In a sig­nif­i­cant vic­to­ry for work­ing peo­ple, the Wash­ing­ton’s House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives tonight adopt­ed leg­is­la­tion to raise the state’s min­i­mum wage to twelve dol­lars an hour by 2019. Fifty-one rep­re­sen­ta­tives vot­ed to pass HB 1355, while forty-six vot­ed against pas­sage. One rep­re­sen­ta­tive was excused.

The roll call was as follows:

Vot­ing Yea: Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Apple­ton, Bergquist, Blake, Car­lyle, Clib­born, Cody, Dun­shee, Far­rell, Fey, Fitzgib­bon, Good­man, Gregerson, Gre­go­ry, Hansen, Hud­gins, S. Hunt, Hunter, Hurst, Jink­ins, Kagi, Kil­duff, Kir­by, Lyt­ton, McBride, Moeller, Mor­ris, Moscoso, Orms­by, Ortiz-Self, Orwall, Peter­son, Pet­ti­grew, Pol­let, Reyk­dal, Ric­cel­li, Robin­son, Ryu, San­tos, Sawyer, Sells, Senn, Springer, Stan­ford, Sul­li­van, Takko, Tar­leton, Tharinger, Van De Wege, Walkin­shaw, Wylie, Mr. Speaker

Vot­ing Nay: Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Buys, Caldier, Chan­dler, Con­dot­ta, DeBolt, Dent, Fagan, Grif­fey, Haler, Har­grove, Harmsworth, Har­ris, Hawkins, Hayes, Holy, G. Hunt, John­son, Klip­pert, Kochmar, Kretz, MacEwen, Magen­danz, Man­weller, McCabe, McCaslin, Muri, Nealey, Orcutt, Park­er, Pike, Rodne, Schmick, Scott, Shea, Short, Smith, Stam­baugh, Stokes­bary, Tay­lor, Van Wer­ven, Vick, Walsh, Wilcox, Wil­son, Young, Zeiger

Excused: Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Kristiansen

Only Democ­rats vot­ed in favor of HB 1355, prime-spon­sored by Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Jessyn Far­rell (D‑46th Dis­trict, Seat­tle), and only Repub­li­cans vot­ed against… a clas­sic par­ty-line vote.

The high­er min­i­mum wage will be phased in over a peri­od of four years.

The first increase would bring the min­i­mum wage to ten dol­lars an hour this com­ing New Year’s (Jan­u­ary 1st, 2016). The wage would then be increased three more times in fifty cent or one dol­lar incre­ments. The final increase would bring the min­i­mum wage to $12 an hour by Jan­u­ary 1st, 2019.

After that time, the Depart­ment of Labor & Indus­tries (L&I) would be direct­ed to begin auto­mat­i­cal­ly adjust­ing the min­i­mum wage upwards again in accor­dance with the Con­sumer Price Index (CPI), as it has since 1998.

The House also adopt­ed HB 1356 today. That bill, prime spon­sored by Demo­c­ra­t­ic State Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Lau­rie Jink­ins of Pierce Coun­ty, estab­lish­es min­i­mum stan­dards for sick and safe leave from employ­ment. The vote was fifty-one to forty-six, with one excused, and the roll call was the same as for HB 1355.

HB 1356 requires employ­ers to allow their work­ers to take at least forty hours of accrued paid sick or safe leave per year. It also allows peo­ple who work at busi­ness­es with more than fifty full-time equiv­a­lent employ­ees to take even greater amounts of paid leave. Employ­ers with four or few­er full-time equiv­a­lent employ­ees — along with cer­tain kinds of new com­pa­nies — are exempt from the requirements.

Gov­er­nor Jay Inslee issued a state­ment applaud­ing the vote on both bills.

“Today the House passed two mod­est, mea­sured and much-need­ed bills to give an eco­nom­ic lift to thou­sands of Washington’s low­est-wage work­ers,” Inslee said.

“I’ve always believed that a per­son who is will­ing and able to work hard for forty hours a week should be able to pro­vide the most basic needs for them­selves and their fam­i­lies. Washington’s econ­o­my is recov­er­ing, but it is leav­ing behind an increas­ing num­ber of low- and mid­dle-income work­ers. An increase in the state min­i­mum wage and paid sick and safe leave for all work­ers are good steps toward restor­ing a degree of eco­nom­ic secu­ri­ty for those who need it most.

“I hope the Sen­ate will act on these bills and fol­low the House’s lead­er­ship in build­ing an econ­o­my that works for all Washingtonians.”

About the author

Andrew Villeneuve is the founder and executive director of the Northwest Progressive Institute, as well as the founder of NPI's sibling, the Northwest Progressive Foundation. He has worked to advance progressive causes for over two decades as a strategist, speaker, author, and organizer. Andrew is also a cybersecurity expert, a veteran facilitator, a delegate to the Washington State Democratic Central Committee, and a member of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps.

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3 replies on “House of Representatives passes bills to raise minimum wage and provide sick + safe leave”

  1. Nev­er thought I’d be so grate­ful for a mod­est increase in the min­i­mum wage. 

    What has this state come to? We need to turn away from the par­ty of Bush, Walk­er, and Norquist, and back to the light. 

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