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Bob Larson Ag Wage Bill Passes in Senate
by Bob Larson, click here for bio

Program: Fruit Grower Report
Date: March 10, 2017

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With today’s Fruit Grower Report, I’m Bob Larson. A bill that would settle back-pay claims brought about by the state Supreme Court’s Sakuma decision got enough support to pass through the Senate.

Senator Brad Hawkins says it took some amending of the original, but he’s otherwise pleased with how things have gone, so far …

BRAD HAWKINS … “Well, I’m very thankful that the bill, 5720, was approved by the state Senate. We did pick up a handful of Democratic members who voted for it along with the Republican members. This is an issue that has been brought to me by many of the growers and agricultural employers in my district, the 12th District, but it is an issue that impacts many, many throughout the state. I think there’s upwards of 30 being named so far in these class action lawsuits.”

The East-Wenatchee Republican says the amended bill is more narrowly focused …

BRAD HAWKINS … “The bill as it passed the Senate, is focused exclusively on how we can compensate workers for past uncompensated rest breaks. And if, according to my bill, if agricultural employers choose to do that, they will be held harmless from lawsuits. And that’s really important because I see what’s happening to the agricultural industry as this really dark cloud looming of extended class-action lawsuits.”

Listen tomorrow for more on how Hawkin’s Ag-Wage bill evolved during debate in the House of Representatives and what happens next.

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