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Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Today is the 12th day of the 60-day legislative session, and things are moving quickly. The majority party is fast-tracking their agenda, which is why it's so important to closely follow the process and get involved. Our system of government relies on the active participation of citizens willing to speak up. Your voice matters.
This week, the House passed two bills dealing with the state's controversial long-term care insurance program and payroll tax.
The first measure, House Bill 1732 would delay implementation of the program by 18 months and move premium collections to July 1, 2023. The second, House Bill 1733, would create four new voluntary exemptions from the program.
Both bills are now in the Senate where they're scheduled for a public hearing in the Senate Ways and Means Committee on Monday, January 24, at 4:00 p.m.
- If you would like to testify on either bill, you can sign up here: https://app.leg.wa.gov/CSI/Senate
- You can also watch the committee meeting live at TVW here: https://tvw.org/live
Republicans offered two alternative proposals to address the long-term care insurance program and payroll tax: House Bill 1594, by Rep. Peter Abbarno, would repeal the program; and House Bill 1913, by Rep. Drew Stokesbary, would repeal and replace it.
Even though a strong majority Washington voters – 63% – told us they want to repeal the payroll tax, neither bill received a public hearing.
Virtual town hall meeting
On Saturday, Feb. 19, at 10:30 a.m., I'll be joining Sen. Keith Wagoner for a virtual town hall meeting over Zoom. This is another opportunity for you to ask us questions directly and tell us what you think about the issues facing our state and community.
If you would like to participate, you can register here: https://tinyurl.com/5622dsf3
I look forward to hearing from you!
The Legislature must take action to help struggling businesses. I am closely tracking the following business-related bills that have been introduced so far:
- HB 1592: Concerning military spouse employment.
- HB 1593: Expanding the landlord mitigation program to alleviate the financial burden on victims attempting to flee domestic violence, sexual assault, unlawful harassment, or stalking.
- HB 1613: Concerning shared reporting responsibilities for both the paid family and medical leave and the long-term services and supports trust programs to clarify that information collected from employer reports shall remain private.
- HB 1614: Concerning online marketplace consumer product theft and safety protection.
- HB 1617: Aligning state and school holidays.
- HB 1641: Restoring the business and occupation and public utility tax exemption for custom farming and hauling farm products.
- HB 1656: Changing the definition of theft.
- HB 1666: Clarifying the method for determining the value of specified tangible personal property incorporated as part of certain public infrastructure for the purposes of use tax and business and occupation tax.
- HB 1677: Concerning employer tax incentives for the support of veterans and military families.
- HB 1682: Concerning a compliance pathway specific to emissions-intensive, trade-exposed businesses for achieving their proportionate share of the state's emissions reduction limits through 2050.
- HB 1683: Concerning involuntary removal of property from current use classification.
- HB 1685: Increasing the cap on gross sales for cottage food operations.
- HB 1686: Allowing the labeling of biodegradable products that are supported by recognized national or international test methods.
- HB 1688: Protecting consumers from charges for out-of-network health care services, by aligning state law and the federal no surprises act and addressing coverage of treatment for emergency conditions.
- HB 1691: Concerning financial responsibility requirements related to oil spills.
- HB 1694: Concerning logistical processes for the regulation of priority chemicals in consumer products.
- HB 1698: Prohibiting latex gloves in the handling and preparation of food for sale to consumers.
- HB 1702: Accelerating broadband connectivity for Washington.
- HB 1704: Regulating service contracts and protection product guarantees.
- HB 1706: Concerning truck drivers ability to access restroom facilities.
- HB 1709: Addressing safety measures for tow truck operators and vehicles.
- HB 1718: Prohibiting activities related to the production and manufacturing of fur products.
- HB 1722: Concerning the acceleration of broadband deployment.
- HB 1723: Closing the digital equity divide by increasing the accessibility and affordability of telecommunications services, devices, and training.
- HB 1734: Concerning taxation of low-proof beverages.
- HB 1740: Concerning the authority of the community economic revitalization board.
- HB 1750: Authorizing an agricultural employer to select any 12 weeks in a calendar year as special circumstance weeks for labor demand, during which in each of the selected 12 weeks, the agricultural employer may employ agricultural employees for up to 50 hours before the requirement to pay overtime applies under RCW 49.46.130.
- HB 1766: Modifying the regulation of gas companies to achieve reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.
- HB 1771: Permitting family child care providers to collectively bargain defined contribution retirement benefits.
- HB 1783: Clarifying responsibilities for mandatory industrial insurance coverage for persons transporting freight.
- HB 1792: Expanding the production, distribution, and use of hydrogen not produced from a fossil fuel feedstock.
- HB 1794: Requiring an employer to reimburse employee fees when a paycheck is dishonored by nonacceptance or nonpayment.
- HB 1795: Prohibiting nondisclosure and nondisparagement provisions from employers regarding illegal acts of discrimination, harassment, retaliation, wage and hour violations, and sexual assault.
- HB 1810: Promoting the fair servicing and repair of digital electronic products in a safe, secure, reliable, and sustainable manner to increase access to appropriate and affordable digital products, support small businesses and jobs, and enhance digital connectivity in Washington state.
- HB 1838: Protecting, restoring, and maintaining habitat for salmon recovery.
- HB 1839: Authorizing commercial motor vehicles to park in chain up and chain off areas that are not in use.
- HB 1843: Concerning licensing requirements for child care centers and indoor early learning programs.
- HB 1846: Providing a tax preference for rural and nonrural data centers.
- HB 1853: Concerning the use and disclosure of toxic chemicals in cosmetic products.
- HB 1858: Alleviating consumer inflation by leveraging the state's significant budget surplus to reduce taxes on producers of certain consumer staple goods.
- HB 1872: Establishing the care worker center to promote caregiving professions.
- HB 1902: Providing an exception to the process for reopening a workers' compensation claim when the claimant submits a reopening application in a timely manner.
- HB 1904: Protecting tenants from excessive rent and related fees by providing at least six months' notice for rent increases over a certain amount, allowing tenants the right to terminate a tenancy, and limiting late fees.
- HB 1909: Concerning the misbranding of meat and poultry products.
- HB 1914: Updating and expanding the motion picture competitiveness program.
- HB 1928: Concerning equine industry support.
- HB 1930: Concerning license renewals for cosmetologists, hair designers, barbers, manicurists, and estheticians.
- HB 1932: Concerning the recyclability of products and packaging.
- HB 1933: Authorizing smaller local governments with a scarcity of manufacturing and industrial lands to establish a tax on cannabis producers and processors.
- HB 1957: Establishing a small business disaster recovery financial assistance program.
- HB 1958: Accelerating rural job growth and promoting economic recovery across Washington through a shovel-ready site certification program and grants.
- HB 2001: Expanding the ability to build tiny houses.
- HB 2018: Creating 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 the month of September.
- HB 2019: Increasing educational and training opportunities for careers in retail.
- HB 2026: Implementing a per mile charge on vehicles.
- HB 2029: Concerning the safety and security of retail cannabis outlets.
- HB 2031: Concerning unemployment insurance, family leave, and medical leave premiums.
- HB 2039: Enhancing the regulation of vapor products.
- HB 2051: Providing short-term disaster recovery financial assistance to agricultural producers.
- HB 2059: Concerning real estate agency law, but only to clarify that the statutory duties of real estate brokers apply to all parties and prohibiting the delivery of buyer unfair practice letters to the seller of residential real estate.
- HB 2076: Concerning rights and obligations of transportation network company drivers and transportation network companies.
As the session progresses, this list will likely continue to grow. I will do my best to keep you updated with the latest information.
Tracking a bill?
Click here to find information on specific bills. In addition, when you visit my website, you can easily view the legislation I'm sponsoring or co-sponsoring by clicking “Sponsored Bills.”
Here is a quick set of “bill tracking” instructions
Go to leg.wa.gov
- On the left-hand panel, click “Bill Information.”
- If you know the bill number, enter it in the search field and hit enter.
- Don't have a bill number? Under the section “Standard Reports,” you'll find alternative tracking tools. You can search based on topic, legislative digests, cross-references and or within a specific biennium.
- If you click on the House Floor Calendar, this helpful tool gives you a detailed list of all bills scheduled to be heard on the House floor each day.
Here's how you can stay connected
My legislative website | Here you will find my contact information, bio, news releases, email updates, videos, opinion pieces, bills, and other information.
The Capitol Buzz | A weekday roundup of online news stories. Click on the link to subscribe.
The Current | An online legislative publication from the Washington House Republicans. Click on the link to subscribe.
TVW | The state's own version of C-SPAN, TVW broadcasts floor and committee action live online.
The Ledger | A legislative news aggregator.
Legislature's website | View bill reports, committee agendas, and information about upcoming activities in the Legislature here.
State agencies | You can find a list of all state agencies, boards, and commissions here.
Want to testify on a bill or other important public policy? Click here to learn about how you can make your voice heard throughout session
Please contact me if you have questions about bills being introduced, bills that are scheduled for a hearing, or other state government-related issues.
During session, especially in this virtual environment, my office receives hundreds of emails per week. I will do my best to answer the ones I receive from constituents first, so please be sure to include your home address and phone number in your correspondence.
It's an honor to serve you!
436 John L. O'Brien Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
(360) 786-7816 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000