OLYMPIA—Rep. Mike Sells, who took on the chairmanship of the Labor and Workforce Development Committee in 2011, has been elected by his peers to go at it again this coming session.
“I will be working closely with business, labor and the public around issues of workplace safety, worker training and education, unemployment compensation and how we can help improve our business climate,” he said about his responsibilities chairing the committee.
The House Labor & Workforce Development Committee considers issues relating to industrial insurance, unemployment compensation, collective bargaining, family leave, safety and health standards, wage laws and employment discrimination. It is also tasked with issues relating to workforce development, including the implementation of the Workforce Investment Act.
Last year’s lengthy discussions of legislation that would result in the largest reformation of the state-run workers’ compensation system in its 100-year history, took place in Sells’ committee. The package the Legislature finally passed successfully improved claims management, established settlement flexibility for older workers, put in place measures to crack down on fraud, and reduced rates for employers. It’s no surprise Sells’ colleagues recognized his leadership skills and put him back as the head of that committee.
Sells will continue serving in the Higher Education Committee where his understanding of workforce development issues gives him a working knowledge of the help we need to provide our community colleges and universities in support of their workforce training programs.
“We have to keep working on creating greater access to higher education opportunities. We need to build the kind of quality training programs that ensure economic success because our citizens deserve a chance to gain the lasting, relevant skills they need to pursue low-turnover, high-paying careers,” said Sells.
The Everett Democrat will add responsibilities to his plate as a new member of the Transportation Committee, which considers the transportation budget, revenue sources for funding, and issues relating to transportation policy and agencies, including the Department of Transportation and the Washington State Patrol.
“With important transportation needs in Snohomish County, such as better Highway 2 safety, better on-and-off I-5 access from the Everett Mall Way through Marysville, and issues of transit funding and freight mobility, to mention a few, I welcome the opportunity to bring my district’s projects to the table,” Sells concluded.