Friday of this week is the first deadline of the 2019 Legislative Session. All policy-related bills will need to advance from committees where they were introduced or be ineligible for further action.
Legislators have completed about one-third of the scheduled 105-day session.
Here is a summary of key bills that Washington Retail is monitoring and commenting upon:
- HB 1071, SB 5064, regarding data breaches. The Senate held a committee hearing on its bill earlier this week that establishes reporting responsibilities to the public when security breaches occur with retailers. Washington Retail is working with the Attorney General’s office and legislators on various amendments to improve the bills.
- HB 1205 and SB 5323, banning plastic shopping bags statewide. Washington Retail has expressed concerns about removing a shopping option for consumers. Both bills have advanced out of the committees from which they were introduced.
- HB 1159, changing the definition of theft from a retailer. The bill would add a provision to question shoppers known to be hiding merchandise on their person before leaving a store. Most other states allow this option for law enforcement authorities, but it is not yet permissible in Washington State. Washington Retail supports the bill. The bill has advanced from a public safety committee to the Rules Committee.
- HB 1491 and SB 5717, concerning scheduling procedures. Washington Retail opposes the bills that would potentially fine retailers who failed to post work schedules two weeks in advance. They would remove flexibility for employers and workers in need of adjustments to meet obligations outside of work. A similar Seattle ordinance has proven to be unpopular for employers and employees alike.
- HB 1559, back-to-school sales tax holiday. Washington Retail supports this bill that would encourage shopping in general during the late summer months and help parents with back-to-school expenses. It currently is in a House Finance committee awaiting further action.
- HB 1515 and SB 5513, independent contractors. The bills would reclassify independent contractors as employees of companies that hire them. Beauticians, hair stylists and a franchise association have joined Washington Retail in opposition to these bills.