Special, one-day session held May 16 to make so-called 'Blake fix' on drug laws
State Director Patrick Connor reports from Olympia on the small-business agenda
The Washington State Legislature adjourned its 2023 regular session on Sunday, April 23, 2023. A one-day special session was held May 16 to enact a long-term “Blake fix” addressing the State Supreme Court’s 2021 decision effectively legalizing the possession of drugs.
The regular session ended with a big surprise when House Republican Leader Rep. JT Wilcox, an NFIB member, and House GOP Deputy Leader Rep. Joel Kretz, revealed they resigned their caucus leadership posts.
In a press conference later, Rep. Drew Stokesbary was announced as the new House Republican Leader; Rep. Mike Steele will serve as the House Deputy Republican Leader. This will result in new lead Republicans being named to the House Appropriations Committee to replace Stokesbary, and House Capital Budget Committee where Steele currently serves as the ranking Republican.
- HB 1628, increasing the real estate excise tax, and SB 5770, increasing the property tax growth limit, both died in the waning hours of session. However, one or both could be resurrected if a special session is held. NFIB opposes both bills.
- NFIB thanks the many members who contacted their state representatives and senators about these two proposals through our Action Alerts.
- HB 1357, Modernizing prior authorization processes, has been delivered to the governor for signature. NFIB supports the bill.
- HB 1068, allowing independent medical exams to be videotaped, has been delivered to the governor for signature. 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, has been delivered to the governor for signature. NFIB opposes the bill.
- HB 1197, allowing psychologists to be attending providers for workers’ compensation PTSD claims by first responders, has been delivered to the governor for signature. NFIB opposes the bill.
- HB 1217, wage complaints, which was amended by the Senate to authorize the Department of Labor & Industries to impose 12% interest on certain wage complaint settlements and allow the complainant worker to request a waiver or reduction of the interest charge to expedite a settlement, has been delivered to the governor for signature. NFIB opposes the bill.
- HB 1491, limiting jobsite searches of workers’ private vehicles, has been delivered to the governor for signature. NFIB supports the bill.
- SB 5123, preventing pre-employment drug screening of applicants, was amended again by the House. This time the Senate concurred. The bill will be sent to the governor for signature. NFIB opposes the bill.
- SB 5217, ergonomics, has been signed into law by Governor Jay Inslee. NFIB opposed the bill.
- SB 5454, making PTSD a presumptive illness for nurses under the state’s workers’ compensation system, has been delivered to the governor for signature. NFIB opposes expanding presumptive determinations in workers’ comp claims.
- HB 1534, homeowner recovery fund and contractor bond increase, has been delivered to the governor for signature. NFIB supports the bill.
- HB 1742, business licensing and unclaimed property penalty waivers, has been delivered to the governor for signature. NFIB supports the bill.
Federal Issues – NFIB’s 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
- March 31—Legislators Turn Back to Budget Matters in Final Month of Session
- 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