Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Mark Twain once said, “No man's life, liberty, or property are safe while the Legislature is in session.” Maybe that's why so many small businesses and employers across Washington are holding their breaths as the Legislature enters its final five weeks of the regular session in Olympia.
Since January, nearly 2,000 bills have been introduced to the Legislature – some that would really help to stimulate our economy – and others that would be detrimental to employers and jobs.
When I consider and vote on bills, I always ask myself, “Would this help or hurt employers in our state? Would this create or kill jobs?” If I feel it would have a negative effect on the state's economy, I vote “no.”
On March 13, the first major floor deadline came and went. House bills not approved by that date in the House of Representatives are considered “dead” for the year. The Senate also had the same deadline for its bills. This deadline helps to cull the thousands of bills we must consider. Bills necessary to implement the budget are exempt from the deadline.
Here are a few top business-related bills and their status following the deadline:
GOOD BUSINESS BILLS STILL ALIVE (I voted yes.)
- Providing tax relief for honey beekeepers. House Bill 1558 would repeal the expiration dates for current tax exemptions for honey beekeepers and create a new sales and use tax exemption on purchases of honeybee food. Passed the House 98-0. Now in the Senate.
- Sampling of spirits. House Bill 1332 would allow spirits retailers the option to provide samples of products to customers with the proper protections in place. Passed the House 85-12. Now in the Senate.
- Improving customer service for job creators. House Bill 1403 would direct a number of agencies to work with the Department of Revenue to provide a convenient and timely system for employers to acquire necessary licenses to do business. Passed the House 97-0. Now in the Senate.
BAD BILLS AGAINST BUSINESS STILL ALIVE (I voted no.)
- Expanding penalties for employers under WISHA. House Bill 1891 would increase civil and criminal penalties for violations under the Washington Industrial Safety and Health Act (WISHA). Under this bill, if an employer fails to post a flyer, he or she could be fined $12,000. Passed the House 65-32. Now in the Senate.
- Construction service reporting. House Bill 1473 would require contractors that make a payment of $600 dollars or more in a year for construction services to report the payment to the state Department of Labor and Industries. Passed the House 51-47. Now in the Senate.
Due to space constraints, I cannot list more business-related bills. However, I would invite you to download the “Dead and Alive” bills list from our House Republican Web site at: https://houserepublicans.wa.gov/uncategorized/dead-alive/. Also, go to our “Solutions” Web page – https://houserepublicans.wa.gov/our-solutions/ – click on Jobs & Economy, and read our plan to help employers get Washington working.
Most important is your involvement. Bad bills against business can be killed and good bills for business can advance when you provide your voice. Call my office – (360) 786-7967 – or visit my Web site to e-mail me (houserepublicans.wa.gov/kristiansen) and see how you can get involved!
In your service,