Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson

Jan 07 2019

 

Dear Friends,

My excellent legal team closed 2018 by protecting Washington workers and holding some of the world’s largest tech companies accountable to the campaign finance disclosure law passed by Washingtonians through the initiative process.

In addition, In December I released my office’s 2019 Legislative Agenda. I look forward to working with legislators of both parties to pass these important bills that will save lives, improve government and enhance consumer protections.

We expect to remain busy as we head into 2019.

In this issue:

Happy New Year, and thank you for following the work of the Attorney General’s Office!

Sincerely,

Bob Ferguson
Washington State Attorney General


Attorney General Bob Ferguson at press conference regarding Hanford workers

Standing up for Hanford workers

In the 2018 session, Washington state legislators passed a bill making it easier for Hanford Nuclear Reservation workers to access the benefits they deserve if they become ill due to their work. Before this bill, Hanford workers suffering from an illness related to their job had the burden of proving their illness wasn’t caused by something else in their lives, which was incredibly difficult. Now, when a worker who has worked at least one shift at Hanford has one of a wide range of illnesses that we know could be linked to tank vapors, there is an assumption that he or she became ill because of an exposure at work. Firefighters and first responders have similar protections.

Despite never raising any concerns during the two years of public comment and debate on the law and its implementation, the U.S. Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against Washington state this December. I am proud to defend this important law, which I supported, and I am confident we will prevail against President Trump’s Department of Justice. Congress has given authority to the states to provide workers’ compensation benefits to injured contractors on federal lands. Washington has fully complied with this law.

This new law is an effort to finally do the right thing for Hanford workers. I look forward to defending this law so it can help workers as intended.

 

KING-5
Governor, AG vow to fight Feds’ suit to repeal Hanford sick worker law

KUOW
Washington AG says he'll fight the feds over law to help sick Hanford workers

Spokane Public Radio
Washington AG Vows To Fight Fed Lawsuit On Hanford Bill

The Seattle Times
Justice Department sues Washington state over law to compensate sick Hanford workers


 



Upholding campaign finance laws

Through their initiative powers, Washingtonians passed campaign finance laws requiring political advertisers to maintain information about those who purchase advertising and make that information available to the public. This provides transparency to voters in our state elections. These advertising disclosure laws apply to everyone, whether they are a small-town newspaper or a large corporation.

In June, I filed lawsuits against Google and Facebook, alleging that the two failed to obtain, maintain, or provide any of the legally required information associated with Washington state campaigns. After I filed my lawsuit, Google stopped accepting purchases of political ads in Washington state.

As a result of my lawsuit, Google and Facebook will each pay more than $200,000 to the state, placing them in the top 10 largest campaign finance recoveries in Washington state history.

Washingtonians have a right to know who’s paying for the political advertising they see.

 

The Stranger
Facebook and Google Pay $455K to Settle Political Ad Lawsuits in Washington State

SeattlePI
Google, Facebook to pay state $455,000 in campaign violation suit

Kirkland Reporter
Google, Facebook to pay more than $400,000 to Washington state in campaign finance cases

The Seattle Times
Facebook, Google to pay Washington $450,000 to settle lawsuits over political-ad transparency


Washington state legislative building

Creating laws that work for Washingtonians

Each year, I have the opportunity to request legislation that will improve Washingtonians’ lives. For the 2019 legislative session, I am proposing 11 agency-request bills aimed at improving health and safety, adding protections for workers and consumers and creating a more transparent and equal government.

We are still working to save lives by passing restrictions on high-capacity magazines and raising the legal age to purchase tobacco products to 21. Other bills will establish a one-year “cooling off” period before certain state employees can become paid lobbyists, create a more equal justice system by abolishing the death penalty and allow people to consolidate their traffic fines across jurisdictions, giving them a single, affordable payment plan.

New bills include an update to the state’s data breach notification law, a ban on the practice of “pocket service” by debt collectors and a bill to close a loophole in the state’s wage theft laws that provides violators a “get out of jail free” card. Another new bill will prohibit the ownership or transfer of undetectable and untraceable “ghost guns,” such as a plastic 3D-printed gun.

Each of these bills will improve the lives of people across the state. Several will save lives. I look forward to partnering with a bipartisan group of legislators to make a difference for Washingtonians.

 

KING-5 News
Guns, death penalty on state Attorney General's legislative list for 2019

KIRO-7 News
Proposed legislation would raise age to buy tobacco, vaping products to 21

KUOW
High capacity magazine ban on the table again in Olympia

KING-5 News
One-on-one with AG Bob Ferguson


Worker Protection Initiative logo

Removing restrictions for workers at more than 100,000 locations nationwide

Early this year, I began investigating the use of so-called “no-poach” clauses, which prohibit employees from moving among stores in the same corporate chain. According to economists, these clauses between franchise owners and corporate headquarters stagnate wages.

Since July, my excellent legal team and I have secured a nationwide end to no-poach practices at corporate chains in a wide range of industries, from hospitality to tax preparation services. In the six months since our first announcement, 46 corporate chains have signed legally binding agreements to stop adding provisions to future contacts and remove them from existing contracts, benefiting millions of workers at more than 100,000 locations nationwide.

My goal is to eliminate no-poach clauses nationwide, correcting a system rigged against workers.


 

Attorney General Bob Ferguson with AARP Fraud Fighters

Working across Washington

As Attorney General, it’s important to learn about issues affecting everyday Washingtonians. Organizations dedicated to assisting a wide range of vulnerable Washingtonians are great resources. This December, I spoke with the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) about my bill to raise the smoking age and helped fight fraud with AARP.

ACS CAN has been an important partner on my bill to raise the age to purchase tobacco and vaping products to 21. This past month, I had the opportunity to thank them for that partnership and reiterate the importance of the bill — more than 95 percent of addicted smokers start before age 21. I also discussed how we have seen a 78 percent increase in e-cigarette, or vaping, use among high school students.

This month, I had the honor of working with AARP’s Fraud Fighters to alert Washingtonians to the types of scams we see, and how they can spot and protect themselves from getting scammed.


 

 
 

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