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Tag: Rodney Tom

April
1st

Put treadmills at work stations to help workers get fit? Wash. wellness bill doesn’t go as far as Oregon idea

A story out of Oregon on Monday shows a Mayo Clinic endocrinologist using a treadmill while also working at his computer work station – a melded set-up designed to make desk work less bad for a person’s health. The headline on the piece by Stateline.org’s Melissa Maynard calls treadmill desks the “latest in office supplies,’’ and it does not appear to be an April Fools Day spoof.

The featured doctor, James Levine, invented the device and he was using the device when he testified via teleconference to a recent Oregon committee hearing. Some lawmakers led by

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March
22nd

State treasurer adds voice in opposition to pension changes that could put more workers in 401(k)-style plans

State Treasurer Jim McIntire is lining up with many of his fellow Democrats in opposition to a Senate plan to alter Washington’s state-government pensions. McIntire voiced his opposition to using a 401(k) or defined contribution plan in an op-ed column Friday in the Seattle Times.

One proposal from Republican Sen. Barbara Bailey is voluntary, letting new state hires opt in if they prefer to go to the more flexible approach that offers fewer guarantees in old age. But McIntire argues there is no problem to solve and that employees are not demanding the new option:

If

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March
13th

Senate approves bill requiring wellness incentives, penalties for state workers

A controversial wellness bill for state employees passed the Senate on a divided vote of 28-21 Wednesday afternoon. Senate Bill 5811 requires financial incentives including premium price breaks or higher premiums to encourage employees to achieve wellness goals.

The vote came just hours before a 5 p.m. cutoff for passing policy bills off the House or Senate floors. The Washington Federation of State Employees had criticized earlier versions of the bill from Senate Majority Leader Rodney Tom, D-Medina, who had wanted to strip workers of their collective bargaining rights on health benefits.

The amendment offered on the

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Feb.
28th

Senate Republicans move ‘lite’ version of state worker pension reform; wellness and contracting out bills also OK’d by budget committee

Facing a deadline this week for passing fiscal bills, the Senate Ways and Means Committee gave approval early Thursday evening to three proposals opposed by state-employee groups.

One proposal, Senate Bill 5851, gives new state employees the option of entering into a 401(k)-style retirement plan, called the Washington Public Employees Savings Plan.

Offered by Republican Sen. Barbara Bailey of Oak Harbor, the concept appears to be a lighter, kinder version of the one pushed by Senate Majority Leader Rodney Tom, who wants  to force new hires and current state employees younger than 45 into defined contribution

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Feb.
26th

Sen. Tom’s pension idea emerges as potential Senate trading card for K-12 education taxes

It’s still early in this year’s 105 day session at the Washington state Capitol. But it’s not too early to point out again that the Republican-dominated coalition in charge of the Senate is passing bills that could be valuable trading cards late in session when serious discussions of raising new revenues for K-12 public schools get going in earnest.

Until yesterday, Senate Majority Leader Rodney Tom and members of his Majority Coalition Caucus have been singularly hostile toward taxes. But as we reported here today, Tom’s  proposal to end fixed-payment pensions for state worker younger than 45 took a beating in the Monday

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Feb.
25th

New proposal would end fixed-benefit pensions for younger state workers; unions fighting back at hearing today

A new pension proposal from Senate Majority Leader Rodney Tom would use a 401(k)-style benefit option for certain Washington state employees younger than 45 years of age. Senate Bill 5856 gets a hearing at 1:30 p.m. today in the Senate Ways and Means Committee, and the Washington Federation of State Employees began denouncing the proposal in an alert to members late Saturday.

The proposal by Tom, a fiscally conservative Democrat from the wealthy enclave Medina, appears to go further than a plan

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Feb.
21st

Senate panel explores value of state-worker wellness programs and collective bargaining for health benefits

A proposal to require state workers to participate in wellness programs as part of receiving state-subsidized health insurance plans got a hearing Thursday. Labor unions opposed both the mandate and a proposal to strip health-care benefits from the pay contracts that workers negotiate with the governor.

Senate Majority Leader Rodney Tom, D-Medina, sponsored Senate Bill 5811, saying he thinks the state must get a handle on health costs triggered by smoking and obesity. In testimony he cited King County’s well-regarded program, which Gov. Jay Inslee cited on the campaign trail last year, as an example of where the state should

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Feb.
18th

Bill would take away state worker right to bargain on health benefits, while requiring wellness programs

Democratic Sen. Rodney Tom introduced a bill Monday that would mandate that wellness programs be a part of state employees’ health plans starting on Jan. 1, 2014. Senate Bill 5811 also would strip health-care from the issues that are subject to collective bargaining, and it is fast-tracked for a hearing Thursday afternoon.

One major public-employee union is already crying foul.

“Not only is it an assault on one of our bargaining rights, I think it is an end run around our current bargaining and doesn’t give the current governor a chance to discuss his ideas on

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