Spate of anti-business bills get hearing in House Labor & Workplace Standards Committee
In his report on the legislative week ending January 27, NFIB/Washington State Director Patrick Connor had some good news for small business.
NFIB/Washington had an exciting win January 26 in the Senate Commerce, Labor & Sports Committee. Our “Small Business Bill of Rights” inventory legislation, Senate Bill 5230, was heard and approved unanimously during the same meeting.
Committee member and prime sponsor Sen. Lynda Wilson gave an excellent introduction and overview. Lead co-sponsor Sen. Guy Palumbo gave compelling testimony, reinforcing strong, bipartisan support for the bill. SB 5230 was referred to the Senate Ways & Means Committee pending a complete fiscal note detailing agency cost estimates for the project. House Bill 1352, the House companion measure, has not yet been scheduled for action.
NFIB began and ended the week with meetings on legislation to amend the state’s Regulatory Fairness Act (RFA). The Act describes when agencies must perform a Small Business Economic Impact Study as part of the rule-making process. A determination of a more-than-minor economic impact then triggers a requirement to mitigate costs for small businesses, within certain legal limits.
Not surprisingly, a state auditor’s performance audit recently found agencies often fail to fully comply with the RFA. In response, Rep. Norma Smith introduced House Bill 1120, which would incorporate several of the auditor’s recommendations and make other improvements to the RFA.
Meanwhile, Gov. Jay Inslee’s office convened an interagency work group to explore administrative changes to improve agency compliance with the Act. That work group has also provided suggested amendments to Representative Smith’s bill. NFIB is one of three business associations invited by the governor’s office to participate in the work group. We are also meeting regularly with Representative Smith on the bill and proposed agency amendments.
This week also saw public hearings and executive session action on a number of anti-business bills in the House Labor & Workplace Standards Committee, including:
- misclassification of workers as independent contractors
- employee antiretaliation penalties
- treble damages for wage violations
- wage recovery
- ban the box
- equal pay
- gender pay equity
- employee access to company wage and salary information
- prohibiting ‘employment discrimination’ against medical marijuana users
- and banning drug-free workplace policies (except where required by federal law).
Next week, the Senate Commerce, Labor & Sports Committee will take up similar bills and less-bad alternatives on paid family leave payroll tax and pregnancy accommodation requirements.
NFIB also met with Rep. Kristine Lytton, the House Finance Committee chair, to discuss her plans for legislation on municipal business licensing and B&O tax simplification resulting from the interim task force on which NFIB served. NFIB anticipates a bill may be introduced next week and perhaps heard the day after our Small Business Day.
Small Business Day, February 9
Speaking of Small Business Day 2017, NFIB members Sen. John Braun, Rep. Paul Harris, Rep. Andrew Barkis, Rep. Joe Schmick, and Rep. Drew MacEwen will participate along with Rep. Norma Smith. NFIB member Sen. Guy Palumbo is expected to join us, but we are still working to confirm what time he is available to speak. Also, we hear Sen. Karen Keiser, the lead Democrat on the Senate Commerce, Labor & Sports Committee, may be running the committee that day. If so, it could make for an interesting hearing for our members to attend.
If you haven’t already done so, please register for Small Business Day 2017 – and invite colleagues, clients, subcontractors, suppliers, and other small business owners to come along.
For more information on NFIB’s legislative agenda, send an email to State Director Patrick Connor.
[Tile photo of Sen. Guy Palumbo testifying on Senate Bill 5230 courtesy of TVW website]