With the session in full-swing, Washington state legislators will consider bills on issues from wolves to elections – and everything in between. Here’s a look at this week’s big topics:
Senators will look at several bills regarding worker compensation throughout the week. Today, the Senate Committee on Commerce and Labor will hold a public hearing regarding Senate Bill 5159, which would repeal the Family and Medical Leave Insurance Act. It was enacted in 2007 and is scheduled to go into effect in 2015. The act would provide benefits of up to $250 per week to workers who are unable to perform their customary work because they are on family leave. SB 5159 is sponsored by Sen. John Braun, R-Centrailia, and has the support of 10 other Majority Caucus Coalition members.
Also on Monday, the committee will hold hearings on Senate Bill 5128, sponsored by Sen. Janea Holmquist-Newbry, R-Moses Lake, that would make changes to the workers compensation system, and on Senate Bill 5275, also sponsored by Holmquist-Newbry, that would allow employers to pay their employees a training wage as low as 75 percent of minimum wage during a specified period.
Representatives will consider multiple K-12 bills this week in the House Education Committee, as legislators attempt to comply with the McCleary decision made last year by the Washington Supreme Court. The committee will hold hearings on three different bills on Thursday: House Bill 1252, House Bill 1304 and House Bill 1283.
HB 1252, sponsored by Rep. Monica Stonier, D-Vancouver, would establish an online professional development program for K-12 teachers to use free of charge. HB 1304, sponsored by Rep. Mark Hargrove, R-Covington, would allow certain private K-12 schools to offer online-only education. HB 1283 would lower the age of compulsory school attendance from 8 years old to 6 years old.