Banner Year in Legislature

by Council 2 Deputy Director J. Pat Thompson on May 2, 2019

As this session wrapped up this year, we are happy to report that several measures important to our members are on their way to becoming law. Nearly 100 members went to the Capital this year and our agenda included several priorities. Happily, most will become law upon Governor Inslee’s signature.

SHB 1575 – Strengthening the Rights of Workers through Collective Bargaining

This omnibus bill addresses the Supreme Court’s Janus decision. It requires all employers to honor the terms of each union’s membership cards. It also provides indemnity to employees and unions that acted in good faith and under the legal requirements prior to the Janus decision. This will help us defend against the frivolous lawsuits the anti-worker groups file.

SB 5360 – Plan 2 Default

Our 10 year effort to change the default from Plan 3 to Plan 2 finally passed the legislature. Current new members who didn’t choose between the Plans were automatically moved into Plan 3. This bill will strengthen everyone’s pension system by providing for a more secure pension plan.

SB 5350 – Optional Life Annuity Plan

This bill allows all local government employees the option of using their deferred compensation account to purchase a guaranteed annuity plan through DRS. This would take away the market risk and provide more secure predictable income. SB 5350 is in addition to the current option of purchasing up to 5 years of service credit.

ESSB 5418 – Increasing City Bid Limits for Public Works

This measure will allow Cities to do more work in house with our members instead of using outside contractors. We’ve long stated that our members can do this work more effectively. It raised the limit for the 1st class cities from $90,000 to $150,000 and 2nd class cities from $65,000 to $116,500. This bill will provide more job security to our Public Works members and save tax dollars for our citizens.

ESSB 5272 – Increasing Tax Rate for Emergency Communication Systems

This bill gives more authority to local governments in need of improving their Emergency Dispatch and 911 systems. Our union represents many employees who provide this critical service.

HB 1589 – Correctional and Community Correctional Officers

This bill eliminates the current requirement that these officers pay for any background check to obtain a concealed pistol license.

SHB 1326 – DNA Samples

This bill, among several other things, addresses the collection of DNA samples that our Seattle City Assistant Prosecutors were required to collect. These members have a difficult enough job and should not be required to collect biological samples from the very people they are prosecuting. This task will now be done by qualified law enforcement and correctional personnel.

And here’s a bad Bill that didn’t pass

SB 5240 – Seattle, Spokane and Tacoma Retirement Systems

This bill would have moved the investment funds from these 3 retirement system to the state system WITHOUT a vote of the members of the system. Thankfully, it did not make it out of the Ways and Means Committee.