Top priority bills moving through the legislature

Feb 10, 2022
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Written by Washington Retail
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HB 2019 increases educational and training opportunities for careers in retail. WR helped introduce 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. The bill was voted out of the House in a near-unanimous vote (94-2). It will now be heard in the Senate.

HB 1614 is the Consumer Product Theft and Safety Act, aka INFORM Act, which would compel online marketplaces to require high-volume third-party sellers on their platforms to provide their information, such as contact details, to assist law enforcement in investigations. HB 1614 is currently in the Rules committee, and next step is a floor vote. The WR strategy group continues to meet and discuss developments. WR supports the bill to be pulled up for a vote by the Rules Committee.

HB 1850 establishes data privacy regulations. 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.

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. The bill has already moved to the Senate floor calendar.

HB 1486 would add eligibility to unemployment insurance for people who have conflicts with childcare or care for an adult family member. While well-intentioned, the UI trust fund was not created for this purpose. WR opposes yet another expansion of an already extensive list of voluntary quits provisions. The bill has been stalled for 3-weeks now.

HB 1837 would restore the state’s ability to address and regulate work-related musculoskeletal injuries. WR is opposing as there is no federal set of standards from OSHA, and it’s very difficult to determine if an ergonomic injury was caused by a personal or work-related activity. This bill passed committee on a party line vote and referred to Rules for review. WR is seeking feedback if other states have passed similar legislation. No fiscal note has been listed yet.

HB 1896 would create a producer responsibility system for batteries and require retailers to label and track all battery-containing products. WR opposes this bill due to concern about the broad spectrum of items included and is working to narrow the focus. The bill is scheduled for a vote next week.

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 could be added to the budget.