Legislative & Regulatory Issues

Public Safety, Retail Theft, INFORM, Organized Retail Crime

WR’s top priority is implementing a “multi-pronged” approach to increasing public safety, reducing retail theft, and increasing prosecution of ORC. WR and its national partners were successful in helping pass…
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Expanding Access to Return to Work Programs (RTW)

RTW programs have proven effective at reducing long term disability and improving injured workers’ outlook for transitioning back to work. Under current law, however, RTW programs are limited to the…
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“Qui-Tam” or PAGA

This legislation will allow a third party to sue employers on behalf of the state to enforce wage, hour, meal, rest break, anti-retaliation, discrimination, safety, and other workplace laws has…
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Packaging and Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR)

Washington’s House of Representatives is preparing to reintroduce comprehensive EPR packaging legislation. This legislation is similar to the legislation recently passed in California seeking to reduce and eventually eliminate packaging…
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Data Privacy

Now enacted, the Washington My Health My Data Act stands as a milestone in privacy legislation for 2023.  It is arguably the most impactful privacy legislation since the original California…
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Paid Family and Medical Leave (PFML)

In accordance with the actuarial study, premiums will increase to 0.8% in 2023 to regain solvency. The Legislature had numerous proposals to reform benefit eligibility and levels in the 2023…
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Margins Tax – vs – Business and Occupation Tax

The Washington State Tax Structure Workgroup has been meeting for several years and one of their proposals to the legislature is to replace the Business and Occupation Tax with a…
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Warehouse Safety

The legislature approved new requirements affecting warehouse employee meals, rest breaks, safety, and quotas. WR has repeatedly urged legislators to recognize that the bill is unnecessary on the basis that…
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Our Impact

Our experienced Policy and Government Affairs (PGA) team is dedicated to advocating for the broad interests of the over 3000 storefronts represented in all 49 legislative districts across the state.  With effective lobbying strategies, the WR PGA team successfully secured amendments for several bills in favor of our members while stopping several unfavorable proposals in their tracks.  The results of the 2023 action-packed session produced several wins for WR members.

Organized Retail Crime Task Force Funding

WR has collaborated with the Attorney General for more than a year to establish the Washington State Organized Retail Crime Task Force. WR has played an active role in the three task force meetings—each drawing over 100 participants. Renée Sunde, President & CEO of WR, and AG Bob Ferguson have joined forces to address the top priority issue of public safety and retail crime at several Chambers of Commerce throughout Washington.

In addition, WR has been diligently advocating for the allocation of funds to the task force. With full funding, the AG will have the means to create an internal unit to provide the necessary resources to hire investigators, data analysts, and prosecutors to target major ORC crime rings. As a result of these efforts, the task force has been granted $2.265 million in funding as part of the final budget, which will greatly benefit retailers throughout the state.

SB 5286 – Paid Family and Medical Leave (PFML)

WR worked with a strong coalition to navigate and work to pass this bill which adjusts the first program of its kind in the nation. The legislation modifies the premium calculation formula for the PFML program, ensuring employers and employees share the cost of premiums instead of the burden falling solely on employers as had been carefully negotiated.

HB 1656 – Unemployment Insurance (UI) Benefit Appeals

This bill streamlines UI benefit appeals when there is no challenge to eligibility. It eliminates provisions stating that during a UI appeal, all issues related to a claimant’s eligibility for waiting period credit or UI benefits are considered, regardless of the reasons in the notice of appeal. It also eliminates the claimant’s work availability from being assessed independently from other matters. This will help small business employers, in particular, that are forced to lay off employees that need to receive UI benefits in a timely manner. It will also simplify for the employer the once complicated and time-consuming task of benefit appeals.

WR is a non-profit trade group that provides political strength to bring about change. Partner with an association 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.

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