Senate hearings on state employee compensation and benefits turns partisan; Senate also opens door to anti-union bills
The 2017 legislative session is underway in Olympia and several hearings on Feb. 6 underscore the partisan feelings between both parties regarding funding of our state employee contracts, as well as many anti-union bills.
We encourage you to watch the two hearings on TVW: one in the Senate Ways & Means (budget) committee on state employee compensation and one in the Senate Commerce, Labor & Sports committee focused on anti-public employee union legislation.
In the hearing on state employee compensation and benefit plans, public testimony was not permitted. Though the agenda was set to have government officials provide presentations to brief the Senators on the specifics of the plans and the state employee contract, political partisan comments dominated the statements by the majority of senators during the proceedings, especially during the compensation discussion, beginning at about 1:14:00.
Labor representatives from public employee unions, including Adrienne Thompson from Local 17, testified against bills that have been proposed to open collective bargaining meetings to the public, and prohibit campaign contributions from labor unions, to name a few. On Wed., Feb. 8, there was a proposal to effectively make Washington a Right-to-Work state for public employees.
Members should voice concern to their legislators on these issues. We will continue to keep you updated as the issues proceed.
Lift the 1% Property Tax Cap to Fund County and City Services! Make Your Voice Heard!
Did you know that property taxes are the primary funding source for many city and county programs, like public safety and human services?
You're invited! There will be hearings in Olympia on Fri., Feb. 10 and Thurs. Feb. 16 to address the proposed bill to lift the 1% property tax cap. And then on Mon., Feb. 20 from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. there is a lobby day to raise awareness about the impacts of the property tax cap. This is your opportunity to talk with your legislators about the important work that you do, and how budgetary impacts threaten the services you provide to the community.
If you are interested in attending either of these events, please contact Nikola Davidson, Local 17 Special Projects Coordinator, at 800-783-0017 ext. 111. You can also learn more about this at: http://wsac.org/2017-legislative-session-property-tax/
'Public Health is Essential' campaign launches!
For several years, Local 17 has been a key member of the Public Health Roundtable– a coalition of other unions, government agencies and community partners who promote the important work of our Public Health system. The Roundtable recently launched it's new campaign called 'Public Health is Essential' in an effort to raise awareness with our legislators and the general public about all of the vital services that Public Health provides, and the impact that reduced funding has had on these services over the last decade.
You can read more about the campaign at:
WA Legislative Session Begins
The 2017 Washington state legislative session began in Olympia on Jan. 9, and Local 17 has already begun to aggressively move on its legislative agenda to benefit public employees and the programs they deliver. Find a copy of our priorities HERE.
In this budget-setting session, the legislature will be prioritizing funding for court-ordered decisions on education (the McCleary case) and mental health services, before addressing the funding needs of all other state programs.
Some legislators are advocating for new revenue, while others are arguing that there should be cuts in other areas of government, and are targeting the $700 million for state employee contracts and the public health funding that have been included in the governor's budget proposal.
In addition to our four priorities this session, Local 17 staff will be combing through the thousands of other bills that are typically proposed during any session to assess their impact on members, and to develop a strategy to support or oppose the legislation.
February 20: Lift the Property Tax Cap Lobby Day! 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Olympia, RSVP with Nikola Davidson
March 1: Public Health Legislative Education Day (click to register!)
2017 Legislative Priorities
Contact Your Legislator
Use the Washington legislature website to find and contact the legislator in your district.
Send a postcard to your representatives!
Contact Nikola Davidson, Local 17 Special Projects Coordinator at 800-783-0017, if you would like a stack of postcards highlighting Local 17's legislative priorities, like funding the state contract and Public Health. Send them back to us, and we will address, stamp and mail them to the legislator in your district!