My apologies for the late legislative report. Your Leadership has all been quite busy in local political action since the moment we left the Capital. We had a successful year in Olympia. As labor-friendly Democrats took control of the House AND the Senate, working folks had a banner year…and we firefighters led the charge.
House Bill 1913 : Presumptive Coverage Expansion
Long a friend and supporter of Washington’s Union fire fighters, Governor Jay Inslee signed HB1913 into law this spring. It expands presumptive coverage for cancer related to the occupation and adds protections for other public safety workers. “His track record of being there for us and our families is well-documented and greatly appreciated,” said our WSCFF President Dennis Lawson.
'The presumption established in subsection (1)(a)(iii) of this section shall only apply to the following cancers: Prostate cancer diagnosed prior to the age of fifty, primary brain cancer, malignant melanoma, leukemia, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, bladder cancer, ureter cancer, colorectal cancer, multiple myeloma, testicular cancer, (and)) kidney cancer, mesothelioma, stomach cancer, nonmelanoma skin cancer, breast cancer in women, and cervical cancer. '
(The WSCFF is grateful to prime sponsors Representative Beth Doglio and Senator Patty Kuderer who worked tirelessly to advance this imporant legislation. [L106 was an early endorser of Senator Kuderer’s past 2 campaigns.])
Our political friends committed to reducing toxic chemical exposures, which often turn into cancer, for firefighters, making Washington state the first in the country to ban PBDE flame retardants and ground water polluting PFAS chemicals.
Senate Bill 5983: Benefit Enhancement
This bill concerned LEOFF pensions. It transfered $300 million from the Law Enforcement Officers and Fire Fighters Retirement System Plan 2 (LEOFF 2) retirement fund to the Benefits Improvement Account (BIA).
The BIA is a subaccount of the LEOFF Plan 2 Retirement Fund that was created by legislation in 2008. Its purpose is to provide an additional means of funding benefit improvements in LEOFF Plan 2. The assets in this account are invested in the same way as other LEOFF 2 fund assets managed by the Washington State Investment Board (WSIB).
This law, also pushed hard by your Local and others around the state, was signed into law as well.
SB 5844/HB 1909 - Industrial Insurance Claim Records
This WSCFF supported bill provides that if an employer or employer's authorized representative reveals information in an injured worker's claim file regarding a mental health condition or treatment to any person other than an authorized representative, the employer is subject to a civil penalty of one thousand dollars for each occurrence. The law also requires the Department of Labor and Industries to ensure that employers and workers are notified of their rights and responsibilities regarding claim files.
Passed both houses and signed by the Governor.
Now that Governor Inslee has dropped out of the U.S. Presidential race, I’d expect that Union Firefighters in Washington State will lead the charge on supporting his 2020 campaign to govern Washington State, again. Stay tuned.
WSCLC Voting Report Card:
All Union Firefighters are part of the Washington State Labor Council. It is the Union of all Unions associated with the AFL-CIO. This organization also tracks bills and lobbies to pass bills which support all Union workers' hours, wages and working conditions. A report card is produced each year which ‘grades’ the representatives and senators on labor-related bills. The report card was recently published. Senator Ericksen gets miserable marks, Representative Van Werven doesn’t do all that better. Representatives Morris and Shewmake and Morris did very well and Senator Lovelett and Representative Lekanoff were rock stars for working folks at 100% voting records for WSLC priority bills. As a reminder, we supported Ericksen’s opponent Pinky Vargas, stayed neutral on Van Werven and endorsed all of the others. Go Team!