Sen. Conway Newsroom

Conway joins work group on need for long-term care nurses

OLYMPIA – Sen. Steve Conway, D-South Tacoma, has been tapped to serve as the Senate’s representative on Washington’s newly formed Work Group on the Assessment of Need for Nursing in Long Term Care Settings.

The work group will assess the need for nurses in long-term care settings and make recommendations regarding worker recruitment, training and retention challenges for long-term care providers in the sectors of skilled nursing facilities, assisted-living facilities and adult family homes.

The group is scheduled to present its assessments and recommendations to the governor by Dec. 15.

May 10th, 2018|Uncategorized|

Conway picked to head pension policy committee

OLYMPIA – Sen. Steve Conway, D-South Tacoma, was chosen on Tuesday by his colleagues to again chair Washington’s Select Committee on Pension Policy.

The committee, which meets while the Legislature is not in session, studies issues affecting the state’s public employee retirement systems and makes recommendations to the Legislature regarding changes.

“I’m honored to return to the helm of this committee at such an important time for pension policy,” Conway said. “It’s extremely important that we ensure the ongoing financial stability of our pension systems and I look forward to working with my colleagues in the coming months to identify the best ways to do that and keep the promise we’ve made to our state and local public employees.”

Leadership rotates annually between the Senate and the House. Conway, who had been serving as vice chair, previously chaired the committee from 2016 to 2017.

Conway has been active on pension issues. Most recently, during the 2018 legislative session, he helped secure passage of Senate Bill 6340, which in July will give some 72,000 retired public employees and teachers in Plan 1 of the state’s PERS and TRS pension plans a one-time, 1.5 percent cost of living adjustment.

April 19th, 2018|Uncategorized|
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    Governor signs bill qualifying first responders for workers’ comp for PTSD

Governor signs bill qualifying first responders for workers’ comp for PTSD

OLYMPIA – Firefighters, law enforcement officers and emergency medical technicians who experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) from their job will be able to make claims for workers’ compensation under a bill signed today by Gov. Jay Inslee.

State law currently prohibits workers’ compensation claims based on mental conditions or disabilities caused by stress. Senate Bill 6214, sponsored by Sen. Steve Conway, D-South Tacoma, exempts firefighters, law enforcement officers and emergency medical technicians suffering from PTSD from that bar and creates a rebuttable presumption that they are eligible for workers’ compensation.

“The military has recognized PTSD as a work-caused condition and is taking steps to address it,” Conway said. “Our firefighters, police officers and other first responders are exposed to a level of trauma on the job that the average person doesn’t face, and it can take a heavy toll. We need to address it through the workers’ compensation system so that they get the support they need and deserve.”

The bill, which received wide bipartisan support in both the House and Senate, contains safeguards against abuse. Individuals could only make a workers’ compensation claim for PTSD if they had served for 10 years before the condition developed. Additionally, a PTSD-related claim would not be allowed if the condition resulted from disciplinary action, work evaluations, transfers, layoffs or firings done in good faith by an employer.

March 23rd, 2018|Uncategorized|
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    Governor signs cost of living increase for 72,000 pensioners

Governor signs cost of living increase for 72,000 pensioners

OLYMPIA – Some 72,000 retired Washington public employees and teachers will receive a cost-of-living adjustment in their pensions as a result of a bipartisan bill signed into law today by Gov. Jay Inslee.

Senate Bill 6340, sponsored by Sen. Steve Conway, D-South Tacoma, gives retirees in Plan 1 of the Public Employees’ Retirement System (PERS) or the Teachers’ Retirement System (TRS) a one-time, 1.5 percent cost of living adjustment effective July 1.

The average yearly benefit for a retired public employee in Plan 1 is approximately $24,576; for a retired teacher, it is about $26,136. Retirees with benefits at those levels will see an increase of about $31 to $33 per month. Increases for retirees with above-average benefit levels are capped at $62.50 per month.

“Many of these public employees and teachers have been retired since the 1980s, but their benefits have been frozen in time, even as the cost of living has gone up,” Conway said. “We shouldn’t leave behind these people who dedicated decades of their lives to serving our state and our children.”

Unlike other state retirement plans, Plan 1 of PERS and TRS, which stopped enrolling new participants in October 1977, provides no cost of living increase. In recent years, retirees on these plans have seen their purchasing power decrease while health care costs have increased.

Senate Bill 6340 received unanimous approval in the Senate and the House. Proponents initially sought a larger cost-of-living adjustment, but agreed to the lower amount in exchange for a monthly $150 subsidy to help retired or disabled public employees or school district employees who are eligible for Medicare purchase health insurance coverage through Washington’s Public Employee Benefits Board (PEBB).

The subsidy, set out in a supplemental operating budget that the Legislature approved earlier this month, is scheduled to increase to $168 in 2019.

March 21st, 2018|Uncategorized|

Conway presides over Senate as vice president pro tempore

Sen. Steve Conway, D-South Tacoma, presided over the Washington Senate on Monday as vice president pro tempore.

The vice president pro tempore manages the legislative work of the Senate when the lieutenant governor and the president pro tempore – currently Sen. Karen Keiser, D-Des Moines – are absent.

Conway was unanimously elected to the leadership position by fellow senators and sworn in on Jan. 8 during the opening of the 2018 legislative session.

March 7th, 2018|Uncategorized|
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    Senate passes bill to let first responders claim workers’ comp for PTSD

Senate passes bill to let first responders claim workers’ comp for PTSD

OLYMPIA – Firefighters, law enforcement officers and emergency medical technicians who experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) would be able to make a claim for workers’ compensation under a bill approved today by the Senate.

State law currently bars workers’ compensation claims based on mental conditions or mental disabilities caused by stress. Senate Bill 6214 would exempt firefighters, law enforcement officers and emergency medical technicians suffering from PTSD from that rule and create a rebuttable presumption that they are eligible for workers’ compensation.

“PTSD is being clearly recognized by the military as a cause of pain and stress, and a recognized cause of injury,” bill sponsor Sen. Steve Conway, D-South Tacoma, said. “We’re extending the same to firefighters, police and first responders because they are exposed to trauma that the average person never faces. PTSD causes real harm that we need to recognize and we need to use the workers’ compensation system to assist them in addressing that trauma.”

The bill, which was approved unanimously by senators present, contains important safeguards against abuse. Individuals could only make a workers’ compensation claim for PTSD if they had served for 10 years before the condition developed.

A PTSD-related claim for workers’ compensation would not be allowed if the condition resulted from disciplinary action, work evaluations, transfers, layoffs or firings done in good faith by an employer.

February 9th, 2018|Uncategorized|

Conway to host town hall on Feb. 17

Who: State Sen. Steve Conway, D-South Tacoma

What: Town hall meeting

When: 12:30 to 2:30 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 17

Where: Bates Technical College, South Campus Cafeteria, 2201 South 78th St., Tacoma

Why: This is an opportunity to speak in person with your senator about issues important to Pierce County and your community. Topics of discussion will include:

  • Fully funding education
  • Mental health services
  • Transportation improvements
  • Protecting the social safety net
  • Answers to your questions
February 8th, 2018|Uncategorized|
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    Midway through legislative session, Senate Democrats putting people first

Midway through legislative session, Senate Democrats putting people first

As we near the midpoint of the 2018 legislative session, I have been busily reviewing bills as a member of the Senate Labor & Commerce Committee, the Senate Health & Long Term Care Committee and the Senate Ways & Means Committee, which controls the state budget.

The Senate is considering a number of issues, including bills that I introduced to:

  • Prohibit employers from forcing hourly workers into noncompetition agreements (Senate Bill 6526).
  • Extend workers’ comp to law enforcement officers and firefighters dealing with posttraumatic stress disorders (Senate Bill 6214).
  • Protect military installations from incompatible development (Senate Bill 6456).
  • Help problem gamblers fight gambling addiction (Senate Bill 6331).

Other priorities include addressing the worsening opioid crisis, increasing transparency in prescription drug costs and ensuring that insurers are not allowed to come between patients and their doctors. We are also focusing on protecting pensions and helping people with retirement.

The Senate has already passed important bills to keep Washington students from having to begin the school day hungry, and to help energy workers obtain health care coverage for diseases linked to exposure to dangerous conditions at the Hanford nuclear site.

We also sent several bills to the House to expand voter participation and strengthen our democracy. They include the Washington Voting Rights Act, which would allow minority communities to help shape more-representative municipal governments, as well as bills extending the period for voter registration and increasing transparency on hidden money in political campaigns.

Finally, it remains a top priority to adjust laws addressing the Supreme Court’s McCleary decision on K-12 education funding to make sure that the school districts in the 29th District – Tacoma, Bethel, Franklin Pierce and Clover Park – adequately educate our children. We also must pass supplemental operating, construction and transportation budgets, each of which profoundly affects our district.

Democrats’ return to the majority in the Senate has given us a unique opportunity to drive the agenda and pursue common-sense policies. I am confident that despite the challenges in accomplishing such a robust agenda during the shorter, 60-day legislative session, we will succeed in improving the quality of life across our state through legislation that puts people first.

If you have any questions or need any information, I encourage you to contact me and my legislative staff, who will be happy to assist you.

All the best,
Steve Conway

February 6th, 2018|Uncategorized|
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    Senate honors those who provided assistance during Amtrak derailment

Senate honors those who provided assistance during Amtrak derailment

On Jan. 31, the Washington State Senate approved Senate Resolution 8696, honoring first responders and others who provided aid during the Dec. 18 Amtrak train derailment near DuPont in southern Pierce County.

The resolution recognized “all those who acted promptly, efficiently, and effectively in a time of extraordinary confusion and emotional stress to aid the injured and their families and console those who lost loved ones.”

February 2nd, 2018|Uncategorized|

Video: Conway honors fallen Deputy Daniel McCartney

Watch Sen. Steve Conway’s remarks from the floor of the Washington Senate on Senate Resolution 8464 honoring Pierce County Sheriff’s Deputy Daniel McCartney, who was killed in the line of duty on Jan. 8, 2018. The full text of Conway’s remarks appears below.

“Deputy Daniel Alexander McCartney was a dedicated public servant who made the ultimate sacrifice protecting the people of Pierce County and, I might add, our state.

Deputy McCartney was many things. A devoted law enforcement officer who served Pierce County, and prior to that, the City of Hoquiam, with distinction. A decorated veteran who served with honor in our nation’s Navy. A loving husband to his wife, Cierra. A father to his three sons: Tytus, Tate and Traxton. A coach. A friend. A hero who gave his life doing his duty.

Our grief at his tragic loss – our sorrow for his wife and young sons, and for his family, friends and colleagues – is probably tempered only by our admiration for his selflessness and bravery in the face of danger.

Deputy McCartney had a profound impact on our community and his loss was felt deeply. Thousands lined the route of his funeral procession through Pierce County last week in solemn silence to pay their respects and to show their support for the McCartney family in this most difficult of times. Some 1,500 law enforcement [personnel] and firefighters – from across Washington and beyond, with some 650 patrol vehicles – rode with their fallen brother one last time as he set out on his final journey.

Abraham Lincoln, about 150 years ago, probably laid his finger on the sorrow that we all have in our hearts today, in a famous letter to Ms. Bixby, who had lost two sons in the Civil War. With your permission, madam president, I’d like to read.

‘I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom.’

And I might add to that, ‘in service to our community.’

Deputy McCartney’s legacy lies in what he did. In the love he gave as a husband and father. In the fellowship he shared with others as a coach. In his selfless actions as a law enforcement officer. It also lies in who he was: a man guided by service to his community and faith in the almighty.

We are profoundly grateful to Deputy McCartney and to all of the brave men and women who protect our state as law enforcement officers, many of whow are in our galleries today.

We are similarly grateful to their families, particularly those who grieve the loss of a loved one. We mourn with them and seek to honor them with this tribute.”

Sen. Steve Conway presents the flag of the State of Washington to Cierra McCartney, widow of slain Pierce County Sheriff’s Deputy Daniel McCartney.

Family members of slain Pierce County Sheriff’s Deputy Daniel McCartney and representatives of Washington’s law enforcement community during a ceremony to honor Deputy McCartney in the Washington State Senate on Jan. 24, 2018.

An image of the badge of Deputy Daniel McCartney is displayed on the Senate floor during a ceremony to honor him with Senate Resolution 8464 on Jan. 24, 2018.
January 24th, 2018|Uncategorized|