Legislative Action for 2022
We have four bills under development for the coming legislative session. While playing defense against poor legislation we will also bring bills forward to benefit the membership and our contractors. Our four bills are as follows:
- Fire Life Safety Fix: Over the last eight months, we have been working with a broad range of stakeholders to develop legislation that will fix the harm done to our members from the passing of House Bill 2701 (Fire Life Safety Legislation). Our proposed bill will make it possible for UA workers to continue performing work that has been historically done by our members and increase the amount of work available in the fire and smoke damper industry. Our current coalition includes the State Fire Marshals’ Association, National Fire Protection Association, Seattle Fire, building owners, K-12 school administrators, community and technical colleges, fire alarm contractors, engineers, the MCA and the Operating Engineers.
- Permit Reform: The WSA is working with a broad coalition of Building Trades unions, the Governor’s office and the state legislature to address the permitting and citing challenges that are preventing so many projects from breaking ground in our state. We have a commitment from Governor Inslee and key legislators on the environmental committees that permitting reform will be a priority. We are in support of 2022 legislation that expands access to permit streamlining under the Energy Facilities Site Evaluation Council (EFSEC) and we continue to work towards broader SEPA reforms across the board.
- Fire Marshals Compliance: Senator Jesse Salomon will be introducing a bill this session that creates a new compliance account under the fire sprinkler program within the state fire marshals. Currently, the fire marshals have been unable to find the resources to administer an effective compliance operation. Unlike Labor and Industries, the Fire Marshals do not have a fee and penalty funded compliance mechanism. The current law also says that the fire marshals “may” issue citations and bring penalties for those breaking the law, and we will change that “may” to a “shall”.
- Off-site Prefabrication on Public Works: The WSA is currently working with the Department of Revenue drafting legislation to address the issue of shops operating out of state prefabricating items for prevailing wage projects to save money on wages. Our latest plan is to attack the problem from multiple sides, with increased penalties for businesses that are not paying the appropriate taxes and allow contractors that prefabricate in-state the option of a tax deferral to provide them a slight advantage when bidding. We hope that this new approach will help us make progress on this issue that has been unsolvable for decades.
As always defense will be a top priority for us this session. There are a number of critical areas where we will be fighting (environmental, public works procurement, apprenticeship program changes and many more). We have been meeting regularly with business coalition members over the last eight months coordinating on rulemaking, managing local government legislation, and preparing for the environmental hurdles for 2022. We will actively be working with all our allies to best represent the interests of all the Local Unions and our members.