Washington Retail has begun sorting through several retail-related bills in the first few weeks of the state Legislature’s current 105-day remote session.
Committee consideration of policy matters is proceeding toward a February 15 deadline for cutting off consideration of bills introduced in the Senate and House of Representatives. Bills that receive house approval then move from the house of origin to the opposite house for possible concurrence and a floor vote for possible approval by the full Legislature. The Democrat party has majority control in both houses.
Some of the key bills on WR’s watchlist include:
- SB 5096 calls for a 9% capital gains tax not currently in place in Washington State. WR opposes the tax that the Senate is expected to approve. A legal challenge is expected on the grounds that the proposal is an income tax prohibited by the state constitution.
- SB 5062 is the proposed Washington Privacy Act. WR is in support of the bill that aims to assign responsibilities for consumer data privacy between stores and companies that process sales.
- SB 5061 is a bill to provide protection for companies regarding future unemployment insurance tax rates. Significant future tax rate increases could result from historically large unemployment benefits paid to victims of the COVID-19 pandemic. WR has concerns with the bill and urges returning more workers to their jobs as an alternative to raising taxes to replenish the state’s unemployment reserve fund.
- HB 1053 would further delay a ban on plastic shopping bags. Due to a shortage of permissible replacement bags, Governor Inslee has delayed the ban from January 1 of this year to January 31. The bill would further delay the ban until June 30, 2021.
- SB 5027 would require businesses that sell televisions to be showing closed captions on the sets. It is similar to an ordinance in effect in Seattle.
The session that convened on January 11 is scheduled to last 105 days.