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2019 Legislative Session  AFA | Leading the Way

2019 Legislative Session


It's that time of year again . . . the Washington State Legislature convened on Monday, January 14, 2019, for a solid 105 days, scheduled to adjourn April 28, 2019. 


All policy bills will likely need to be passed from the policy committee by February 22, 2019 and by the house of origin by March 13, 2019 (official cutoff deadlines will be adopted the first week of session). 


The 2018 elections increased Democratic majorities in the House (moving from 50-48 to 57-41) and the Senate (moving from 25-24 to 28-21). There have also been a few legislative leadership changes which will create interesting dynamics this session. Not to mention that Governor Jay Inslee is testing a presidential bid. Traditional Democratic allies - labor, environment and social justice advocates - will push hard on "progressive policies" that, at times, will be a bit challenging for the business community.


This first week of session is a bit slow and consists of the state-of-the-state address by Governor Inslee and the state-of-the-judiciary address by the state Supreme Court. Governor Inslee will likely highlight his budget, unveiled in December, which increased government spending by 22% and included $3.7 billion in new taxes. The new taxes included a bump from 1.5% to 2.5% in the B&O on services, creation of a tax on capital gains and an increase in the real estate excise tax (REET).  Democrat and Republican lawmakers did not react favorably to the Governor's budget. However, it is anticipated Governor Inslee will make his case on why new revenue is needed for Orca recovery, climate change, the mental health system, homelessness/housing issues, K-12 and higher education investments.   


Policy work will be fast and furious for the first month of session.


Here's a quick look at issues of general interest scheduled for hearing the first week of session: 


  • Governor's Operating Budget & Tax Package -- the House Appropriations Committee has scheduled a hearing on the Governor's budget (HB 1109) and the Senate Ways & Means will hold a work session on elements of the Governor's tax package (SB 5129).

  • Data Breach -- the House Innovation, Technology & Economic Development Committee has scheduled HB 1071, the Attorney General's data breach notification legislation.  The hearing will be on a proposed substitute.  The reduction from 45 to 30-day notification remains. 

  • LCFS -- the House Environment Committee scheduled a hearing on HB 1110, legislation to create a state low carbon fuel standard (LCFS).  This is a major policy objective of the environmental community and Governor Inslee.

  • Paris Accord -- the House Environment Committee scheduled a hearing on HB 1113, legislation to increase greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction goals for the state of Washington.

  • Overtime Threshold -- the House Labor & Workplace Standards Committee will receive an update on the state's Labor & Industries rule making regarding the overtime threshold - proposed to increase to between $56-71,000.

  • 100% Clean Energy -- the Senate Environment, Energy & Technology Committee has scheduled SB 5116, legislation to move Washington's utilities to provide 100% clean energy (no fossil fuels).  This is a priority for the environmental community and Governor Inslee.

  • Appliance Energy Efficiency Standards -- the Senate Environment, Energy & Technology Committee has scheduled SB 5115, legislation to increase energy efficiency standards for a variety of appliances and consumer products.


Submitted by Trent House Government Relations

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