NFIB sends an Action Alert calling on its members to register their opposition
State Director Patrick Connor reports from Olympia on the small-business agenda for the legislative week ending April 14
Wednesday, April 12, saw the opposite chamber cut-off pass at 5 p.m. It appears two more bills NFIB opposed died with that deadline, HB 1589 and SB 5110.
The Legislature has since shifted its attention to resolving differences between bills as they passed each body through the concurrence and dispute process. For example, a House bill that was amended and passed the Senate is returned to the House for review. The House can concur (agree) with the amendments and pass the bill as amended by the Senate, refuse to concur and ask the Senate to recede (withdraw) from the amendment, or request a conference committee be appointed to negotiate differences.
Typically, the conference request is made when the amending body refuses to recede from its amendments. Conference committees can be a wildcard since they are able to effectively re-write a bill in its entirety. Conference committee meetings are held behind closed doors; the public is only permitted to attend the signing of the completed conference report. The two chambers then vote to approve or reject the conference report.
The Legislature is expected to adjourn by midnight, Sunday, April 23, 2023.
New Property Tax Bills Cause Concern
A pair of property tax bills threaten to disrupt the final week of the 2023 Legislature, causing landowners and business groups to scramble to kill both bills.
- HB 1628, increasing the real estate excise tax, appeared dead when it failed to emerge from the House Finance Committee by the February 21 fiscal cut-off deadline. The bill was suddenly resurrected, along with a couple of Senate tax relief proposals, during a Friday, April 14, meeting of that committee in executive session – after both the opposite chamber fiscal and floor action cut-offs had lapsed. NFIB opposes the bill.
- SB 5770, increasing the property tax growth limit from 1% to 3% annually, was introduced and referred to the Senate Ways & Means Committee on April 12 – again well past all scheduled cut-offs. In what some viewed as a publicity stunt intended to set the stage for property tax discussions over the interim and legislative consideration next year, 20 Senate Democrats co-sponsored this late entry into this year’s bill introductions. Thus far, the Senate Ways & Means Committee has not (yet?) scheduled a meeting to hear or vote on this bill. However, rumor is circulating that local governments and some progressive groups are pushing Senate leadership to move the bill this week. NFIB opposes this legislation.
- HB 1589, limiting future expansion of natural gas lines, appears to have died in the Senate Rules Committee awaiting scheduling for a floor vote. NFIB opposed the bill.
- HB 1357, modernizing prior authorization processes, continues to advance, having passed the Senate unanimously. It was amended in that chamber and is expected to be returned to the House for concurrence. NFIB supports the bill.
- HB 1068, allowing independent medical exams to be videotaped. The House agreed to Senate amendments requiring IME doctors to be notified in advance that a worker intends to record the examination and prohibiting workers from editing or posting the examination video online. NFIB opposes the bill.
- HB 1106, expanding unemployment insurance benefits for workers voluntarily quitting due to shift changes impacting child- or elder-care, or to care for their own or a family member’s health condition, also won House approval of Senate amendments socializing the cost of these benefits and requiring a five-year look-back study. NFIB opposes the bill.
- HB 1197, allowing psychologists to be attending providers for workers’ compensation PTSD claims by first responders, passed the Senate and is expected to be sent to the governor for signature. NFIB opposes the bill.
- HB 1217 on wage complaints was amended by the Senate to authorize the Department of Labor & Industries to impose 12% interest on certain wage complaint settlements and allows the complainant worker to request a waiver or reduction of the interest charge to expedite a settlement. The House concurred with the Senate amendments. NFIB opposes the bill.
- HB 1320, authorizing workers to sue over personnel file disputes, died in the Senate Ways & Means Committee, as previously reported. NFIB expects similar legislation will be introduced and considered next year. NFIB opposed the bill.
- HB 1491, limiting jobsite searches of workers’ private vehicles, won House concurrence of Senate amendments. NFIB supports the bill.
- SB 5110, authorizing workers to sue employers for various alleged workplace violations, appears to have died in the House Rules Committee at opposite chamber cut-off. NFIB opposed the bill.
- SB 5217 on ergonomics has been delivered to the governor for signature. NFIB opposes the bill.
- SB 5454, making PTSD a presumptive illness for nurses under the state’s workers’ compensation system, was amended and passed the House. It will be returned to the Senate for a concurrence (or dispute) vote. NFIB opposes expanding presumptive determinations in workers’ comp claims.
- HB 1534, the homeowner recovery fund and contractor bond increase, won unanimous House support of Senate amendments and heads to the governor for signature. NFIB supports the bill.
- HB 1742, business licensing and unclaimed property penalty waivers, passed the Senate unanimously with no amendments. It should be sent to the governor sometime during the week of April 17. NFIB supports the bill.
Federal Issues—NFIB D.C. Fly-In
Small-business owners interested in meeting with members of our state’s congressional delegation to discuss how federal issues, such as the President’s proposed tax increase, would impact your operations are invited to participate in this year’s DC Fly-In, June 12-14.
A draft schedule of events is available here and will be updated periodically.
The $150 registration fee covers two nights’ lodging and several group meals. Leadership Trust members will enjoy special access to additional briefings or other events. Airfare and ground transportation are not included in the registration fee.
Washington state members interested in attending or learning more about this year’s Fly-In can contact Stacy Jenkins at (360) 870-7749.
Past Weekly Reports and Related Information
- February 17—First Legislative Deadline of the Session Passes
- February 10—Should a Margins Tax Replace State’s B&O?
- January 7—Small Business Day in Olympia, March 16