November 2019 Meeting Recap

The state Legislature, LGBTQ+issues and the Paid Family Medical Leave law were all topics discussed at the November ICSEW regular membership meeting. In case you missed it, here is a short summary of each session. Meeting minutes are available here.

Legislation:

Former Senator Karen Fraser

Karen Fraser – Legislature 101

Former Senator Karen Fraser presented on the Legislative process, walking everyone through the bill process from a local level perspective as it becomes a state law.

She also gave an overview of how all levels of government interact and impact each other and where powers as well as checks and balances lie. She did so with wit, humor, and a vast wealth of knowledge and answered questions about the Electoral College and personal experiences with obstacles specifically impacting women in government.

Resource: How a Bill Becomes a Law: http://leg.wa.gov/legislature/Pages/Bill2Law.aspx 

Resource: Legislative Process Overviewhttp://leg.wa.gov/legislature/Pages/Overview.aspx 

Nick Streuli, the Employment Security Department’s director of legislative and executive operations gave an overview of what may likely be the most controversial and highly-watched issues in the upcoming 2020 legislative session. 

Streuli said the Department of Transportation will face challenges in balancing its budget. He said with the approval of the I-976 initiative on $30 car tabs, many transportation projects may have to be suspended until alternate forms of funding are found.   

Streuli also talked about other challenges the DOT’s strained budget will have to address, including funding fixing and replacing several of the state’s culverts (large pipes that allow streams to flow under waterways). The culverts can prevent salmon from reaching their spawning grounds.  In 2001 state tribes sued Washington state over harmed salmon habitat and drop in salmon numbers because of the culverts and impacting their right to fish. The supreme court ruled in favor of the tribes, and requires the state to fix the culverts. 

Resource: Nick Streuli’s Presentation: https://icsew.files.wordpress.com/2019/11/legislative-session-2020.pdf 

Paid Family and Medical Leave 


April Amundson

April Amundson from the Employment Security Department gave a presentation on the state’s Paid Family Medical Leave Act. Washington workers will be able to use benefits starting in 2020. The benefits generally allow up to 12 weeks of paid leave per year care for oneself or their family members. 

The presentation had information on eligibility, application process, participation requirements for employees and employers, calculation of benefits and definitions of exemptions.  

Resources:  Presentation – https://icsew.files.wordpress.com/2019/11/paid-family-medical-leave-presentation.pdf 

ESD official site: https://www.paidleave.wa.gov/workers 

LGBTQ+ Panel 

R.A.I.N. Panel

The Rainbow Alliance Inclusion Network (RAIN) held an interactive question-and-answer panel with audience members. Panelists Allison Spector, Ayanna Colman, Mo Tabor and Joy Crouse presented an overview of the sex and gender spectrum and answered questions. 

Several panelists talked candidly about some of the barriers they’ve experienced as LGBTQ+ people. They shared examples on how to address negative or ignorant comments (What you said hurts me; If you want to be respectful of these people, please stop) and what to do if you misuse a gender pronoun. If you do make a mistake, acknowledge it and keep trying. (“I know I keep messing up this pronoun thing, I promise I’m doing my best. Thanks for your patience. OR I’m not familiar with those pronouns. Can you go over them with me so I know if I am using them right?”) It’s also OK to ask someone their pronouns. It shows respect and courtesy.  

The panel also provided examples of how employers can creative a more inclusive workplace for LGBTQ employees, such as: 

  • Creating gender neural bathrooms 
  • Including gender pronouns in email signature blocks 
  • Making it a regular practice to state your gender pronouns when you introduce yourself at meetings, job interviews and routine interactions 

Resources:  http://www.transstudent.org/ Transstudent.org is youth-led organization dedicated to transforming the educational environment for trans and gender nonconforming students through advocacy and empowerment. It has a definitions guideillustrated graphics on pronoun etiquette, tips for being an ally and resources for LGBTQ+ people and for organizations to show support for LGBTQ+ people. 

Washington State Business Resource Groups: https://ofm.wa.gov/state-human-resources/workforce-diversity-equity-and-inclusion/statewide-business-resource-groups 

Upcoming Paid Family Medical Leave Hearings

The Employment Security Department is hosting a series of public hearings regarding Paid Family Medical Leave.

Mark your calendars: Participate in Rulemaking

Phase six public hearings

Join us for the phase six public hearings. These meetings will be your final opportunity to provide feedback and comments on the phase six draft rules.

Phase six covers rules about:

  • Appeals
  • Premium collection
  • Benefits
  • Changes related to the 2019 Legislative session

Read the formal proposed rules in the CR-102. The preliminary draft of our required significance analysis is also available for public comment.

You can participate in rulemaking by:

  • Submitting written comments until 5 p.m. on Nov. 12, 2019. For your convenience, you can submit these comments on our public comment portal.
  • Attending the public hearings (either in-person or remotely) to provide oral comments:

When: 9 a.m. on Nov. 7 and 9 a.m. on Nov. 12.

Where: Nov. 7 in Lacey, Wash. and Nov. 12 in Spokane, Wash. (complete details available on the meetings page of our public comment portal.)

Other rulemaking public hearing

Join us for the public hearing on privacy rules and other topics related to implementation. Read the formal proposed rules in the CR-102.

When: 9 a.m. on Nov. 26

Where: Lacey, Wash. (complete details available on the meetings page of our public comment portal).

Agenda and remote participation details are available on the meetings page of our public comment portal.

Resources

Need More information? Check out the Paid Family Medical Leave Resources Page. It has links to a video, infographics and FAQs in both English and Spanish.

 

Learn about the Legislature at ICSEW Nov. 2019 Meeting

ICSEW Representatives 2019

The Legislative process can be complex and confusing. But it doesn’t have to be. The ICSEW’s November meeting will have sessions on understanding the legislative process, how to track bills that are important to you and easy ways to engage with your legislators and make them work for you.

The meeting takes place from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Nov. 19 at the Washington State Department of Corrections’ Headquarters building (the Edna Lucille Goodrich building), 7345 Linderson Way SW in Tumwater. All regular ICSEW meetings are free and open to anyone, regardless of gender or employment status. An hour-long ICSEW executive board meeting immediately follows the regular meeting, which is also open for attendees to observe.

Parking:

Parking is limited. The DOC has a few visitor spaces and there are a few spaces on 78th Ave. However, we encourage carpooling or utilizing the Mountain View Church parking lot which is located at the corner of Linderson Way and Israel Road. Please make sure to have photo ID with you at check-in. InterCity Transit also provides free bus fare for state employees with a STAR pass. To receive your star pass, please contact your agency’s commute trip reduction coordinator.

Session Presenters

Nick Streuli, Legislative & Executive Operations Director, Employment Security Department Getting Involved in the 2019-20 Legislative Session

Nick was appointed as the Legislative & Executive Operations Director for the Washington State Employment Security Department in October 2016. Nick has served in a variety of roles most recently as Special Policy Assistant to the Commissioner and Federal Government Liaison.

As part of his role with ESD, Nick works with the legislature on unemployment insurance, workforce development, and Paid Family and Medical Leave issues. This includes providing technical assistance to legislators and stakeholders, advising the agency on legislative strateg, and advocating for legislation to develop the nation’s best and most future ready workforce with opportunities for all.

Former Washington State Sen. Karen Fraser, Legislature 101

Karen Fraser (born September 12, 1944) was a Washington State Senator (Democrat) and served 24 years in the Washington State Senate, representing the 22nd Legislative District, which includes OlympiaLaceyTumwater, and north Thurston County.

She held many senior leadership positions in the Senate including: Democratic Caucus Chair; Vice Chair of the Ways and Means Committee; Chair of the Capital Budget; Chair of the Senate’s administrative committee; and Chair of policy committees pertaining to environment, energy, water, parks and recreation, shorelines, Puget Sound and state employee pensions. She served on the Rules Committee and on many other policy committees.

Prior to serving in the Senate, she served four years as a state representative. She served as a local elected official for 15 years, including becoming the first woman mayor of Lacey, second woman Thurston County Commissioner, and the first woman president of the Washington State Association of Counties.

Paid Family Leave and BRG Roundtable

The meeting will also include a session on Paid Family Medical Leave, presented by April Amundson, a policy and rules manager for the Employment Security Department, as well as a lunchtime panel with a RAIN Business Resource Group representative. RAIN stands for Rainbow Alliance Inclusion Network. RAIN helps Washington state create safe and inclusive workplaces where every LGBTQ+ employee can bring their authentic self to work, enabling them to do their best work for Washingtonians. Ayanna Coleman will be leading the panel discussion.

Statewide business resource groups, BRGs, bring together groups of employees and their allies who have a common interest or characteristic. A list of Business Resource Groups is on the Office of Financial Management’s website.

Registration

Sign up through Eventbrite for this incredible opportunity!

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/icsew-meeting-november-19-2019-registration-76841122867

For more information about the difference ICSEW makes in the lives of Washingtonians visit our website at www.icsew.wa.gov

View the agenda here.