Legislative Update Winter 2014

by Council 2 Deputy Director Pat Thompson on February 13, 2014

Legislative Report

The 2014 60 day session continues to threaten the working class families of Washington State. The Majority in control of the Senate is hell bent on advancing attacks on Pensions, Workers Compensation and Collective Bargaining.  Most of these bills are created directly through the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), nearly entirely funded by the billionaire Koch Brothers. 

Plan 4 Alive

Last session’s bill to destabilize our pension system was revived in the Senate and now awaits floor action.

SB 5851:     (Sponsored by Sen. Bailey, Hill and Baumgartner) – would create a new optional Plan 4 that is entirely a 401K Plan (Defined Contribution).  This option would destabilize Plans 2 and 3.

The following Senate Bills are all designed to weaken the ability of the Union to Collectively Bargain and undermine the Union’s ability to represent its members:

SB 6053:     (Honeyford)  Union Representation Fees – Attacks the collection of Union dues under the guise of religious objection – and objection which is already accommodated.

SB 6183:     (Braun)  Collective Bargaining – Opening collective bargaining sessions to the public will emphasize grand-standing over fair bargaining.  Other, similar, meetings – like budget and transportation negotiations – are not held to this standard.

SB 6244:     (Hewitt)  Public Collective Bargaining – Unnecessarily blows open the window to file representation petitions.  Will force employee organizations to spend more time fighting off attacks instead of providing services to members.

SB 6300:     (Becker)  Public Sector Union Finances – Goes far beyond current state and federal reporting requirements and creates separate reporting rules only for Unions, not the corporations.
Please call and/or e-mail your Senators immediately and ask them to oppose these measures.
Legislative Hotline – 1-800-562-6000.  www.leg.wa.gov
Here’s Some Things We Can Support

The key to a great state is strong cities and counties throughout Washington.
  • Restore liquor revenue sharing – The long history of local/state liquor revenue sharing, a partnership dating 70+ years, has been severely undermined in recent years.  The Legislature must restore the growth in profits that cities need to fund public safety and other local impacts.  Support HB 2314/SB 6361 – incrementally restores growth in local liquor profits.
  • Fund new city responsibilities from marijuana legalization – The new marijuana industry is subject to up to a 75% state excise tax, but none of that funding is directed to local jurisdictions to address public safety needs and other complex local impacts.  Reconcile medical and recreational marijuana to meet the federal mandate for a tightly-regulated system.  Support HB 2149 – reconciles medical/recreational marijuana.  SB 6178, SB 5887 (proposed sub) – reconcile medical/recreational marijuana and provide funding for cities.  Support HB 2144 and SB 6393 – provide funding for cities.
  • Funding transportation needs, including providing new local transportation revenue options – Transportation is critical for our economic vitality.  Cities must have the resources to maintain and strengthen both local and state transportation systems.  Support SHB 1959 – local transportation revenue options.
  • Stop raiding infrastructure funds – Our infrastructure is aging and cities can’t keep up with increasing demands.  If we are going to keep Washington moving forward, we need the Public Works Trust Fund and other infrastructure programs intact, to allow for planned and sustained investments in communities.    Support HB 2244, HJR 4215 and SB 6120 – restore funding for the Public Works Trust Fund.