We’re in the 3nd week of the 2022 legislative session. This is a short (60-day) session.
Long Term Care Passes Senate
On Wednesday, the Senate passed the two bills that improve the state’s Long Term Care act (WA Cares) and those bills are headed for the governor’s desk for signature. WPEA testified in support of both bills. Here’s what the bills do:
Public Service Loan Forgiveness
Last week, the Senate Higher Ed & Workforce Development Committee heard SB 5847, which would require state employers to provide new employees with information about how to qualify for the federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness program. WPEA steward Tessa Bowen submitted testimony about how difficult it can be to navigate the PSLF requirements:
“I’ve been part of Washington State’s workforce for 20 years now, and for 50% of my career I have been employed in some of the LOWEST paying positions in Washington State, because I don’t do what I do for money, I do it for the people I help… Because the months that had a $0 repayment (due to my low income) don’t count, I’m nowhere near able to apply for forgiveness. Please pass SB 5847 so that others can get the extra information and hand holding that I didn’t get.”
Senate Bill 5847 needs to be voted out of committee by February 3 in order to move through the legislative process.
Raising the Cap on Annual Leave
The House State Government & Tribal Affairs committee heard HB 1992, a bill that would, among other things, raise the cap on annual leave for state employees from 240 hours to 280 hours. This is a good time to remind state employees to use your annual leave! You work hard serving the people of Washington and you have absolutely earned your vacation. The bill is scheduled to be voted out of committee on February 1.