Dear neighbors:

As we pass the halfway point in the legislative session, the Senate continues to pass bills that help make Washingtonians’ lives better. Legislation I’ve sponsored to improve consumer protections, increase funding for paraeducators in schools, and expand the guardrails around employer-imposed noncompetition agreements has passed the Senate and is now before the House. One other bill I’m sponsoring is awaiting consideration by the full Senate. It would provide safeguards and transparency for workers about employers’ use of AI in the workplace. Read on for more!

Protecting consumers

SB 5968 would protect homeowners from companies trying to take advantage of people in a vulnerable financial situation where they could potentially lose their home equity. Home equity sharing agreements are often advertised as not being a loan, but when that big payment comes due, selling the family home is usually the only way out. For most families, home equity is their largest asset and the main source of intergenerational wealth for the next generation. For such an important issue, we need some oversight and consumer protection safeguards.

SB 6025 would protect consumers from predatory loans by making it harder for unscrupulous lenders to evade existing legal protections. Our state’s Consumer Loan Act does a good job of protecting consumers and making sure there is clarity for lenders and borrowers. But some companies are partnering with out-of-state banks and using structures that allow them to get around the act. This bill makes sure our regulators can stop that and protect consumers in Washington from these predatory lenders.

SB 6256 would provide added consumer protections for people planning on installing solar panels at their homes or businesses. It would prevent deceptive sales tactics, ensure that contracts are clear and contain all necessary provisions, require work be done by licensed electricians, and provide for enforcement under the state Consumer Protection Act. The solar industry is one of the cornerstones of a greener future in Washington state. As solar installations continue to grow, we need to ensure that consumers can be confident that the information they’re receiving is accurate and that the work they’re paying for is high quality.

Protecting workers

SB 5935 would increase workers’ protections against employer-imposed noncompetition agreements in response to real-life situations that have arisen since the passage of landmark 2019 legislation. Consumers benefit too, as they will be able to follow their favorite car mechanic, doctor, or other service provider who moves to a new location. Noncompete clauses in contracts hurt workers and stifle competition. Workers should have the freedom to seek or accept a new job without undue interference. We have learned a lot since we originally passed these protections in 2019, and this bill updates them so they work better for all.

SB 6299 would increase transparency and accountability in the AI era. It would require employers to get explicit consent to use a replica of an employee’s voice or likeness, and to disclose if the employer uses AI to make decisions about things like promotion, evaluations, or salary. This bill has passed out of committee and awaits a vote of the full Senate.

Increasing funding for education

SB 5882 changes the funding formula for schools to increase support for paraprofessionals. Paraeducators are crucial in our public education system. They help students overcome barriers to education — whether from learning gaps, pandemic learning loss, or special needs. They provide important one-on-one and small group instruction that tailors education to each student. I want all our students to have more of this support to help them succeed and excel. Many school districts are currently facing cuts, and this bill would provide funding to help solve problems while focusing on student needs, as recommended by the Staffing Enrichment Work Group.

Stay in touch

As always, please feel free to reach out to my office directly via my contact information below or by clicking on the banner above. Take care!

Sincerely yours,

Derek Stanford
Senator, 1st Legislative District
Leadership Liaison to Tribal Communities
Chair, Business, Financial Services, Gaming & Trade Committee
Labor & Commerce Committee
Agriculture, Water, Natural Resources & Parks Committee