Small Business Bill of Rights stalls as Legislature takes to the floor
State Director Patrick Connor reports from Olympia on the small-business agenda for the legislative week ending February 14
Week 5 saw the demise of more bills due to the first fiscal committee deadline of the session, and legislative action shifted to the floors of the state House and Senate. Work will continue through the weekend as both chambers race to pass their own bills in advance of next week’s House of Origin deadline.
Small Business Bill of Rights
Both House Bill 2577 and Senate Bill 6408 survived Tuesday’s fiscal committee cut-off.
The Senate version was made eligible for floor consideration by the Rules Committee, and was even scheduled to be debated late Wednesday evening. However, the Senate adjourned unexpectedly that night, with NFIB’s bill and one other left on the floor calendar. Despite assurances, there is no problem with our bill, the Senate has not yet rescheduled a vote on SB 6408.
Meanwhile, the House Appropriations Committee approved HB 2577 Tuesday evening. The bill hit a snag though when the committee adopted the Kilduff Amendment on a party-line voice vote.
NFIB opposes one provision of the three-part Kilduff Amendment. That particular change would only allow small-business owners to provide an auditor or inspector “formal” agency guidance or interpretation documents previously given to them by that agency. We are working to confirm which agencies provide “formal” guidance or interpretations, and what that process and timeline looks like. The Employment Security Department has already informed NFIB it does NOT provide businesses with these types of formal, written materials. We are hopeful that when presented with this information, Rep. Kilduff will retract that part of her amendment.
The amended bill passed committee with four votes cast against it – two by Republicans objecting to the Kilduff amendment, along with Democrat Reps. Christine Kilduff and Gerry Pollet. HB 2577 is now in House Rules. It must be pulled to the floor and a vote held by 5 p.m. Wednesday, February 19.
Thanks to the fiscal cut-off, three labor bills NFIB opposed did not advance.
- HB 1491, restrictive scheduling
- SB 6053, wage liens
- SB 6234, restricting the use of third parties, such as lawyers or administrators, in unemployment insurance appeals
In addition, two bills on which we negotiated amendments allowing NFIB to be neutral also died due to fiscal cut-off.
- HB 2239, limiting employer searches of workers’ private vehicles
- HB 2516, Secure Choice Retirement (SB 5740 on the same topic remains alive)
Priority Votes & “The Impact”
NFIB this week sent its lists of priority bills to members of the state House and Senate.
We also had an opportunity to discuss some of those priority bills, and other business-related issues being considered by the Legislature, in a 20-minute interview on TVW’s The Impact. The program was broadcast statewide Wednesday and Thursday, and is scheduled for rebroadcast at 7 p.m. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday on TVW. It also runs on Spokane’s KSPS public television, and Seattle’s CW Network (KSTW). Click graphic below to watch.
The House will return Sunday to debate some of the more controversial bills when the minority is limited to three-minute speeches. The Senate has tentatively scheduled floor action beginning at 9 a.m. Saturday.
- February 7 Report—Four Anti-Small-Business Bills Appear Dead for the Session
- January 31 Report—Anti-Independent-Contractor, Cap-and-Trade Bills on tap Next Week
- January 24 Report—NFIB Calls for B&O, Occupational Licensing Reforms
- January 17 Report—Agreement Reached to Protect Small Businesses During Inspections