Monthly Archives: March 2014

Veterans’ bill headed to governor’s desk for signature

March 12th, 2014|

Olympia – Returning to civilian life from combat zones and military service can be a difficult challenge. Thanks to recently passed legislation, our veterans will have extra support when adjusting to life back home.

The Veterans Innovation Program (VIP) was created in 2006 to provide returning veterans small loans, jobs training and employment assistance. HB 2130 strengthens the program by combining two separate accounts within the program, simplifying the loan process and creating new outreach capabilities. The bill also ensures that returning veterans are aware of the program and the services it provides. In addition, the bill is expanded to include National Guard members.

“The Veterans Innovation Program is critically important to our men and women who are returning from active duty,” said Sen. Steve Conway, D- South Tacoma, who sponsored the Senate companion bill. “The small loans the program provides assists our veterans with small needs like purchasing tools or getting a new suit, things that will help them find a job.”

Conway went on to note that in addition to providing small loans, VIP also assists veterans in utilizing programs that will help them find housing assistance.

VIP was originally supposed to sunset in two years, but the bill was amended to make the program permanent and capable of assisting retiring servicemembers for years to come.

Conway wage theft bill passes Legislature

March 10th, 2014|

Olympia– Wage theft is a major problem in Washington State, especially in the underground economy, but a variety of bills introduced this year to address this problem failed to pass the Senate.

Senate Bill 5360, sponsored by Sen. Steve Conway, D-South Tacoma, is an exception — and a very critical one for people who work for employers who attempt to take advantage of them.

“Wage theft is an ongoing problem in this state and we need to do something now to make sure our employees receive fair and full compensation for the work they provide,” said Conway.

Employees currently have the right to ask the state Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) to intervene if they believe an employer is withholding wages from them. If an employer fails to pay the employee, L&I has the ability to levy the employer’s property until due payment is collected. SB 5360 streamlines this process by allowing L&I to file a notice of property levy electronically, enabling the Department of Revenue (DOR) to recoup unpaid wages quicker. It also creates a more cohesive relationship between L&I and the DOR when investigating wage theft complaints.

 “The underground economy continues to be a major problem in this state. I am pleased that a bill that addresses this issue directly is moving forward and will be signed in to law by the governor,” said Conway.

According to L&I there are currently over 3,000 workers who are owed over $1 million dollars in unpaid wages.

Town Hall meeting spurs rewarding discussion

March 6th, 2014|

Eager to hear the priorities and concerns of the 29th Legislative District, Sen. Steve Conway hosted a town hall meeting at the Pacific Lutheran University Bookstore on Feb. 22.

Conway answered a variety of questions from a diverse group of citizens from around the district. Transportation was an especially hot topic as the Legislature continues to negotiate a transportation revenue package.  Conway informed the audience that if a revenue package were passed today, Washington would be guaranteed 85,000 new jobs over the next decade.

“Town halls like the one held in February are critically important,” said Conway. “Interaction and discourse is exactly what democracy is all about.”

Town hall meetings give individual citizens the opportunity to make their voices and priorities heard. They also provide an excellent chance for lawmakers to meet with the people they represent. Anyone is welcome to attend and participate in what is usually a rewarding and lively discussion.

Conway also noted that town halls are not the only way individuals can share their priorities or concerns; he maintains an open-door policy and his office can be reached anytime at 306-786-7656 or by email at steve.conway@leg.wa.gov.