The Equal Pay Opportunity Act Passes the House
For years, reports and studies have told us that women get paid less than men. Even controlling for factors, like age, education, hours worked, and so on, women get paid less than men. It’s an unfortunate reality, but it doesn’t have to be this way. One major reason we see the gender pay gap is retaliation from employers against employees who discuss their compensation. Even though there are federal and state laws to protect employees, this kind of practice continues.
My friend and colleague Rep. Tana Senn, D-Mercer Island, introduced the Equal Pay Opportunity Act, which improves upon existing laws and bans employers from punishing their employees for discussing what they are paid. Hopefully this will add some transparency to the process and let employees know when they’re being paid unfairly based solely on their gender.
The Cutoff Process and What Comes Next
To keep things moving along, there are a series of deadlines that bills must meet in order to continue through the legislative process. One of those deadlines is House of Origin Cutoff. In the days leading up to the cutoff deadline, my colleagues and I spent long hours on the House floor passing bills. Some of the bills I worked on are particularly aimed at helping the disabilities community.
HB 1839 expands the Office of Public Guardianship’s authority to include support for decision-making for an incapacitated person. This bill will protect our most vulnerable and allow for those who may not need full guardianship to receive help with decision-making.
HB 2063 implements the federal Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act and will help individuals with disabilities achieve greater independence and financial stability. Like a college 529 plan, this 529A account allows investments to grow tax-free and permits account holders to use ABLE funds for qualified expenses. Of particular significance to those who find themselves regularly “spending down to poverty,” accounts can be valued at up to $100,000 without disqualifying one from Medicaid or SSI benefits.
Countdown to the U.S. Open
With fewer than 100 days until an estimated 235,000 spectators, reporters, and athletes descend upon Chambers Bay, representatives at all levels of government have been working to ensure that the event runs as smoothly as possible. At the state level, my fellow Pierce County legislators and I have been focused on public safety and obtaining funding for event security.
Key U.S. Open Facts
- Estimated $145 million regional economic impact
- Expected immediate state sales tax revenue exceeding $8 million in FY ‘15
- The largest paid admission public event in state history
- 235,000 spectators (equivalent of three Super Bowls)
- Worldwide TV audience exceeding 100 million in 180 countries
- 2,000 Worldwide media members
- 5,000 volunteers from around the country
Last week Elias from Fircrest participated the House Page Program. Pages perform a wide variety of responsibilities, from presenting the flags to distributing amendments on the House floor. In addition to contributing to the efficiency of the Legislature, pages spend two hours each day in a classroom setting learning about the legislative process.
If you know of any 14-16 year-olds who would be interested in getting involved please check out the House Page Website.
Amy Marten and her son, Colton, stopped by the Capitol for Digital Learning Day
In the District
Thank you to John Larsen for submitting this photo of the Steilacoom II sailing towards Anderson Island. If you have a photo that you would like to be featured in the next newsletter, please email a digital copy to Christine.firstname.lastname@example.org