As the 2021 Legislative session is nearly three-fourths complete, lawmakers face a key action deadline this Friday.
Tomorrow marks the final day the Senate and House can take final votes on bills approved by the opposite house on policy matters. A similar April 2 deadline is for fiscal bills before the scheduled April 25 adjournment date.
Besides actions on bills, the Legislature will soon turn its attention to adoption of a new state budget. The expected debate on whether any tax increases are necessary comes as state revenues have been steadily increasing and exceeding expectations leading many legislators to doubt that any tax increases are necessary. Washington Retail is urging the Legislature to refrain from tax increases that will add burdens on retailers struggling to financially recover from mandated closures during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Please note that budget related bills are alive until adjournment. Also, because Legislature action can be spontaneous and hard to anticipate, the following report was accurate at the time of writing.
Key bills that remain on the watch include:
- Senate bill 5096, capital gains tax. Nearly 4,000 people signed up to testify on the bill that is in the House for consideration after passing in the Senate. Washington Retail opposes the bill but expects it to be signed into law and challenged in court as an unconstitutional income tax.
- House bill 1539, bad debt sales tax credit. Washington Retail opposes this bill that would remove tax credits from retailers whose customers fail to pay sales taxes. It could be incorporated as part of an overall tax reform by the Legislature until adjournment.
- House bill 1076, allowing third-party lawsuits against retailers for alleged wage violations. The Senate is considering the bill after it passed in the House. This bill threatens a flood of expensive, often frivolous actions that can be sorted and negotiated by the state Labor & Industries department.
- WR opposes Senate bill 5355 that would allow for liens to be placed on the property of employers for alleged wage violations without pre-notice or investigation. The House is scheduled to exec the bill after it passed in the Senate.
- WR supports Senate bill 5203, which has passed the Senate. It encourages the Health Care Authority to enter into partnerships with other states and agencies to produce, distribute and purchase generic prescription drugs.
WR will provide weekly updates on key bills until adjournment, after which a comprehensive report on outcomes of all retail-related bills will be sent to members.