NFIB-drafted measure drew huge bipartisan support
NFIB/Washington State Director Patrick Connor reports from Olympia on the small-business agenda for the legislative week ending May 12.
There were no legislative committee hearings or floor activity during Week 3 of the special session.
Gov. Jay Inslee did sign NFIB’s Small Business Bill of Rights Inventory, House Bill 1352, Monday. NFIB was fortunate to be joined by its four lead sponsors of the companion bills, Reps. Andrew Barkis and Mike Chapman (HB 1352), Sens. Lynda Wilson and Guy Palumbo (Senate Bill 5230), as well as Attorney General Bob Ferguson and his legislative director Mike Webb, for the signing ceremony. Barkis, Palumbo, and Wilson are NFIB members.
The new law requires the attorney general’s office to review the state’s Administrative Procedures Act, and materials provided by six specified agencies, to identify rights and protections of small-business owners subject to audit, inspection or other enforcement actions, and to recommend improvements for communicating those rights before or at the time of an agency visit.
Mandatory Paid Leave
NFIB caused a bit of a stir among supporters of mandatory paid family and medical leave by posting and tweeting last week’s update, which included a summary of their demands for that new program. Despite Big Labor, progressive activists, and their legislative supporters having publicly posted similar information here, here, and here, this information is now confidential. NFIB removed the offending information from our website at negotiators’ request.
While a legislative deal has not yet been reached, there still seems to be very little movement on NFIB’s key concerns; therefore, we remain opposed based on national policy. In response to NFIB/Washington Leadership Council feedback, we will be discussing how best to engage on this issue. As previously reported, failure to reach compromise in the Legislature this session will result in a citizens’ initiative that is expected to be even less responsive to the needs and limitations of small businesses than the proposal now under discussion.
I-1433 Economic Impact Statements
Speaking of citizens’ initiatives, NFIB met this week with Dept. of Labor & Industries policy staff to discuss the small business economic impact statement (SBEIS) analysis required in the rule-making process currently underway to implement I-1433’s paid sick and safe leave mandate.
Small business is pleased the department is using new tools developed in response to a performance audit identifying a number of deficiencies in how state agencies were applying the Regulatory Fairness Act and its SBEIS requirements. We are also happy to report the department has created a more user-friendly “engagement” webpage, with information and resources about the new law and its implementation, in addition to the more general I-1433 webpage in the Wage & Hour section of the department’s website.
NFIB blocked a minimum-wage-plus-paid-sick-and-safe-leave legislative compromise last year, leading to I-1433. The paid sick and safe leave requirements take effect January 1, 2018.
NFIB, Coalition Will Not Appeal I-1433 Lawsuit Decision
In related news, the coalition challenging the constitutionality of I-1433 decided not to appeal an adverse ruling in Kittitas County Superior Court. A news release was sent May 12 to media statewide announcing that decision. NFIB/Washington, NFIB’s Small Business Legal Center, and several NFIB members provided financial support for the legal challenge.
Public Works Bonding and Retainage
Also, this week, NFIB met with key members of the governor’s policy staff to again request his veto of House Bill 1538. The bill would require general contractors to bond the retainage of any subcontractor requesting it for a public works project. NFIB believes the bill would add cost, reduce flexibility, and hamper the ability of small general contractors to successfully compete on these projects. It also undermines the contractor-subcontractor relationship by granting subcontractors the ability to force generals to provide a retainage bond for the subcontract. NFIB is part of a coalition opposed to the bill, which is scheduled for action Tuesday, May 16.
[Photo, from left to right: Sen. Guy Palumbo, Rep. Mike Chapman, Sen. Lynda Wilson, Attorney General Bob Ferguson, Gov. Jay Inslee, Rep. Andrew Barkis, Patrick Connor, Mike Webb (AGO)]
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