Top priority bills moving through the legislature

Feb 24, 2022
Written by WR Communications
  • HB 2019 would increase educational and training opportunities for careers in retail. WR introduced this bill, and it aligns with the JEDI initiative launched over a year ago. This legislation promotes credentialed training for entry-level and incumbent workers. WR has been working with the prime sponsor Rep. Matt Boehnke (R-Dist. 8), to develop this bill, including a career connect opportunity for students completing their certification connecting them to local employers for job opportunities. The purpose is to change the narrative of retail work to show there is a steady career pathway for job seekers. The bill was voted out of the House in a near-unanimous vote (94-2). It had a hearing in the Senate on February 22 and is scheduled for a possible executive session at 1:30 pm this afternoon.
  • HB 2018, the Sales Tax Holiday Act, creates a three-day shop local and save sales and use tax holiday to benefit all Washington families for certain items $1,000 or less during Labor Day Weekend in September. WR supports this bill which includes clothing, school supplies, over-the-counter medication, medical equipment, and energy star appliances and backfills to local governments so that they don’t lose their much-needed revenue. The bill has been added to the House budget.  Hopefully, the Senate will embrace the idea as well.
  • HB 1850 mandates data privacy regulations and implements penalties. WR has concerns with 1850, which contains a private right of action. This bill also creates a new commission very similar to what California established, interferes with our loyalty programs, and places additional burdens on businesses. WR opposes this measure, and our data privacy group continues to hold discussions on the bill in further detail. The bill has been declared necessary to implement the budget and is immune from all cutoffs.  WR supports SB 5062, the Washington Privacy Act, which does not contain a private right of action and allows retailers to maintain their loyalty programs. Discussions are taking place between stakeholders to see if an agreement can be made.
  • SB 5873 would provide more relief on unemployment insurance taxes for next year. It would lower the social tax by about 30% next year and continue this trend into the following year. WR testified in support. The Paid Family and Medical Leave component was eliminated. A public hearing was held in the House Committee on Labor & Workplace Standards and was voted out of committee last Friday. On Monday of this week, the bill was referred to Rules for review and a hopeful vote of the entire House.
  • HB 1837 concerns repealing the prohibition on ergonomic regulations being adopted and mandated. An initiative was passed in 2003 by the employer sector that prohibits the state from regulating ergonomics or musculoskeletal injuries. This bill would repeal that initiative. WR is opposing as there is no federal set of standards from OSHA. Additionally, determining whether a personal or work-related activity was the cause of an ergonomic injury is a difficult, if not impossible, task. The bill narrowly passed the House (50-48) after a nearly 10-hour contentious debate. The bill has a hearing this morning at 8:00 am in the Senate.
  • SB 5761 is concerning employer requirements for providing wage and salary information to applicants for employment. WR opposes this measure. It has passed the Senate and voted out of the House Committee on Labor & Workplace Standards on Tuesday.