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 Washington Bills & Positions

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

OPPOSE.  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) 

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)

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)

HB 1297: Working Families Tax Credit

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

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) 

HB 1110: Improve the structure and transparency of Health Boards.  

SUPPORT. (House Health Care and Wellness Committee)

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

SUPPORT. This bill will have a hearing on Mon., 2/22 from 8-9:30 a.m. If you are a PROTEC17 Public Health member and would like to give live testimony, please let PROTEC17 Executive Director Karen Estevenin know ASAP. She will register all PROTEC17 members as a panel. It would be important for members to share their own experiences working in Public Health. Testimony is usually between 90 sec – 2 min.

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.

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2021 Oregon Bills & Positions

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.

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