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Expanded protections for workers, minorities headed for approval


Last updated 1/8/2021 at 2:08pm

Several bills that expand protections for workers and minorities are headed for Gov. Jay Inslee’s desk for approval.

House Bill 2567, which would outlaw arrests for civil matters at court houses unless there is a warrant issued, passed the House earlier and was approved by the Senate Wednesday, March 4.

When signed into law, the measure will protect undocumented residents by prohibiting warrantless civil arrests within one mile of a court facility.

“This bill is about nothing more or less than the proposition that all residents of our state ought to have access to our courts to seek justice,” said Sen. Jamie Pedersen, D-Seattle, during an earlier Senate floor debate.

“All of the residents, regardless of their immigration status, should feel comfortable and safe coming to our courts to seek the assistance that they need,” Pedersen said.

HB 2602, which has also passed in both legislative chambers and is set to be signed into law, redefines the Washington Law Against Discrimination to include in the definition of race hair textures and styles, such as afros and braids, that historically are associated with African Americans.

“This is a very simple bill,” Pedersen said at the earlier debate. “We had very compelling testimony from people, particularly African Americans, whose hair styles have subjected them to discrimination, particularly in the employment context,” Pedersen said.

HB 2511 has also been approved by both chambers and will protect a domestic worker from discrimination, as well as their general safety, health, and well-being. It also puts into place a workgroup for domestic worker issues.

“The bill before us does begin the process of building a bill of rights for domestic workers and creates a workgroup that will look at how do we make sure that we do properly value those that care for our young ones and our elders,” said Sen. Rebecca Saldana, D-Seattle, who sponsored the bill’s companion, SB 6247.


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