New rules cause employees to be treated different than customers!

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106 Newhouse Building ● P.O. Box 40404 ● Olympia WA 98504-0404

Report from Olympia |  June 22, 2021

Sen. Mike Padden

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

It’s been a busy interim already. The period between legislative sessions is usually a time for planning and reflection. However, this interim has been busy for our office. The Senate Law and Justice Committee held a work session on 2nd Amendment issues this past week. You can read more about it below.

One of the other challenges we have is making sure that there is much-needed oversight of the executive branch. Despite plans to reopen the state no later than June 30, the governor still refuses to relinquish his unilateral control by ending the state of emergency. Some agencies, such as the Department of Corrections, have a history of major management issues. Others, like the state Department of Labor and Industries, are overstepping their appropriate authority while limiting the liberty of Washingtonians.

Members of the Senate Freedom Caucus last week called for a special legislative session to reverse new state rules that turn employers into vaccine police. Under these rules, issued by Labor and Industries on May 21, employers can relax masking and social-distancing requirements, but only if they verify that employees have been vaccinated for COVID-19. Workers must produce documentation that they have been injected with the COVID-19 vaccine, or sign statements attesting to vaccination. Employers are to mark workers according to their vaccination status. Customers are allowed to operate on the honor system – no proof of vaccination required.

These new rules are an invasion of worker privacy, a bureaucratic nightmare for employers – and a form of government coercion that eliminates freedom of choice for people across the state. The Freedom Caucus isn’t anti-vaccine, but we firmly believe that these decisions ought to remain a matter of personal choice.

The state can’t require people to get vaccinated, so it’s trying to get employers to do the job. We need to call a time-out. The state shouldn’t be in the business of forcing people to be vaccinated.

If you have a question about this effort, or any of the issues in this e-newsletter, please don’t hesitate to contact our office. We love to hear directly from you; it is crucial to serving as your voice in Olympia.

Best Regards,

Senator Mike Padden

Video Update:

Law & Justice Committee discusses gun-control

AoIbheann Cline

Click on the image above to watch the Senate Law and Justice Committee work session on firearms.

The 2021 session was a difficult one, with liberal majorities aggressively pushing through their agenda without concern for the views of Washingtonians – especially those of us east of the Cascades. One area where we had success was in defeating many of the bills aimed at infringing on our Second Amendment rights. That’s the good news.

Here’s the bad news: the majority appears ready to take another bite at the apple and push for more gun-control measures next year. To that end, they held a work session last week to review the gun-control measures the state has already adopted and discuss ideas for new ones moving forward.

Fortunately, several pro-Second Amendment experts were there to push back on behalf of responsible, law-abiding Washington firearm owners.

You can watch the work session for yourself by clicking here or on the image above.

In the District:

Spokane Veterans Stand Down coming Saturday

Veterans Stand Down

When: Saturday, June 26, 10 a.m.- 2 p.m.


Stand Downs are free and open to all veterans and their families.

The Stand Down provides many services and resources for Spokane veterans and their families in need or experiencing homelessness. Typically, events include haircuts, clothing repair, food assistance, important information on housing, job opportunities, and local businesses providing services to assist veterans.

The event will begin at 10 a.m. with opening ceremonies, followed by lunch from 11-1 and a closing ceremony at 2 p.m. The large community service event is sponsored by local businesses, nonprofits and volunteers.

Come enjoy a hot lunch, see old friends and make new ones.


The Salvation Army Spokane

222 E. Indiana Ave., Spokane

For more information, contact Dave Lucas at 509-540-3283 or

In the News:

Edmonds man helps push through state bill requiring closed-captions in public spaces

My Edmonds News | May 30, 2021

Dean Olson

Dean Olson virtually testifying at the Senate hearing for SB 5027 Jan. 18.

It isn’t easy to get a Washington State Senate bill passed, but that’s just what Dean Olson of Edmonds did. Senate Bill 5027 — requiring closed-captions on televisions in all places of public accommodation in Washington state –was unanimously adopted and signed by Gov. Jay Inslee May 10, benefiting people who are hearing impaired.

…At the virtual Senate hearing Jan. 18, Sen. Mike Padden, who sponsored the bill, said “the whole idea behind this bill is to help folks who are hearing impaired, and we all have experiences ourselves, or with our family, or know folks who are hearing impaired, and captioning has been such a positive development for the hearing impaired, so this is really primarily trying to be an educational effort.”

Click here to learn more.

In the News:

Washington state to pay $3.25 million, admitting medical negligence in Monroe prison death

By Jim Brunner, Seattle Times | June 2, 2021

John Kleutsch

John Kleutsch, seen in March 2017, died in 2018 due to negligent medical care at Monroe Correctional Complex. The Washington Department of Corrections has agreed to pay $3.25 million to settle a lawsuit filed by his widow, Julia Kleutsch. (Courtesy of Julia Kleutsch)

The state Department of Corrections, admitting negligent medical care killed an incarcerated man at Monroe Correctional Complex, will pay $3.25 million to his family to settle a lawsuit.

John Kleutsch, 57, died of a festering abdominal wound that DOC staff failed to properly treat, while offering him only Tylenol for the excruciating pain, according to the lawsuit filed last year by his widow, Julia Kleutsch.

The settlement, filed Tuesday in King County Superior Court, is the latest fallout from the tenure of Dr. Julia Barnett, the former medical director at the Monroe prison, who was hired for that job by DOC leaders despite lacking some qualifications.

She was fired in April 2019 after an internal DOC investigation found medical care she provided and supervised contributed to suffering and deaths of several men at the prison, including Kleutsch.

Click here to read the full story.

In the News:

WA Dems went too far. Their pursuit of another income tax took a wrong turn.

By the Tri-City Herald Editorial Board | June 2, 2021

It is bad enough Democrats pushed a capital gains tax through at the same time revenue is predicted to soar in Washington state. But what’s especially galling is that they also devised a way to stop voters from repealing the new tax through the referendum process.

The majority party managed this by twisting the intent of the legislative emergency clause that should be used only in true emergencies. Deep down, Democrats and Gov. Jay Inslee must know their desire to pass a capital gains tax does not meet the definition of a crisis. But those lawmakers who approved it want what they want — and they don’t want to risk losing it through a ballot measure.

So, the capital gains tax bill includes a provision designating the tax as “necessary for the support of the state government and its existing public institutions.” The language was added specifically to thwart a referendum attempt this year.

The fact that Democrats felt such protection was needed indicates they know a capital gains tax isn’t popular with Washington state voters, but most went ahead and approved it anyway.                         

Click here to read more.

The Tax Tally

Majority puts together shocking list of new taxes in the middle of a pandemic

Taxpayers need Help!

Washington’s revenue collections for the 2021–23 state budget have increased by more than $1.9 billion, according to estimates released by the Washington State Economic and Revenue Forecast Council.

Despite this increase in tax revenue, and a nearly $15 billion in additional federal funds, the majority this year put forth several new tax proposals and tax increases. Both the House and Senate proposals this year added more than two dozen new taxes and fees on Washingtonians.    

The Office of Financial Management is the state agency tasked with putting together the full list or tax increases, for the I-960 advisory votes that will be on this November’s ballot. While they have not yet finished that task (after all, that’s a big job), we can pull together an initial look at the big 5 bills that raise costs for taxpayers. The Tax Tally includes:

  • Income Tax (SB 5096) on Capital Gains;
  • Document Recording Fee (HB 1277) – Adds $100 to real estate transactions, generating just shy of $300 million per biennium;
  • Cell Phone Tax Increase (HB 1477) – Likely to make Washington’s state/local cell phone tax second-highest in the nation;
  • High Cost Fuel Standard (HB 1091) – Increases the price of fuel at pump for consumers; and
  • Cap & Tax (SB 5126) – Raises $5 billion over the next decade, increases cost of business for manufacturers and increases the price at the pump for consumers.

In addition to these big 5, the majority also passed a Long-Term Care Payroll Tax in 2019, which will take effect in January 2022. Because of this action, every worker will see a portion of their wages ($290 on a $50,000 annual salary) taken out of their paycheck for this new government program. Voters rejected the program overwhelmingly in the November 2019 advisory vote, but the majority failed to reconsider this action.  

As if that wasn’t enough, many in the majority are now pushing for a special session this fall to adopt $10 billion in new transportation taxes.

Our district office will soon be at a new location


The packing will soon begin! We will be moving our district office to a new location to better serve the people of the 4th Legislative District. We hope to be all moved in by July 1.

The new district office, which will be at 5105 E 3rd Ave., STE 102, Spokane Valley (ZIP code 99212), will serve as a point of contact for residents of the district who have questions, concerns or need assistance navigating state government services and agencies. We encourage you to stop by the office, once we have settled in, if our 4th District Senate team can be of any help.  Our phone number will stay the same: (509) 921-2460. As always, constituents may also submit inquiries online, by clicking here.

Contact us!

If you have a question or concern about state government, please do not hesitate to contact our office. We are here to serve you!

Phone: (360) 786-7606

Street address: 106 Irv Newhouse Building, Capitol Campus, Olympia, WA 98504

Postal address: PO Box 40404, Olympia, WA 98504

Email address:

PLEASE NOTE: Any email or documents you provide to this office may be subject to disclosure under RCW 42.56. If you would prefer to communicate by phone, please contact Sen. Padden's Olympia office, which will be open starting Jan. 6, at (360) 786-7606.

To request public records from Sen. Padden, please contact Randi Stratton who is the designated public records officer for the Secretary of the Senate and Senate members.