2/6/17 It’ll be a busy week with several legislative hearings and possible committee votes on priority legislation that came from ideas and innovations by Federation members all across the state. But also coming up are several Senate hearings on measures that aim to undo much of the good that Federation members have done to make this state a great place to live. The first deadline for committees to move out legislation is at the end of next week on Friday, Feb. 17.
WHAT'S ON TAP THIS WEEK
Monday, Feb. 6 – Stand Against the Awful 7 Bills Lobby Day
Seven anti-worker bills get public hearings in the Senate Commerce, Labor and Sports Committee, 1:30 p.m., this Monday, Feb. 6, in Senate Hearing Room 4 in the John Cherberg Building on the Capitol Campus in Olympia.
This awful package of seven bills aims to weaken our voice at work, for our families and our communities.
Federation members are urged to join with our Rapid Response Teams (text RAPID to 237263 to join) and defend our right to join together, speak up and make a difference for millions of Washingtonians. If you can, turn out for the hearing; if you have an AFSCME Green shirt, please wear it.
KUOW radio and Northwest Public News exposed this effort for what it is – an effort to do what Scott Walker has done in Wisconsin by rolling back the very collective bargaining rights that public employees exercise to make their communities safe, sound and great. • The Senate Ways and Means Committee holds its hearing on state employee compensation at 3:30 p.m., this Monday, Feb. 6, in Senate Hearing Room 4 in the John Cherberg Building on the Capitol Campus in Olympia. READ KUOW article here.
Tuesday, Feb. 7 – RHC and Skilled Labor & Trades (SLAT) Lobby Day
• The Senate Ways and Means Committee takes up a bill that would affect our health benefits. SB 5653 would move the Public Employees Benefits Board from the Health Care Authority to the Department of Retirement Systems. Thirteen senators – all members of the ruling Republican Caucus, sponsor it. The sponsors contend the administration of our health benefits has caused inefficiencies hampering the rest of the Health Care Authority’s duties.
• The House State Government, Elections and IT Committee holds a hearing on HB 1521 to remove the requirement that a state employee must work at least six months before taking vacation leave. This is a family-friendly proposal our bargaining teams proposed to the Legislature that if adopted would become part of our contracts. The Senate version had a hearing last week.
• The House Early Learning and Human Services Committee has scheduled a possible vote on HB 1661, the bill that would create a new Department of Children, Youth and Families.
• The Senate Human Services, Mental Health and Housing Committee takes up SB 5613, a bill of concern regarding confinement in juvenile rehabilitation facilities for juveniles convicted in adult court.
Wednesday, Feb. 8 – King County Locals and Kitsap Local 1181 Lobby Days
• The Senate Commerce, Labor and Sports Committee considers anti-workers’ rights bill that harms the ability of public employees to band together with others to stand up for competitive wages and win improvements on the job. That hearing will be 1:30 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 8, in Senate Hearing Room 4 of the John Cherberg Building on the Capitol Campus in Olympia.
That committee also takes up a bill of concern, SB 5233, concerning the employee status of interpreters. This is not to be confused with the Federation-initiated bill on interpreter services, which has a hearing in this committee on Thursday.
• The Senate version of the bill that would create a new Department of Children, Youth and Families (SB 5498) comes before the Senate Human Services, Mental Health and Housing Committee.
• The House State Government, Elections and IT Committee has scheduled a vote on the two innovative family-friendly leave bills tied to our contracts that came from our bargaining teams: HB 1434 expanding shared leave and HB 1521 to allow use of vacation leave in the first six months of employment.
Thursday, Feb. 9
• The hearing on the Federation-initiated bill to grant binding interest arbitration rights to campus police officers comes before the House Labor and Workplace Standards Committee. HB 1559 is one of the priority bills the Federation initiated for our campus police officers.
• The Senate Commerce, Labor and Sports Committee holds a hearing on SB 5682, the Federation-initiated bill on interpreter services. It would authorize the Department of Social and Health Services and the state Health Care Authority to purchase interpreter services on behalf of limited-English speaking applicants and recipients of public assistance.
Friday, Feb. 10 – Pierce County Local 53 Lobby Day
• The House Capital Budget Committee takes up HB 1158 to restore the fair treatment of underserved groups in public employment, education, and contracting. This is a bill that would carry out a resolution from Federation membership. It was initiated by a coalition that includes the Federation.
• The Senate State Government Committee holds a hearing on SB 5572, providing oversight of the state procurement and contracting for information technology goods and services.
Recap: Federation-initiated or supported bills introduced; many hearings, possible votes scheduled
Bills initiated by Federation members’ ideas and resolutions that have had hearings or will have hearings on House and/or Senate versions:
- HB 1434 / SB 5295 - Family-friendly shared leave expansion (requested by OFM on behalf of our bargaining teams)
- HB 1521 / SB 5296 – Family-friendly vacation leave bill; use of vacation leave allowed in first six months. (requested by OFM on behalf of our bargaining teams)
- HB 1558 – Expansion of the Public Safety Employees Retirement System (PSERS)
- HB 1559 -- Binding interest arbitration rights to campus police officers
- HB 1560 -- PERS 2 default
- SB 5132 – Expanding the powers of Liquor and Cannabis Board enforcement officers
- SB 5682 / HB 1869 – Interpreter services
Federation-initiated bills not yet scheduled for a hearing:
- HB 1851 – The Taxpayer Protection Act; protects taxpayers by providing accountability and transparency in government contracting (outsourcing).
- HB 1871 – The bill that came from our Skilled Labors and Trade Committee that addresses licensing and certification requirements for electrical and plumbing work performed by state employees. This is about public safety because the state uses what is known as the “homeowner exemption” to allow unlicensed entities allowing unlicensed people to do trade work on state property.
- HB 1887 – State college/university tuition and fees exemption for children and surviving spouses of a public employee who lost his or her life or became totally disabled in the line of duty while employed by a public agency; builds on the legislation we got passed covering Department of Transportation members.
- HB 1888 – In coalition with AFT-Washington – improves student success at community and technical colleges by considering benefits of full-time classified staff and faculty.
Federation/coalition partners bills that have had or will have committee hearings/votes:
Other Federation-supported bills of note:
- SB 5374 – Whistleblowers protection, with amendment from the Federation and State Auditor that would remove from public disclosure state employees who file whistleblower complaints that aren’t investigated. SB 5374 has moved all the way to the Senate Rules Committee.
- SB 5646 – Repealing the downsizing of Yakima Valley School enacted in 2011 and boosts crisis stabilization and respite service at the Selah facility.