December 15, 2014
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Tacoma could have mandatory paid sick leave policy, $15 minimum wage

The Tacoma City Council will take a first vote this week on an ordinance that will require businesses to provide three days of sick leave per year. The final vote could come in January, and the ordinance would take effect a year later.

The city would require employers to provide one hour of sick leave per 40 hours worked, up to three sick days per year. The council still needs to decide whether the requirement would only apply to businesses with a physical presence in Tacoma or also include companies that send workers to jobs in the city. The News-Tribune has more.

At the same time, activists are preparing to collect signatures to put a $15 minimum wage on the Tacoma ballot in 2015. The measure would apply to essentially all businesses (with an exemption only for those with less than $300,000 a year in gross sales). Bosses could face a felony first-degree theft charge and jail time for violating the ordinance.

Statewide paid sick leave, paid vacation time and a higher minimum wage were proposed in the 2014 legislative session and are likely to be proposed again. To become involved with AWB’s work regarding these and other workplace issues, contact Government Affairs Director Bob Battles.

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Budget 101: State employee pay raises 'financially feasible'?

By Rob McKenna, Smarter Government Washington

Under state law, any collectively bargained pay raises and benefit increases for state employees must be declared "financially feasible for the state" by the Office of Financial Management (OFM). While this review sounds like a good idea, it isn't useful if OFM chooses to willfully ignore reality so that it can give its stamp of approval.

That's the situation the state currently finds itself in. The Governor's Office negotiated pay and benefit hikes with state employee unions, and OFM has declared the new costs to be financially feasible "considering the state's combination with the current and forecasted economic and revenue conditions for Washington.

Apparently OFM considers the McCleary education funding case to be mere detail...

READ MORE: Click here for the full commentary at Smarter Government Washington

State can move forward on transportation -- by looking back

By Sen. Curtis King

Amid all the finger-pointing and half-truths regarding the Legislature's alleged failure to pass and fund a transportation plan, a glance back at the 2003 "nickel package" provides the best tutorial on how to successfully get a transportation-revenue package through the Legislature and to the governor's desk. The themes from over a decade ago run startlingly parallel to today.

READ MORE: Click here for the full commentary in Crosscut
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