State legislators reached an important deadline for action this week during the 2021 session. The Senate and House voted on most of the pending bills that originated in each house before sending them to the opposite house for possible further action. Bills not related to the budget that were not acted upon will no longer be considered this session.
Various committees now approach a March 26 deadline for final action on pending policy-related bills. Bills related to the state budget can be acted upon up until the scheduled April 25 adjournment.
Please note that legislative action can be spontaneous and difficult to predict. The following report on the status of key retail-related bills was accurate at the time of writing.
- SB 5062, the Washington Privacy Act (data privacy). The Senate passed the bill 48-1 and sent it to the House for further consideration. It intends to assign responsibility to stores and credit processors for the online security of customers’ personal information.
- SB 5096, capital gains tax. The Senate passed the bill 25-24 before sending it to the House. Washington Retail opposes the bill that would tax the sale of personal financial assets. If approved, it is expected to be legally challenged as unconstitutional and unnecessary given the health of state revenues.
- HB 1539 is scheduled for a hearing today. WR opposes this bill that would narrow the business and occupation tax deduction and sales and use tax credit and refund. Though state finances are recovering, the Revenue Department has requested that the Legislature assign emergency status to the bill.
- SB 5191 is meant to address price gouging during public emergencies. The Senate has passed the bill 29-20 and sent it to the House for further consideration. WR has expressed concerns with certain details in the bills and is working to improve terms.
- HB 1076 would allow third parties to sue companies for alleged employment law violations. The House has passed the bill 53-44. WR opposes the bill that could unleash a rash of frivolous and costly legal proceedings against companies. Labor & Industries currently negotiates such complaints.
- HB 1033 has unanimously passed the House 97-0 and awaits Senate action. WR supports the bill that would extend a business and occupation tax credit for employee training to July 1, 2026. It is currently set to expire on July 1 of this year.
Washington Retail will continue updating key bills weekly through the balance of the current remote session. A complete report on the outcome of all bills WR has monitored will be made to members in the weeks following adjournment.