

SIMPLE MAJORITY SCHOOL BONDSSJR 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 and Ways & Means, and is now in Rules.

TAXPAYER PROTECTION ACTHB 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. — It is in Rules.

 


RETIREMENT SECURITY

 

LONG-TERM CARE TRUST ACTHB 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, 63-33. It is in Senate Health & Long-Term Care.

PLAN 2 DEFAULTSB 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 and HB 1308 are both in Rules.

 


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.

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