Dear WRA members:
The 2014 Legislature met for a short 60 day session and adjourned as scheduled on March 13.
Democrats controlled the House of Representatives and the Governor’s Office, but a Majority Coalition of Republicans and Democrats in the Senate gave effective Senate control to Republicans.
Lawmakers introduced 1,345 bills, of which 229 were approved, or 17 percent of the bills filed for consideration. A total of 3,390 bills were introduced in the 2013-14 biennium.
The Washington Retail Association tracked 470 bills during session, 71 are included in this report to give you a summary of actions taken by your association on bills. WRA helped to pass 8 bills, helped to stop 58 bills from becoming law and altered 5 bills that passed.
The session could be summed up by noting that nothing terrible happened and not much good happened either. Among the successes:
- WRA worked to defeat efforts by labor to classify independent contractors as employees.
- WRA worked to pass a bill that holds pharmacy benefit managers more accountable.
- WRA worked to defeat a bill that would have required expensive alternative chemical testing as part of banning flame retardants in various merchandise.
- WRA protected a non-resident sales tax exemption critical to retailers, especially along the Oregon border, from being repealed or made into an apply-for-refund program.
The Legislature chose not to approve WRA’s proposal to add “flash mob” robberies to the organized retail theft laws. None of our achievements would have been possible without WRA members who participated in this year’s weekly Government Affairs Conference calls and our board of directors’ lobby day on the hill.
Your feedback and suggestions are important to our lobbying efforts. Thank you for writing letters, sending e-mails, making phone calls to legislators and the effort to come to Olympia to testify or meet with legislators. You all played an important part in protecting the long-term economic health of the retail industry.
The 2015 Session promises to be very challenging as the Legislature and Governor is expected to identify significant new revenues to fund K-12 education in accordance with a State Supreme Court mandate. If you have any questions about the information contained in the Law Review, please contact me or any of our Government Affairs staff.