SB 5172 Deadline Pt 2

SB 5172 Deadline Pt 2

Bob Larson
Bob Larson
With today’s Fruit Grower Report, I’m Bob Larson. In Olympia, no changes yet have been made to a Senate bill that has moved on to the House aimed primarily at protecting ag employers from retroactive overtime payments.

Pam Lewison, Washington Policy Center’s Ag Initiative Director, says we were led to believe there would be some tweaking of SB 5172 that considers the nature of agriculture …

LEWISON … “What was originally discussed was some flexibility that we here in Washington state grow crops that are not mindful of a 40-hour work week. And, those amendments have not come to fruition either.”

Worries now, Lewison says are that no one wants to even discuss amendments …

LEWISON … “That puts ag in an awkward position of being really supportive of this bill at the beginning, to having to really reevaluate their position.”

I asked Lewison, if ANY changes have been discussed …

LEWISON … “They have been brought up in hearings and also in discussions outside of hearings and it seems like the general discussion has been we’re fine with the bill the way it is. We’re just going to leave it and move on.”

This comes, Lewison says even after hearing from farmworkers ...

LEWISON … “We have farmworkers testifying in hearings saying, you know, we want to work more than 40 hours a week. We are afraid that 40 hours a week is all we are going to get and that’s not enough.”

Tune in tomorrow for more on the ag overtime bill and the looming deadline for any possible changes in this legislation.

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