Governor signs two laws aimed at uniformed shared leave, crane safety

Governor Chris Gregoire yesterday signed into law a measure she requested to create a uniformed service shared leave pool. The pool would allow state employees to donate their leave time to a shared leave pool specifically for colleagues in the armed forces, the National Guard and the Reserves.

“These Washingtonians are doing double duty – not only are they serving the people of Washington through their work as a state employee, but they are serving the country,” said Governor Gregoire. “We are proud to donate leave to support their families while they are away supporting our country.”

The Uniformed Services Shared Leave pool will be created within the Office of the State Treasurer. The Washington Department of Personnel will work with the Military Department and the Office of Financial Management to establish the pool.

Substitute House Bill 1507, sponsored by Rep. Larry Seaquist (D-Gig Harbor), a veteran of the United States Navy, passed the House with 96 votes and passed the Senate with 46 votes. The bill takes effect on October 1, 2007.

Also yesterday, Governor Gregoire signed into law a measure that will improve crane safety and accountability by establishing in Washington a crane certification program. The new law will give Washington one of the strongest set of crane regulations in the country.
“We cannot allow a repeat of the tragedy from last November,” said Governor Gregoire.

“The new safety regulations in the bill will make work sites safer for all workers, not just those who operate cranes.”

Last November, a tower crane in Bellevue collapsed, killing one and heavily damaging three buildings.

Substitute House Bill 2171, sponsored by Rep. Deb Eddy (D-Kirkland), passed the House with 97 votes and passed the Senate with 39 votes. The bill takes effect on January 1, 2010.