WA 2019 Session Reached Halfway

Published by JD Rossetti in The Rebel on March 29, 2019

Halfway Through the 2019 Legislative Session
The Washington State Legislature has reached the halfway point of the 2019 legislative session. The Legislature will now be turning its attention to the state budget and bills that passed by the opposite chamber. House committees will be reviewing bills passed by the Senate. The Senate will be doing the same, holding hearings on bills that passed the House.

Washington Area Council Delegates Advocate for Priorities
By the first half of the legislative session nearly 2,500 bills had been introduced. Delegates of the Washington Area Council of the AWPPW met in Olympia in late February descending on the Capitol advocating for AWPPW priorities. Two bills were drafted and introduced by the Washington Area Council of the AWPPW this year and advocacy efforts helped build tremendous support. House Bill 2107 sponsored by Rep. Blake (D-19th District) would provide a greater right to privacy by prohibiting employer searches of employee vehicles. Senate Bill 5807 sponsored by Senator Takko (D-19th District) would make it an unlawful employment practice for an employer to require an employee to refrain from using a lawful substance during nonworking hours. Neither of these bills passed through the policy committee before the cut off deadline, but efforts are under way to see these bills advance next session.

Washington State Labor Council Shared Prosperity Agenda
Legislation supported by the Washington State Labor Council made significant gains in the first half of the session including the advancement of House Bill 1965 sponsored by Rep. Hansen (D -23rd District). House Bill 1965 allows whistleblowers to bring actions on behalf of the state for violations of workplace protections. It passed the House Labor & Workforce Standards and Appropriations committees. It is now on the second reading calendar in the House of Representatives.

The Washington State Senate approved, Senate Bill 5478, sponsored by Sen. Marko Liias (D 21st District). Senate Bill 5478 would regulate non- competition covenants in Washington state to ensure they aren’t being used to exploit workers and deny them the opportunities to find better jobs.

These contracts, often signed by workers as a condition of their hiring, block them from finding better jobs in their industry. The bill was approved on a 30-18 vote and heads to the House.

Follow the Action
Remember, you can keep up with what is happening at http:// leg.wa.gov. You can also look up specific legislation to see the latest status at http://apps.leg.wa.gov/billinfo.

Make your voice heard! Call your state legislators at 1-800-562- 6000 and leave a message for them to vote “yes” on the bills that provide protections for working families!

I truly appreciate the opportunity to provide legislative support and updates as I continue to monitor the progression of the second half of the Legislative session.

JD Rossetti
Legislative and Political Director Washington Area Council, AWPPW