OLYMPIA — Washington would be the first state in the nation to bring the 40-hour work week to agricultural workers, some of the nation’s lowest-paid workers, under a bill passed by the state Senate.

Farmworkers were exempted from the original federal Fair Labor Standards Act passed in 1938.

A late compromise negotiated by Sen. Karen Keiser, D-Des Moines, and Sen. Kevin Van De Wege, D-Sequim, enabled the legislation’s passage on a bipartisan vote of 37-12 just before a key legislative deadline.

Sen. Shelly Short, R-Addy, is a co-sponsor of the original bill, but voted against the amended proposal. Sen. Brad Hawkins, R-East Wenatchee, also voted no.

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