NFIB Fighting Big Business over the Right to Repair

Date: February 27, 2023

House Finance Committee passes business personal property tax exemption of the first $40,000

State Director Patrick Connor reports from Olympia on the small-business agenda for the political and legislative week ending February 24

Small Business Day at the Capitol will be held Thursday, March 16. Senate Republican Floor Leader Sen. Shelly Short will be among the featured speakers for this annual event. Click here for additional information or to register. Sponsorships are still available. Contact Stacy Jenkins at (360) 870-7749 or [email protected] for details.

The Legislature

House and Senate fiscal committees worked long hours this week considering legislation with a tax or budget impact, in advance of the Friday, February 24, fiscal cut-off deadline. Action shifts to the floor next week as the House and Senate work to pass as many bills as they can by the Wednesday, March 8, House of Origin cut-off.

Several more bills died as a result of Friday’s fiscal cut-off, leaving two dozen alive that NFIB is currently watching. Here’s an overview of the most important among them.


  • HB 1106, Unemployment benefits for voluntary quits
    The bill would grant unemployment insurance benefits to workers who voluntarily quit a job if the employer refuses to alter the employee’s work schedule to accommodate changes in child care availability, the health of the worker or any member of the worker’s entire family, or the availability of care for a vulnerable adult. The worker would also be eligible for benefits if they relocate to be closer to a noncustodial child. NFIB opposes the bill. The state’s Paid Family & Medical Leave law already provides partial wage replacement during 12 weeks leave each year for the care of an individual’s own or family member’s serious illness or disability. 
  • HB 1136, Employee expense reimbursement
    NFIB successfully negotiated an agreement with the trial lawyers’ association removing a proposed new private right of action that would have sent workers to court to settle disputes with employers over work-related expenses. The bill now includes an administrative remedy to address these problems should they arise. NFIB supports the bill. 
  • HB 1197, Granting psychologists “attending physician” status for workers compensation PTSD claims
    Separate legislation that would have allowed psychologists to prescribe medication failed this session. The Department of Labor and Industries’ own data shows at least one in four of these PTSD claims require pharmacological intervention, yet psychologists treating these injured workers will still need a supervision medical professional with prescription-writing authority to supervise them. The bill is unnecessary, and L&I has been unable to provide data demonstrating the bill would result in more providers willing to treat worker PTSD claims, especially in underserved rural areas. NFIB opposes the bill. 
  • HB 1217, Wage complaints
    This bill would add a new 12% interest penalty to employers accused of wage violations. L&I would be prohibited from reducing or waiving the interest charge, a tactic often used to encourage employers to promptly correct and pay any wage errors, unless approved by the worker. The bill lacks a safe harbor for employers who identify and self-report any wage payment errors. The sponsor did, however, agree to add a small business representative to the work group that will study the issue, and give that work group more time to research and recommend system improvements. NFIB remains opposed to the bill. 
  • HB 1320 and SB 5061, Personnel records
    These companion bills would create a private right of action allowing current and former workers to sue as their first, and apparently only, recourse if an employer refuses or fails to provide a copy of a requesting worker’s personnel file within 14 days of the request, or if there is some dispute over whether certain records exists. Moreover, the bills prohibit employers from redacting any information from the file – even in cases where the requesting worker may seek to harm coworkers, customers or others who have complained about the worker’s misconduct. NFIB opposes the bills. 
  • HB 1491, Searches of worker vehicles
    NFIB negotiated this legislation with labor pre-COVID. It would prohibit most employer searches of a worker’s private vehicle unless there is reasonable cause to believe a theft of company property has occurred, an imminent harm may result, or the worker is in possession of controlled substances in violation of federal law and the employer’s written policy prohibiting drug use. NFIB supports the bill. 
  • SB 5217, Ergonomics
    While limited to one industry per year, this bill seeking to grant L&I rulemaking authority over workplace repetitive motion activities is still far too broad. For instance, the industry codes L&I could use to regulate a particular type of employer would allow the department to conduct rulemaking simultaneously on RV parks, hotels, and VBROs. The department and sponsor appear unwilling to allow amendments that would more narrowly focus L&I’s annual efforts on a specific employer type, like hotels in this example. The bill would also overturn I-841 that barred L&I from regulating these activities some 20 years ago. NFIB opposes the bill.


  • HB 1392, Right to Repair consumer electronic devices
    The House Appropriations Committee this week approved HB 1392 on a party line vote. All Republicans voted no, despite NFIB’s support and confirmation from the state Attorney General’s Office and prosecuting attorneys’ association that there is no evidence small repair shops in our state are responsible for violations of their customers’ data privacy. Republicans continue to side with Apple and its primary repair subcontractor, Best Buy’s Geek Squad, which have not only repeatedly been sued, but have paid millions of dollars to settle customer data privacy complaints. Republicans are on the wrong side of this Big Business vs. small business battle. A copy of our letter to House Republican Appropriators can be read here. NFIB supports the bill. 
  • HB 1534, Homeowner recovery fund
    NFIB has been part of a multiyear effort to develop legislation attempting to provide homeowners greater protection when dealing with problems caused by fly-by-night contractors defrauding unwary homeowners. The bill would increase general and specialty contractor bonds for the first time in more than 20 years and establish a homeowner recovery fund to provide additional financial assistance to those who were defrauded by unscrupulous contractors once a court judgment against the contractor has been rendered. NFIB supports the bill.

Tax & Fiscal

  • HB 1761 and HJR 4206, Business personal property tax exemption
    The House Finance Committee this week approved this package of bills, 12-1, that would exempt the first $40,000 of qualifying business assets from county property taxes. This should benefit small-business owners who spend hours preparing multipage annual tax returns itemizing everything from paper clips to computer equipment to manufacturing machinery. It will also result in significant administrative savings to many counties whose assessor offices must sift through hundreds or thousands of tax returns to collect only small amounts of revenue owed for business personal property taxes. The county assessors support this NFIB priority legislation. NFIB supports the bills. 
  • HB 1644 and SB 5482, Replacing the B&O with a Margins Tax
    Both bills received public hearings but have not advanced. Since they deal with tax revenue, it is possible one or both could be deemed “necessary to implement the budget (NTIB),” and exempted from all deadlines. NFIB has provided information about the proposed Margins Tax and is asking members to complete a special ballot to finalize our position on the legislation. If you haven’t already done so, please vote your special member ballot right away. If you need assistance accessing your ballot, please contact Stacy Jenkins at [email protected].

Past Weekly Reports and Related Information

Photo snip courtesy of TVW


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