Lawmakers Call for Passage of “Jobs Now” bills

January 30, 2014

Yesterday Washington Policy Center was invited to participate in a press conference at the Capitol highlighting the “Jobs Now” package of bills introduced in the House and Senate that would improve the state’s small business climate.  Many of the bills highlighted in the press conference reflect long-standing WPC recommendations. 

Bills proposing a temporary training wage for teen workers, expanding the structured settlement option to all injured workers in the workers’ compensation system, reforming the permitting process and preempting local adoption of labor standards were among the top issues.

Just prior to the press conference, the Senate passed SB 5127, which would allow every worker injured on the job the option to close their claim with a structured settlement, an option injured workers already have in 44 other states.  Currently only workers over the age of 55 have the structured settlement option.

Immediately after the press conference, two teen training wage bills (SB 6495 and SB 6471) and the bill preempting local adoption of labor laws such as minimum wage and paid leave (SB 6307), received hearings in the Senate Commerce & Labor Committee.  WPC was invited to testify at the hearing to explain how the bills would help businesses and create jobs.

The legislation requiring agencies to track and record the time it takes to process business permits is scheduled for a hearing tomorrow morning.  This bill is in direct response to the recent Auditor’s report that found state agencies that issue permits could improve permitting predictability for businesses by providing processing times and by streamlining the permit application and approval process.

Meanwhile, as members in the House and Senate were stressing the importance of passing legislation that will improve the state’s business climate and encourage the creation of jobs, the House of Representatives passed HB 1313, legislation that will increase the cost of doing business in Washington and make it more difficult to create jobs.  HB 1313 would require employers with 5 or more employees to pay employees for 5, 7 or 9 days of sick or safe leave per year, depending on the size of the company.  Only one other state (Connecticut) mandates paid sick leave.

The House passed the bill despite overwhelming opposition from the business community.