The short legislative sessions in both Oregon and Washington state are set to wrap up in early March, but even with the compressed timelines, PROTEC17 is tracking, supporting, and drafting legislation that will directly impact our members in hopes of some solid wins in 2022.
This year, the Washington State Legislative Session runs for just eight weeks, concluding on March 10. The legislative priorities that PROTEC17 created prior to session are focused on public health funding and investments in infrastructure and transportation. Some of the bills that we are monitoring, as this issue of Insight went to the printer, include:
Senate Bill (SB) 5600, which concerns the sustainability and expansion of state registered apprenticeship programs;
SB 5911, which would provide hazard pay retention bonuses to certain health care employees;
House Bill (HB) 5778, which would address the current backlog of vehicle inspections, allowing local law enforcement or contractors to become certified to perform inspectors; and
HB 5898, which would supplement existing highway bond authorizations with an additional pledge of vehicle related fees, for future bond issuances.
We are also closely watching SB 5875 (see story on previous page), which would provide PROTEC17 Licensing Service Representative I and II members with hazard pay and other benefits that acknowledge their duties as front line workers during the height of the pandemic.
In other key changes that will set the stage for next year’s long session, Senator Marko Liias assumed his new role as chair of the transportation committee, and we look forward to working with him in the future to prepare for the adoption of a robust transportation package in 2023.
Next year, we hope to advocate in-person in Olympia during the 2023 legislative session, and will keep you informed on ways to engage with your legislators in the coming months. If you’d like additional information on the current session, please contact PROTEC17 Political Director Brandon Hersey at .
February 1 marked the beginning of the 2022 Oregon Legislative session, which is a short even-year session lasting until March 7. Broad priorities of the legislature this year include the State budget, pandemic response issues, housing services, and education funding. The session also welcomes a new Speaker of the House, Corvallis Representative Dan Rayfield. Representative Rayfield has been an ally to labor through his tenure in the legislature, and PROTEC17 members in Oregon have high hopes for his leadership.
Below are a few of the labor-related bills and issues that we’re tracking this session in Oregon:
House Bill (HB) 4001 aimed to address essential worker pay for frontline workers during the pandemic. Unfortunately, it failed to make it out of committee on Feb. 7.
Senate Bill (SB) 1506 would give local jurisdictions more revenue authority to increase marijuana taxes.
SB 1586 stiffens penalties for employers who use non-disclosure agreements to silence workers who have experienced discrimination or harassment. PROTEC17 joined other labor unions in 2019 passing the landmark Workplace Fairness Act, and SB 1586 will strengthen the protections in that bill.
HB 4002 would provide overtime protections to farmworkers in Oregon. While this bill gathered strong support in 2021 it did not ultimately receive a final vote. We hope to see Oregon joining Washington and California in providing this critical benefit to these vital workers.
While Federal infrastructure funding disbursements are currently being discussed in the Oregon Transportation Commission rather than the legislature, PROTEC17 will be monitoring legislative conversations on the subject in order to assure that appropriate funding reaches local transportation agencies including the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT), and that State projects within the Portland metro area adequately compensate PBOT to mitigate impacts.