OLYMPIA – A new bill sponsored by Sen. Javier Valdez (D-Seattle) to expand eligibility for certain civil service positions passed the Senate Wednesday.

Senate Bill 5274 gives job access to people who are qualified but have previously been excluded from applying to public employment positions. With current job shortages and not enough workers to fill the roles, this will expand the pool of candidates by waiving language requirements and allowing legal residents to apply for certain positions. Applicants must still demonstrate they meet the job’s basic requirements.

“If an applicant is capable and qualified to do the job, we must remove the barriers that prevent them from working as a public servant,” Valdez said. “Washington is a diverse, multicultural state, and our workforce should reflect that.”

The bill builds on previous legislation that ensures lawful permanent residents are eligible for civil service roles and enhances inclusivity for those applicants. It also promotes diversification of Washington’s public service by encouraging and highlighting bilingualism and multilingualism.

This bill is now headed to the House for consideration.