This year, the Washington state Legislative Session is only a couple months long. That means we have a lot of work to do in a shorter amount of time!

Our caregivers from across the state will be heading to Olympia over the next two months to ask for lawmakers’ support on important legislation and budget items that impact not just us, but our communities and the people we care for.

Here are our legislative priorities that we’re asking lawmakers in Olympia to support this year:

Addressing the Harassment, Abuse, and Discrimination of caregivers: At SEIU 775, we believe everyone should feel safe at work and while giving and receiving care. Yesterday, caregivers went to Olympia and testified in front of the Senate Health and Long Term Care Committee in support of Senate Bill 6205 – a bill that will address the harassment, abuse, and discrimination of caregivers.

We first introduced our campaign to address Harassment, Abuse, and Discrimination – or as we call it, HADit – at our Leadership Conference in September, and since then, we have worked with caregivers, lawmakers, and the aging and disability rights community, including self-advocates, to draft legislation, testify in front of lawmakers before the legislative session had even begun, and continue conversations with stakeholders.

We also know that there is a history of harassment, abuse and discrimination of people with disabilities. While this legislation focuses on the treatment of caregivers, we’re working closely with members of the disability rights community to make the care environment safer for everyone.

We look forward to working with advocates throughout this process to make the care environment safer for everyone.

Improving Funding for Home Care Agencies: We are asking legislators to clarify the Parity law, so agency caregivers are paid equivalent wages and benefits for doing the same work that State-paid Individual Providers do.  We are also pushing for a 10-cent increase to the in-home care agency administrative rate, which will help stabilize funding for agencies and help ensure access to home care for Washingtonians who need it.

Improve the Nursing Homes reimbursement system: Additional funding for the Nursing Home system in our state will help ensure quality care to our most vulnerable residents.

Investing in the newly established Consumer-Directed Employer: The Individual Provider system is transitioning to this model and needs carefully targeted investments to ensure strong administration of the program.

Passing the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights:  The Domestic Workers Bill of Rights will extend critical worker protection laws to domestic workers, including minimum wage requirements, overtime pay requirements, rest and meal breaks, and protections against sexual harassment and discrimination, and create a pathway for workers to have an ongoing voice in their compensation and working conditions.

Balancing our upside-down tax code: We support proposals to rebalance our tax code and make it work for working people, which includes passing a capital gains tax and a Working Families Tax Credit.

Supporting justice, access to healthcare, and safe communities for all Washingtonians, regardless of if we’re white, Black, or brown, our gender, our abilities, or how much money we earn: We support investments and policy changes to make Washington thrive for all people through the Worker Protection Act, secure scheduling, affordable housing and tenant rights, access to dental therapists, affordable prescriptions including insulin, criminal justice reform, immigrant rights, gender equality, language access, and climate justice.

Together, we can build a better future for all of us.

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