Legislature tackles a week of virtual floor debate

Apr 8, 2021
Written by wpengine

On Day 88 of the 2021 Legislative session today, floor sessions in the Senate and House are being conducted remotely toward another deadline on Sunday. Adjournment is scheduled on April 25

After 5 p.m. on Sunday, discussion is limited to specific topics: budget and revenue-related matters, matters of differences on bills between the two houses, and matters related to ongoing discussions after adjournment and to closing the session including the adoption of a state budget. Smaller conference committees may be assigned to work out differences between the houses in an attempt to reach agreement on bills before a final vote.

WR has narrowed its focus on remaining bills that have not been put off to the 2022 session. Please note that Legislature updates can be spontaneous. Therefore, this report was accurate at the time of writing.

WR’s focus for this year includes:

  • SB 5062, the Washington Privacy Act. A conference committee is likely to try to work out differences between the Senate and House on how to protect and enforce the privacy of online consumer data. WR opposes a bill that would expand enforcement beyond the state Attorney General.
  • SB 5096, capital gains tax. WR expects both houses to narrowly approve a 7% tax on the sale of long-term assets including businesses. WR opposes new taxes when state revenues have exceeded projections and returned to levels from before the COVID-19 pandemic. If Governor Inslee signs a bill into law, WR expects a lawsuit challenging the charge as an illegal income tax.
  • WR is opposing HB 1539. It would overturn a state Supreme Court ruling that upheld a sales tax credit for retailers whose credit customers default on paying.
  • SB 5191 would allow the Attorney General to investigate and levy fines against retailers for alleged exorbitant price hikes during emergencies such as the COVID-19 pandemic. WR has expressed concerns and has been working to improve terms. The bill passed in the Senate and is now in the House Rules Committee.
  • SB 5355 would attach wage liens on property during claims for unpaid wages. WR opposes the bill that narrowly passed the Senate and the House and now the bill goes to the Governor where he is expected to sign it.

Washington Retail will continue reporting weekly updates on bills then follow with a comprehensive report for members on all monitored bills in the weeks following adjournment.