Government Affairs

Washington State

2018 Legislative Wrap-up

Washington state lawmakers completed their legislative work for 2018 on March 8, without holding a special session for the first time since 2014. Though not challenged with setting the biennial budget this year, there were many issues that could have prolonged that streak. Reflective of issues attracting national concern, the state attempted to deal with voting rights, bump stocks, sexual harassment and taxes.

Property taxes became a major issue in the supplemental budget debate. Budget talks included additional mandates by the state supreme court to fund education and teachers’ salaries, pumping almost another $1 billion into the system.

A major budget addition came for mental health ($300 million) and other public health services that are often delivered by Local 17 public employees, including $3 million for Seattle & King County disease prevention.

The Public Health Roundtable -- a coalition of local and state health jurisdictions and affiliated organizations, including Local 17 -- is currently working on a larger funding package for the next biennium.

With Democratic majorities in both the House and Senate now, there were a number of bills on various issues that aid workers and their families, including: the use of shared leave for pregnancy/parental bonding (HB 1434); equal pay (HB1506); part-time employee protections (HB 2669); and employee rights (SB2669, HB 2751 and SB 6231).

Local 17 and the coalition of public sector unions continue to push for protecting the rights of employees and their private information.

Unfortunately, a bill to bar employee birthdates from public disclosure (SB 6079) died in the Senate due to the influence of news media and the anti-union lobby. But the union coalition will continue to push the issue by targeting election efforts in November to support legislators who understand the protections necessary for public employees.

2018 Legislative Priorities


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Use the Washington legislature website to find and contact the legislator in your district.