Now that we’ve reached the midpoint of legislative session, it's a good time for an update on policy issues that impact working families.

Several of our Union’s priorities, including many bills that we’ve been supporting, are still moving through the legislative process.

These include bills that would secure paid family leave (HB 1116), prescription drug transparency (HB 1541), and important accommodations for pregnant workers. In addition, our budget proviso that would fund an external staffing audit at the Department of Corrections is still in play.

These bills and provisions are important to protecting and expanding rights for working families and ensuring the safety and security of our members.

This session, we have also successfully staved off a massive attack on our state’s workers’ comp system and helped defeat a number of bills designed to erode protections for workers and weaken unions.  

Hundreds of union members turned out to testify against a so-called “right-to-work” bill aimed at crippling unions. We also beat back a bill that would have required annual union recertification and proposals that would weaken the state’s collective bargaining laws (SB 5726 and SB 5727).

Unfortunately, our bill to modify the Public Records Act to protect the personal information of members working in law enforcement and at the Department of Corrections did not move out of its policy committee. However, thanks to the fantastic turnout at our DOC Lobby Day event, we have secured commitments from a powerful group of legislators to work on the bill next legislative session.

Now, we are approaching budget negotiations. The Senate, which is controlled by the Republicans, will likely release its budget early this week. Democrats control the House, which is expected to release its budget the week of March 27.

The budgets from the two legislative bodies along with the Governor’s budget will need to be reconciled through a negotiations process. The final budget will ultimately determine whether or not our DOC, UW Police Department, and DES contracts are fully funded by the state legislature.

Once the Senate and House release their budgets, we will need to be ready to take action, especially if funding for our contract is not included in the proposals.

Be on the lookout for action alerts in the coming days and be prepared to contact your legislator. If you have any questions about specific policy issues, please feel free to contact our Director of Legislative Affairs Brenda Wiest at [email protected] or 206-441-4860 ext. 1256.