HOTLINE News 1/9/18

This is the Federation Hotline updated Jan. 9.

Supplemental budget debate centers on public safety net

In the first legislative airing of the governor’s proposed supplemental budget, the Federation praised its attention to Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities but said it should act on Community Corrections and Children’s caseloads and parks funding.

“We’re still trying to dig our way out of the massive cuts made during the Great Recession,” the Federation’s Dennis Eagle told the House Appropriations Committee Monday (Jan. 8).

Eagle said those cuts “went too far and we’re still suffering today from those decisions.” It’s no surprise that in places like Mental Health and DD some problems remain as spotlighted in the press and social media.

The supplemental budget bill, HB 2299, tweaks the major biennial budget bill adopted last summer to fund new and unexpected spending needs.

Eagle praised the governor’s proposed supplemental spending in Mental Health for increasing the number of forensics beds and shortening forensic evaluation turnaround times.

In DD, Eagle said the governor is “stepping up” to increase staffing levels in the residential habilitation centers (Fircrest, Rainier, Yakima Valley and Lakeland) “to where they should have been all along.” The governor is also recommending expanding the State-Operated Living Alternatives (SOLA) program “for those folks who are in the RHCs and can’t find a community placement,” Eagle said.

But Federation members have concerns on a few areas of the budget.

  • Community Corrections members are concerned about decreasing Community Corrections officers’ caseloads with concurrent sentencing for the parole violators proposal. “We believe that hampers the ability of CCOs to retain compliance with offenders who are released from prison,” Eagle said.
  • Eagle said for the past 10 years there hasn’t been a vendor rate increase for chemical dependency treatment providers. “It’s desperately needed,” he said.
  • The new Department of Children, Youth and Families has great potential, but adequate staffing can’t be ignored. “If we don’t bring caseloads down to the national standards, it’s not going to be successful,” Eagle said.
  • And Eagle said the Great Recession holdover of relying on user fees to fund state parks needs to be addressed.

The Senate version of the supplemental budget bill, SB 6032, comes up for a hearing Tuesday afternoon in the Senate Ways and Means Committee.

Inlsee pushes for state Capital Construction Budget “NOW!”

Just hours before the first scheduled committee vote on the long-stalled state Capital Construction Budget, Gov. Jay Inlsee used his annual “State of the State” address to a joint session of the Legislature to light a fire for action.

“It’s absolutely crucial that we pass a Capital Budget as one of the first orders of business,” the governor said.

The construction budget was blocked last spring by the old majority in the state Senate over an unrelated water-rights issue. That froze 19,000 jobs in construction and jeopardized initiatives for affordable housing and expanded capacity in Mental Health. That plan can languish no more, he said.

“Send the Capital Budget to my desk NOW!” Inslee declared.

The first committee vote to fast track the Capital Construction Budget, SHB 1075, was scheduled late Tuesday afternoon in the House Capital Budget Committee.

The governor also used his speech to condemn sexual harassment wherever it occurs, to urge passage of a package of voting-expansion bills, to support a carbon tax for new revenue and to address the specter of global warming.

“Let’s get to work together,” Inslee said.

He also took note of our state’s leading role in resisting forces outside our state that don’t have our interests at heart.

“The people of our state have stood proudly together for civility, tolerance and liberty,” Inslee said.

Local 443 member holds his own against pack of “millionaires and billionaires”

Local 443 member Steve Segall was mobbed by a pack of "millionaires and billionaires" today during his Lobby Day visit to the state Capitol in Olympia Tuesday.

It was actually a group of mock wealthy special interests dressed in formal wear, volunteers from our allies in the All in For Washington revenue coalition.

Segall held his own and turned thumbs down to the notion from the mock special interests that our upside-down tax structure is the best we can do.

The street theater illustrated that today is the day the 1% finished paying taxes for public services. Yep. Just took six business days for them to pay the required 3% of their income.

It takes a lot longer for us to pay our taxes. And because of the upside-down tax structure in this state, we pay a higher portion of our pay to taxes -- 17%.

It doesn’t have to be this way. If we work together, we can end wasteful tax breaks and ask the wealthiest to pay their share. With a tax code that works for all of us, we can invest in the foundations that build thriving communities across our state, like great schools, modern infrastructure, and affordable housing.

TAKE ACTION:  Email your legislators today and tell them to clean up Washington’s upside-down tax code!

Watch video explaining our state’s upside-down tax code: 

And remember every day is Lobby Day:

Support equal pay in Washington

The Federation-supported Equal Pay Act comes up for a vote Tuesday afternoon in the House Labor and Workforce Standards Committee.

HB 1506 is the latest attempt to expand pay equity that the Federation pioneered with our half-billion dollar comparable worth pay equity settlement a generation ago.



  • The Federation today (Jan. 9) registered its support for HB 1800 to enact the Washington Voting Rights Act and HB 2297 to extend the period of voter registration. These good government bills came up today in the House State Government Committee and were advocated by Gov. Jay Inslee Tuesday in his “State of the State” address.

Shared leave requests:

IN NEED OF SHARED LEAVE: Harold “John” Barringer, a food service worker at Eastern State Hospital in Medical Lake and a member of Local 782, has been approved for shared leave. He is requesting shared leave to cover the time he will be out of the office an undetermined time during lengthy recovery from his second round of chemotherapy. To help with a donation of eligible unused annual leave or sick leave or all or part of your personal holiday, contact Katie Gustafson at (509) 565-4461, or your human resource office.

That’s it for now.