OLYMPIA – Working late into the night, the Legislature passed important bills in addition to a major education funding package and operating budget that averted a government shutdown. Sen. Kevin Ranker, D-Orcas Island, cited several major victories for Washington state:

Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance: “The most progressive paid family leave program in the country will be right here in Washington state,” Ranker said. “At the critical times working families and individuals welcome new additions or face serious health conditions, they can rest assured their bills can be paid and their jobs will be held.” With strong bipartisan support and key approval from labor organizations and businesses, this portable program funded by employees and employers ensures workers can receive the benefits they need for up to 12 weeks on a progressive scale, with lower-wage earners receiving 90 percent of their wages — the highest rate in the country. “This is a major accomplishment for Washington state and stands as a model for the rest of the country,” Ranker said. SB 5975

Close the Big Oil Loophole: For over 50 years, big oil has taken advantage of a unique loophole intended originally only for the timber industry. “After years of hard work, we were able to close a decades-old loophole saving Washington taxpayers tens of millions of dollars that previously were given away to big oil companies,” Ranker said. HB 2163

Solar Industry Support: A critical solar bill enhances the solar production incentive for renewable energy systems, supporting hundreds of jobs, local businesses and renewable energy for our communities. “After several years of collaboration between installers, manufacturers, utilities and environmental groups, the Legislature passed major support for a local, sustainable solar industry in Washington. This bill provides clear incentives and rules to put renewable energy systems on homes and businesses and in communities,” Ranker said. “This is a great step forward in continuing Washington’s solar industry leadership and supporting family-wage jobs and extending the incentive program into the future.” SB 5939