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Articles written by Elizabeth New

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  • Lawmakers support repealing WA Cares

    Elizabeth New|Updated Jul 3, 2024

    When Sen. Karen Keiser, D-Des Moines, opened a recent work session for the Senate Labor and Commerce Committee, she said that the state’s law on long-term care was passed by the Legislature on a “bipartisan basis.” As Inigo Montoya said in “The Princess Bride,” “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.” The law that created WA Cares, proposed in House Bill 1087, cannot be described as bipartisan legislation. By the time the bill made its way...

  • Paid leave costs increasing annually

    Elizabeth New|Updated Jun 20, 2024

    The number of people tapping the taxpayer-provided Paid Family and Medical Leave fund is increasing every year. The paid-leave program was launched in 2020. It imposes a tax on employers and workers, whether or not the workers ever use the program. The money is used to allow some workers taxpayer-paid time off if they have a serious health condition, need to care for people or want to bond with a new child on taxpayers’ dimes. If you build it they will come. And they did. T...

  • Union opt out not fully explained

    Elizabeth New|Updated Jun 5, 2024

    Workers can join labor unions. And unions can charge them dues. Some workers are even required to pay a union in order to hold certain jobs. Union membership is a good option for many workers whose ideals line up with a union that represents their interests. There is strength in numbers. However, membership is a bad deal for workers represented by a union with which they disagree about political donations, workplace details or treatment of a worker’s employer. Thanks to the U...

  • I-2124 could kill WA Cares

    Elizabeth New|Updated May 30, 2024

    Would passage of Initiative 2124 kill the WA Cares long-term program? Probably. It’s super likely that if the state’s new, mandatory long-term-care program was made optional for Washington state workers many would flee, leaving it unable to pay its way in its current form. No argument there. Still, that is what was emphasized when the Senate Labor and Commerce Committee discussed WA Cares in a Tuesday work session. Is the program solvent? And would it be if it becomes vol...

  • Pause, please: Misspending is a bad word

    Elizabeth New|Updated May 16, 2024

    This news story on KUOW gave me a hot flash: "'Menopause is not a bad word.' New bill aims to increase awareness, reduce stigma." It highlighted a proposal to expand federal research on menopause, establish a national public awareness program and support improved training for health care providers. The price tag for the Senate bill titled the Advancing Menopause Care and Mid-Life Women's Health Act? $275 million over five years. This is exactly the sort of putting wants ahead...

  • WA Cares may not fund family caregivers

    Elizabeth New|Updated May 9, 2024

    The May 1 meeting of a WA Cares oversight commission should be must-see-TV, as it made one thing super clear: There is going to be a lot of disappointment if WA Cares remains a mandatory program funded by 58 cents (or more) of every $100 a worker earns. Not only will some workers not qualify for the money they're being told should give them peace of mind about possible long-term-care needs, Washingtonians who do qualify for a WA Cares benefit won't be able to fully choose how...