WR monitoring key bills in session’s fifth week

Feb 13, 2019
Written by wpengine

In this the fifth week of the Washington State Legislature’s 105-day session, Washington Retail is monitoring key bills that would affect retailers, particularly small businesses.

Among the key bills are:

  • Senate Bill 5589, which would prohibit head taxes on employs. Seattle approved such a tax based on the size of company payrolls but quickly repealed after the business community revolted at public hearings and threatened a public vote to defeat it.
  • House Bill 1738, sponsored by Rep. Vicki Kraft, R-Vancouver. The bill would relieve burdens on small businesses by updating the tax return filing thresholds to reflect inflation.
  • Senate Bill 5717 and House Bill 1155 would impose scheduling requirements for retailers that are more restrictive than an unpopular scheduling ordinance now in effect in Seattle.
  • HB 1074: The bill would raise the legal age to consume smoking products including vaping implements from 18 to 21. WR has expressed its concern that raising the legal age limit will reduce sales to convenience stores that sell smoking products.
  • HB 1559: The bill would establish a back-to-school sales tax holiday to help parents outfit students with school-related items. WR supports the bill, which has been referred to a Finance Committee.

Seattle’s scheduling bill requires retailers to post schedules 14 days in advance and imposes fines for companies that fail to do so. It does not adequately account for sudden changes in staffing needs, weather-related complications or increases in customer expectations.

Washington Retail fears that statewide restrictive scheduling would force retailers to reduce hours and sour morale because its requirements would discourage the current practice of employees swapping shifts to meet personal needs outside of work.

If you have questions or comments about these or other bills that Washington Retail is following, contact Mark Johnson, Senior Vice President of Policy and Government Affairs, at 360-943-0048 or [email protected].