Union-backed bills spark debate on Senate floor

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Democrats in Washington’s Senate tried to advance controversial union-backed legislation but postponed them after debate stretched overnight into the early morning hours Thursday and sparked backlash over transparency from Republicans who oppose the measures.

The News Tribune reports that the late-night wrangling was the latest skirmish in a yearslong fight between labor unions and the Freedom Foundation, a conservative think tank that has campaigned to reduce the size and influence of public-sector unions. Part of that effort is notifying state workers that they are not required to pay union fees.

One of the measures would shield the birthdates of state employees from public disclosure. The other measure would overhaul the employment structure of home health care workers, also known as individual providers. Republicans were able to delay passage, but majority Democrats say they plan to pass the measures later this week.