This past Monday, January 9th kicked off the 2017 session of the Washington State Legislature, and now in this first week it's time once again to preview what big picture issues are coming in Olympia, and where policy related to workers' compensation and workplace safety might in.
Big Picture Issues
According to Governor Jay Inslee and leaders from both the state House and Senate at a preview forum on the eve of session, the top issue before the Legislature this year is public school funding and a battle over the amount of tax revenue necessary to meet court-mandated funding goals.
Depending whether you tally it in the short term or longer term, Governor Inslee is proposing four to eight billion dollars in new taxes to fund increases in education spending over the next four to eight years, a new tax burden that falls predominately on the business community and investors, through increased Business & Occupations taxes on certain sectors, elimination of preferential rates for other sectors, a ...
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RITZVILLE…The King County Council today appointed former state Sen. Dino Rossi to the 45th Legislative District position left vacant by Sen. Andy Hill’s death Oct. 31. Rossi, R-Sammamish, served the neighboring 5th Legislative District from 1997 through 2003, stepping down to run for governor, and again during the second half of 2012.
WASHINGTON, D.C., Nov. 29—October not seasonally adjusted (NSA) construction unemployment rates were down in 33 states and the nation on a year-over-year basis, according to analysis released today by Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC). The national NSA construction unemployment rate of 5.7 percent was down 0.5 percent from a year ago, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
WASHINGTON, D.C., Nov. 23– Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) welcomed news that the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas issued a preliminary injunction blocking the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) burdensome and costly overtime final rule. Prior to the injunction, the rule was scheduled to go into effect on Dec. 1 and would have doubled the current minimum salary threshold for employees that are exempt from overtime pay and automatically increased it every three years.
With all of the votes counted, Initiative 1433, which will raise the minimum wage and require paid sick leave throughout Washington, has passed by a fairly wide margin. The first substantial increase in the minimum wage begins on January 1, 2017, while the paid sick leave requirement goes into effect on January 1, 2018. Here are the key details about both the minimum wage increase and the paid sick leave requirements.
On Aug. 24, the Federal Acquisition Regulatory (FAR) Council issued the final rule on blacklisting (also known as the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Executive Order 13673, issued July 2014) that will require federal contractors and subcontractors to disclose any "violations" of 14 federal labor laws and OSHA-approved state plans to the federal government before being awarded federal contracts covered by this rule. The rule was accompanied by a guidance document issued by the DOL and a White House amendment to Executive Order 13673. ABC issued a press release slamming the final blacklisting rule immediately afterward.
On May 18, the DOL released the final overtime rule, which will change federal exemptions to overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) for administrative, executive and professional employees, the so-called "white collar" worker classifications that have long been exempt from time-and-one-half pay for working more than 40 hours per week. The DOL's final rule will affect both public and private work by all employers that are covered under the FLSA. Specifically, the rule doubles the current minimum standard salary level for exemption from $23,660 to $47,476 annually. It also increases the highly compensated employees (HCE) to an annual compensation of $134,000. DOL made no changes to the standard duties test.
On March 23, the DOL issued its final persuader rule, officially titled the Interpretation of the 'Advice' Exemption in Section 203(c) of the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (LMRDA), which drastically redefines "persuader" activity under Section 203 of the LMRDA. On June 27, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas issued a nationwide preliminary injunction that blocked the DOL from implementing the final persuader rule, which was scheduled to take effect July 1. On Nov. 16, the court found the rule to be unlawful and permanently blocked it from going into effect.