Oh hey! Remember last week when I was called an elitist in the comments of a post where I said that Seattle isn’t the overspending hellhole that many in the state legislature imagine, because I turned the arguments against Seattle on one of those legislators? It turns out what elitist means now is that Seattle has a paid sick leave and safe leave law. Because that’s the I-Hate-Seattle group’s latest target in the legislature.
Senate Bill 5728 would take Seattle’s law off the books by declaring that the Legislature has the sole responsibility for sick-leave requirements. Senate Bill 5726 would scale back Seattle’s law by prohibiting cities from requiring sick leave for employers based outside the city.
Both bills were introduced Tuesday by Centralia Republican John Braun and are supported by Senate Majority [sic] Leader [sic] Rodney Tom, D [sic]-Medina.
No Seattle senators have signed on.
FYI, the Seattle law applies to people who work in Seattle. So if a Bellevue (or out of state???) company has a Seattle branch, they won’t count under the first bill. Both bills are clearly just to punish Seattle for being decent to people who work here. When this — or the parking rate hikes or the head tax or, or, or — pass, local governments in the rest of the state say how they’re going to poach jobs. Now Senators from the rest of the state are putting the lie to that.
But buried in the hatred of Seattle there is a good idea. I’m all for the state getting into the sick leave and safe leave business. If there was a companion bill to make the Seattle requirements statewide, then that would be awesome! But now they’re saying people working in Medina or Centralia who have to work sick or after an case of domestic violence won’t even be able to petition their local governments.
To be clear, while the Seattle Times piece doesn’t mention it, the bill also preempts Seattle’s paid safe leave. According to Seattle’s FAQ on the law (bold in the text):
An employee can use safe leave for the following reasons:
- An employee’s place of business has been closed by order of a public official to limit exposure to an infectious agent, biological toxin or hazardous material.
- An employee needs to care for a child whose school or place of care has been closed by order of a public health official to limit exposure to an infectious agent, biological toxin or hazardous material.
- For reasons related to domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking that affect the employee or the employee’s family member.
Rodney Tom, John Braun, and the rest of the GOP Senate should be demanding those employee protections for the whole state. Instead they’re trying to take it away from people who have been sexual assaulted or stalked who work in Seattle. I get that they hate Seattle, but this is too far.
You can find Tom and Braun at the link (if you want to contact them, the form is kind of a hassle, and you have to make up an address if they don’t represent you so FYI, it’s firstname.lastname@example.org). And you can find your legislator here.