E-News

E-news: An open letter to the people of Washington

June 5th, 2020|

Dear Neighbors,

I am profoundly moved by the events of the past ten days, and am staying in touch with all our communities in the 33rd legislative district to hear concerns about police agencies and constituent complaints. I have been reassured with what I have heard so far. I am continuing to connect with our local communities to learn what steps we can take to improve police accountability and security for all our neighbors.

The Senate Democratic Caucus leadership has sent this open letter to the people of Washington state on behalf of the entire caucus:

The Senate Democratic Caucus – fully recognizing that our own state Senate lacks the voice of even a single Black legislator, a voice that needs to ground us today and always – stands with our Black neighbors throughout Washington as we grieve together the violent and unjust killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, David McAtee, Charleena Lyles, Manuel Ellis and too many others, at the hands of law enforcement.

A history of systemic and institutionalized racism and violence leveled against our Black neighbors has manifested in days of protests around our grieving country, including here at home. As the Senate Democratic Caucus, we unequivocally stand with those who are raising their voices in pain, anger and hope to make demands for substantive change.

We are moved by the love and grief displayed over the life and death of George Floyd that has mobilized so many of every background, some for the first time. Though our state and country face a moment of deep pain and renewed trauma, we are also witness to a pivotal moment of potential historic change in public policy; one with an opportunity to craft equitable and compassionate laws that serve all of us.

We recognize that the power to make substantive change lies with us, the policymakers. We recognize this power to make substantive change should have been wielded long ago. We recognize that Black, Indigenous and brown lives have been disproportionately subjected to police brutality in addition to the merciless cycle of incarceration. We are committed to changing these broken institutions.

Our agenda will be shaped by the community. We are committed to listening and working alongside Black leaders and organizers. Their ideas and their solutions to these issues will be elevated so that we may respond to their call for action. Successful efforts toward change have always had their origins at the local level. We are listening.

Know that we grieve with you, stand united in your call for justice and promise to work with you in these next crucial steps toward real change.

On behalf of the Senate Democratic Caucus,

Sen. Andy Billig
Majority Leader
Sen. Manka Dhingra
Deputy Majority Leader
Sen. Rebecca Saldaña
Deputy Majority Leader

Always,

Senator Karen Keiser

Chair, Senate Labor & Commerce Committee
Senate President Pro Tempore

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    E-news: SharedWork can avert layoffs, keep businesses afloat

E-news: SharedWork can avert layoffs, keep businesses afloat

June 2nd, 2020|

Dear Neighbors,

Anyone who owns or works for a Washington business that’s hit by the economic effects of the pandemic should consider using our state’s SharedWork program. It’s a way for small-to-medium-sized businesses to retain employees while decreasing costs. And it’s a way for employees to receive unemployment benefits that can largely offset their decreased pay. This is a true win-win program for businesses and employees.

SharedWork is a solution for businesses that need to open more slowly with reduced capacity and who want to provide their employees with an incentive to return. The program allows businesses to reduce the hours of their staff by 10% to 50%. Their employees will receive unemployment benefits for a partial wage replacement against those reduced hours.

Each employee on SharedWork will receive the wages for the hours they work, their calculated weekly benefit amount, and an additional $600 per week through the end of July.

The program is not just for private businesses. More than 200 employees of the City of Renton have been using SharedWork to save the city money and save jobs. It’s a partnership that helps keep workers connected to their employers and helps employers retain their employees.

You can find more information at https://esd.wa.gov/SharedWork.

If you’d like to follow what I’m working on, you can like my official legislative Facebook page here.

Please don’t hesitate to stay in touch. Stay safe and take care.

Always,

Senator Karen Keiser

Chair, Senate Labor & Commerce Committee
Senate President Pro Tempore

 

E-news: Be on alert for fraudulent unemployment claims

May 20th, 2020|

Dear Neighbors,

During the pandemic, it’s important to be on alert—this crisis has led to a rash of fraudulent unemployment claims filed with the Washington Employment Security Department.

Fraudsters file these claims in innocent people’s names using data they have stolen from corporate data breaches, not from the Employment Security Department. ESD paused payments for two days last week to combat this fraud.

Here’s what you can do to protect yourself:

  • Be aware of false websites. If you apply for unemployment benefits, use only ESD’s official website: esd.wa.gov.
  • Applying for unemployment benefits is free. ESD will never ask for a payment to process your claim.
  • Be wary of solicitors asking for your personal information online or by phone. ESD will only ask you for information through official correspondence and through your ESD eServices account. If they call you, you can ask the agents to identify themselves.

If you get a letter from ESD referencing an unemployment claim number, but you did not file a claim:

  • Report the fraud here.
  • You can also try calling 800-246-9763.
  • Contact the human resources department at your employer.

If you suspect you have been a victim of identity theft:

If you’d like to follow what I’m working on, you can like my official legislative Facebook page here.

Please don’t hesitate to stay in touch. Stay safe and take care.

Always,

Senator Karen Keiser

Chair, Senate Labor & Commerce Committee
Senate President Pro Tempore

E-news: Coronavirus economic assistance

May 15th, 2020|

Dear Neighbors,

This pandemic has brought tough times for all of us—most especially those who have lost loved ones. At the same time, many people are suffering from its indirect economic effects. That’s why I see it as my job to pass on to you information that can help you use the benefits that our state provides, as well as listen to your concerns and help you address them.

I am so sorry that our Employment Security Department was overwhelmed with the tens of thousands of claims that have been filed over the last few weeks. They are catching up on thousands of complicated claims, and have cut the backlog in half.  Please know that the unemployment insurance trust fund remains solvent, so the benefits will be paid eventually. I know many of you are struggling while waiting for your benefits.

You can always contact my office using the information at the bottom of this email. Here are some updates on benefits that may help you or someone you know.

Unemployment Insurance

Here’s some information from the Employment Security Department to help obtain the full benefits you are eligible for.

  1. File your claims every week. Many people who are eligible and qualify for benefits haven’t filed weekly claims. If you’ve already applied for unemployment benefits but have not yet filed a weekly claim, be sure to file your weekly claim and check this information first before doing so.
  2. Apply for expanded benefits. If you applied for regular benefits but were ineligible, you may still be eligible for the new expanded benefit called Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). Check out this guide before you apply.
  3. Answer the phone. The Employment Security Department (ESD) team members are reaching out and calling people to resolve their cases.
  4. Check your spam filter for emails and check your e-services account for notes from ESD asking for information.
  5. If you’re new to making a claim, these prep materials may help.
  6. If you refused an offer of work, you need to state why. While it’s possible you’ll no longer be eligible for benefits, you may still be eligible if you still have a COVID-19 reason why you are unable to go into the workplace, such as kids home from a school that’s closed due to COVID-19, or a COVID-19-vulnerable member of your household. Here’s more.
  7. Rest assured: the money will not run out and benefits will be paid retroactive to the date of eligibility. Even if you return to work, you’ll be able to receive benefits for the weeks for which you were eligible.

At this point, 810,000 people (or one of every five working Washingtonians) have applied for unemployment benefits since the start of this crisis. Of those, two thirds have received payments, but there are 57,000 people still waiting for their claims to be adjudicated.

If you’ve applied and your claim is in adjudication, ESD has launched Operation 100% to process the claims in the adjudication queue. Here’s their webpage with more information.

Imposter Fraud: If your identity has been compromised in the last few years through one of the huge data breaches at various corporations, it’s possible that your name and data could be used for a fraudulent unemployment insurance claim. If you suspect this has happened to you, this page on ESD’s site has the information you need to report it.

Workers’ compensation

  • Many people are asking whether exposure to COVID-19 on the job is grounds for a workers’ compensation claim. Under certain circumstances, claims by health care providers and first responders may be allowed. Some other claims that meet certain criteria for exposure will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
  • To file a claim, go to the Department of Labor & Industries’ FileFast tool, call 1-877-561-3453 (FILE), or talk to your doctor.
  • If you already have a claim but are hindered from following through on appointments or other elements by COVID-19, see the answers to more questions here.

Worker safety

  • Employers must ensure social distancing for employees and customers, as well as providing for frequent and adequate employee hand-washing.
  • Sick employees must be allowed to stay home.
  • Employers must also provide basic workplace hazard education about the coronavirus and how to prevent transmission — in languages best understood by employees.
  • Industry-specific rules are online on the LNI website

Safe Start phased reopening

The Governor’s Stay Home, Stay Healthy order has been extended through May 31. And he has introduced a phased reopening plan to chart a careful path to reopening that balances our public health with our economic health. We are all hoping that this plan will not result in a huge increase in deaths or illnesses from COVID-19.  It’s important to maintain strict discipline and standards during this awful pandemic. I consider it to be something like a war, and our public health standards are our first defense.  We are all in this together!

If you’d like to follow what I’m working on, you can like my official legislative Facebook page here.

Please don’t hesitate to stay in touch.

Always,

Senator Karen Keiser

Chair, Senate Labor & Commerce Committee
Senate President Pro Tempore

E-News: COVID-19 – What to do, who to call

April 1st, 2020|

Dear neighbors,

These days I am heeding the experts’ advice to stay home and stay healthy – and I hope you are too. Our state and our nation are losing precious lives to this virus, but hopefully the worst days are behind us. Let’s all do our part and get through this safely!

Please do what our health experts advise.

  • Maintain a distance of six feet or more from others.
  • If you are 60 years old or older, or have an underlying medical condition, you should self-isolate.
  • Re-think all daily routines and eliminate interaction that is not essential. As inconvenient as this is, our behavior could mean a life-and-death difference for those most vulnerable to the virus.
  • Be there for your family, friends, neighbors and anyone else you think might need help or reassurance. We can keep our distance physically and still be there for each other emotionally by calling, texting or emailing.

If you suspect you may have coronavirus:

  • Call your doctor – do not go to the hospital. Your doctor will make an assessment about next steps, and many are using telehealth options. If you require a COVID-19 test, your doctor will contact public health officials to arrange a test.
  • If you have symptoms and do not have a doctor to call, you can call the state Department of Health call center at 800-525-0127. You can also call this number if you have general questions about COVID-19 or the state’s response. Phone lines are staffed from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week, with interpreters available.
  • Recognizing the serious threat of coronavirus, the Washington Health Benefit Exchange has opened a special enrollment period for health insurance through April 8. Call 1-855-923-4633 between 7:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
  • The state Insurance Commissioner has required all insurance plans to cover coronavirus tests with no cost-sharing and no prior authorization requirement for people who meet the CDC criteria for testing. The commissioner has also required insurance plans to allow enrollees to refill their prescriptions early one time in order to maintain an adequate supply. You can find more insurance updates at this link.

Know your unemployment options.

  • The state offers a range of unemployment assistance to employers and employees, such as reduced or subsidized work schedules and benefits, but not everyone knows about them.
  • If an employer has had to temporarily shut down operations, for example, workers may be eligible for unemployment benefits and the employer may receive relief of benefit costs. If workers are asked to isolate or quarantine by a doctor or health official, they may receive unemployment benefits while they are temporarily away from work. And the Legislature has waived the requirement that people in this situation must be actively searching for work.
  • Washington has made it faster for those who are unemployed due to COVID-19 to receive unemployment insurance. See if you qualify here.
  • In addition, other state agencies are also taking action to help people and businesses disrupted by the pandemic, adjusting resources to address our current extraordinary circumstances. You can access a broader list of resources here.

Where to find the most useful information and updates:

As the scope and nature of the pandemic evolves from day to day, so does the available information and advice. You can sign up for email updates from the state Department of Health here, and you can also check the links below for updates.

  • WA’s COVID-19 portal is your one-stop shop for all information related to Covid-19 and is constantly being updated here.
  • Statewide statistics: This map has up-to-date statistics on the outbreak in Washington state.
  • Other languages: Fact sheets about coronavirus are available in 15 languages here.
  • Schools: Do you have questions about school closures? The state Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction is continuously updating information here.
  • Essential business list: Got questions about whether your job or business is considered essential during the governor’s “stay home, stay healthy” order? Find your answer here.
  • Personal protective equipment: Washington is seeking to fill shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE) like masks, gowns, and gloves to support our medical system, first responders, public health facilities. Learn how you can help here.
  • Emergency volunteer health practitioners: Did you know? Health practitioners who are licensed in other states can help in Washington. Learn how here.

These are challenging times, but I am confident we are up to the challenge. The key now is to be patient, be careful and stay healthy.

We will see this through together,

E-News: Coronavirus – steps the state is taking to help

March 12th, 2020|

Dear Neighbors,

The Legislature is taking this health crisis extremely seriously. We quickly appropriated $100 million to fund our state’s response, including monitoring, testing and support for local health departments.

To minimize public health risk, Governor Inslee has prohibited most large events of more than 250 people in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties, and Public Health — Seattle & King County has issued health and safety guidelines that must be followed by the organizers of smaller public gatherings.

State agencies have announced measures to help people and businesses whose lives are disrupted. The governor’s office has assembled a central list of resources here. Below are some of the most important changes that can help you.

Worker and employer assistance

  • If an employer temporarily shuts down operations because of coronavirus, workers may be eligible for unemployment benefits and the employer may receive relief of benefit costs.
  • If workers are exposed to coronavirus and asked to isolate or quarantine by a doctor or health official, they may receive unemployment benefits while they are temporarily away from work. A bill passed recently by the Legislature waives the requirement that people in this situation must be actively searching for work.
  • If workers fall seriously ill and are forced to quit, they cannot collect unemployment benefits while they are seriously ill but may be eligible once they recover and are able and available for work.
  • If employers file their tax reports late, pay their taxes late, or miss deadlines as a result of coronavirus, the penalties have been made more lenient.

Health care coverage 

  • In response to the spread of coronavirus, the Washington Health Benefit Exchange has opened a special enrollment period for health insurance through April 8. You can call 1-855-923-4633 between 7:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Insurance assistance 

  • The Insurance Commissioner has required all insurance plans to cover coronavirus tests with no cost-sharing and no prior authorization requirement for people who meet the CDC criteria for testing.
  • He has also required insurance plans to allow enrollees to refill their prescriptions early one time in order to maintain an adequate supply.

School updates

Several schools around the state, including some in Kent, have closed, but many remain open. This is a quickly moving situation, and the latest updates will be reflected on individual school websites or here.

Protect your health and your loved ones

First of all, if someone you know has a fever and non-acute respiratory distress, they should call their doctor – not go to the clinic or hospital. Symptoms to watch for are fever, cough, and shortness of breath.

The best preparations are to prevent infection with simple yet effective actions:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds (singing happy birthday twice).
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with your elbow, sleeve or tissue (not your hands).
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Bump elbows with friends rather than giving hugs or handshakes.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Use hand sanitizers when unable to wash your hands.

If you have symptoms and do not have a doctor to call, you can call the King County coronavirus call center at 206-477-3977 or the Washington State Department of Health call center at 1-800-525-0127.

Always,

Senator Karen Keiser

Chair, Senate Labor & Commerce Committee
Senate President Pro Tempore

E-News: Coronavirus update and information

March 4th, 2020|

Dear Neighbors,

As more coronavirus cases are reported in our state, it’s important to make sure you’re getting your information from the most trustworthy sources. Below is information from the Washington State Department of Health and Public Health – Seattle & King County.

These illnesses are most severe in elderly and immune compromised populations. Health officials are working as rapidly as possible to identify those in the community who have been exposed, isolate them and get them tested.

What You Can Do

First of all, if someone you know has a fever and respiratory distress, they should call their doctor – not go to the clinic or hospital. A doctor will make an assessment about next steps. If it requires a coronavirus test, the doctor will contact King County Public Health to arrange a test. There are no public testing sites.

If you are in King County and believe you were exposed to a confirmed case of coronavirus but don’t have a doctor to call, you can contact the King County novel coronavirus call center at 206-477-3977.

Symptoms to watch for:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

The best preparations are to prevent infection with simple yet effective actions:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds. (Singing happy birthday twice takes about 20 seconds.)
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with your elbow, sleeve or tissue. (I know it’s hard but try not to use your hands.)
  • Bump elbows with friends rather than hugs or handshakes.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces such as doorknobs, tabletops, and kitchen areas when food is prepared.
  • Use hand sanitizers when unable to wash your hands.

The Washington State Department of Health has also established a call center to address questions. Given the large call volume, it is best to research general questions online if you have access to a computer. Call if you need advice about what to do if you have symptoms. You can call 1-800-525-0127.

If you develop a fever or respiratory distress, stay home and call for help from your doctor or the King County call center at 206-477-3977.

What is Happening in Washington

We are fortunate in Washington to have expert public health officials and scientists who have experience in responding to pandemics. We can all help by staying informed and following their recommendations.

This is a very quickly moving situation and information is changing constantly. You can stay informed at these pages:

You can find information about how the situation affects school closures here.

What We Are Doing in Olympia

The Senate passed an operating budget last week that dramatically increased funding for coronavirus response with an additional $10 million for public health.

Much more funding is on the way, given the rapidly evolving situation. New legislation was introduced Monday morning by Reps. Eileen Cody and Joe Schmick to transfer $100 million from the state’s Rainy Day Fund to the state Department of Health and Department of Social and Health Services.

The bill has passed the House and we will be acting on it in the Senate today. It authorizes a funding transfer of $100 million into the state disaster response account specifically for coronavirus response. It also allows DSHS to increase nursing facility payments as the department hires more nurses. We will also provide funding to free up more beds in our acute care hospitals for coronavirus patients.

We are near the end of our 2020 session, but if this outbreak turns into a full-blown pandemic, we may be called back into special session to provide additional emergency funding for more services.

Finally, if you are unable to find the help you need from medical providers, the King County public health department or the Washington state Department of Health, please don’t hesitate to contact my office. We will do everything we can to help.

Always,

Senator Karen Keiser

Chair, Senate Labor and Commerce Committee
Senate President Pro Tempore

E-News: Building up our community

February 29th, 2020|

Dear Neighbors,

One of the best parts of representing you in the Senate is hearing bill ideas from constituents that will help strengthen the communities where we live, and then helping pass them into law.

This week, I’d like to give you a couple examples of those bills, which will directly benefit our local community, as well as update you on my other bills that are moving along toward final passage.

Constituent Ideas

SB 6035 cuts through some red tape that one of our local businesses ran into. Mama Stortini, with local Kent and Federal Way restaurants, was caught between the rules of the Liquor and Cannabis Board and the Department of Labor & Industries. They wanted to hold a wine-tasting session for employees to learn about the wines they were serving. This would clearly be part of their job duties, but employees are not allowed to drink on the job. What to do? This bill will reconcile those rules to allow businesses with liquor licenses to hold educational tastings for employees while they’re on the clock, so long as that activity is kept separate from serving alcohol to the public.

SB 6095 will allow and regulate the Wine Flies Free program — a partnership between one of the largest employers in our district and small wineries in Washington. If you fly to Eastern Washington, go to a Washington winery, and buy a case of wine, you can check it on an Alaska Air flight for no charge. This is a boon for the wine industry and tourism around our state.

Bill Progress

In addition to the two I mentioned above, another 10 bills that I sponsored in the Senate have already made it over to the House and been passed out of committee there. These bills have an excellent chance of being passed into law in the last two weeks of the session.

  • SB 6419 would provide people with developmental disabilities good options for community care close to home, as well as for nursing home care and state centers of excellence.
  • SB 6087 would cap a patient’s out-of-pocket cost at $100 per month.
  • SB 6088 would establish a prescription drug affordability board that would review prices to see if maximum price caps are needed.
  • SB 6113 would create a centralized purchasing process for insulin, based on the approached used by the state to purchase childhood vaccines.
  • SB 6034 would extend the statute of limitations for filing a pregnancy discrimination complaint, from six months to one year.
  • SB 6096 would require the state to consider the potential for labor law violations when contracting with social service providers to ensure state contractors adhere to fair workplace standards.
  • SB 6122 would extend workplace safety protections to temporary workers in construction, manufacturing and industrial engineering, where they face a high risk of injury or death.
  • SB 6170 would modernize the plumbing code for the first time in 45 years, make apprenticeships more accessible, and protect consumers by making certification more transparent.
  • SB 5236 would increase apprenticeship programs in public education and in the health care industry.
  • SB 6217 would give SeaTac’s port commissioners the authority to close a loophole exploited by business to pay workers less than the local minimum wage.

If you’d like to follow what I’m working on in Olympia, you can like my official legislative Facebook page here.

Please don’t hesitate to stay in touch.

Always,

Senator Karen Keiser

Chair, Senate Labor & Commerce Committee
Senate President Pro Tempore

E-News: Halftime report

February 21st, 2020|

Dear Neighbors,

With just three weeks left in the legislative session, we are hitting our stride for the sprint to the finish. We have already accomplished a lot, passing bills based on carefully collected data, allowing us to establish evidence-based practices.

Here are a few highlights.

The Senate passed three of my bills to curb out-of-control prescription drug prices. These bills are the result of data collected in a multi-year effort that began with the All Payer Claims Database that we set up several years ago as well as last year’s prescription drug price transparency legislation. You can learn more about the bills and our long-term efforts by watching this week’s Inside Olympia.

  • SB 6087 would cap the out-of-pocket cost to patients for insulin at $100 per month.
  • SB 6088 would establish a prescription drug affordability board that would review prices to see if maximum price caps are needed.
  • SB 6113 would create a centralized purchasing process for insulin, based on the approached used by the state to purchase childhood vaccines.

In addition, the Senate passed my bill, SB 6419, which marks a turning point in the long debate about rehabilitation centers for people with developmental disabilities. All parties got together, and we found a way forward that makes services more available, more appropriate, and more comprehensive while preserving vital funding. For the first time in 40 years, we have a path that will provide people with options for community care close to home, as well as for nursing home care and state centers of excellence.

Of the 50 bills that moved out of the Labor & Commerce Committee, the Senate has passed 27, all with strong bipartisan support. A few highlights include:

  • SB 6034 would extend the statute of limitations for filing a pregnancy discrimination complaint from six months to one year.
  • SB 5473 would study exceptions to current unemployment insurance law to allow workers who become unemployed due to family caregiving responsibilities to collect benefits. The benefits could also be allowed for workers whose job duties increase substantially, or whose working conditions change significantly with no increase in pay.
  • SB 6096 would require the state to consider the potential for labor law violations when contracting with social service providers to ensure state contractors adhere to fair workplace standards.
  • SB 6122 would extend workplace safety protections to temporary workers in construction, manufacturing and industrial engineering, who face a high risk of injury and death.
  • SB 6440 would reduce the burden placed upon injured workers subjected to independent medical examinations in workers compensation cases. It would require the exams to occur in a location convenient to the injured worker, eliminate no-show fees if a worker gives at least five days’ notice, and establish a work group to improve the exam process.
  • SB 6473 would restrict the use of asbestos in construction, improve labeling requirements, and require safer management of known installations of asbestos.
  • SB 6170 would modernize the plumbing code for the first time in 45 years, make apprenticeships more accessible, and protect consumers by making certification more transparent.
  • SB 5236 would increase apprenticeship programs in public education and in the health care industry.
  • SB 6217 would give SeaTac’s port commissioners the authority to close a loophole exploited by business to pay workers less than the local minimum wage.
  • SB 6261 would strengthen our agricultural sector by holding farm labor contractors accountable for their recruiting practices.

If you’d like to follow what I’m working on in Olympia, you can like my official legislative Facebook page here.

Please don’t hesitate to stay in touch.

Always,

Senator Karen Keiser

Chair, Senate Labor & Commerce Committee
Senate President Pro Tempore

E-News: Passing the Senate

February 3rd, 2020|

Dear Neighbors,

As the legislative session continues, I am continuing to shepherd bills through the Senate that take on important issues. We have passed three of my bills to control skyrocketing prescription drug costs, SB 6087, SB 6088, and SB 6113, out of the Health & Long Term Care Committee. We also had strong pubic support for my insulin cost containment bills in the Ways and Means Committee hearing and I am hoping to get them to the Rules committee and onto the Senate floor soon.

We have also passed several bills out of the Senate, which will now go on to the House.

On Friday, the Senate unanimously passed my bill, SB 6170, which would modernize the state plumbing code for the first time in 45 years, bring more young people into the field, and lower costs to consumers. I can’t say it better than in this letter I received from a veteran plumber:

“Senate Bill 6170 is an important piece of legislation that affects our consumers, employees, and our businesses. As someone who’s worked in plumbing for over 20 years, I can’t even begin to tell you how much the industry has changed since I started, let alone 1973 which is the last time the laws governing plumbing have been updated.

“This piece of legislation will give consumers much needed protections by adding certification visibility. So when a plumbing emergency happens, and you call someone, you’ll know who arrives is a certified plumber by seeing that certification and knowing you’re in good hands. Consumers will also see more stable pricing. Allowing us to use technology as simple as cell phone video, this will facilitate plumbing contractors like us to be able to serve more customers efficiently without them having to pay for two plumbers to provide basic services one plumber could easily complete on their own.”

We have also passed SB 5457 with a strong bipartisan majority of 31 votes. This bill provides transparency in contracts for large public works projects like schools and protects the public by ensuring fair competition in the bidding process.

In Olympia

It is such a pleasure to meet with constituents who come to the state Capitol, like these excellent occupational therapy students from Green River Community College. If you’d like to follow what I’m working on in Olympia, you can like my official legislative Facebook page here.

Please don’t hesitate to stay in touch.

Always,

Senator Karen Keiser

Chair, Senate Labor & Commerce Committee
Senate President Pro Tempore