Do you have questions about what the Legislature is doing about health care, housing, the environment, or education this year? You’re invited to join your 33rd District lawmakers for an in-person town hall at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 18. Rep. Tina Orwall, Rep. Mia Gregerson, and I will be there to answer your questions and report about the progress we are making on those issues and many more.
Read on to find out more about what we’re doing to help connect Washingtonians to good jobs.
WHO: The 33rd District delegation: Sen. Karen Keiser and Reps. Tina Orwall and Mia Gregerson
WHAT: Town hall with 33rd District residents
WHEN: Saturday, March 18 from 1:30-3 p.m.
WHERE: LIUNA Labor Hall, 22323 Pacific Hwy S., Des Moines, WA 98198
Information and RSVP available on Facebook.
Update on legislation: Banning pre-employment cannabis tests
One of our top goals this session is to ensure that we’re doing all we can at the state level to keep our economy strong by building up our state’s workforce, supporting local businesses, and helping people get connected to good jobs.
This week, the Senate took a meaningful step in that direction by passing my bill SB 5123, which you may remember from previous email updates. It would prohibit employers from discriminating against a person in hiring based on the use of cannabis outside work.
Currently available cannabis tests work by detecting metabolites that can remain in the body for weeks after use, long after there is any chance they are causing impairment. This makes cannabis different from how alcohol and other drugs show up in tests and can lead to discrimination against people using a perfectly legal — and sometimes medically necessary — substance in a responsible way.
At a time when the number of unfilled positions is extremely high, we shouldn’t be limiting our workforce by deterring qualified job applicants. This legislation opens the door for people who might otherwise not even apply for a position.
The legislation is carefully tailored. It would apply to pre-employment testing only. Employers could still maintain drug-free workplace policies for employees. And some sensitive positions would be excluded.
The status quo discriminates against people who use cannabis. For people using a legal substance, having a pre-employment test like this is just plain unfair, and we should stop it.
Highlight of the week: Connections to good jobs through WorkSource WA
Each week this session, I’ll highlight a resource that may be of use to you, your family, or your neighbors. I hope you’ll pass the information along to anyone who may be able to take advantage of it. This week, I want to let you know about WorkSource WA.
WorkSource is a statewide partnership of state, local and nonprofit agencies that provides employment and training services to job seekers and employers in Washington.
You can use services electronically through WorkSourceWA.com or through a network of more than 60 WorkSource centers, affiliates and connection sites. You can find the location nearest you at this site. And you can also call 888-316-5627.
Last year, WorkSource professionals helped 170,000 workers and nearly 5,600 Washington employers. Studies have shown that people who use WorkSource services tend to find work faster and earn more money than those who don’t.
Previous highlights of the week: Dementia Road Map for Caregivers, Paid Family and Medical Leave, Healthy Starts Act pregnancy accommodations, Working Families Tax Credit, Washington State Quitline, my resource guide.
Stay in Touch
Thank you to all the constituents and advocates who came to Olympia this week to make your voices heard. 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.
Sen. Karen Keiser
Senate President Pro Tempore
Chair, Senate Labor & Commerce Committee