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Sept. 9: Rep. Lekanoff will be at Eastsound coffee shop

State Representative Debra Lekanoff will be at the Tide Pool Coffeehouse in Easrsound  at 8:30 am September 9 to meet with constituents. (365 N Beach Rd Unit 108, Eastsound, WA 98245)

In her recent newsletter, she highlighted some recent legislation:

Providing rideshare drivers with social insurance programs (HB 1570):
Under this new law, Washington is providing first-in-the-nation access to unemployment insurance and paid family and medical leave benefits to 35,000 rideshare drivers in Washington. This builds on the groundbreaking work we did last session to provide minimum wage, benefits and protections for these workers.

Covering the caregiver gap in Washington’s unemployment Insurance program (HB 1106): The pandemic helped expose the inequitable burden placed on some family members, most often women, for caregiving of a child. Leaving a job due to the need to care for a child or because of the high cost and inaccessibility of childcare is involuntary, and that should be recognized. Thanks to passage of this bill, we are expanding unemployment insurance benefits to working families who have to voluntarily quit their job due to challenges with childcare. 

Protecting warehouse employees (HB 1762): Warehouse workers are often put in unfair situations to meet the demands of their jobs. We are protecting warehouse employees by requiring companies operating large warehouses to inform workers of their production quotas and to ensure that their employees do not work through their rest, bathroom or meal breaks to meet those expectations.

Requiring public employers to provide employee information to exclusive bargaining representatives (HB 1200): Union representatives having accurate and timely access to represented employees is essential to protect unionized workers’ rights. We can do so by requiring certain public employers to provide contact information, date of hire, salary, and jobsite location to employees in bargaining units.

Hospital staffing committees (SB 5236): Nurses are leaving the profession in droves due to stress and being overworked and underpaid. We need clear standards that ensure the profession is protected. This establishes hospital staffing committees to make sure our nurses aren’t being overworked, and sets financial penalties for violating staffing plans.

Expanding industrial insurance to nurses affected by PTSD (SB 5454): During the pandemic, nurses went above and beyond to care for people in need. Now, they are
experiencing the effects of that stress. Under this new law, we have expanded access to workers’ compensation for our frontline nurses by creating a presumption of occupational disease for PTSD.

Safe at Work (SB 5217): Risk of repetitive stress and other types of injuries shouldn’t be expected as part of your job. This bill allows the Department of Labor and Industries to set rules to protect workers from musculoskeletal-related workplace injuries.

Strengthening protections for consumers in the construction industry (HB 1534): Bad actors in the construction industry can ruin the dreams of families looking to build or remodel a home. To help address those concerns, this bill increases bond payments for contractors registering with the Department of Labor & Industries under the Contractor Registration Act to establish the Homeowner Recovery Program for better consumer protections. It also requires L&I to deny application for registration if a business entity has an unsatisfied final judgement against it. 

Improving worker recovery in wage complaints by authorizing the collection of interest and studying other options (HB 1217): When a worker is denied their earned wages, it has real-world impacts that could dramatically change their life. Employers need to know that if they withhold wages illegally, there are consequences. This bill requires that the resolution of wage theft complaints include interest on money owed.

Requiring AEDs on site for workers operating or maintaining high voltage powers lines (HB 1542): Workers who operate around high voltage power lines are at risk of electrical exposure, and having access to automated external defibrillators (AEDs) will save lives. Under this law, AEDs will be required to be nearby for workers who have jobs operating or maintaining high voltage powerlines.