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Tag: Steve Conway

April
23rd

UPDATE – Senate passes bill putting part time state, K-12 workers into health benefit exchanges; Inslee says bill premature but idea may have merit

A controversial bill that puts low-wage, part time workers into the health exchange created by Obamacare won passage by the narrowest of margins in the state Senate this week. Senate Bill 5905 is assumed to save the state $128 million over two years and is a key piece of the Republican-authored Senate’s no-new-taxes budget.

The vote on Monday was 25-to-23 and it needed the votes of two members of the Senate Democratic Caucus – Sens. Jim Hargrove of Hoquiam and Steve Hobbs of Lake Stevens – to pass. Republican Sen. Pam

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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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March
11th

Senate votes 49-0 to pass bill limiting paid in-home assignments when state workers are under investigation

The state Senate unanimously approved a bill early Monday evening that puts limits on home assignments of workers sent home during investigations. Senate Bill 5160 says a home assignment can last up to 15 days and that an agency can extend it in 30-day increments – but all such assignments must be reported to the state human resources officer.

The bill grew out of problems with home assignments that became exceptionally long and cost taxpayers for salaries. A KING-5 television report last year found that since 2006, the state had paid more

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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.
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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