Washington state is at its best when families across all communities are thriving, which includes access to jobs with living wages and good benefits, a commitment to equal pay for equal work, and equitable support for small businesses. Stronger investments in our people, including increasing family wage jobs, providing access to affordable childcare, and investing in training programs will help our state prosper.

Worker Protections

Noel fully supports collective bargaining because when our workers can organize, they advocate for better, safer working conditions for everyone. We also must foster a diverse workforce that pays all people, including women, people of color and people with disabilities, equal pay for equal work.

Noel supported:

  • HB 1672 – Tolling prevailing wage determinations. (PRIME SPONSOR, PASSED)
  • HB 2817 – Banning the use of mandatory overtime for non-emergency circumstances. (PRIME SPONSOR, PASSED)
  • HB 1796 – Pregnant workers accommodations to promote healthy outcomes for pregnant women and infants. (CO-SPONSOR, PASSED as SB 5835).
  • HB 1506 – Pay equity! (CO-SPONSOR)

What’s next?

In the next legislative session, Noel intends to continue supporting labor unions and low-wage workers in their fight for better pay and better working conditions. She also intends to introduce legislation to end the use of sub-minimum wage for people with disabilities. The Labor & Workplace Standards Committee will be holding an interim work session on this topic in Seattle by the end of 2018.

Investing in People

The people of Washington State have not benefited uniformly from our great economic prosperity. While the Puget Sound has boomed, rural Washington still has high unemployment. Women often immediately return to work upon the birth of a child to make ends meet or leave the workforce entirely to raise children because the cost of childcare exceeds that which she can make working full-time. Additionally, we must support training outside of a traditional four-year college path to prepare our youth and mid-career adults for a variety of career paths.

Noel supported:

  • HB 1115 – Paid family and medical leave insurance, eventually (CO-SPONSOR, PASSED as SB 5975)
  • HB 1282– Career and technical education. (CO-SPONSOR, PASSED)
  • HB 2685 – Promoting pre-apprenticeship opportunities for high school students. (CO-SPONSOR, PASSED)
  • HB 2177 – Creating the rural county high employer demand jobs program. (CO-SPONSOR, PASSED)

What’s next?

In the next session, Noel plans to support updating the “Work First” program requirements to allow up to 24 months, rather than the current 12 months, of vocational training to count as qualified work activity.

Economic Development

Much of our economic development strategy in the state of Washington has been the passage of tax breaks to attract large corporations to locate in our state. While some of these investments have created jobs, they lack a long-term, sustainable strategy to grow our local economies from within, supporting small business, and strengthening local communities. It’s time for a new strategy.

Noel supported:

  • HB 1123 – Tourism marketing. (CO-SPONSOR, PASSED as SB 5251).
  • HB 1183 – Creative Districts, promoting arts & culture, also serving as economic development tools. (CO-SPONSOR, PASSED)
  • HB 2005 – Simplifying the administration of business licenses across multiple jurisdictions, helping small businesses succeed. (PASSED)
  • Budget investments to expand rural broadband access, the Community Economic Revitalization Board, and Rural & Small Business Assistance. (PASSED)

What’s Next?

Noel supports additional investments in the Public Works Assistance Account, which provides financial and technical assistance to communities throughout WA, building critical infrastructure needed to grow local economies, and the State Trade Expansion Program which helps small businesses access global markets to export their products.