Standing up for state employees

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

It’s hard to believe, but we’re already nearing the halfway point in this year’s short, 60-day legislative session.

This week I’ll share just a quick update on two important issues for state employees before the legislature this year. Keep an eye out for a more comprehensive update from Rep. Doglio and me soon.

I appreciate all the outreach I’ve received from folks who live here in the 22nd District. Your calls, emails, and visits to my office help keep me focused on the issues our community cares about. Please keep up your advocacy to help me make sure the legislature and the state of Washington are responsive to your needs.

Thank you,

 

 


Navigating privacy and public records

The state has a duty to protect our state employee, educators, firefighters and all public servants from security threats. Many of our public servants work in dangerous jobs, and their work on our behalf should not put them at risk in their private lives. Sensitive, personal information, including addresses, birth dates and financial information should be protected to safeguard against identity theft, stalking and harassment.

Last week, House Bill 1888 was passed out of my State Government & Tribal Relations committee with an agreement to exempt state employee birth dates and payroll deduction information from public disclosure requests. The legislation would still allow news media access to birth dates, while the general public would only have access to the numeric birthday – not the year or month.

I appreciate that many constituents in the 22nd District have made their voices heard during the legislative process on this critical bill. Your voices made a huge difference in negotiating these important safeguards. Please continue to be involved until HB 1888 reaches the Governor’s desk.

Read more in the Olympian


Improving state contracting procedures

I am thrilled that  House Bill 1521, Protecting Taxpayers by Providing for Accountability and Transparency in Government Contracting, passed out of the House of Representatives this past week.

In 2008, during the Great Recession, the State of Washington balanced our budget on the backs of our state employees.  Many of our state workers were fired, many were furloughed, and many were asked to work without pay because their jobs were mission critical.  Following 2008, many state union jobs were contracted out, and since that time, our state employees have been inching their way back to a full work force.

Over the interim, an amendment to HB 1521 was carefully written with our state employee unions to make it clear that state employees are the stable workforce responsible for the daily operations of the state, while contracted union workers are only brought in during emergency situations or for huge public works jobs over $500,000.  State employees may also compete for contracts if they wish to do so.

HB 1521 is already scheduled to be heard next Thursday in Senator Hunt’s State Government, Tribal Relations & Elections Committee.


Just yesterday, two more important bills for state employees passed out of my Appropriations Committee during a Saturday meeting ahead of our Tuesday deadline. These bills were sponsored by Rep Doglio and co-sponsored by me:

HB 2264 – Increasing the cap on accrued vacation leave

HB 2304 – Improving shared leave eligibility requirements