50 bills in Olympia affecting business

Olympia business bills

The 2017 legislative season in Olympia is drawing to a close. Bills that passed committee and made to a floor vote in the House must also survive a vote in the Senate. Those that did may impact your business or all businesses in one way or another and that is why they are listed here.
Everything from immigrant labor to criminal background checks to controlled substance rules that seem never-ending, were just some of the everyday new laws enacted in Olympia.
Here are 50 more bills presented by the WBJ for your edification, amusement or horror. The bills listed below are not in any particular order or listed in any hierarchy of importance.
To further research the specific bill, go to the Washington Legislature website and put in the ID number posted at the end of every entry below.
It is always a good idea to consult your state senator for the reason they voted one way or the other and what the results mean to you - the small businessman: State Senator Brad Hawkins, 12th Legislative District
Email: brad.hawkins@leg.wa.gov, Website: senatorbradhawkins.org
(360) 786-7622 or Toll-free: (800) 562-6000.
The below bills are as diverse as the state in regards to demographic interests and industries. For example, yoga instruction, lodging tax, use of eminent domain and port districts creating telecommunications facilities are just a few of the bills offered for approval. Alcohol, marijuana, suing the state

1) House Bill 1298: Prohibiting employers from asking about arrests or convictions before an applicant is determined otherwise qualified for a position.
Substitute offered in the House on February 22.  Prohibits an employer from, among other things, including any question on an application or inquiring into an applicant's criminal background until after the employer initially determines that the applicant is otherwise qualified for the position. washingtonvotes.org/Legislation.aspx?ID=174584
2) House Bill 1351: Authorizing, under one license, the sale of spirits, beer, and wine at retail for offpremises consumption. Substitute offered in the House on February 22. Establishes that a holder of the combination license is eligible for the same liquor license endorsements available to grocery stores and beer and/or wine specialty shop licensees. ID=174712
3) House Bill 1787: Providing oversight of the state procurement and contracting for information technology goods and services.
Substitute offered in the House on February 23. Specifies responsibilities regarding procurement of information technology goods and services. ID=175687
4) House Bill 2015: Modifying the lodging excise tax to remove the exemption for premises with fewer than sixty lodging units and to tax certain vacation rentals, short-term home-sharing arrangements, and other compensated use or occupancy of dwellings.
Substitute offered in the House on February 23. Applies the King County convention center tax on lodging to lodging premises with 59 or fewer units. ID=176202
5) House Bill 1521: Removing the requirement that an employee must work at least six months before taking vacation leave. The amendment failed by voice vote in the House on February 28, 2017 Removes the emergency clause and makes the act effective July1, 2019. ID=175133
6) Senate Bill 5445: Prohibiting the use of eminent domain for economic development. Passed 25 to 24 in the Senate on February 28, 2017 Declares that economic development is not considered a public use for the taking of private property in eminent domain actions. See Who Voted "Yes" and Who Voted "No" at http://www.washingtonvotes.org/RollCall.aspx?ID=744352
7) Senate Bill 5517: Concerning rail dependent uses for purposes of the growth management act and related development regulations. Passed 38 to 11 in the Senate on February 28, 2017 Authorizes cities and towns to adopt development regulations allowing agricultural, forest, and mineral resources lands adjacent to railroads to be developed for freight rail dependent uses. See Who Voted "Yes" and Who Voted "No" at http://www.washingtonvotes.org/RollCall.aspx?ID=744327
8) Senate Bill 5679: Concerning the authority of port districts to provide telecommunications services. The amendment passed by voice vote in the Senate on February 28, 2017 Provides that port districts located in counties with a population less than seven hundred thousand are eligible to construct, purchase, acquire, develop, finance, lease, license, handle, provide, add to, contract for, interconnect, alter, improve, repair, operate, and maintain telecommunications facilities, within or without the district's limits, using unlit optical fiber. Authorizes the port districts to select a telecommunications company to operate its telecommunications facilities. ID=176021
9) House Bill 1321: Concerning certain public facilities district's authorization to acquire, construct, own, remodel, maintain, equip, reequip, repair, finance, and operate one or more recreational facilities other than a ski area with voter approval. Passed 86 to 12 in the House on March 1, 2017. ID=744497
10) House Bill 1796: Providing reasonable accommodations in the workplace for pregnant women. Passed 98 to 0 in the House on March 1, 2017. ID=744491
11) House Bill 1809: Concerning tax credits for clean alternative fuel commercial vehicles. Passed 97 to 1 in the House on March 1, 2017. ID=744502
12) Senate Bill 5040: Making revisions to the uniform business organizations code. Passed 48 to 1 in the Senate on March 1, 2017 Aligns and clarifies the contents of a certificate of registration for a foreign entity doing business in this state with the contents of a certificate of existence for a domestic entity. ID=744666
13) Senate Bill 5119: Concerning water-sewer districts. Passed 49 to 0 in the Senate on March 1, 2017 Modifies property valuation, sale, and auction requirements for water- sewer districts. Permits water-sewer districts with large populations to issue warrants directly to the county treasurer under certain conditions. Authorizes water-sewer districts to contract for asset management services of their water storage assets. Authorizes water-sewer districts to acquire, lease, and sell pollution control facilities and issue revenue bonds to defray the costs. ID=744640
14) Senate Bill 5141: Concerning the regulation of programs of yoga practice or instruction at private vocational schools. Passed 47 to 2 in the Senate on March 1, 2017 Exempts entities related to the instruction or practice of yoga from regulation as a private vocation school. ID=744597
15) Senate Bill 5165: Concerning snack bar licenses. Passed 43 to 6 in the Senate on March 1, 2017. See Who Voted "Yes" and Who Voted "No" at http://www.washingtonvotes.org/RollCall.aspx?ID=744595
16) Senate Bill 5237: Updating workforce investment act references and making no substantive changes. Passed 49 to 0 in the Senate on February 28, 2017 Changes statutory references from Workforce Investment Act (WIA) to Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). See Who Voted "Yes" and Who Voted "No" ID=744348
17) Senate Bill 5285: Conducting a workforce study of employment opportunities in the agriculture, environment, and natural resources economic sectors to inform students about employment opportunities in the studied fields. Passed 49 to 0 in the Senate on March 1.  ID=744639
18) Senate Bill 5439: Providing sales and use tax exemptions, in the form of a remittance of tax paid, to encourage coal-fired electric generation plants to convert to natural gas-fired plants or biomass energy facilities. Passed 45 to 4 in the Senate on February 28. Exempts from state and local sales and use taxes all charges for construction related to the conversion of a coal-fired electric generation facility into a natural gas-fired electric generation facility or biomass energy facility. ID=744349
19) Senate Bill 5615: Authorizing the development of new manufactured housing communities outside of urban growth areas under the growth management act. Passed 30 to 19 in the Senate on March 1. Permits counties to establish manufactured housing communities outside of urban growth areas in the same manner as fully contained communities. ID=744632
20) House Bill 1201: Concerning the taxing authority of public facilities districts.
The amendment passed by voice vote in the House on March 2. Clarifies that a public facilities district need only have one regional center where the construction had to occur before January 1, 2004, in order to utilize local sales and use tax for up 6 to 40 years and use the proceeds to finance the expansion, rehabilitation, and improvements of a regional center. ID=174391
21) House Bill 1806: Increasing monetary penalties for crimes committed by corporations. The amendment failed by voice vote in the House on March 2. Restores underlying law providing maximum fines imposed on corporations only when the prescribed penalties are not executable against corporations. ID=175707
22) House Bill 2005: Improving the business climate in this state by simplifying the administration of municipal general business licenses. Passed 96 to 2 in the House on March 2. Requires most cities to partner with the Department of Revenue (Department) to administer general business licenses through the Department's Business Licensing Service. ID=745029
23) House Bill 1722: Eliminating wholesale vehicle dealer licensing. Passed 71 to 26 in the House on March 3. Prohibits the Department of Licensing (DOL) from issuing new wholesale vehicle dealer licenses, effective July 1, 2017. Prohibits the DOL from renewing any wholesale vehicle dealer licenses, effective July 1, 2018. Eliminates the wholesale vehicle dealer license category completely, effective July 1, 2019. ID=745290
24) House Bill 1857: Addressing provisions concerning marijuana with respect to research licenses, local authority notifications, the retail licensing application process, processor wholesale events, and jurisdictional requirements. Passed 85 to 12 in the House on March 3. Eliminates the Liquor and Cannabis Board's (LCB's) obligation to develop an application process for marijuana licenses that includes three levels of priority among applicants with different experience and qualifications in the marijuana industry, while retaining the LCB's obligation to conduct a comprehensive, fair, and impartial evaluation of applications. ID=745300
25) Senate Bill 5286: Prohibiting regulation of the amount of rent for commercial properties. Passed 26 to 21 in the Senate on March 3. Prohibits counties, cities, and towns from regulating rents on commercial buildings or sites. ID=745316
26) Senate Joint Resolution 8204: Amending the Constitution to prohibit the taxation of individual income. Passed 27 to 22 in the Senate on March 7.
See Who Voted "Yes" and Who Voted "No" washingtonvotes.org/RollCall.aspx?ID=745943
27) Senate Bill 5720: Addressing the payment of production-based compensation wages for the employment and use of labor in agricultural activities and in the production, handling, and storage of farm products. The amendment passed by voice vote in the Senate on March 3. Establishes that an employer that paid employees for agricultural-related work on a production basis or piece rate basis may pay compensation to their employees for previously uncompensated or undercompensated break times or rest and recovery time for the prior three years and shall not be liable for failure to pay wages for break times or rest and recovery time for the prior three years. ID=176140
28) Senate Bill 5777: Improving the business climate in this state by simplifying the administration of municipal general business licenses. The amendment passed by voice vote in the Senate on March 3. Authorizes the Department of Revenue (DOR) to delay implementation if a city's legislative body determines that partnering with DOR creates an undue hardship. (2) Adds a deadline of July 1, 2020, for cities to participate in FileLocal as an alternative to partnering with DOR. Requires a city that ceases participation in FileLocal after the deadline to partner with DOR. (3) Provides that a city's legislative body must determine that the city lacks fiscal or technical ability to partner with DOR if lacking fiscal or technical ability is the basis for the city's claim of undue hardship. (4) Provides that a city that has partnered with DOR may decline to continue its partnership with DOR if doing so would cause an undue hardship. (5) Removes a provision prohibiting a city from enforcing its general business license if it fails to work with DOR to adopt a fee structure that is administrable by DOR. ID=176341
29) Senate Bill 5834: Concerning the licensing of bonded spirits warehouses
The amendment passed by voice vote in the Senate on March 3. Narrows the scope of the bonded warehouse license to cover only bulk or barreled spirits, as federal law prohibits bottled spirits from being comingled in this type of warehouse. Clarifies that spirits retail licensees and retailers may continue to use their existing registered warehouses. ID=176546
30) House Bill 1351: Authorizing, under one license, the sale of spirits, beer, and wine at retail for offpremises consumption
The amendment passed by voice vote in the House on March 6. Clarifies that combination spirits, beer, and wine licenses may be issued for the premises of a former contract liquor store and that a license is not required to be for the premises at the contract location. ID=174712
31) House Bill 2057: Concerning services and processes available when residential real property is abandoned or in foreclosure. The amendment passed by voice vote in the House on March 6. Makes clear that permission from the borrower to the servicer to enter the premises to secure and maintain the property occurs after default; (2) Recognizes that a servicer in possession of a court order allowing entry to secure and maintain property may enter and act in accordance with the order; (3) Amends the definition of "reasonable cause to believe that the property is abandoned" in the section pertaining to external maintenance; (4) Amends the section regarding certificate of abandonment to: Provide that the indicia of abandonment must be visible from the exterior; add additional indicia; and require that property be open and unprotected or in reasonable danger of damage, rather than requiring both; (5) Provides that a servicer's duty with respect to property preservation entities encompasses a duty to monitor but not supervise, and further provides that the background check requirements pertain to employees engaged in on-site property preservation and not all employees of the property preservation entity; (6) Includes a new section pertaining to a servicer's ongoing duty to maintain after obtaining borrower's permission/court order/ certificate of abandonment; and (7) Includes a new section pertaining to the duty to maintain real estate owned property. ID=176320
32) House Bill 2095: Concerning preliminary work to develop a process for planning for a new Interstate 5 bridge spanning the Columbia river. Passed 60 to 38 in the House on March 6.  Designates the Interstate 5 (I-5) Bridge across the Columbia River as a project of statewide significance. Encourages the Governor to enter into an memorandum of understanding with the Governor of Oregon with a variety of purposes, including selecting a joint Oregon-Washington legislative action committee to begin a process towards project development for a new I-5 Bridge . See Who Voted "Yes" and Who Voted "No" at  washingtonvotes.org/RollCall.aspx?ID=745592
33) Senate Bill 5621: Concerning projects of statewide significance for economic development and transportation. Passed 28 to 21 in the Senate on March 6.  Makes changes in the criteria for designation as a project of statewide significance. Requires cities and counties to enter into an agreement with the Office of Regulatory Assistance for the coordinated and comprehensive review of a project of statewide significance. See Who Voted "Yes" and Who Voted "No" at http://www.washingtonvotes.org/RollCall.aspx?ID=745629
34) Senate Bill 5632: Modifying organized retail theft provisions
Passed 27 to 22 in the Senate on March 6. Includes, in the crime of organized retail theft, the theft of property with a cumulative value of at least seven hundred fifty dollars from a mercantile establishment with no less than six accomplices and at least one electronic communication made or received seeking participation in the theft in the course of planning or commission of the theft. ID=745630
35) House Bill 1538: Requiring prime contractors to bond the subcontractors portion of retainage upon request. The amendment passed by voice vote in the House on March 7. Adds to the criteria that if a bond is not commercially available the contractor is exempted from providing a bond for the subcontractor's retainage.  ID=175151
36) House Bill 2144: Concerning the taxation of vapor products
Introduced by Rep. Gerry Pollet (Seattle) (D) on March 9.  ID=176832
37) Senate Bill 5808: Concerning agritourism. The amendment passed by voice vote in the Senate on March 8. Further defines agritourism activity to mean any activity carried out on a farm or ranch whose primary business activity is agriculture or ranching. Provides that an agritourism professional is not liable for loss or damage, as well as injury or death of a participant resulting exclusively from any of the inherent risks of agritourism. Provides that liability may not be prevented or limited if an agritourism professional permits minor participants to use facilities or engage in agritourism activities that are not reasonably appropriate for their age or knowingly permits participants to use facilities or engage in agritourism activities while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Establishes that the warning sign must also contain provisions requiring that agritourism professionals are required to ensure that in any activity involving minor children, only age-appropriate access to activities, equipment, and animals is permitted. ID=176458
38) House Bill 1403: Encouraging job creation and retention in rural economies through the transparent and accountable provision of targeted tax relief for silicon smelters. Substitute offered in the House on March 9. Establishes a public utility tax and business and occupation tax credit for a utility that sells manufactured gas, natural gas, or electricity to a silicon smelter. Provides a brokered natural gas use tax exemption to silicon smelters for the use of manufactured or natural gas if shipped directly to the smelter through a pipeline. ID=174852

39) House Bill 1506: Addressing workplace practices to achieve gender pay equity. The amendment passed by voice vote in the House on March 8. Specifies that for purposes of the job-related factor defense, the factors are explicitly not limited to education, training, or experience. ID=175118
40) House Bill 1656: Establishing a community aviation revitalization loan program. The amendment passed by voice vote in the House on March 8. Clarifies the community aviation revitalization revolving loan account is established in the custody of the State Treasurer. Provides additional information on the administration of the loan account, and clarifies that only the Secretary of the Department of Transportation or his or her designee may authorize expenditures from the account. Removes privately owned airports that provide a public benefit as a type of airport that is eligible to receive a community aviation revitalization loan. Clarifies who will be members of the community aviation revitalization loan oversight task force. Removes the mandate for the State Treasurer to create a revenue source code for the community aviation revitalization revolving loan program. Adds the community aviation revitalization revolving loan account to the list of accounts in the State Treasurer's custody that receive their proportionate share of earnings based upon each account's or fund's average daily balance for the period. ID=175467
41) House Bill 1851: Protecting taxpayers by providing for accountability and transparency in government contracting. The amendment passed by voice vote in the House on March 8. Adds language specifying that work performed by private entities and nonprofit organizations is pursuant to contracts, and that work performed by public employees is pursuant to project plans. Clarifies that various provisions apply to both goods and services, and also to both private contracts and project plans (e.g., comprehensive impact assessments and statements of performance objectives). Specifies that, before contracting out for goods and services customarily and historically provided by public employees, agencies must meet the criteria for competitive contracting in the Personnel Services Reform Act (PSRA). ID=175851
42) House Bill 1967: Concerning noncompetition agreements. Passed 97 to 0 in the House on March 8. Provides that if a court reforms an unreasonable noncompetition agreement, the party seeking to declare the agreement void is deemed the prevailing party under the agreement and in law. See Who Voted "Yes" and Who Voted "No" at washingtonvotes.org/RollCall.aspx?ID=746190
43) Senate Bill 5866: Creating a tax court for the state of Washington. Introduced by Sen. Sharon Brown (Kennewick) (R) on March 10. ID=176859
44) House Bill 1422: Creating the Washington rural jobs act. Referred to the House Finance Committee on March 14. Creates a program to develop rural growth funds. Creates a tax preference for taxpayers who make a capital contribution to a rural growth fund. ID=174871
45) House Bill 1894: Reinstating tax preferences for certain high-technology research and development. Substitute offered in the House on March 9. Establishes a business and occupation tax credit for qualified research and development (R&D) expenditures, expiring January 1, 2027. ID=175975
46) Senate Bill 5888: Lowering the ceiling of the business and occupation manufacturing tax rate to 0.2904 percent. Introduced by Sen. Michael Baumgartner (Spokane) (R) on March 15. ID=176917
47) House Bill 1018: Modifying the maximum amount for grants provided to airports and air navigation facilities. Referred to the Senate Rules Committee on March 16. ID=174045
48) House Bill 1296: Consolidating and simplifying the annual report and annual survey used for economic development tax incentives. Referred to the Senate Ways & Means Committee on March 17. ID=174582
49) House Bill 1566: Concerning the definition of work activity for the purposes of the WorkFirst program. Referred to the Senate Ways & Means Committee on March 16. ID=175179
50) Senate Bill 5896: Concerning claims against public entities. Introduced by Sen. Sharon Brown (Kennewick) (R) on March 20. ID=176980

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