On February 7, the House State Government committee passed HB 1888 (the bill to protect public employee birthdates from disclosure) with a bipartisan majority. After hundreds of union members rallied and urged their legislators to pass the bill, lobbyists for the newspapers and public employees came to a compromise. Under the current version of the bill, public employee birthdates would be exempted from disclosure to everyone except media organizations. This would give public employee birthdates the same protections that currently exist for law enforcement.
While the bill just cleared an important hurdle, it has a long way to go before becoming law. Lawmakers still need to hear from public employees. Learn more and send a message to your representatives at www.wpea.org/exposed.
Other good bills that are moving through the process:
House Bill 2654 will require community and technical colleges to report their finances in a standardized, transparent way. Too often, colleges make it difficult for their employees, unions, and the public to get a clear picture of the college finances. Obscuring college finances can lead to confusion around shortfalls and mistrust when fiscal crises happen (like the one at Wenatchee Valley College). A standardized reporting requirement will help build mutual trust and make sure that the public knows what’s happening with the colleges’ finances. The bill passed out of the House College and Workforce Development committee with a unanimous vote.
House Bill 1521 (the bill to increase accountability and transparency when agencies contract out state employee work) passed out of the House of Representatives. This bill requires state agencies and local governments to evaluate the cost of outsourcing work to private contractors, and to follow up to ensure contractors meet their obligations. It also calls for accountability if companies fail to perform their duties.