Legislative Update Week 8 TRANSCRIPT Hi and welcome to the Washington Public Employees Association Legislative Report for Week 8 of the 2023 legislative session. I’m Seamus Petrie, your WPEA lobbyist. It’s been a while since we last recorded a podcast because, well, it’s been busy in the last few weeks. The legislature is through the first round of cutoff deadlines and is in the middle of floor votes. This week on Wednesday, the Senate passed SB 5217, a bill that allows the department of Labor and Industries to issue rules regarding musculoskeletal injuries among industries with the highest rates of this kind of injury. Fully 40% of all compensable workplace injuries are this kind of ergonomic injury, yet the law prohibits L&I from issuing any rules to protect workers. This bill will allow L&I to slowly roll out new rules to help prevent this kind of injury and protect workers on the job. Incidentally, the reason state law bans L&I from issuing rules to protect against ergonomic injury is because of an initiative from 20 years ago. The initiative was funded by the Building Industry Association of Washington, which at the time was headed by Tom McCabe, who now runs the Freedom Foundation. That’s the anti-union group who keeps filing public records requests for your personal information so that they can find your address, come to your door, and try to convince you to give up the power of your union. After about two hours of debate, the Senate passed the bill by a vote of 27-21. It’s now off to the House, where a similar bill passed last year. On Thursday this week, the House passed HB 1200, a bill to standardize and improve the employee data that public employers provide to unions, so that we can better serve the members. The bill passed by a vote of 57-41, and is now off to the Senate. The House and Senate will be holding floor votes through this weekend and early next week, before floor cutoff hits at 5pm on Wednesday, March 8. Then those bills that passed the floor of their house of origin will be heard in their opposite house. We had one bill die at cutoff, the bill to improve the state’s salary survey. We ran out of time to get it out of Ways and Means, so we’re working on adapting pieces of the bill into a budget proviso – a bit of law that lives in the budget. There are still a bunch of bills that are important to WPEA members that still haven’t had a floor vote: HB1187, the bill to protect the confidentiality of member conversations with their stewards; HB 1566, a bill to increase the cap on vacation leave for state employees to 280 hours, and HB 1533, the bill to protect the personal information of public employees who are survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, harassment, and stalking. We have until March 8 to get these bills a floor vote. SoI’m signing off now to head back down to the legislature to keep pushing these bills to get out of rules for a floor vote. Thanks for listening.