The state Senate Tuesday night (March 7) passed the first “Awful 7” bill aimed at taking away state employees’ collective voice.
On a straight party-line vote, the Senate passed SSB 5533 on a vote of 25-24.
SSB 5533 is the ironic attempt by state Sen. Dino Rossi – a two-time loser for the governorship – that would prohibit an incumbent governor from accepting campaign contributions from state employees through their unions if that governor properly fulfilled his or her role as CEO of state government in the collective bargaining process.
Amendments to extend that punitive restriction to other entities that negotiate contracts with the state, like corporations that build bridges and companies that sell other goods and services to the state, all failed. That exposed the Rossi bill as a not-very-transparent attempt aimed at state employee working families not transparency.
Sen. Steve Conway of the 29th Dist. said it best: “I think this bill is a little bit absurd.” Conway was one of the 24 who voted against the Rossi bill, a “Right” vote.
Observers say the bill is dead on arrival in the House.
PSERS bill latest good bill to beat March 8 floor deadline
Here’s where we stand on key bills before tomorrow’s floor deadline
Since our last update, another major bill benefiting Federation members has passed the House.
That bill was HB 1558, expanding the Public Safety Employees Retirement System (PSERS). HB 1558 passed the House March 2 on a vote of 93-5. It’s now in the Senate Ways and Means Committee.
This is important because tomorrow (March 8) is the first floor deadline when most House bills must pass the House and most Senate bills must pass the Senate.
One other major bill waiting for a vote of the full House is HB 1851, the Taxpayer Protection Act. This Federation-initiated bill would protect taxpayers by providing accountability and transparency in government contracting (outsourcing).
If you missed our last update, these good bills on our watch list have all passed the House or Senate in advance of tomorrow’s deadline:
- SHB 1434, the bill expanding shared leave, passed the House.
- SHB 1521, the vacation leave bill, passed the House.
- SSB 5374 regarding state employee whistleblower protection, passed the Senate.
- HB 1560, the PERS 2 default bill, passed the House.
- SB 5132, the bill expanding the powers of Liquor and Cannabis Board enforcement officers, passed the Senate.
Check out a legislative “Town Hall” meeting in your district
March is “Town Hall” meeting month as most legislators come home to hold community forums and hear about their constituents’ issues first hand.
And of course one of the biggest is the effort to Support Public Services – by funding our contracts we will address this state’s crisis in recruiting and retaining state workers who protect abused and neglected children, make sure our workplaces are safe, help crime victims and many, many other vital services.
You can check for a legislative “Town Hall” meeting in your area on our website at: http://www.wfse.org/town-halls/