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Legislature reaches halftime of 2018 session

Two important action deadlines passed this week as the Legislature reached the halfway point of the 2018 session. The deadlines for committee action on policy and fiscal matters passed as of this week Tuesday.

Bills still alive after cutoff now can advance to a full floor vote in the House and Senate. Those that pass full floor votes can advance to the opposite house for concurrence and possible final approval by the full Legislature. Adjournment is scheduled on March 8.

Here is a summary of key bills that Washington Retail Association is following:

  • SB 5251, tourism funding. WRA board members who lobbied last week in Olympia identified the bill as being of prime interest this session. It would restore state tourism promotion funds eliminated by the Legislature during the last recession. A Senate committee was scheduled to take action on the bill this week.
  • SB 5633, would add concealment to organized retail crime laws. This would allow store security and law enforcement to question customers known to be hiding merchandise before leaving a store. Unlike several other states, Washington does not have such a law.
  • HB 2822, would create a civil infraction for a customer who misrepresented a common pet as a service animal after bringing the pet into a store. The bill has passed out of a committee and is available for further discussion and votes.
  • HB 2389, would impose a 40 cent tax at the sale of devices that can connect to the internet. WRA opposes bills that add to the cost of items at the sale register. The bill has not been scheduled for further discussion.
  • HB 1975, would impose a tax on sugary drinks much like a controversial tax in Seattle. The state bill has not picked up support and is not currently scheduled for further consideration.
  • HB 2661, has moved out of a committee for further discussion. It would limit an employer’s response to a reported domestic abuse by an employee or job applicant. WRA has expressed its concerns with the unintended consequences of such a regulation.
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