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.”