By COLIN STAUB
Several bills that the Washington State Labor Council (WSLC) considers priorities in the 2022 state legislative session saw progress in recent weeks, including measures to expedite energy facility siting, promote apprenticeship, and set minimum safe health care staffing standards.
Promoting apprenticeship: SB 5600, which supports state-registered apprenticeship programs and has measures to help unions and employers develop new programs in their industries, passed the Senate 39-10 on Feb. 12. A separate apprenticeship bill, SB 5764, helps apprentices access resources available to community college students, including financial aid, academic credit and more. The bill passed the Senate 48-0 on Feb. 10.
Expediting siting of energy facilities: HB 1812, which modifies siting and permitting practices for energy facilities to support green infrastructure development, passed the House 95-3 on Feb. 13.
Safe Health care staffing: A proposal to enact minimum staffing standards so hospital workers receive adequate break time cleared the House by a 55-43 vote on Feb. 13.
Several other labor-backed bills also moved forward. SB 5763, which extends prevailing wage requirements to people with disabilities, passed the Senate 42-5 on Feb. 2. SB 5847, which increases access to public service loan forgiveness for public employees, passed the Senate 37-12 on Feb. 10.
The Washington State Legislature convened Jan. 10 and will conclude by March 10. This week held a key deadline: Most legislation had to pass out of its chamber of origin by Feb. 15 in order to stay alive during this session.