NFIB Washington Legislative Update | Week 11

Date: March 26, 2021

NFIB Members take action against low-carbon-fuel-standard and cap-and-trade bills

State Director Patrick Connor reports from Olympia on the small-business agenda for the legislative week ending March 26

Today, Friday, March 26, is the deadline for legislative policy committees to approve bills sent from the opposite chamber. Bills deemed “necessary to implement the budget (NTIB)” are exempt from this cut-off.

The big news this week is the release of Senate and House majority budget proposals.

The Senate Democrat operating budget would spend $59.2 billion in the coming biennium. It counts on revenue from a capital gains tax and cap-and-trade program largely to cover new spending initiatives. Proceeds from a capital gains tax are earmarked for childcare and education, while cap-and-trade receipts would boost transportation and climate-related priorities. Implementing a low carbon fuel standard (LCFS) is also included in the Senate budget. The Senate Ways & Means Committee is holding a public hearing on its operating budget plan this afternoon. It is scheduled for executive action on Monday, March 29.

It appears the Senate has already reached bipartisan agreement on a two-year capital budget, which is scheduled for executive action tomorrow, Saturday, March 27, in the Senate Ways & Means Committee.

House Democrats released their $58 billion operating budget proposal at 3 p.m. today. It is scheduled for public hearing in the House Appropriations Committee beginning at 9 a.m. tomorrow, Saturday, March 27. According to Rep. Mia Gregerson, “The ‘Washington Recovery Budget’ represents the end of austerity budgets and the harmful idea that people should pick themselves up and work harder just to survive.” Of note, the House Democrat proposal also includes a capital gains tax. Their budget summary is available here.

Meanwhile, transportation budgets were scaled back in both chambers. It appears neither will directly include a gas tax increase or separate carbon tax, winning the respective plans bipartisan support in both transportation committees.

Small Business Day 2021

Thanks to our event sponsor, Rock Point Oysters, NFIB held a successful virtual Small Business Day this week. More than 50 small-business owners participated in briefings and question-and-answer sessions with Nick Streuli, Gov. Jay Inslee’s executive director for external affairs; Sen. John Braun, Senate Republican Leader; and Rep. Noel Frame, House Finance Committee Chair.

Many participants took action right after the event, contacting their state Senator and members of the Senate Ways & Means Committee to share NFIB’s objections to HB 1091, the Low Carbon Fuel Standard, and SB 5126, establishing a cap-and-trade program.


All Washington counties moved to Phase 3 re-opening on Monday of this week. No new information has been released describing what Phase 4 may include or when it might be implemented.


As mentioned above, both HB 1091, implementing a low carbon fuel standard, and SB 5126, establishing a cap-and-trade program are included in the Senate Democrat budget proposal. NFIB opposes both bills, and has posted action alerts so members can contact their Senator to express their concerns as well.

  • HB 1091, implementing a low carbon fuel standard, is scheduled for public hearing at 10 a.m. tomorrow, Saturday, March 17, in the Senate Ways & Means Committee. In addition to contacting your Senator through NFIB’s action alert system, we encourage members to sign-in “con,” on the bill using the legislative website. Click here for the sign-in portal. Select “Ways & Means” as the committee, and “3/27/202110:00 AM.” That will advance to the next page. Click the circle for “E3SHB 1091 Transportation fuel/carbon,” then select “I would like my position noted for the legislative record.” Simply complete the contact information, verify you’re not a robot, and submit. (Note: “Organization” is your business name. This field is optional.) NFIB opposes the bill.
  • SB 5126, the cap-and-trade scheme, is in Senate Rules and could move to the floor for a vote as early as next week. NFIB opposes the bill.
Health Care
  • SB 5399, establishing a universal health care commission, was substantially amended in committee. It is now essentially a study bill. NFIB’s position has moved from “opposed” to “concerns” as a result.
  • HB 1076 allowing qui tam bounty hunter lawsuits against employers for alleged violations of nearly a dozen workplace statutes, is scheduled for public hearing in the Senate Ways & Means Committee at 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 30. An action alert has been posted and will be re-deployed to members Monday morning. We encourage members to sign-in “con” on the legislative website (see instructions above in the Environment section regarding HB 1091, implementing a low carbon fuel standard). NFIB opposes the bill.
  • SB 5115, the Health Emergency Labor Standards Act, and SB 5190, granting presumptive benefits to workers during a health emergency, both advanced from the House Labor & Workplace Standards Committee this week. The bills were amended to address concerns that they would provide differing benefits for the same workers, creating conflicting and confusing obligations upon those workers’ employers. Most of our objections have been addressed, but the bills appear to still be more expansive in defining which workers qualify than we believe necessary.
  • SB 5355, allowing workers to place wage liens on the private, personal property of an employer, as well as the employer’s spouse and estate, passed the House labor committee. NFIB opposes the bill.
Tax & Fiscal
  • HB 1332, requiring counties to allow property tax deferrals for businesses suffering 25% or greater revenue loss in 2020, is scheduled for executive action by the Senate Ways & Means Committee tomorrow, Saturday, March 27. NFIB supports the bill.
  • SB 5096, establishing a capital gains tax, received a public hearing in the House Finance Committee on March 15. Executive action has not yet been scheduled, but could occur next week, in advance of the Friday, April 2, fiscal committee cut-off. However, since it is a revenue bill and was included in both the Senate and House budget plans, it is exempt from normal committee deadlines. NFIB has submitted suggestions for amendments to better protect the sale of a small business from the tax, if it is enacted.
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