This past Monday, a legislative session unlike any in our state’s history began. Despite threats of violence, and the necessity of conducting most legislative business remotely to protect public health, it has been a success so far.
Legislators and staff have been working for months to ensure that the session is as transparent and accessible as possible. We have greatly expanded remote testimony options. Anyone can testify on any bill heard in any committee from anywhere. Sign-up is available until an hour before the committee meets. You can learn more here. Frankly, the new remote options make it easier than ever before to testify on legislation; you no longer have to travel to Olympia and queue up in long lines outside committee hearings!
Here are some of the ways you can get involved:
- Learn—How a bill becomes a law, from start to finish, is explained here.
- Find—Look up legislation on the issues important to you here.
- Watch—Visit org for broadcasts and archived videos of your democracy in action.
- Testify—Register to testify remotely before legislative committees here.
- Reach out—Find and contact your legislators here.
Improving health—at work and in the community
On Monday, two bills I am sponsoring to help protect Washingtonians’ health will be heard in committee.
In the Labor, Commerce & Tribal Affairs Committee, we will hear testimony on the Health Emergency Labor Standards Act (HELSA), SB 5115. This would be the nation’s boldest and most comprehensive pandemic worker-protection legislation. The bill would establish new protections for workers, including guaranteeing workers’ compensation coverage for frontline workers, and would protect workers from retaliation if they speak up about unsafe conditions in their workplace as well as whistleblowers who go public. You can see coverage of the bill on KIRO 7.
In the Health & Long Term Care Committee, we will hear SB 5052, which would address health disparities in communities of color—from pre-term births to diabetes to high blood pressure to COVID. The bill is based on a highly successful program in Rhode Island that establishes health equity zones in areas with under-performing health outcomes. Those areas receive a focus for building trust, community outreach, capacity building and increased health care access. You can read about that bill and my broader health care agenda here.
Stay in Touch
If you’d like to follow what I’m working on, you can like my official legislative Facebook page here.
Please don’t hesitate to stay in touch. Stay safe and take care.
Senator Karen Keiser
Chair, Senate Labor & Commerce Committee
Senate President Pro Tempore