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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, May 11, 2018 - Volume 46 Issue 19
Legislature's LGBTQ Caucus 100%, Labor Council says
Section One
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Legislature's LGBTQ Caucus 100%, Labor Council says

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Members of the Washington State Legislature's LGBTQ Caucus scored 100% ratings from the Washington State Labor Council (WSLC).

The seven members of the caucus are Senators Jamie Pedersen (D-Seattle) and Marko Liias (D-Lynnwood); and Representatives Laurie Jinkins (D-Tacoma), Christine Kilduff (D-University Place), Joan McBride (D-Kirkland), Beth Doglio (D-Olympia), and Nicole Macri (D-Seattle).

WSLC represents some 400 union locals, district councils, and other labor organizations, and 450,000 workers in Washington State. The group publishes ratings of lawmakers after every legislative session.

Because the special election that installed Democratic Senator Manka Dhingra in place of the late Republican Senator Tim Hill broke the Republicans' lock on the state Senate, this legislative session was unusually productive, WSLC noted.

'Many bills supported by the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO and its affiliated unions had been blocked from votes by Senate Republican leaders. But in 2018, they finally got fair votes and many passed with strong bipartisan majorities,' WSLC said in its report.

'From voting rights to equal pay, from bargaining rights to prevailing wages, many pro-worker bills were approved and signed into law by Gov. Jay Inslee.'

Their ratings were based on 20 Senate bills and 22 House bills, including state voting rights legislation, a state DREAM Act, gender equity bills, and reproductive rights measures.

While the shift in control of the State Senate resulted in many positive measures, there are still outstanding problems, WSLC President Jeff Johnson noted in an article accompanying the group's legislative report.

'The Legislature was not able to address the structural deficit Washington State has suffered for more than a decade,' Johnson wrote. 'We simply do not raise enough revenue enough revenue to adequately pay for the needs of our society. This became painfully clear in the 'Great Recession' of 2008 and every year since.

'Republicans of today are stuck in the dead-end narrative that taxes and government spending are bad. They should remember the words of the first Republican, Abraham Lincoln: 'The legitimate object of Government is to do for the people what needs to be done but for which they cannot by individual effort do at all, or do so well, by themselves.' President Franklin D. Roosevelt quoted this from Lincoln in a 1936 speech and added his own statement that 'taxes are the price we all pay collectively to get things done.'

In addition to raising additional revenue for the state, Johnson urged voters to sign petitions to get I-1631, the Protect Washington Act, on the November ballot. The measure would impose fees on the state's largest corporate polluters and use the money to clean up the environment, help communities impacted by pollution, and assist working families displaced by the new pollution rules.

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