Legislative & Regulatory Issues


WR is very concerned with the Governor’s proposals to institute a capital gains tax of 9 percent and to increase the services business and occupation tax by 67 percent. Both…
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Retail Theft

WR has proactively introduced legislation to help crack down on retail theft. Over $940 million in merchandise was stolen from retailers in the State of Washington last year. This means…
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Careers in Retail

Retail is connected to one in four jobs in the American workforce.  Our team has collaborated with WorkSource in Washington State to promote their annual Retail Month. Retailers applaud Governor…
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Protecting the Environment

WR and its members want to protect and improve our environment for their customers, their employees and themselves. WR is supporting a bill to encourage more people to use automated…
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Data Breach Notification

Retailers take very seriously the confidentiality and security of the sensitive information that customers entrust with them. If a criminal steals information, retailers want to notify their customers and minimize…
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Pharmacy – Prescriptions

Washington State and the nation are in the midst of an opioid abuse epidemic. Thousands of citizens of all ages and backgrounds are becoming or already are addicted to opioid…
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Trade Tariffs

In cooperation with the National Retail Federation, Washington Retail has urged President Trump and Congress to oppose increasing trade tariffs upon nations with whom we trade. This risks alienating our…
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Get Involved

These and other issues only pass or fail with the involvement and support or opposition from citizens like you. Weighing in is easier than ever and can be done in…
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Our Impact

Some of our key statewide legislative accomplishments involve reducing cost increases for retailers and their customers. Government regulations come with costs that need to be understood and weighed to encourage economic growth.

Savings for Retailers

Helped to pass a service animal definition bill

This narrowed the definition of pets allowable in stores to address retailers concerned about shoppers with exotic, potentially dangerous or unhealthy animal companions.

Blocked several proposed product regulations

Defeated attempts to add regulatory costs on products such as batteries, lighting and paint. These costs would increase the price of such merchandise and discourage sales.

Worked to repeal a Seattle payroll tax

This reversal by the Seattle City Council removed an expense that would have been decided by the number of employees on retail payrolls.

Sales tax holiday for back to school

Earned Legislature committee hearings to decide whether to allow a weekend sales tax exemption for buying back-to-school items.

Stopped Initiative 517

I-517 would have allowed petition gatherers to clog entrances and exits of retail stores. This protects levels of service and saves on administration costs associated with a new policy.

Prevented the elimination of the out-of-state resident sales tax exemption

The measure would have cost retailers over $45 million in lost sales. This outcome preserves an incentive for qualified out-of-state shoppers to buy merchandise in Washington State.

WR Legislative Outcomes

No general tax increases

We stopped an attempt to eliminate or alter the out-of-state sales tax exemption and a massive B and O tax surcharge. Unfortunately the legislature passed a bill to retroactively impose the state estate tax

Repeal of Seattle head tax

Washington Retail successfully helped to win a repeal of a Seattle tax that was to be charged on the size of payroll for retail establishments.

Sales Tax Holiday for Back-to-School

Introduced legislation, met with key legislators and staff, had hearings in both the House and Senate which moved it out of committee.

Blocked several proposed product regulations

Defeated an expansion of the children’s safe product act. Defeated the batteries, CFLs and paint bills.

Stopped new and expanded Mandatory Leave laws

Stopped several attempts to adopt new and expand existing leave laws such as a Seattle style “safe and sick” leave and our state family leave law.

Stopped all attempts to alter Workers’ Comp system

Stopped all attempts by labor and the trial attorneys to alter the existing system. Had hearings and votes on several pro-business workers’ comp bills. Unfortunately they did not move through the House.

WR is a non-profit trade group that provides political strength to bring about change. Partner with an assocation that understands not only your industry, but your unique individual business requirements in Washington State.

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The Group Retrospective Rating Program (RETRO) is a safety incentive program. The program was developed to encourage safety in the workplace and drive down the costs of doing business in Washington State.

Learn More About Retro »