January 30 – February 3
The fourth week of the 2023 Legislative Session saw hearings on quite a few bills designed to put more workers into the workforce, responding to bipartisan concerns about insufficient staffing across sectors. Some of these include:
- HB 1009 (Leavitt, D-28) – Establishes requirements for certain state agencies and licensing authorities related to the professional licensing and employment of military spouses.
- HB 1462 (Doglio, D-22) – Modifies the eligibility requirements for obtaining journey level electrician certification.
- HB 1547 (Caldier, R-26) – Authorizes an out-of-state health care provider to practice in Washington upon submission of certain information by a health care entity to the Department of Health.
- SB 5498 (Mullet, D-5) – Creates a hospital-based nurse student loan repayment assistance program under the Washington health corps.
- SB 5582 (Holy, R-6) – Creates new pipelines for nurses.
- HB 1451 (Senn, D-41) – Creates new program pathways for childcare workers.
On Tuesday, HB 1335 (Hansen, D-23) relating to the practice of doxing was heard in the House Civil Rights & Judiciary Committee. The bill follows legislation in six other states by prohibiting publication of an individual’s personal identifying information without consent when the publication is with the intent or knowledge that the information will be used to harm the individual or that the publication causes harm. The bill also includes a civil cause of action for violations. Supporters point to the doxing of nurses, teachers, and public officials. The bill did not receive opposition in the hearing.
Warehouse Distribution Centers
The Senate Labor & Commerce Committee heard the 2023 version of a policy designed to regulate employee safety at warehouse distribution centers this week. Similar to the 2022 bill, SB 5348 (Conway, D-29) would require notification of quotas upon hire and at least every year. Employers could also not require a quota that conflicts with meal or rest breaks or exposes the employee to hazards. Supporters of the bill say workers in fast-paced, highly automated settings get injured at higher rates. The Association of Washington Business testified in opposition, saying the bill is overly broad and that these decisions should remain at the warehouse-level, without L&I’s involvement.
Right to Repair
Both House and Senate committees heard testimony this week on the bipartisan “Right to Repair” legislation sponsored by Rep. Mia Gregerson (D-33) and Sen. Derek Stanford (D-1). Under HB 1392 / SB 5464, cellphone, computer and tablet manufacturers must make available the same documentation, parts, tools, and patches to certified independent repairers and owners that they provide their authorized repairers. In committee, legislators heard support from repairers, school districts and environmentalists. Technology industry representatives testified in opposition, saying the bill could cause safety, privacy, and security risks and that manufacturers have already expanded opportunities for independent repairs.
The House Appropriations Committee heard HB 1258 (Ryu-32) on Wednesday, which increases statewide tourism funding in the State of Washington by increasing and reinvesting the existing sales tax on tourism-industry sales such as rental cars, hotel nights, and restaurants. Supporters pointed to lagging group convention and business travel, which has previously accounted for two thirds of travel business to Washington. Washington’s tourism agency is currently the least funded in the United States. The bill did not receive opposition in committee.
Direct Lived Experience
On Friday morning, the House State Government and Tribal Relations Committee heard HB 1541 (Farivar, D-46). The policy, known as the “Nothing About Us Without Us bill” implements membership requirements for statutory entities (task forces, work groups, advisory committees etc.) tasked with examining policies that directly and tangibly affect a particular underrepresented population. The phrase “nothing about us without us” is a mantra that has historically resonated with the disability rights community in advocating for full and direct participation in all decisions that impact their lives.
- February 17 – Policy committee cutoff – house of origin
- February 24 – Fiscal committee cutoff – house of origin
- March 8 – Floor cutoff – house of origin
- March 29 – Policy committee cutoff – opposite house
- April 4 – Fiscal committee cutoff – opposite house
- April 12 – Floor cutoff – opposite house
- April 23 – Sine Die
Source: Brynn Brady, Ceiba Consulting, Inc. | ceibaconsulting.com