Employment

Last week, the House Labor and Workplace Committee passed HB 2633, sponsored by Rep. Doglio (D-Olympia), adding certain medical conditions to the presumption of occupational diseases for police and firefighters. The bill passed on a vote of 5-2.

The Senate Labor and Commerce Committee passed SB 6213 on a vote of 5-3, sponsored by Senator Ranker (D-Orcas Island), the companion bill for HB 2633. The Senate Committee also passed on SB 6214 on a vote of 5-3, sponsored by Senator Conway (D-Tacoma), which would provide industrial insurance coverage for posttraumatic stress disorders.

One bill to watch this week is SB 5667. The bill provides that it is an unfair practice for an employer to take an adverse employment action, or discriminate, against an employee or prospective employee because that person participates in an activity that is lawful under state law. The concern with this bill is that it creates potential safety issues where drug-free workplaces are important. The Senate Labor Committee has the bill scheduled for a vote on Wednesday.

Finance

Budget and revenue committees have been busy. Last week, WSAC staff testified in opposition to multiple bills providing an increase in benefits to members of the public employees’ retirement system plan 1 and the teacher’s retirement system plan 1. The House Local Government Committee passed HB 2737, sponsored by Rep. Appleton (D-Poulsbo), directing the Department of Commerce to conduct an analysis of the constitutional and statutory obligations of local governments compared to sources of revenue.

The House Appropriations Committee passed HB 2006, sponsored by former Representative Koster, providing cities and counties with fiscal flexibility.

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Jennifer has over 20 years of legislative and government relations experience. She served as staff counsel to the Senate and House Transportation Committees, the Government Relations Director for the Washington State Department of Transportation, and Governor Christine Gregoire’s Legislative Director and Transportation Policy Advisor. She is the owner of Jennifer Ziegler Public Affairs, representing both public and private sector clients.
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