Legislative Issues

representatives-legislation

Local leaders from Tukwila, Tumwater and Kent prepare to meet with senators and representatives in Olympia.

WSCFF leaders from Tukwila, Tacoma and Kent prepare to meet with senators and representatives on issues critical to fire fighters.

The mission of the WSCFF is to provide our members–professional, union fire fighters–the best possible working conditions and the safest possible working environment, along with fair compensation and benefits. We are active on all fronts, from local issues to national ones.  Statewide issues that affect our members are our primary concern.  Politically active since our inception in 1939, our efforts have been focused on legislative action on behalf of our members.

The WSCFF employs three active-duty fire fighters, Geoff Simpson and Michael White, as legislative liaisons and AJ Johnson as legislative intern; together with the President, Vice President and Secretary Treasurer they serve as the Legislative Team.   When fire fighter issues arise, the WSCFF Legislative Team is the source for answers.

2018 Legislative Issues

Funding the Local Public Safety Enhancement Account

The WSFFF requests $25 million in funding for the Local Public Safety Enhancement Account as required by ESSB 6573 of the 2008 session [2008 c99 4(4)].

The 2017-2019 budget as enacted did not contain an appropriation of the required deposit into the Local Public Safety Enhancement Account.

The Legislature entered into a contract with Washington’s career fire fighters when ESSB 6573 passed in 2008, and today’s legislature must honor that agreement.  Legislators recognized the shortcomings of the LEOFF 2 Pension Plan–including its inability to adequately produce a pension at a member’s normal retirement age of 53–and decided to create a fund to save for necessary improvements.  They also recognized a future legislature might be tempted NOT to make payments, so they made payments mandatory.

Presumptive Disease Coverage

The WSCFF supports establishing additional presumptive disease coverage, recognizing new, peer-reviewed evidence demonstrating firefighters are at greater risk of contracting:

  • Mesothelioma
  • Stomach cancer
  • Esophageal cancer
  • Buccal and pharynx cancer
  • Non-melanoma skin cancer
  • Adenocarcinoma
  • Breast cancer
  • Cervical cancer

 

Additionally, the WSCFF supports clarifying that both the cardiac illness related form of stroke and methicillin resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) are considered presumptive diseases.

The WSCFF supports extending presumptive disease coverage to publicly employed fire investigators and publicly employed emergency medical technicians meeting the definition of fire fighter as contained in RCW 41.26.030 (16) (h).

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Workers’ Compensation Coverage

The WSCFF supports workers’ compensation coverage for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) by:

Providing for an exception for fire fighters with PTSD from RCW 51.08.142, which excludes mental conditions or mental disabilities from stress being claimed as an occupational illness

Adding PTSD to the fire fighter prima facie presumption under RCW 51.32.185