2024 Legislative Session Priority Bills

Watch Union Action on Priority Bills

To navigate the playlist, click the button on the upper right of the YouTube video below to select the testimony you want to see.

There is no workforce in the state of Washington that has more at stake in decisions made by the Legislature than us. The Legislature has control over our wages, benefits, pensions, working conditions and more.

They adopt a state budget that determines the funding level for the services we provide. Every year they consider countless bills that can have an impact on everything from our safety on the job to our job security.

With our union, we have a seat at the table. 

Take Action on Our Priority Bills

Take a look at the priority bills below and use this simple form to send your legislator a letter!

ABHS Budget Item: in good shape! Would fully fund the increased service cost for residential treatment for the Drug Offender Sentencing Alternative program. The Governor’s budget provides $4 million, which must be retained in the final budget.

Why it matters:

  • This budget allocates 4 million to fully fund the increased service cost for residential treatment for the Drug Offender Sentencing Alternative program. It’s in the governor’s budget, but it must be retained in the final budget passed by the legislature.​

HB 1949/SB 6106: Special Commitment Center, Maple Lane, and SOLAs – PSERS: in good shape! Expands eligibility for the Public Safety Employees Retirement System(PSERS) to include staff at the Special Commitment Center, Maple Lane, and Residential Treatment Facilities who deal with clients who have been civilly committed or found not guilty by reason of insanity. PSERS allows retirement five years earlier for those who work in high-risk public safety jobs. The Senate version of this bill includes our members in SOLAs, and that is the version we'll be trying to push forward. 

Why it matters: 

    • Workers at the Special Commitment Center, Maple Lane and SOLAs do the same work of providing services serving civilly committed residents. 
    • The work done in these facilities comes with a very high degree of physical risk.
    • Workers at other institutions, such as Western State Hospital or Residential Habilitation Centers doing the same work are a part of PSERS. However, SCC workers are left out of this system. PSERS membership already includes many state workers with job classifications that have a high degree of physical risk, such as nurses working with offenders or patient populations, and in high-stress positions like Public Safety Telecommunicators, and ensures these dedicated public servants are afforded the type of retirement benefits they have earned

HB 2348: Harborview: in good shape! Allows King County to use county money, levy taxes, and issue bonds to pay for capital expenses at Harborview Medical Center.  

Why it matters:

  • Harborview, one of the nation’s leading academic centers, is the only Level 1 trauma center serving Alaska, Idaho, Montana, and Washington and it employs about 5,400 people. People come from across Washington and from neighboring states to seek the highest level of care for traumatic injuries at Harborview and because of this, we need to continue work on this site. 
  • This bill revises how counties may use funds from a county hospital levy. Back in 2020, the voters of King County overwhelmingly passed a measure to expand and renovate Harborview Medical Center which included projects like a medical tower with single-bed rooms and a new emergency department, seismic upgrades, renovations to clinics and offices, and a new building dedicated to behavioral health.
  • The project also includes space for 150 respite beds that are very much needed but are currently on hold for budgetary reasons.  
  • This bill would allow more funding for Harborview to continue to maintain its high-quality facilities that communities in the region highly depend on.

HB 2114: Housing Stability for Tenants Bill: did not pass. Improves housing stability for tenants by limiting rent increases, limiting fees and deposits, and requiring notice of rent and fee increases.  

Why it matters:

  • Despite our invaluable contributions, many state employees find themselves facing the harsh reality of unaffordable housing.
  • State employees are paid much less than workers in the private sector, despite doing the same work. The lack of adequate pay has our members facing the harsh reality of unaffordable housing.
  • Because of rising housing costs in particular parts of the state, members are being priced out of the areas where they work.
  • When state employees struggle with housing insecurity, our ability to focus on our jobs diminishes. It impacts our well-being, job satisfaction, and, ultimately, the quality of service we can provide to our community.
  • HB 2114 ensures that those who dedicate their careers to serving the public can afford a decent and stable place to call home.

SB 6109 and HB 2224: Fentanyl removals + risk assessments + judge training: in good shape! Reducing child mortality rates due to fentanyl exposureprotecting child welfare workers.

Why it matters:

  • The turnover rate of child welfare workers at DCYF is among the highest in state government. Our goals this year include reducing child mortality rates due to fentanyl exposure (SB 6109- C. Wilson), updating the needs and risk assessment tool with evidence based practices (HB 2224- Rule), and training judges on how to better adjudicate dependency cases. Also, we are strongly opposed to any proposals that outsource child welfare services.
  • Fentanyl deaths among infants, toddlers, and youth in Washington state have quadrupled in recent years. We have bills this year that will mandate courts consider imminent physical harm due to synthetic opioids, providing clarity in courtrooms during shelter care hearings, saving the lives of children, and making case worker jobs easier. 
  • These bills also contain language that will mandate judges and commissioners receive training on child welfare laws, the dangers of synthetic opioids, the difference between safety and service plans, and more.

DOC Workload Study: in good shape! DOC in its workload study determined 200+ additional FTEs are necessary to support current workload + responsibilities, from Community Corrections Officers to support staff.

Why it matters:

  • The governor’s budget included 45 phased in over 3 years. 
  • We need an increase in the number of allocated FTEs to community corrections- 45 will not make a dent in the current workforce needs. We need members to show up for DOC Lobby Day on Feb. 22nd to lobby legislators on increasing these FTEs, and we need folks to call and email their legislators. 
  • If they are not going to pass SB5694 regarding bargaining class and comp, they have to fully staff and fund our agency! 

HB 2246 (Bateman): in good shape! – Allow state employees to retain 280 hours of earned vacation leave annually, preventing the loss of earned benefits and aligning WA law with other states. 

Horse Racing Commission Budget Item: in good shape! Lower fee revenue and increased costs imposed by the federal government have left the Horse Racing Commission teetering on the brink of insolvency. It’s critical we regulate the horse racing industry, and action is needed for HRC to continue those functions.

DOT Budget Item: in good shape! There is a sizeable need for a sharp increase in the funding for DOT equipment replacement and repair. Without an investment in our members and equipment, projects will grind to a halt. The Governor's budget includes $21 million for an equipment backlog of $120 million or more. We are pushing for any increase in funding for this crucial part of the transportation budget. We are also seeking critical funding for asbestos abatement in DOT sheds across the state to keep our members safe on the job. 

Use this simple form to send your legislator a letter!

WFSE Members Make an Impact at Lobby Days

Your union has scheduled lobby day appointments with legislators throughout the 2024 session so our members can speak directly to their elected officials about our priority bills. 

Find pictures from lobby days here.