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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, July 21, 2017 - Volume 45 Issue 29
Labor loves LGBT legislators
Section One
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Labor loves LGBT legislators

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

In ratings released at its 2017 convention, the Washington State Labor Council (WSLC) gave its seal of approval to many of the six sitting LGBT state legislators.

Stars of the show were Representatives Laurie Jinkins (D-27), Christine Kilduff (D-28), Joan McBride (D-48), and Nicole Macri (D-43). All of them scored perfect 100% pro-labor voting records.

On the Senate side, Jamie Pedersen (D-43) also scored a 100%, although he has not always been a pro-labor advocate. His lifetime score is low for a Democrat, only 82%. Marko Liias (D-21) scored 96%.

Liias departed from the state's unions on two issues: he voted to exempt Uber, Lyft, and similar companies from the obligation to pay for unemployment insurance for their drivers; and he voted to classify interpreters and translators working for state agencies as independent contractors, meaning they would not be eligible for unemployment, disability, and other benefits enjoyed by employees.

Both measures were passed by the Republican-controlled Senate, but rejected by the Democratic-majority House.

Straight Seattle mayoral candidates Senator Bob Hasegawa and former Rep. Jessyn Farrell each earned 100% ratings from the WSLC.

The 2017 legislative sessions were challenging for labor, as the Republican-controlled Senate blocked a budget deal until June 30, finally passing a compromise budget only hours before the state government would have shut down due to lack of funds. Paychecks for thousands of state workers and their families - as well as the state-funded public programs they staffed - were at stake.

WSLC concluded that state Republican leaders are 'anti-labor extremists,' in the words of an article in their 2017 Legislative Report.

Labor leaders said they hoped to flip the Senate back to Democratic control in a special election to fill the Senate seat held by the late Andy Hill (R-45). Democratic candidate Manka Dhingra was a special guest at the WSLC, getting a standing ovation from the 400 delegates.

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