Dueling bills introduced on paid family leave law

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 24, 2013 at 7:45 pm •  Published: January 24, 2013

"We already have a program on the books that we can't fund," he said. "Expanding it seems contrary to public interests."

Senate Majority Leader Rodney Tom, D-Medina, voted in favor of the paid family leave law when he was in the House, but he is now signed on to Braun's repeal bill. He said some companies already are moving in the direction of paid family leave, but that taxpayers and businesses wouldn't support a tax increase for a statewide program.

"It's not realistic," he said.

Sen. Janea Holmquist Newbry, R-Moses Lake, called the underlying law an "empty promise."

"Instead of continually suspending it and dangling it out there and kicking the can down the road, I think the more logical and responsible thing to do is to remove it off the books," said Holmquist Newbry, who is chairwoman of the Commerce and Labor Committee, where Braun's bill will receive a hearing.

Holmquist Newbry said she didn't know if she would give Keiser's bill a hearing.

"If we can't fund something that's been on the books for biennia now, why you would even attempt to expand something is beyond my logic," she said.

Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee does not support repealing the law, said spokesman David Postman.

"Gov. Inslee believes in the goals of the family medical leave act and the help it can give to working families in Washington," Postman said, but cautioned that while the governor wants the law to remain on the books, "everyone should recognize that the state does not currently have the funds to properly implement it."

Postman said that Inslee has not seen Keiser's bill and could not comment on it.

A repeal of the state paid-leave law would have no impact on federal leave laws. Under federal law, paid leave is not required, but businesses with 50 or more employees must give workers up to 12 weeks of medical leave per year for themselves or to take care of a new child or ailing relative.

The state law requires the paid leave be taken concurrently with the federal leave.

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The measure to repeal paid family leave is Senate Bill 5159. The measure to expand it is Senate Bill 5292.

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Online:

www.leg.wa.gov

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