March 11, 2019
Fast Facts
Bringing Business Up to Speed
Legislation of Note « All Categories

HB 1403: Local B&O tax apportionment

An AWB-supported bill on local business and occupation tax apportionment unanimously passed the House last week. House Bill 1403 now moves to the Senate. The bill would simplify the administration of municipal B&O tax and comes from the work of the Local B&O Apportionment Task Force. The solutions in the bill are supported by both AWB and the Association of Washington Cities. Contact Clay Hill, AWB government affairs director for tax and fiscal policy, to learn more.

HB 1965: Allowing whistleblowers to bring actions on behalf of the state

Employers could face an increase in frivolous lawsuits under House Bill 1965, which would allow private right of action on behalf of the state for alleged violations of workplace protections. This bill would allow individuals to act when an agency chooses to not move forward with an enforcement action. The bill is in the House Rules Committee. AWB is opposed to this bill. Contact Bob Battles, AWB government affairs director for workplace law, to learn more.

HB 1344: Child care access

House Bill 1344, passed out of the House of Representatives last week by a 72-24 vote. The bill, which AWB supports, directs the Department of Commerce to contract for a regional assessment of the child care industry. The Department of Children, Youth, and Families would be required to use the child care cost estimate model developed by the Child Care Collaborative Task Force (CCCTF) to determine child care subsidy rates by 2025. AWB co-chairs the CCCTF, which is studying the current childcare system in Washington state, options for business to work collaboratively with the childcare system to provide affordable, accessible and flexible child care, and how the state can better support the system. The items addressed in HB 1344 will provide the necessary data and information the task force needs to develop a policy agenda for child care and early childhood education. Contact AWB's Amy Anderson to learn more.

SB 5397: Management of plastic packaging

Progress has been made to improve a bill that would help better manage plastic packaging. AWB members, environmental groups, and staff from the Department of Ecology met with Sen. Christine Rolfes, D-Bainbridge Island, last week on Senate Bill 5397. AWB expressed the business community's concerns with how the original bill was written. Based on the conversation, the senator put together an amendment to direct the Department of Ecology to hire a third-party consultant to evaluate the amount and types of plastic packaging sold in the state. The consultant would write a report on the full costs of managing plastic packaging waste and the costs and savings available with various existing product stewardship organizations and recommendations to meet the goals of reducing packaging. That amendment passed 48-0. The bill now heads to the House for consideration. Contact Peter Godlewski, AWB government affairs director for environmental issues, to learn more.

HB 1324 and SB 5423: Creating the Washington Rural Development and Opportunity Zone Act

The Rural Jobs Act passed the House unanimously last Thursday with amendments and had its first Senate hearing today in the Financial Institutions, Economic Development & Trade Committee. House Bill 1324, which would support Opportunity Zones in rural communities, is a priority of the AWB Rural Jobs Task Force. Contact Mike Ennis to learn more, or read about the bill in Olympia Business Watch.

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Workforce Summit
Inspiring Action

Hair stylists embody democracy in action

By AWB President Kris Johnson

It was an impressive display of grassroots organizing. Arranged solely through a quick online effort, the state Senate Labor and Commerce Committee hearing was jam-packed with hair stylists, salon owners and cosmetologists on Jan. 28.

Thousands of people signed in to testify and a line of professionals stretched from the Senate hearing room outside to the domed building on the Capitol campus nearly a football field away.

Those small-business owners and independent contractors converged on Olympia on short notice from every part of the state to testify against bills that would severely restrict who can and cannot be classified as an "independent contractor" in Washington state.

It was a powerful sight and an inspiring illustration of democracy in action.

That bill, and others like it introduced this session, would severely hamper those entrepreneurs' ability to continue to operate as their own boss...

Read the full column in South Sound Business
Carbon Costs

Time to stall climate bills that would raise gas prices

By Yakima Herald-Republic Editorial Board

Recycling is all well and good, but not when it comes to the Legislature's latest attempt to combat climate change by proposing solutions that result in higher gas prices, thus putting the pocketbook hurt on all Washingtonians, especially those in the Yakima Valley.

Didn't voters just reject a plan, Initiative 1631, that would place a fee on carbon polluters (that's you, large, multi-national oil companies) while virtually assuring that residents would see a significant price rise at the pump and higher electricity bills?

... Washington's regressive tax system already disproportionately affects those with the least wiggle room in their household budgets. Lower-income residents seemingly are just as concerned with combating climate change as those of more means, but they will be unfairly called upon to bear the bulk of the burden.

Read the full editorial in The Yakima Herald-Republic
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