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Retired public employees protected from pandemic impacts

Retired public employees protected from pandemic impacts

OLYMPIA — Legislation signed into law this week by the governor will protect public employee’s retirement plans from any budget moves because of the pandemic. Average final salary and earned service credits must include any compensation that was forgone as a result of reduced work hours, mandatory leave without pay, temporary layoffs, furloughs, reductions to the current pay, or other similar measures resulting from the COVID-19 budgetary crisis. Senate Bill 5021, sponsored by Sen. Sam Hunt (D-22) contains two overlapping provisions. The first provides that pension plans would continue as if an employee did not have reduction in salary ...

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Legislature passes strongest recycling policy in nation

Legislature passes strongest recycling policy in nation

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 8, 2021 Legislature passes strongest recycling policy in nation Legislation passed late Wednesday by the House would require increased recycled content in plastic beverage containers, trash bags and bottles for household and personal care products; ban expanded polystyrene food ware, recreational coolers and packing peanuts; and require that utensils, straws, cup lids and condiments only be provided to customers on request. SB 5022, sponsored by Sen. Mona Das (D-Kent), is a leading-edge policy in a series of actions that the Washington state Legislature has taken to move toward climate change and pollution mitigation. The ...

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Governor signs historic police arbitration reform bill into law

Governor signs historic police arbitration reform bill into law

OLYMPIA – Gov. Jay Inslee signed a bill into law today that sets in place the most comprehensive standards for police officer arbitration in Washington in decades. Senate Bill 5055, sponsored by Sen. Joe Nguyen (D – West Seattle), increases transparency and reduces the risk of bias in officer appeals of discipline and in the arbitrator selection process. Recent research indicates that in law enforcement arbitration cases across the country, discipline was either reduced or overturned 52% of the time. While the research relied on a sample across 28 states, local and state policy makers have no ...

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Senate passes landmark $59.2 billion budget for state’s recovery

Senate passes landmark $59.2 billion budget for state’s recovery

OLYMPIA – The Washington State Senate passed a $59.2 billion, two-year budget today to boost funding for state services and provide essential support for the state’s pandemic recovery efforts. The 2021-23 operating budget includes an additional $7 billion in one-time federal funds from the American Rescue Plan to bring relief to struggling households, strengthen the state’s safety net, and build a more resilient public health system. “This is an ambitious budget that will touch every community across the state and includes strategic investments to lift up people who have been hit the hardest over the last year,” said Read More

Senate transportation budget funds workgroup on car tab payments

Senate transportation budget funds workgroup on car tab payments

OLYMPIA — Community members that are experiencing difficulty affording their car tab fees in a lump sum may find relief from a workgroup to study alternative payment options in the Senate Transportation budget that passed off the senate floor this week. The proposal to offer a payment plan originated in a bill proposed by Sen. T’wina Nobles (D-Fircrest). “Community members have had to make extremely difficult decisions because they cannot afford to pay the fees all at once,” Nobles said. “At the same time, they can’t afford to not pay the fees because they don’t want to risk driving ...

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Salomon’s bill to boost critical Orca food supply approved by House

Salomon’s bill to boost critical Orca food supply approved by House

OLYMPIA – A bill aimed at restoring salmon habitat for Puget Sound orcas struggling to find enough food to survive was approved by the House of Representatives on Sunday. Senate Bill 5273, sponsored by Sen. Jesse Salomon (D-Shoreline), would require residential property owners to use an alternative that has the least amount of negative impact on marine life when replacing existing shoreline seawalls.

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Kuderer’s bill to ban open carry weapons at permitted demonstrations and Capitol campus wins House approval

Kuderer’s bill to ban open carry weapons at permitted demonstrations and Capitol campus wins House approval

OLYMPIA – A bill, SB 5038, sponsored by Sen. Patty Kuderer (D-Bellevue), that would prohibit the open carry of firearms and other weapons on the state Capitol grounds and within 250 feet of permitted public demonstrations was approved by the House of Representatives on Sunday.

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Kuderer’s public financial cooperative bill receives House committee approval

Kuderer’s public financial cooperative bill receives House committee approval

OLYMPIA – A bill that would create a public financial cooperative in Washington state was approved by the House Consumer Protection & Business Committee on Thursday. The new public cooperative created by SB 5188, sponsored by Sen. Patty Kuderer (D-Bellevue), would provide alternatives for local and tribal governments to fund critical infrastructure and economic development needs.

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$6.2 billion Senate construction budget invests in broadband, environment, underserved communities

$6.2 billion Senate construction budget invests in broadband, environment, underserved communities

OLYMPIA — Senate Democrats’ proposed capital construction budget (Senate Bill 5083), which would be the largest in state history, would build $6.2 billion in priority infrastructure across the state—expanding broadband internet access, growing the state’s affordable housing, safeguarding natural resources, and creating a new Community Relief Fund to invest in underserved communities. “This budget makes investments across the state that will jumpstart our economic recovery and build long-term prosperity for all Washingtonians,” said Sen. David Frockt (D-Seattle), vice chair of the Senate Ways & Means Committee and the Senate’s lead capital budget writer. “In every area, we ...

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Liias’ Gender Affirming Treatment Act wins House approval

Liias’ Gender Affirming Treatment Act wins House approval

OLYMPIA – A bill that would require health insurers to cover medically necessary gender affirming treatment in their health plans was approved by the House on Wednesday. SB 5313, also known as the Gender Affirming Treatment Act and is sponsored by State Sen. Marko Liias (D-Everett), would prohibit health insurers from denying or limiting coverage for gender affirming treatment that is consistent with a protected gender expression or identity, is medically necessary, and is prescribed in accordance with accepted standards of care. Many health plans in Washington state classify gender confirmation treatment as cosmetic and therefore such treatment is ...

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