Dear Friends and Neighbors,
In the coming weeks, many of the bills approved by the Legislature during both the 60-day regular session and the following 30-day special session will become law. I wanted to take this opportunity to provide a list of business-related bills, a description and status. Whenever possible, I voted FOR bills listed below that were supported by the business community and AGAINST those measures also listed as opposed by our businesses.
Bills supported by the business community
House Bill 2950, House Bill 2879, House Bill 3149: Would have provided reforms in the state's workers' compensation insurance system, including privatization, in an effort to lower costs and increase efficiencies. Bill status: Died in the House Commerce and Labor Committee.
House Bill 3139: Would have created a training wage for new employees at 75 percent of the minimum wage, or the minimum wage rate required under federal law – whichever is greater. The training period may last only for 680 hours. Bill status: Died in the House Commerce and Labor Committee.
House Bill 2920: Would have protected employers from sharp unemployment insurance tax hikes by “smoothing” out the increases over multiple years. Bill status: Died in the House Commerce and Labor Committee.
House Bill 2603: Requires state agencies to give small businesses a two-day compliance opportunity before penalties can be assessed for violations of law. Bill status: Signed into law. Effective 6/10/2010.
House Bill 3145: Increases civil penalties for willful non-payment of wages from $500 to $1,000, or 10 percent of unpaid wages up to $20,000. Bill status: Signed into law. Effective 6/10/2010.
Senate Bill 5041: Encourages state agencies to award 3 percent of procurement contracts to veteran-owned businesses and perform outreach to such businesses. Bill status: Signed into law. Effective 6/10/2010.
Bills opposed by the business community
Senate bill 6345: Makes hand-held cell phone use while driving a primary offense (hands-free mode or speakerphone are allowed); makes texting while driving a primary offense; and bans texting and all cell phone use for drivers under the age of 18, while driving, except for emergencies. Bill status: Signed into law. Effective 6/10/2010.
Senate Bill 6373: Streamlines Washington's greenhouse gas reporting requirements on businesses. Bill status: Signed into law. Effective 6/10/2010.
House Bill 1560: Allows collective bargaining for certain higher education employees. Bill status: Signed into law. Effective 6/10/2010.
House Bill 2546: Increases the number of classroom hours required to renew an electrical trainee certificate. Bill status: Signed into law. Effective 7/1/2011.
Senate Bill 6143: Combined with House Bill 2493 (listed below), these bills increase taxes by $797.7 million for 2009-11 budget cycle; $1.69 billion for 2011-13 budget cycle, including:
- A 0.30 percent B&O tax rate increase on all services, except hospitals and scientific research and development (expires June 30, 2013);
- B&O tax increase on direct sellers, property management salaries, mortgages, economic income, corporate officer salaries and certain canned meat products;
- 28-cents per six-pack beer tax increase;
- Sales tax on bottled water, candy and gum;
- Two-cent per 12-ounce carbonated beverage tax; and
- Tax increases on business structure transactions, bad debts, PUD electric bills, livestock nutrient management and personal liability for tax debts.
Bill status: Signed into law.
House Bill 2493: Increases cigarette and other tobacco taxes. Bill status: Signed into law.
If you wish more information about these or other bills, please contact my Olympia office at (360) 786-7967 or e-mail me through my Web site at: houserepublicans.wa.gov/Kristiansen.
In your service,