Legislation Update: March 2022

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After another successful AFT Washington 2022 Lobby Day, we are 75% of the way through the 2022 Legislative Session! Many of our legislative priorities are still alive, which is excellent news. And if you haven't, sign the petition calling on the Legislature to make investments in education.

The legislative session is about one thing: our members. Thanks to our members’ fierce advocacy, these bills are waiting to be scheduled to be moved out of either the Ways and Means Committee in the Senate or the Appropriations Committee in the House:

  • SSB 5847 - sponsored by Senator Marko Liias (D-32), is about providing information about the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program to public service employees and setting a multiplier of 3.35 hours for adjunct faculty, which would be effective immediately
  • E2SHB 1659 – sponsored by Rep. Vandana Slatter (D-48), this bill expands eligibility for student aid and access to wraparound services
  • E2SHB 1736 – sponsored by Rep. Pat Sullivan (D-47), it establishes a state student loan program with a 1% interest rate
  • E2SHB 1723 - sponsored by Rep. Mia Gregerson (D-33), this bill closes the digital divide by increasing accessibility and affordability of telecommunications services and devices
  • E2SHB 1868 - sponsored by Rep. Marcus Riccelli (D-3), and improves worker safety and patient care in health care facilities by addressing staffing needs, overtime, meal and rest breaks, and enforcement
  • HB 2124 – sponsored by Rep. Marcus Riccelli (D-3), it extends collective bargaining rights to legislative employees
  • 2SHB 1835 – sponsored by Rep. Drew Hansen (D-23), this bill creates outreach and improves completion of state and federal financial aid applications to increase postsecondary enrollment
  • SHB 1725 – sponsored by Rep. Debra Lekanoff (D- 40), this bill creates an endangered missing person advisory designation for missing Indigenous persons
  • 2SSB 5597 – sponsored by Senator Rebecca Saldaña (D-37), it strengthens the Washington Voting Rights Act, which is a key piece of legislation that ensures everyone has a right to vote
  • HB 1888 – sponsored by Rep. My-Linh Thai (D-41), this bill allows the state to adjust the rates of remittance reductions in the working families’ tax credit to align with the federal maximum qualifying income levels

The fiscal cutoff was on February 28th, so these bills needed to move soon if we were going to see them pass this session. We’ll know more next week about what made it out of the fiscal committees before the cutoff.

These bills are waiting to be pulled to the floor in the House or the Senate for final passage and one step closer to the governor’s desk for his signature to become law:

  • SB 5539 - sponsored by Senator Sam Hunt (D-22), and ensures the State pays the health insurance in SEBB for our Head Start members in ESD 113
  • SB 5854 - sponsored by Senator Emily Randall (D-26), this bill states that public universities and the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges may develop administrative processes for faculty that apply in place of the Ethics Act's prohibition on the use of state resources for private gain
  • SHB 1878 - sponsored by Rep. Marcus Riccelli (D-3), this bill expands free school meals

Your voice is crucial and needed as we enter the final weeks of the session. This is where we can truly improve the lives of our members and communities, and getting our members and their stories and priorities in front of legislators is a huge boost to that effort.