The legislative session is moving at a fast pace! This week wraps up week 3 out of 8 weeks. In this first phase of the session, the Senate Committees are holding numerous public hearings each week to choose bills to pass out of committee.
This session, Feb. 7 is the last day to pass bills out of policy committees, but any with a financial impact must also be heard by the Ways & Means or Transportation committees. Feb. 11 will be the last day for bills to pass out of those committees.
Save the Date
I will be holding a town hall in the 37th legislative district on Saturday, February 29, 2020.
Stay tuned for more details!
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Legacy
Last week, I introduced a Senate Resolution to honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. I gave some remarks about his legacy, and you can hear them by watching this video:
I feel especially connected to Dr. King’s legacy of advocating for the rights of workers, and I often look to his words at the Sanitation Worker Strike in Memphis the day before he was assassinated:
“So often we overlook the work and the significance of those who are not in professional jobs, of those who are not in the so-called big jobs. But let me say to you tonight that whenever you are engaged in work that serves humanity and is for the building of humanity, it has dignity and it has worth.”
There is perhaps no better way to honor his legacy than by continuing the work of Dr. King and other labor leaders. We must continue working to ensure that every worker in Washington is treated with dignity and respect.
To that end, here’s a quick look at some of the legislation I’ve sponsored this session to protect workers’ rights:
- SB 6247 would expand protections for domestic workers, who have few rights and little recourse in the face of employer abuse, such as wage theft or sexual harassment. The solitary nature of their work makes domestic workers especially vulnerable. This bill would take a significant step forward to ensure those who care for our families and help maintain our homes the same rights as workers in other fields.
- SB 5717 would provide secure scheduling for employees of big retail and food service establishments. Did you know that currently 68% of Washington’s retail and food service employees must keep their schedules open, without compensation, to pick up last-minute shifts? Many of their employers also spread out hours among part-time employees; 60% of part-time retail and food service employees are underemployed and want to work more hours. Workers struggle to make ends meet to support their families because keeping their schedule open means they can’t get a second job or additional job training. Secure scheduling would provide workers with 14 days’ notice of work schedules, longer rest breaks after closing shifts, preference over new employees for additional work hours, and more.
- SB 5473 would update the definition of “good cause” in unemployment insurance to cover working parents who lose work because of a lack of childcare or the responsibility to care for a vulnerable adult. Access to unemployment benefits would provide relief to working families trying to make ends meet while searching for employment that is compatible with their families’ needs.
Stay tuned for more e-news updates as the session quickly progresses. My office will continue to welcome your thoughts and concerns throughout the session, so please let us know what issues are important to you and your community!
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