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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, August 14, 2015 - Volume 43 Issue 33
Lesbian and Gay legislators get high marks from unions
Section One
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Lesbian and Gay legislators get high marks from unions

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Washington's Lesbian and Gay state legislators got high marks from the state's labor unions in a summary of the 2015 legislative sessions just released by the Washington State Labor Council (WSLC).

All four Lesbian and Gay House members - Laurie Jinkins (D-27), Joan McBride (D-48), Jim Moeller (D-49), and Brady Walkinshaw (D-43) - received 100% ratings from the WSLC for their votes on 10 bills affecting workers, wages, and gender equity.

The two Gay Senators, Marko Liias (D-21) and Jamie Pedersen (D-43), got less than perfect but still very respectable 80% scores.

The WSLC objected when Liias voted Yes on a bill to take money from an environmental stewardship account to pay for unrelated projects, and also sponsored a measure to relax state restrictions on pay-day lenders.

Pedersen voted to post state employees' collective bargaining agreements online, and also voted for a bill to base public school teachers' work evaluations on student test scores.

Several Seattle-area straight-but-allied House members also scored 100% with the WSLC: House Speaker Frank Chopp (D-43), who shepherded progressive legislation through the House only to see it die in the Republican-controlled state Senate, Steve Bergquist (D-11), Reuven Carlyle (D-36), Eileen Cody (D-34), Jessyn Farrell (D46), Joe Fitzgibbon (D-34), Mia Gregerson (D-33), Zack Hudgins (D-11), Ruth Kagi (D-32), Luis Moscoso (D-1), Tina Orwall (D-33), Eric Pettigrew (D-37), Gerry Pollet (D-46), Cindy Ryu (D-32), Sharon Tomiko-Santos (D-37), Derrick Stanford (D-1), and Gael Tarleton (D-36).

On the Senate side, newly elected Senator Pramila Jayapal (D-37) got a 100% rating, as did Maralyn Chase (D-32), Bob Hasegawa (D-11), Rosemary McAuliffe (D-1), and Democratic leader Sharon Nelson (D-34).

The state House as a whole got a good review from the state's unions for passing what the WSLC called its 'Shared Prosperity Agenda.' The package of measures included raising the state minimum wage to $12 per hour and establishing paid sick leave for all workers in Washington. Four additional bills addressed the problem of wage theft by increasing penalties for employers and protecting workers who complain about their bosses.

While the legislative package was passed by the House, where Democrats had control, the bills never even got to the floor in the Republican-controlled Senate. Six Republican senators earned Zero ratings from the WSLC for their obstruction of pro-labor measures.

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