Rep. Sells’ newsletter: Telephone Town Hall / Property Tax Relief / Meal & Rest Periods / Secure Scheduling


Save the date: Telephone Town Hall this coming Wednesday

telephone

Sen. John McCoy, Rep, June Robinson and I will host a telephone town hall next Wednesday, February 13, at 6 PM.

Please join us by signing up here to receive a phone call when the event begins. You can also click here or call 877-229-8493 and enter the code 116289 at 6 pm on the night of the event.

We want to give you an update on what we’re doing in Olympia and also take your questions live. I hope you’ll tune in.


Real Property Tax Relief for Senior Citizens and Veterans

Not many people know there is a property tax exemption program for senior citizens and veterans.

property tax relief

The exemption has certain income limits that are flat across the state and not adjusted based on county. In some counties, the $40,000 income threshold is realistic, but in other counties, the average income is much higher and the threshold does not work.

Senior citizens and veterans with disabilities need to have a reduction in their property taxes and the current exemption should be more flexible by county.

We’re considering several bills to change the threshold from the current $40,000 to be based on average income in the county. That way, the needs of King County and the needs of Grant County can both be met. The goal is to allow more senior citizens and veterans to reduce their property taxes by using this exemption.

In the meantime, you can still apply under current law for a property tax exemption by visiting the Department of Revenue site.


Giving you the best care

When you are in a hospital, you rely on nurses, technicians and other health care workers to take care of you.

surgical nurse

But many health care workers are unable to take care of themselves because they are not provided adequate meal and rest breaks and are frequently asked to work 12-14 hour shifts. Health care workers are expected to be constantly vigilant in caring for their patients – and we cannot continue to expect exhausted workers to provide great care.

I am a co-sponsor of House Bill 1155, which requires that front-line hospital staff be allowed to take uninterrupted and regular meal and rest periods. The bill also makes changes to mandatory overtime so that hospitals can no longer use a work around that kept nurses and other staff on the job too many hours. The bill allows flexibility so that staff can use their best judgement to ensure patient safety.

It is unacceptable to continue to expect people to care for us or our loved ones when they cannot even meet their own basic needs on the job.


Secure Scheduling for Washington Workers

1491This past week, we heard HB 1491 in my committee (watch it here). The legislation, modeled after a standard recently approved in the City of Seattle, is a statewide “secure scheduling” proposal that would provide workers advance notice of schedules, access to additional hours, and expanded flexibility.

Our lives are run by schedules: daycare centers, schools, doctor’s offices. For those who can’t plan activities due to being subject to random shifts at work, life is unpredictable and chaotic. It also results in income irregularity, since workers often don’t know how much money they will make on any given week.

These are the issues HB 1491 aims to solve by ensuring that people who work for large fast-food, coffee, restaurant and retail chains in Washington get schedules that are balanced and flexible. The bill would require:

  • Two weeks’ notice of shift schedules.
  • Access to additional hours for current employees before new jobs are posted.
  • Input into work schedules, and more flexibility to accommodate care-giving, schooling, and other major life needs.
  • No mandatory clopening shifts (working the closing shift one night and then an opening shift the next morning).

Thank you for reading my newsletter.

To fully represent your interests I need your input, so please feel free to send me your feedback, questions or concerns.

Sincerely,

Sells sig