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Dear Friends and Neighbors,
On January 29, I sent you an e-mail update outlining four bills being considered in the Washington State House of Representatives that would affect the business community and our state economy. Below is an update on these four measures.
House Bill 1314, requested by the governor, would implement a new carbon pollution market program (also called cap-and-trade) to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The program would apply to a list of so-call “big polluters,” including companies and universities, created by the governor.
This legislation passed out of the House Environment Committee on a party-line vote February 10. It was referred to the House Appropriations Committee, where it will receive a public hearing today (March 12). Since the measure deals with the possibility of new revenue, it is considered “necessary to implement the budget.” This means it is not subject to legislative deadlines and will be technically “alive” throughout the legislative session.
House Bill 1484, also requested by the governor, would establish a 7-percent state capital gains tax (income tax).
This measure was referred to the House Finance Committee, where it has yet to receive a public hearing. This legislation also deals with the possibility of new revenue and is considered “necessary to implement the budget.” We will know in the upcoming weeks if this proposal is part of the House Democrats' 2015-17 operating budget proposal. They have said they will unveil their proposal by March 23.
House Bill 1355 would raise the state minimum wage to $12 over four years — $10 in 2016, $10.50 in 2017, $11 in 2018, and $12 in 2019. It would then be indexed to the Consumer Price Index thereafter.
This legislation passed off the House floor on a 51-46 party-line vote March 3. I was sick and had to miss the vote. If I had been able to vote, I would have joined my House Republican colleagues in voting “no.” The bill has been referred to the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee.
House Bill 1356 would require different levels of sick-leave accrual depending on the size of business and hours worked. It would cost non-union employers more than $449 million per year. You can find Washington Policy Center's analysis here.
This measure also passed off the House floor on a 51-46 party-line vote March 3. I also had to miss this vote due to illness and would have voted “no.” This legislation has been referred to the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee.
Please contact me if you have any questions or comments.
In your service,
426A Legislative Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
(360) 786-7967 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000