Washington Privacy Act clears Legislature hurdle

Feb 18, 2021
Written by Mark Johnson, Senior Vice President of Policy and Government Affairs

Senate Bill 5062, the Washington Privacy Act, prime sponsored by Senator Reuven Carlyle (D-36-Seattle) passed from the Senate Ways and Means Committee Monday night. The bill was heard in Ways and Means because of its $1.4 million needed appropriation to enable the Attorney General to enforce it.

WR supports sole AG enforcement. The measure now goes to the powerful Rules Committee, Chaired by Lieutenant Governor Denny Heck (D). All bills must be voted out of the Rules Committee before they can be considered on the floor by the entire Senate.

Similar legislation last session passed the Senate by a vote of 46 to 1. I anticipate SB 5062 to pass out of the Senate and likely be referred to the House Committee on Civil Rights and Judiciary, Chaired by Representative Drew Hansen (D-23 – Bainbridge Island).

The bill is addressing the shared responsibilities of retailers and those who process sales to protect the privacy and identity of customers’ personal information.

Likely competing against the Washington Privacy Act will be the People’s Privacy Act House Bill 1433, prime sponsored by Representative Shelley Kloba (D-1-Kirkland). One of the chief differences between the bills is that the Kloba-sponsored bill contains a private right of action provision and the WPA has sole AG enforcement.

WR will continue to work with legislators and stakeholders to craft the best bill possible for the consumers and businesses of Washington state.