The legislative sessions are in full swing in both Washington and Oregon, and they are shaping up to be the most challenging and consequential in many years. The pandemic response and accompanying recession are clear priorities that will shape new policy and revenue to relieve suffering and revive the economy.
PROTEC17 will be active in elevating four priorities in the legislature this year. These priorities, which correspond with our organization’s strategic plan and members’ needs, include: reforming the revenue system to provide funding for critical public services, strengthening our public health system, creating jobs through investments in our public infrastructure, and ending the history of violence against communities of color. You can find our 2021 legislative priorities in the graphic on the right.
Because the pandemic has prompted our governing bodies to hold their hearings remotely instead of in Olympia and Salem, it is easier than ever for PROTEC17 members to support or oppose a bill, provide public comment, or sign up to give virtual testimony. Your input will be critical and could make or break policy and funding decisions that have a direct impact on you and your fellow PROTEC17 members.
In the first two weeks of the Washington state legislative session, PROTEC17 members at the Department of Licensing (DOL) dove into the political process, opposing a bill that would impact public safety and their jobs. PROTEC17 Licensing Service Representative (LSR) member Marian Harris-Jones provided live testimony, while Nicole Chambers and Carla Goudy submitted written testimony.
The legislation – House Bill (HB) 1207 – would extend the driver’s license and ID card renewal cycle from six to eight years and would allow for online renewal with an electronically updated photo every 16 years. While this may sound great for those who dread going to a Licensing Office, it would keep drivers on the road that otherwise shouldn’t be, as PROTEC17 LSRs screen and examine each customer’s vision and competency to drive.
“If we issue licenses that that can be renewed online indefinitely, there will be people out there that shouldn’t be behind the wheel. We need to see our drivers. We need to assess whether they are safe to drive,” said Harris-Jones.
This is just one of the bills we’re tracking in Washington this session. For a full list, please visit our Political Action page: protec17.org/political-action.
The legislative session in Oregon will be largely dominated by budget deliberations and COVID-related concerns. But some of the top, labor-specific bills we are tracking include: Senate Bill (SB) 412, which changes the Public Employee Collective Bargaining Act provision for interim contract negotiations; HB3029, which allows electronic signatures when organizing new union members; the Public Employee Retirement System (PERS) cleanup bill, which will fix some technical issues created by previous PERS cut bill in 2019; plus SB477, SB483, and HB2205. To learn more about these bills, visit our website, or contact PROTEC17 Oregon Legislative Advocate Elliot Levin at .
Legislators want to hear from their constituents about the issues that impact your jobs, health, families, and communities. We encourage you to participate in this important process. Visit our Political Action webpage to find more detailed information about upcoming bills and how to contact your legislator or sign into a bill: protec17.org/political-action.