Legislative Update

Feb 23, 2023
Written by WR Communications

Photo of the Washington State Capitol building with a partly cloudy blue sky

Today marks the 46th day of the 105-day session. As of today, legislators have filed 2,008 bills. Friday, Feb 17, was the “cutoff,” or deadline for bills to pass out of their policy committees and be read into the record on the floor in their House of origin, except House Fiscal Committees, Transportation, Appropriations, Finance, and Senate Ways & Means and Transportation committees. Those bills must be read into the record by the end of day tomorrow, February 24.

WR’s policy and government affairs team are continuing to engage on bills impacting retail. Notable bills:

HB 1155 aims to regulate the privacy of health data concerning its collection, sharing, and sale. WR has significant concerns about the bill in its current form due to its overly broad scope, which could hinder access to low-cost healthcare, a key legislative objective in recent years. The excessively broad restrictions and requirements, such as those related to geofencing, consent, and deletion obligations, would create an unequal playing field. The substitute bill passed in the House Committee on Civil Rights & Judiciary and now awaits action by the full House.

HB 1363 & HB 1586/SB 5533. HB 1363 concerns vehicle pursuits by law enforcement if there is reasonable suspicion that a person in the vehicle has committed or is committing a crime. HB 1586 and SB 5533 provide for the establishment of a work group study on the subject of vehicle pursuits. These revised provisions to the current laws will help make the public safer, protect the community, and assist in efforts to apprehend retail thieves and members of organized retail crime syndicates. HB 1363 had a public hearing in the House Committee on Transportation earlier this week, and HB 1586 is scheduled for the executive session in House Appropriations tomorrow, Feb 24, and SB 5533 is scheduled for a vote in Ways & Means today. WR supports these bills as a package and will continue to testify to their merits.

SB 5056 Increases penalties for habitual and repeat offenders, requiring a person found beyond a reasonable doubt to be a habitual property offender and sentenced with an additional 24 months. This bill is awaiting action by the full Senate. WR gives its full support to this bill.

SB 5160 would increase the punishments for retail crimes that involve multiple accomplices, with increased penalties for cumulative values involving multiple thefts over 180 days from one or more businesses. If the same criminals 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. This bill is awaiting action by the full Senate.

HB 1131 would enact the Packaging Extended Producer Responsibility—the WRAP Act—and create a beverage container reimbursement (BCR) program. WR continues working with stakeholders to define “producer” and share comments on improving the BCR program. This bill is scheduled for executive session in the House Committee on Appropriations at 9:00am today, February 23. WR supports the voluntary nature of the takeback sites, but the bill’s language remains a work in progress.

SB 5368, which WR drafted and strongly supports, would allow injured workers to return to light-duty work through approved non-profit organizations if no light-duty work is available with their employer. If passed, the bill will create equitable access to return to work, which would especially benefit frontline workers and small businesses. This bill is awaiting action by the full Senate.

All bills must pass from their House of origin by March 8.


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