Hansen job bills take step closer to House passage

OLYMPIA — A half-dozen measures likely to brighten the state’s employment picture have cleared their first big hurdle to legislative approval with the active support of their sponsor, Rep. Drew Hansen (D-Bainbridge Island).

The bills all were approved without dissent by state House committees before the Feb. 22 policy committee deadline, putting them on track for debate by the full House. The bills will next go before House fiscal committees and then the House Rules Committee before they reach the floor.

“The overwhelming bipartisan support for my proposals demonstrates that my fellow House members understand the importance of strengthening our workforce and creating job opportunities for the people of our state,” Hansen said.

The measures adopt a variety of strategies for employment growth, from removing obstacles to business operations to boosting training and education for job-seekers.

The proposals are:

House Bill 1109, which calls for state community colleges and universities that offer early course registration to some students to extend the offer to veterans and National Guard members so that veterans can get into the courses they need to train for new careers.  This bill passed the House unanimously last year but the Senate did not have time to consider it.

House Bill 1245, which protects jobs in the shellfish and recreation industries by getting abandoned vessels out of our waters before they sink and cause pollution.

House Bill 1247, which makes it easier for businesses, especially small businesses, to get money from a key state job-training program designed to help employees upgrade their skills.  The bill also ensures that money from this program supports training that leads to degrees and credentials rather than dead-end jobs

House Bill 1472, which helps students train for high-paying jobs in the computer industry by enhancing computer-science education in high schools and creating a statewide task force to address the computer programmer shortage.

House Bill 1660, which will lessen the paperwork burden on hospitals and colleges as they train new doctors and nurses.

House Bill 1805, which removes a barrier to small businesses that want to teach cooking classes and sell wine both in stores and at family farms.


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