Remote Legislature reaches halfway point of 2021 Session

Mar 4, 2021
Written by wpengine

It’s Day 53 of the remote 105-day state Legislative Session, or the halfway point to adjournment scheduled on April 25.

It’s also just five days before the deadline for the House and Senate to vote on bills that originated in each respective house before a bill can go to the opposite house for further consideration. The exceptions to this rule are budget-related bills that can remain under consideration with no deadline other than the adjournment date.

Please note the action by the Legislature can be spontaneous and unpredictable. The following status of bills Washington Retail is tracking was accurate at the time of this writing.

  • SB 5114, the bill could speed the reopening of retailers by including the Legislature in decision-making during the coronavirus pandemic. The bill has not moved since a public hearing was held in the Senate more than a month ago. Washington Retail supports the bill.
  • WR opposes SB 5371 that would impose a new tax on the price of soft drinks and raise the price by 21 cents a can. The bill has not moved since a Feb. 22 hearing but it can remain alive until the Legislature adjourns.
  • WR is supporting SB 5459 that would create a business and occupation tax deduction for credit card processing companies.
  • WR is monitoring SB 5191 that would allow the Attorney General to prosecute retailers guilty of predatory pricing during the pandemic and impose a fine of up to $25,000 for each violation. The bill narrowly passed the Senate and now goes to the House for consideration.
  • WR is following HB 1493, which has overwhelmingly passed the House of Representatives. It would allow Employment Security to reinstate job-search requirements after their suspension during the pandemic is lifted for unemployment insurance recipients.
  • WR supports HB 1161 that would allow for the expansion of prescription drug take-back locations across the state. This is a positive public health and safety effort. The Rules Committee is reviewing the bill for possible further action.
  • WR opposes HB 1076 that would allow lawyers to sue companies for alleged violations of safety and employment law. Keeping enforcement authority with the state Labor & Industries department will avoid the possibility of delaying decisions caused by the elongated court calendar or a flood of frivolous or meaningless claims.