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Tag: Sharon Nelson


State Federation warns legislators Senate budget carries risks to government function, public safety and safety net

As we reported previously, the Washington Federation of State Employees and other labor groups reacted with a mixture of relief about pay and worry about healthcare after the Senate released its Republican-crafted budget Wednesday. But federation lobbyist Dennis Eagle went further in an email sent Thursday evening to Senate members who may be voting on the $33.2 billion Republican-crafted spending plan later today.

In particular Eagle pointed to $131 million in unspecified “administrative efficiencies” that are among the uncertain financing pieces of the spending plan – not to mention an assumption agencies will have some $120 million

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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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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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