Political Action

Whether we like it or not, politics plays a huge role in our lives. And especially as public employees, lawmakers at every level make decisions that impact whether your job will be funded, your retirement plan will remain solvent, or whether you can take time off to care for a sick loved one.

PROTEC17 advocates for laws and policies at the city, county and state level that support our members and their families. In addition, we have a political action committee (PAC) that makes endorsements for worker-friendly candidates. The PAC is funded through voluntary donations — NEVER DUES MONEY.

2021 Legislative Priorities

2021 WA State Legislative Report

Click the link below to find a summary of the legislation that was passed during the 2021 Washington State legislative session that aligned with PROTEC17’s priorities.

2021 Washington Legislative Report

2021 Washington Bills & Positions

TRANSPORTATION

HB 1207: Extension of Drivers Licenses to 8 years with the ability to online renew and upload home photos. 

NEUTRAL. This bill has since been amended with our proposed changes to expire expanded online renewal in 2024, complete an impact study in 2023, and offer a 6-year renewal option. PROTEC17 members who work in the Department of Licensing have expressed many concerns with this proposed legislation — the most important of which is public safety. While it may be helpful to have to visit the DOL office less to renew a drivers license, PROTEC17 DOL members help keep our roads safe by doing assessments and vision exams. Additionally, this legislation poses issues on several levels with the ability to upload photos from home – only every 16 years. It could also be cost prohibitive for low-income or others to pay for an 8-year license. (House Transportation Committee)  PASSED. 

HB 1135: Making transportation appropriations for the 2021-2023 fiscal biennium. (Sponsor: Fey)

SUPPORT. House Bill (HB) 1135 proposes $26 billion over 16 years. DID NOT PASS, but with discussion of a special session to address transportation revenue package. 

SB 5165: Making transportation appropriations for the 2021-2023 fiscal biennium. (Sponsor: Hobbs)

SUPPORT. Senate Bill (SB) 5165 proposes a $16 billion budget over 16 years. PASSED with $11.8 billion in funding. 

PUBLIC HEALTH

Senate Budget to be debated on the floor on Thurs., April 1. 

SUPPORT. This budget appropriates $150 million for public health in the 2021-23 biennium ($50m first year, $100m second year), and it increases to $300 million for the 2023-25 biennium. These funds are ongoing.

House Budget to be debated on the floor on Sat., April 3.

SUPPORT. This budget allocates $100 million to Public Health during this biennium, however, the funding does not appear to be ongoing. 

Public Health funding for Foundational Public Health Services PASSED in both chambers. $147 million has been allocated for the 2021-23 biennium, and $148 million per year ongoing beginning in 2024.   

SB 5149/HB1201Fund Public Health through a tax on insurance companies

SUPPORT.  These companion bills propose an assessment on insured lives in the form of $3.25 per member/per month tax on health carriers, Medicaid managed care, and third-party administrators. Once fully realized, it would provide $200 million/year for public health. (Senate Health and Long Term Care Committee) NOT PASSED.

HB 1152 (formerly 1110): Improve the structure and transparency of Health Boards.  

SUPPORT. (House Health Care and Wellness Committee) This would support comprehensive restructuring and transparency on Boards of Health in Washington. PASSED. 

SB 5371: Funding for Public Health through a sugary beverage/soda tax.  

SUPPORT. DID NOT PASS.

SB 5129: Concerning the possession of vapor, vapor products, tobacco, and tobacco products by minors.

SUPPORT. SB 5129 eliminates the youth Purchase, Use, and Possession (PUP) laws related to tobacco. The current laws allow for law enforcement to detain youth suspected of possessing or attempting to purchase tobacco or vaping products. PUP laws are ineffective in reducing and preventing youth use, and youth of color and LGBTQ youth are disproportionally targeted by the criminal justice system. DID NOT PASS. 

CAPITAL GAINS & BILLIONAIRES TAX

HB 1406: Billionaires Tax

SUPPORT. This bill would tax the skyrocketing wealth of billionaires in our state, and the money collected would be reinvested to fund a just and equitable recovery from the current economic crisis. (House Finance Committee) DID NOT PASS. 

SB 5096: Capital Gains Tax on Extraordinary Wealth

SUPPORT. SB 5096 is a tax on extraordinary capital gains profits that will be paid by only 2% of the very wealthiest Washingtonians and aims to fix our upside down tax code. The funds generated will be used for a wide variety of programs and services that support our communities, like childcare, infrastructure, and more. PASSED. 

WORKERS’ RIGHTS & BENEFITS

SB 5061: Unemployment insurance tax relief for businesses and improve unemployment benefits for working people.

AMMEND. As written, this bill would do more for businesses than for workers. PROTEC17 advocates amending this bill to address the crisis in our unemployment system, such as requiring speedy payment of claims, waiving overpayments, auditing past denials, and more. (Labor, Commerce and Tribal Affairs Senate Committee). PASSED and signed into law on Feb. 8.

HB 1076: The ‘Worker Protection Act’

SUPPORT. The Worker Protection Act would expand the legal tools workers can use to enforce their rights. (House Workplace and Labor Committee) DID NOT PASS. 

HB 1297: Working Families Tax Credit

SUPPORT. This bill would get money into the pockets of low-wage workers.  (House Finance Committee) PASSED. 

SB 5021: Mitigating the effect of expenditure reduction efforts on retirement benefits for public employees

SUPPORT. This bill provides that specified public pensions will not be reduced as a result of compensation reductions that are part of a public employer’s expenditure reduction efforts during the 2019-2021 and 2021-23 fiscal biennia. It also provides that the pension benefit of an employee covered by a pension system that is administered by the Department of Retirement Systems is not reduced as a result of participation in an unemployment insurance shared work program. PASSED. 

SAFE COMMUNITIES FOR ALL

SB 5051: Concerning state oversight and accountability of peace officers and corrections officers.

SUPPORT. SB 5051 is a bill that creates oversight at the statewide level to decertify police officers for unethical or gross misconduct. This bill passed the Senate and we hope to see it in the House chamber soon. PASSED. 

HB 1054: Establishing requirements for tactics and equipment used by peace officers.

SUPPORT. HB 1054 establishes requirements for using certain types of use of force and prohibits others – like choke holds, tear gas, and using dogs to arrest or apprehend people. This bill has passed the House and is headed to the Senate. PASSED. 

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2021 Oregon Bills & Positions

HB 3029: Signed authorizations designating exclusive bargaining representation

SUPPORT. HB 3029 would allow electronic signatures for union elections. PROTEC17 and our Labor partners submitted written testimony about the difficulty of organizing during the COVID-19 pandemic because of the requirement for a physical signature.

SB 412: Expedited Bargaining – Rebalancing Collective Bargaining

SUPPORT. This bill adds binding arbitration after 90 days as a resolution for interim bargaining. This is already in place for police, fire, and other non-strike units, but would add it for others. Several employers have a notorious reputation for holding items out of regular cycle bargaining so they can force them through the expedited bargaining process.

HB 2205: Just Enforcement Act

SUPPORT. OR has great laws on the books protecting employees, but the Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) staff have been chronically under funded and the department is not able to enforce the existing laws. This Act empowers workers to enforce laws when BOLI lacks the resources or will to enforce, specifically by allowing individuals or groups (like unions) to file lawsuits on behalf of the state if the state fails to respond to a complaint. A portion of the penalites would be awarded to the workers and a portion would be awarded to the Agency.

Contact Your Legislator!