It has been an eventful week as the Legislature welcomed newly elected and veteran legislators back to Olympia. WR has been reviewing closely the bills which were pre-filed as well as new bills dropped during the first week of session approximately 3,000 bills are expected to be introduced.
The Democrat party has majority control in both houses with a 58D-40R split in the House and a 29D -20R split in the Senate. The bills that receive House approval will move from the House of origin to the opposite House for possible concurrence and a floor vote for potential approval by the entire Legislature.
Among the bills that were pre-filed, WR is closely following:
- HB 1140/SB 5187 proposes 2023-2025 fiscal biennium operating appropriations funding for the Attorney General’s Organized Retail Crime (ORC) Task Force. AG Ferguson initially requested $3 million in funding for resources and staffing of the Task Force. Governor Inslee has budgeted $2.265 million. WR supports the Governor’s proposal and encourages the Legislature to increase the appropriation to the AG’s original $3 million.
- HB 1137, which WR drafted and strongly supports, would allow injured workers to return to light-duty work thru approved non-profit organizations if there is no light-duty work available with their employer. If passed, the bill will create equitable access to return to work, which would be especially beneficial to frontline workers and small businesses.
- HB 1131/SB 5154 call for the creation of a beverage container reimbursement program and producers of products with packaging to join a producer responsibility organization that will set forth standards of how producers will pay for and encourage and incentivize the redesign of packaging to be reusable, recyclable, or compostable. The bill is also referred to as the “WRAP Act.” WR appreciates that the 142-page bill does not require retailers to take the beverage containers back at their store locations. We are reviewing this complex legislation and working closely with the sponsors.