The 2019 Washington legislature approved a two-year $52.4 billion state operating budget, finishing the 105-day 2019 legislative session on time. The budget adds funding to the mental-health system, provides raises for state workers and increases spending on education programs and wildfire suppression efforts.
Of significance in the last legislative session included the passage of a job-creating 100% clean energy bill to transition Washington to 100 percent clean electricity by 2045. Senate Bill 5116 will transition all electric utilities away from coal-fired power by 2026 and will make all retail sales of electricity greenhouse gas neutral by January 1, 2030. A committee amendment to this bill reflects that tax incentives are tied to important prevailing wage and apprenticeship utilization labor standards.
We have already begun to look toward the 2020 legislative session. Next year we will continue to encourage the legislature to move forward with a plastic bag ban without giving a windfall to grocers at the expense of consumers and workers. Our legislators and our state should support the sustainable, locally manufactured paper bags to help solve plastic bag pollution.
We also continue to work with Representative Blake to promote the passage of House Bill 2107, prohibiting employer searches of personal property as related to employee owned vehicles. While House Bill 2107 did not make the required cut off deadlines in the 2019 session to pass, we are encouraged by the support that is build- ing around the idea and we are hopeful for this important legislation to pass during the 2020 legislative session. In the meantime, we continue to dialogue with legislators and stakeholders to raise awareness that worker personal property rights are a civil liberty.
AWPPW President Greg Pallesen is working with our brothers and sisters and the Regional Council of the Carpenters in Virginia to gain support and promote passage of the same type of bill in the state of Virginia.
At time of this publication, the Washington State Labor Council (WSLC) is preparing to gather for the annual convention, where labor delegates will con- sider the resolutions that are a key part of shaping the WSLC positions and policies agenda for the 2020 legislative session and beyond. The AWPPW Washington Area Council leadership will represent your interests at the convention.
Local elections are underway in communities all across Washington. City
council and school board positions are primarily up for election, and these positions can have significant impacts that directly affect you and the workers alongside you. Primary ballots will be mailed any day, if you haven’t already received it by the time you read this article, and your vote and your voice counts.
Stay informed, be involved and help shape how the AWPPW Washington Area Council can make a positive impact where we live, work, and play.
Legislative & Political Director Washington Area Council, AWPPW