Senator Reuven Carlyle, the prime sponsor of the Washington Data Privacy Act, has announced his retirement at the end of 2022. At this point, it is unclear if another legislator from either the House or Senate will pick up the issue to continue the debate. Sen. Carlyle’s bill was written in part by WR and its members. We were a strong proponent for its passage for several sessions. While the bill enjoyed broad bi-partisan support in the Senate, it ran into many roadblocks in the House including the ACLU, trial attorneys, and extreme privacy advocates. Competing proposals in the House included an unacceptable private right of action rather than sole attorney general enforcement and jeopardized our consumer popular loyalty programs. Additionally, unequal data protection and handling requirements for processors and collectors made the bills untenable. Detrimental federal data privacy legislation is also pending before Congress which contains a PRA and lacks robust state pre-emption. Several of our delegation are closely involved including Senator Cantwell, Congresswoman DelBene and Congresswoman and incoming committee of jurisdiction chair, McMorris-Rodgers.
WR is carefully monitoring all activity both in Washington and at the national level. We are active participants with the National Retail Federation Data Privacy Workgroup – charged with navigating the federal bills. If a state general data privacy bill is introduced we will engage appropriately including re- activating our WR Data Privacy Workgroup and potentially our privacy attorney expert.