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Published on Friday, April 18, 2014

Divided politics mean few personnel bills pass this year

The partisan divisions between the House and the Senate were very apparent again this year in terms of personnel legislation that passed. While numerous bills were introduced, very few made it all the way to the Governor’s desk. The Senate Majority Coalition Caucus tends to focus on legislation favorable to business and employer issues. The House is controlled by the Democrats with a tendency to focus on legislation favoring labor-related issues. The result is each house passing legislation that did not gain traction in the opposite house.

This session, AWC monitored and weighed in on numerous personnel proposals. We supported SB 5112 which provided workers compensation retro programs with more administration options for scheduling medical exams. AWC also weighed in on the efforts to further clarify the retire/rehire rules for LEOFF 2 retirees in HB 2479. Unfortunately, these measures did not advance through the opposite houses.

One of the few personnel bills to pass this year is SB 5173, providing unpaid leave for reasons of faith or conscience. The bill passed the Senate unanimously and had strong bipartisan support in the House. The bill requires public employers to provide employees up to two unpaid days of leave for reasons of faith or conscience unless it creates an undue hardship for the employer. The State Office of Financial Management (OFM) is tasked with developing the definition of undue hardship. AWC will be working with MRSC to look at developing a model policy to help cities implement the new requirement.

BillTracker AWC priority Bill # Descriptive title Final status
    SSB 5173 Providing un-paid leave and absences from work and school for reasons of faith or conscience Law; Effective 6/12/2014
    SB 6201 Creating an optional life annuity benefit for LEOFF 2 members Law; Effective 6/12/2014
    SB 6321 Removes the option to change contribute rates in PERS 3, TRS 3, and SERS 3 plans Law; Effective 6/12/2014
    ESHB 1313 Establishing minimum standards for sick and safe leave from employment Failed
    SHB 2018 Regarding additional contribution rates for employers to DRS retirement systems (Dolan v King Co.) Failed
    2SHB 2333 Concerning employee antiretaliation act Failed
    HB 2334 Prohibits misclassification of employees as independent contractors, creates civil penalties  Failed
    HB 2407 Clarifying that PERS retirees who return to work in any position covered by other DRS retirement systems will continue to receive their benefits for the first 867 hrs.  Failed
    HB 2479 Placing restrictions on retired law enforcement officers and firefighters employed in certain public positions Failed
    SHB 2576 Establishing a mandatory occupational disease exposure reporting requirement for firefighters Failed
    SB 5112 Granting scheduling authority for qualified retrospective rating plan employers and groups Failed
    SB 5125 Modifies the definition of occupational disease to state that it must arise out of and in the course of employment where the worker is exposed to the disease Failed
    SSB 6179 Authorizing workers' compensation group self-insurance plans Failed
    SB 6183 Requiring public employee collective bargaining sessions to be open meetings Failed
    SSB 6250 Requiring submission of digital copies of public employees' collective bargaining agreements Failed
    SB 6307 Preempting local government employment laws and contracts Failed
    SB 6397 Placing restrictions on retired law enforcement officers and firefighters employed in certain public positions Failed

 

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