Friends — Now that the legislative session is over, you’ll only hear from us once a month until the next session begins (well, aside from a new newsletter we’ll start up—more on that below). There’s plenty to cover today, though! So let’s get started:
😳 Election Season is among us
Okay, okay, candidates aren’t quite on the full-fledge campaign trail yet, but you can bet your a** they’re raising money right now, scheming, and coordinating.
Nationwide, nearly a third of state legislative leadership positions in the nation’s 99 state legislative chambers will step down or away. That includes House Speakers, Senate presidents and majority leaders who have either resigned or said they will retire. Our very own House Majority Leader Rep. Pat Sullivan will not run for re-election.
Washington State is no exception. Whew, let’s get into it.
We have 18 legislators who won’t seek re-election thus far:
- Rep. Jesse Johnson (D-Federal Way)
- Rep. Kirsten Harris-Talley (D-Seattle)
- Rep. Steve Kirby (D-Tacoma)
- Rep. Laurie Dolan (D-Olympia)
- Rep. Jeremie Dufault (R-Selah) due to redistricting
- Rep. Bob McCaslin (R-Spokane)
- WATCH OUT: Plans to run for a county auditor position
- Rep. Eileen Cody (D-Seattle)
- Rep. Larry Hoff (R-Vancouver)
- Rep. Mike Sells (D-Everett)
- Rep. Emily Wicks (D-Everett)
- Rep. Pat Sullivan (D-Covington)
- Rep. Brad Klippert (R-Kennewick)
- WATCH OUT: Running for Congress
- Rep. Vicki Kraft (R-Vancouver)
- WATCH OUT: Running for Congress
- Sen. Mona Das (D-Kent)
- Sen. Tim Sheldon (“D” but really an R – Potlatch)
- Sen. Sharon Brown (R-Kennewick)
- Sen. Reuven Carlyle (D-Seattle)
- WATCH OUT: He said, “time for me to consider new opportunities for leadership in other public and private sector arenas.”
- Sen. David Frockt (D-Seattle)
That’s effectively 11 Democrats and 7 Republicans stepping away from the legislature. And it seems only a few of the Republicans want to seek a higher office. For those who don’t know or may have forgotten, our state Representatives have two-year terms whereas Senators have four-year terms.
There’s also 6 folks who aim to switch from the House to the Senate:
- Rep. Drew MacEwen (R-Union)
- Rep. Matt Boehnke (R-Kennewick)
- Rep. Jesse Young (R-Gig Harbor)
- Rep. Javier Valdez (D-Seattle)
- Rep. Noel Frame (D-Seattle)
- Rep. Sharon Shewmake (D-Bellingham)
And then there’s this guy: Sen. Keith Wagoner (R-Sedro-Woolley) wants to run for Secretary of State in the middle of his term—so, not for election season purposes.
🚙 Keep your eye on the Drivers Union!
Established in 2014, the union has finally seen statewide legislation protect their workers’ rights.
When Uber first started, they targeted the cab driver workforce for recruitment, offering various loans they would provide—for new cars, a new phone—and various bonuses, if the drivers switched to working for Uber. Our state has approximately 41,000 TNC drivers. (TNC = passenger transportation, or Transportation Network Companies.)
But since July 2021, the first Drivers Resource Center has been preventing unwarranted deactivation for TNC drivers in the gig economy. Teamsters Local 117 has also helped disseminate unemployment funds and vaccinations for immigrant drivers from Seattle to Olympia.
Chief legal counsel for the Driver’s Union waits on a study to conclude but has been seeking arbitration where drivers were deactivated (AKA got fired by an app without communicated reason). She’s put about 200 drivers back on the road without having to even proceed with a full arbitration. The Driver’s Union pays for these services so that it’s free to drivers.
Even better: Since HB 2076 (the expand fairness law) passed the legislature this year, Uber and Lyft drivers will be entitled to a pay raise, the permanent right to paid sick leave, workers’ compensation benefits, and protection against unfair deactivation next year! Who pays for this? The TNC companies! Seattle’s existing deactivation protection ordinance will sunset at the end of this year so there’s no legal redundancies or conflicts.
Working Washington has a similar #PayUp campaign to do the same for food delivery drivers in the gig economy. Join the fight!
🙅♀️ YIKES: Anti-taxing-billionaires initiative filed
James Vander Stoep filed an initiative (no number yet) to repeal our capital gains tax that’s going to the Supreme Court. Again, this tax would finally require the super rich to pay their share for things like school and childcare.
Some background: Vander Stoep was millionaire Dino Rossi‘s Chief of Staff (COS) way back when it looked like he’d won the gubernatorial election against Gregoire; and was Slade Gorton‘s COS before that. So a Republican Party POS—I mean, COS for decades!
Skagit County daffodil-and-tulip workers went on strike
The million-dollar company Washington Bulb Co. apparently can’t afford to buy protective gloves for the workers who tend to and cut their product (daffodils and tulips for Washington’s infamous Tulip Festival). RozenGaarde Flowers—the largest tulip-bulb grower in the entire US—owns Washington Bulb Co. Skagit Valley’s economy relies on, and often heavily exploits, immigrants who work in the now-yearly summer smoke, in snow, pouring rain, high winds, and more on top of working around unsafe pesticides. On Friday, the Union voted to stop the strike and talk with the company. Follow along through Familias Unidas por la Justicia!
🦠 Upcoming: A COVID-19 Newsletter!
With all the conflicting advisories out there on COVID-19, we wanted to offer an informed way to cut through the noise and keep yourself and your loved ones up-to-date on the latest happenings and science. Even while this pandemic could shift into an endemic, a slower moving virus is no less dangerous. It still sends people to the hospital. It still dishes out enormous medical bills. We still don’t know all the effects of “Long COVID”—we’ll explain that later, too, don’t worry.
All that is to say, expect one more additional email—haha, can’t get rid of us that easy—with a preview and opportunity to subscribe in early April! That way, you can choose for yourself if you want it in your inbox (you’ll receive nothing further on the matter if you opt out).
Heads up: The federal government decided to no longer keep the program that provides uninsured people with free vaccines. If you or a loved one might be affected by this, be sure to get a shot or booster before April 5!
What do you think? Have any questions? Tweet us your thoughts @WACommAlliance.
Keep up on the action and opportunities to get involved through our legislative newsletter, The Tally.