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2019 Legislative Wrap: Economic and Social Justice

The LWV advocated for Initiative 1000 which would overturn the 20 year ban on Affirmative Action and close the Opportunity Gap for women, veterans, minorities and disabled persons seeking opportunities in public education, employment, or public contracting. We will continue to monitor and rally against any ballot measure to reverse this hard won success.

From LWVWA Legislative Newsletter:

HB 1696 passed prohibiting an employer from seeking the wage or salary history of an applicant for employment. This meets our objective to promote fair policies for all by encouraging practices fair to all individuals regardless of gender. The passage of SB 5497 will establish a statewide policy supporting Washington state’s economy and immigrants’ role in the workplace – protecting their inherent rights and dignity as part of a strong economy. SB 5258 prevents the sexual harassment and sexual assault of certain isolated workers.

And under the vast umbrella of preventing and reducing poverty are several successfully passed bills. SB 5233 creates an alternative process for sick leave benefits for workers represented by collective bargaining agreements. SB 5035 raises the penalties for failure to pay prevailing wages.

One of our disappointments is the HEAL ACT – HB 2009 which lost ground in the last round of negotiations. This would have created a task force to address health disparities due to environmental impacts – environmental justice for those vulnerable populations wherein life expectancy, health and quality of life outcomes demand increased awareness and resources.

Next year’s challenge will be to continue to seek justice for those struggling to realize their human potential. Our list will include the HEAL ACT, HB 1783 to create a Washington state office of equity, and if necessary, campaigning for enduring Affirmative Action reform.

Read more here.

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