Legislation (Senate Bill 5370) establishing an airport commission tasked with identifying up to six possible sites for future commercial aviation was signed by Gov. Jay Inslee this week.
“The time for studies is over, now we need to make some tough decisions,” said Sen. Karen Keiser, D-Des Moines, the prime sponsor of the legislation, in a Senate Democratic Caucus press release.
Sea-Tac International Airport is the fastest growing airport in the nation, and is also the smallest international airport in the country. In 2009, state estimates projected 30 million passengers would travel through Sea-Tac. However, by 2018, passenger travel reached nearly 50 million in a single year.
“This is a great step forward to facing the reality that we need more statewide commercial aviation choices,” Keiser said. “Our economy and our residents will deserve good decisions on these critical choices. If you’ve flown in or out of Sea-Tac International Airport recently you know we already face flight delays, gate limitations, and terminal congestion as everyday events. Additional commercial airport options – whether it is brand new or a build-out of existing facilities – makes sense for our state, our economy and our citizens.”
The new commission must make recommendations to additional commercial airport facilities for by 2021. Senate Bill 5370 is supported by the Washington Ports Association and the Port of Seattle Commissioners as well as the airport-impacted cities of Burien, SeaTac and Des Moines.
Keiser represents District 33, which includes parts of Kent as well as Burien, Normandy Park, SeaTac, Des Moines and parts of Tukwila and Renton.
Sexual harassment protection
State legislation to better protect employees who work in isolated environments against sexual harassment was signed into law this week.
“I have been working on addressing sexual harassment for quite some time,” said Keiser, sponsor of Senate Bill 5258. “Protecting low-wage, isolated workers is the next step in achieving a harassment-free workplace for us all.
“Housekeepers, janitors, security guards, and other individuals working alone on the night-shift are extremely vulnerable to sexual harassment and exploitation. This bill was voted off the floor of the Senate and House in a bipartisan manner. The legislation now makes Washington one of the first states in the nation with expanded protections for isolated employees.”
The final version of SB 5258 will require certain employers that employ isolated workers to adopt a sexual harassment policy, provide mandatory sexual harassment training, provide a list of resources to employees and provide a panic button to each isolated worker.