Legislative Update

Feb 2, 2023
Written by WR Communications

Today marks the 24th day of the 105-day session, and WR’s policy and government affairs team (pictured right) are continuing to review bills closely. As of today, legislators have filed 1,822 bills, an increase of 175 over the previous week.

HB 1155 is purported to protect health data privacy relating to collecting, sharing, and selling consumer health data. WR has significant concerns about the bill as currently written because of the overly broad scope. The bill would impact the delivery of low-cost access to healthcare which has become a primary directive over the past years. Onerous and overbroad restrictions and requirements such as those related to geofencing, consent and deletion obligations, set the stage for unfair advantage. This bill is scheduled for executive session in the House Committee on Civil Rights & Judiciary tomorrow morning, February 3 at 10:30am.

SB 5160 would increase the punishments for retail crimes that involve multiple accomplices, with increased penalties for cumulative values of involving multiple thefts over a 180-day period from one or more businesses. If the same criminal stole goods in several counties, each county could prosecute based on the cumulated rate. WR strongly supports this bill and thanks Sen. Nikki Torres (R-15-Pasco) for introducing this legislation. Executive action was taken in the Senate Committee on Law & Justice last Thursday and passed for a second reading in the Rules Committee the following day.

HB 1131 and SB 5154 would enact the Packaging Extended Producer Responsibility—also known as the WRAP Act—and create a beverage container reimbursement (BCR) program. WR is working with stakeholders on the definition of “producer” and sharing comments on improving the BCR program. WR supports the voluntary nature of the takeback sites. HB 1131 is scheduled for executive session in the House Committee on Environment & Energy this morning at 8:00am and SB 5154 is scheduled for executive session in the Senate Committee on Environment, Energy & Technology tomorrow, February 3 at 8:00am.

SB 5217, referred to as the Ergonomics bill, would give the state authority to adopt ergonomics regulations to purportedly prevent musculoskeletal injuries. WR strongly opposes this bill’s one-size fits all approach which will be difficult and costly for businesses to comply with while yielding minimal results. No additional hearings have been scheduled since the January 24 hearing in the Senate Committee on Labor & Commerce.

SB 5482 would replace the state’s Business & Operations (B&O) tax with a margins tax—modeled on legislation passed in Texas. Sen. Noel Frame (D-36-Seattle) is the prime sponsor of the bill. A margins tax would allow deductions, which the current B&O tax system does not. WR has significant concerns on the increased tax burden this change could have on many of our members. No additional hearings have been scheduled since the public hearing in the Senate Committee on Business, Financial Services, Gaming & Trade on January 26.


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