Monthly Archives: January 2018

Senate votes to help sick Hanford workers get compensation

January 25th, 2018|

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — Jan. 25, 2018

Senate votes to help sick Hanford workers get compensation

OLYMPIA— The state Senate voted late today to expand workers compensation protections to Hanford workers exposed to toxic chemicals while on the job.

“Rep. Larry Haler and I have been working on this bill for quite some time and its passage is great news for the Hanford community, “ said Sen. Karen Keiser, D-Des Moines, chair of the  Senate Labor and Commerce committee. “We saw gut-wrenching testimony in committee last year. Exposure to heavy metal and radiation has ruined people’s lives.

“I cannot think of a more suitable assertion for this Senate to make than putting our partisan differences aside to put people first. We are seeing people dying from dementia, cancer and lung disease who were systematically left out of workers compensation.

“People went bankrupt paying for cancer treatments. This ordeal has been going on since the 1990s; we have seen a whole generation impacted by this tragedy. That is not right. Our Washington community cares about protecting all workers. ”

Haler, a Richland Republican, sponsored House Bill 1723 in conjunction with Keiser’s Senate Bill 5940. Both bills were moved to the Senate floor to expedite getting the legislation to the governor’s desk as soon as possible.

“It’s important that we take care of workers who have suffered due to being exposed to harmful chemicals and processes at Hanford,” said Rep. Haler. “Despite all the safety precautions taken, families and individuals have been devastated by illness and disease.  They need help.  This bill will help make that easier.  I thank Sen. Keiser for her assistance in getting this important legislation passed for the citizens in my district.”

Currently, Hanford workers compensation claims are rejected at a rate 52 percent higher than the state average, even though Hanford is the most dangerous and toxic worksite in the country. House Bill 1723 establishes a presumption for Hanford nuclear site workers to expand eligibility for workers compensation claims.

House Bill 1723 passed on a 35 to 14 vote and now heads back to the House for concurrence. It will then go to the Governor’s desk for signing.

 

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For information: Bre Weider, Senate Democratic Communications, 360-786-7326

 

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    #MeToo comes to Olympia as Senate hears sexual harassment bills

#MeToo comes to Olympia as Senate hears sexual harassment bills

January 21st, 2018|

The Senate Labor & Commerce Committee will hear three pieces of legislation sponsored by Sen. Karen Keiser, D-Des Moines, to combat sexual harassment in the workplace.

When: 1:30 p.m. Wednesday in Senate Hearing Room 4.

Where you can watch it live: /www.tvw.org/watch/?eventID=2018011337

Brief Summary:
·  Senate Bill 5996 prohibits an employer from requiring an employee, as a condition of employment, to sign a nondisclosure agreement that prevents the employee from disclosing sexual harassment or sexual assault.
· Senate Bill 6313 addresses mandatory employment contracts and agreements that limit an employee’s right to file a complaint or cause of action for sexual harassment or sexual assault.
· Senate Bill 6471 relates to developing model policies to create workplaces that are safe from sexual harassment.

Quote:
· Sen. Karen Keiser:
· “For a long time, women felt sexual harassment was something we had to deal with just to have careers. I want to make clear that sexual harassment will no longer be accepted, time is up, and we must make a change.

“There’s a burden of humiliation and fear of reprisal that intimidates victims from coming forward. These bills will provide a path forward for victims to report without fear of losing their jobs or suffering other forms of retaliation. We must no longer limit the economic and career potential of half of our population. We must demand that our workplace culture shifts to reflect our values of fairness and respect.” 

South King County lawmakers make legislative history

January 8th, 2018|

OLYMPIA – Sen. Karen Keiser, D-Des Moines, will serve as President Pro Tempore of the Washington State Senate, presiding over the chamber when the lieutenant governor is unavailable.

In addition to these duties, Keiser will also chair the Senate Labor & Commerce Committee.

“It is an honor and privilege to be elected by my colleagues to preside as President Pro Tem of the Washington State Senate,” said Keiser. “I look forward to stepping up to the podium and wielding the gavel when Lt. Gov. Habib is unable to preside. I assured my colleagues that I will make every effort to ensure fair, equitable and efficient Senate.”

Keiser’s seatmate in the House, Rep. Tina Orwall, D- Des Moines, serves as Speaker Pro Tempore. This marks the first time in Washington state history that two members from the same district share presiding roles.

Keiser will continue to serve as a member of the Senate Health & Long Term Care Committee and the Senate Ways & Means Committee, which produces the operating and capital budgets. She will also serve on the Rules Committee.

“It is time to put partisan bickering aside and put the hardworking people of Washington first,” Keiser said. “I am looking forward to bringing back transparency and accountability to the Senate”.

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For more information: Bre Weider, Senate Democratic Communications, 360-786-7326
For interviews: Sen. Karen Keiser, 360-786-7664