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How pro-worker bills fared in Olympia

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With the 2022 session’s end, here’s a final update on WSLC’s legislative agenda

 

OLYMPIA (March 11, 2022) — Thursday was the final day of the 2022 legislative session. In the coming weeks, the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO will be preparing its 2022 Legislative Report & Voting Record with more detailed reports about how legislation affecting Washington working families fared this year. But until then, here’s a quick final status report on the WSLC’s Workers’ Recovery Agenda.

Retain and Respect Our Healthcare WorkforceHB 1868 (Riccelli) and SB 5751 (Robinson) — Enforcing minimum staffing standards so that hospital and healthcare workers can access basic meal and rest breaks that make work safe, reliable and balanced. Get details.

HB 1868 passed the House, 55-43, passed Senate Labor, Commerce & Tribal Affairs but did not advance from Ways & Means before cutoff.

ALSO at The Stand:

Coalition: Hospital staffing crisis isn’t going away, neither are we (March 9)
Video: Why Washington needs safe staffing standards (Jan. 19)
Lawmakers introduce bipartisan healthcare safe staffing bills (Jan. 11)
Nurses to WA State Legislature: Address hospital staffing crisis (Dec. 14, 2021)

Support and Expand Apprenticeship OpportunitiesSB 5600 (Keiser) would expand capacity and opportunity for current state-registered apprenticeship programs, while also providing resources for the successful adopting of joint labor-management programs in new industries. SB 5764 (Randall) would ensure that apprentices have access to a broad suite of student support services, and greater academic acknowledgement of their education and training. Get details.

SB 5600 passed the Senate, 39-10, and passed the House, 94-4. SB 5764 passed the Senate, 48-0, and passed the House, 94-2. The Senate concurred with House amendments on both, so they have been sent to Gov Inslee’s desk for signature into law.

The Stand (Jan. 13) — Apprenticeship bills will boost opportunities

Improve Energy Facility Siting and Permitting HB 1812 (Fitzgibbon) would modernize the Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council to provide streamlined and predictable siting and permitting processes without harming environmental standards and the rights of Tribal nations. (Get details.)

HB 1812 passed the House, 95-3, passed the Senate, 29-20. The House concurred with Senate amendments and it has been sent to Gov. Inslee for signature.

The Stand (Mar. 4) — Energy facility permitting bill passes Senate, heads to governor
The Stand (Jan. 25) — Energy facility permitting needs upgrade to meet climate goals

Create Family-Wage Job Opportunities — The Legislature should take proactive steps to create job opportunities in industries with good wages, supportive benefits, and strong labor protections, while meeting the infrastructure needs of Washington families and businesses. By passing a significant transportation investment package (SB 5974 and 5975, Liias / HB 2118 and 2119, Fey), supporting new decarbonized aluminum jobs, and extending job-supporting tax incentives for data centers (HB 1846, Berg) and film industry jobs (SB 5760, Wellman / HB 1914, Riccelli). Get details.

SB 5974 passed the Senate, 29-20, and an amended version passed the House, 54-43. SB 5975 passed the Senate, 29-20, and an amended version passed the House, 55-40. Both bills were reconciled in conference committee, approved, and sent to Gov. Inslee for signature. HB 1846 (data centers) passed the House, 68-30, passed the Senate, 36-13. HB 1914 (film industry) passed the House, 93-3, the Senate, 45-3. Both were sent to Gov. Inslee for signature.

The Stand (Feb. 9) — Coalition backs ‘Move Ahead Washington’ — Labor, business, and environmental interests support a bold transportation package.

Raises for Essential Public Service Workers

The Legislature should invest in the workforce that has provided essential public services through-out the pandemic. It can do this by funding mid-contract MOUs for state employees, higher ed COLAs, and Corrections interest arbitration; correcting K-12 COLAs; and supporting behavioral health, child care, and home care workers. (Get details.)

These labor priorities were funded in the final supplemental budget approved this year.

 


The WSLC is also supporting the following priority bills

 

Bus Driver Benefit ParitySB 5326 (Robinson) would ensure that contracted K12 bus drivers have quality health care.

SB 5326 passed Senate Ways and Means but failed to get a floor vote before cutoff.

Buy Clean, Buy FairHB 1103 (Duerr) and SB 5366 (Stanford) would require state contractors to track the labor and environmental impact of materials.

Both HB 1103 and SB 5366 failed to advance and missed cutoff.

Repetitive Stress InjuriesHB 1837 (Bronoske) eliminates the prohibition on the state Department of Labor and Industries from issuing rules to prevent repetitive stress injuries.

HB 1837 passed the House, 50-48, passed Senate Labor, Commerce & Tribal Affairs, but failed to get a floor vote before cutoff.

Hanford workers’ compensationSB 5890 (Keiser) makes a technical correction to clarify eligibility for the presumption for workers’ compensation for all personnel working at a radiological hazardous waste facility.

SB 5890 passed the Senate, 32-19, passed the House, 68-27, and now heads to Gov. Inslee’s desk for signature.

Pension Improvements — Provide benefit improvements for LEOFF (HB 1701, Bergquist / SB 5652, Conway), PERS 1 (HB 1721, Stokesbary / SB 5676, Conway), and PSERS (HB 1669, Stokesbary / SB 5748, Schoesler) plans.

HB 1701, SB 5676 and HB 1669 all passed both the House and Senate without opposition and now head to Gov. Inslee’s desk for signature.

Paid Family Leave AdjustmentsSB 5649 (Robinson) makes technical fixes to improve PFMLI for people who apply for benefits.

SB 5649 passed the Senate, 42-7, passed the House, 96-2, Senate concurred with House amendments, and sent to Gov. Inslee.

The Stand (Feb. 2) — Improve, invest in critical leave program (by EOI’s Marilyn Watkins) — Paid Family & Medical Leave has improved the health and economic resilience of Washington families.

Prevailing Wage for Workers with DisabilitiesSB 5763 (Randall) would end ability-based discrimination in prevailing wage.

SB 5763 passed the Senate, 42-5, passed the House, 86-9, and now heads to Gov. Inslee’s desk for signature.

Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) — SB 5847 (Liias) would expand awareness of and increase access to PSLF for public employees.

SB 5847 passed the Senate, 37-12, passed the House, 66-32, and now heads to Gov. Inslee.

The Stand (Jan. 24) — SB 5847 would improve access to Public Service Loan Forgiveness

Rail Worker Sick LeaveSB 5065 (Kuderer) would protect rail workers from retaliation when they need to use sick leave.

SB 5065 failed to advance before cutoff.

The Stand (Feb. 8) — Pass Safe Leave Act for railroad workers

UI Reporting EnforcementHB 1474 (Chopp) would put teeth in to our unemployment insurance wage and hour reporting laws to fight employer fraud.

HB 1474 failed to advance before cutoff.

UI Voluntary QuitsHB 1486 (Berry) and SB 5064 (Saldaña) would support caregivers on unemployment insurance who have limited availability to take jobs.

Both failed to advance before cutoff.

WACares ImprovementsHB 1732 (Sullivan) and HB 1733 (Paul) improves WACares, the new long-term services and supports program.

HB 1732 passed the House, 91-6; passed the Senate, 46-3; and was signed into law by Gov. Inslee. HB 1733 passed the House, 67-29; passed the Senate, 38-11; and was signed into law by Gov. Inslee.

Workers’ Compensation IME ReportingHB 1763 (Bronoske) and SB 5627 (Stanford) would allow injured workers to record their independent medical exams.

Both failed to advance before cutoff.

 


The WSLC and its affiliates will also work toward advancing several other issues in 2022, either through legislation or the budget. These include:

● Allowing legislative staff to join together to form unions if they wish to do so — Both HB 1806 (Ricelli) and companion SB 5773 (Stanford) failed to advance and missed cutoff. HB 2124 (Ricelli) would create a labor relations office, a timeline for bargaining, and requires interim work for legislation next year to grant these workers bargaining rights. It passed the House, 56-41-1, passed the Senate, 28-28, House concurred with Senate amendments, and it heads to Gov. Inslee.

Improving language access in schoolsHB 1153 (Orwall) passed the House, 83-13, passed the Senate, 43-5, House concurred with Senate amendments, and it heads to Gov. Inslee.

Securing benefits similar to unemployment insurance for undocumented workers — SB 5438 (Saldaña) failed to advance from Senate Labor, Commerce & Tribal Affairs.

 

In addition to this 2022 Workers’ Recovery Agenda, the WSLC supported other legislation championed by its affiliated unions and a range of issues to address economic opportunity and justice. The WSLC is also continued to work with community partners to make housing more affordable and secure, to make health care more accessible, and to defend against attacks on workers’ rights.

Get more information about these bills and issues in the State Government section of The Stand and the Legislative Advocacy section of the WSLC website. And stay tuned in the coming weeks for the WSLC 2022 Legislative Report & Voting Record.

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