Legislature returns to committee work

Mar 20, 2019
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Written by Washington Retail
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Various committees are back in session now that the House of Representatives and Senate have approved bills that originated in each house. The next deadline to approve policy measures from the opposite house is April 3.

Today marks the 66th day of session during the scheduled 105-day meeting of the 2019 Legislative Session scheduled for adjournment on April 28.

As bills fall by the wayside during the session, Washington Retail has narrowed its focus on key pending bills that could affect retailers. As of today, the Legislative Information Center reported that legislators had introduced 2,239 bills during the 2019 session.

Here’s a summary:

  • HB 1343, SB 5129 would adopt a 9 percent capital gains tax and increase the business & occupations tax from 1.5 percent to 2.5 percent. WR opposes these bills, that are pending the state’s release of expected revenues tomorrow.
  • HB 1491 SB 5717 would adopt scheduling mandates on retailers statewide. Lawmakers failed to act upon them in fiscal committees. Regardless, WR is monitoring whether they return for consideration this year or next. WR opposes both bills.
  • Washington Retail is working to improve several bills related to data breaches and protecting the privacy of consumers. In their present form, WR objects to the privacy bills, SB 5376 and HB 1854, and the data breach bills, HB 1071 and SB 5064.
  • The House failed to pass a bill WR supported, HB 1159. It would have extended law enforcement powers to question shoppers known to be concealing merchandise before leaving stores. Seventeen other states allow this authority in questioning suspects.
  • SB 5323, plastic bag ban. The bill has passed the Senate and awaits further action in the House. Though WR has favored shoppers retaining their choice of shopping bags, the current bill would create a uniform statewide regulation for shopping bags that would simplify compliance for stores.
  • HB 1559, sales tax holiday for back-to-school items. WR supports the bill that would promote taxable sales while extending a financial break for parents and teachers buying clothing and supplies for school. Because it is related to the adoption of a state budget later this session, it remains alive for consideration and adoption.

Washington Retail will produce a report for members following adjournment that spells out the outcome of key bills related to retailers.