When I became Attorney General, I committed the Attorney General’s Office to doing more to protect Washington’s environment and workers.
I created the Environmental Crimes Unit and Counsel for Economic Protection to ensure that the natural beauty of our state is here for generations to come.
I also prioritized protecting workers from wage theft and promoting economic justice for hardworking Washingtonians.
Our work this May highlighted these important priorities. We will continue protecting Washington’s working families and natural environment.
In this issue:
Thank you for following the work of the Attorney General’s Office.
As Attorney General, I defend laws passed by Washington voters. In November 2016, voters approved an increase in Washington’s minimum wage and required access to paid sick leave for Washington workers through Initiative 1433.
A group of individuals, organizations and corporations filed a challenge in Kittitas County. They claimed that by covering both minimum wage and paid sick leave, the initiative violated the state’s single-subject requirement for initiatives. They sought to have the voter-approved law invalidated.
We successfully defended the initiative. The Kittitas County Superior Court Judge agreed with my legal team that the initiative covered a single subject: employee compensation.
Following the decision, the group that brought the lawsuit announced it was dropping its legal challenge.
Washington’s minimum wage is set to increase to $13.50 per hour by 2021. Employees will begin receiving paid sick leave by Jan. 1, 2018.
Puget Sound Business Journal
Generally, my job as Attorney General is to defend and enforce state law. I can also propose changes in law that will improve the lives of Washingtonians or address gaps in the law. This session, the Governor signed six Attorney General-Request bills into law. One of these bills focused on keeping taxpayer dollars from going to knowing and intentional wage theft violators.
Until now, no state law prohibited state and local governments from awarding contracts to known wage theft violators. My legislation fixes that.
Now, when a court determines that a business or contractor knowingly and intentionally violated state wage theft laws, that violator is ineligible to receive government contracts for a three-year period.
This new law protects businesses who play by the rules. They should not have to compete with contractors cheating workers to gain an unfair advantage. It protects taxpayers, who do not want their hard-earned tax dollars going to cheaters. And it protects workers who have earned their paychecks and should not have their wages stolen.
The new law goes into effect on July 23.
I refuse to let the President threaten Washington’s National Monuments without taking action.
On April 26, President Trump signed Executive Order 13792, which called for the Department of Interior to review and possibly revoke several national monuments. Many national monuments established in the past two decades made the list of monuments for review, including Hanford Reach National Monument. The broad language of the order could also threaten San Juan Islands National Monument.
In response to the Order, I sent a letter to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. I invited him and President Trump to visit Washington’s San Juan Islands and Hanford Reach National Monuments with me to witness the beauty of these lands in person.
In addition, I informed him that taking unilateral action to eliminate or jeopardize a National Monument is a violation of the Antiquities Act. I put them on notice that I have a legal team already preparing to defend Washington’s National Monuments. If the Trump Administration comes after one of Washington’s National Monuments, I will see them in court.
The Yakima Herald
In another alarming action by Secretary Zinke, the Administration moved forward with a coal mining leasing program on federal lands without completing an environmental impact review. The previous environmental study is close to 40 years old. Zinke’s action violates the National Environmental Policy Act, which requires that the government agency supplement or replace the review before restarting the program.
Allowing this program to move forward without a study will have real impacts on Washington. Increased coal production and consumption will contribute to global climate change. The effects of climate change on Washington include rising ambient temperatures, diminished and unpredictable snowpack and ocean warming and acidification. Snowpack is used for water consumption and hydropower generation, and increased ocean temperatures and acidification are harmful to shellfish.
During the public comment period, Washingtonians sent in more comments opposing coal mining on federal lands than any other state.
In May, I filed a lawsuit seeking to halt the Trump Administration’s unlawful coal mining. The federal government must answer to the lawsuit on July 18.
The Spokesman Review
In May, I had the opportunity to speak with Washingtonians across the state. Early in the month, I headed north to speak with groups in Bellingham, attending LAW Advocates’ event for a conversation about civil rights and dropping by Western Washington University to discuss the recent lawsuit against the Trump administration with students.
I visited 10 rotaries in May to discuss the work my team and I are doing and to hear the concerns and issues that Washingtonians face. I spoke with hundreds of Rotarians in cities like Bellingham, Sumner, Prosser and Vancouver.
I also participated in AARP’s “Unmasking the Impostors” campaign, providing seniors in Seattle and Kennewick with the tips they need to identify fraudsters before they become victims. I will be making my way to Vancouver and Spokane with AARP later this year.
The Bellingham Herald
KING-5: New Day Northwest
SUBSCRIBE to have The Ferguson File sent straight to your inbox each month.
Jun 27 2017