Lens LegiTrack Update: May 1, 2017

Lens LegiTrack Update: May 2, 2017

The following article was compiled by the Lens staff.

Each week the Lens staff puts together a compilation of bills important to the business community and tracks their movement through the legislature. Over the past two weeks, Governor Jay Inslee considered several bills for passage into law.

School Siting

HB 1017 (McCaslin) allows school districts to build facilities for urban students outside the urban growth boundary under certain circumstances. Read more. The bill was partially vetoed by Inslee on April 26.

Proposed New Taxes

SB 5929 (Rossi) would impose a variety of new taxes, including an income tax on capital gains and a business and occupation tax surcharge. Read more. It received a public hearing on April 26 but is not scheduled for any executive action.

Energy Independence

SB 5128 (Takko) would allow businesses to count electricity created by biomass as renewable energy under the state’s Energy Independence Act (EIA). Read more. It was delivered to Inslee on April 18 and has yet to be signed; supporters have expressed concern that he will veto it, instead.

Modifying B&O Tax 

SB 5113 (Braun) would have increased the Business and Occupation (B&O) tax rate for most tax classifications by one percent to invest in the state’s educational system. Read more. On April 21, the bill failed to receive a single “yes” vote on the Senate floor.

Hirst Update

SB 5239 (Warnick) would allow counties or cities once again to rely on Department of Ecology guidelines for water quality standards under the Growth Management Act (GMA). Read more. Last week, lawmakers indicated negotiations would be ongoing, and the measure’s passage would likely be tied to capital budget discussions.

Beer, Wine and Spirits License

HB 1351 (Sawyer) would create a combined beer, wine and spirits license for grocery store and specialty beer and wine store owners. Read more. On April 21, Inslee signed the bill into law.

Private Wildfire Contractors

HB 1489 (Kretz) seeks to increase the number of private contractors the state Department of Natural Resources (DNR) can enlist during wildfire season. Read more. It was signed by the governor on April 21.

Small Business Regulation

HB 1120 (Smith) would make sure state agencies are fully complying with the Regulatory Fairness Act, and considering the effect of regulation on small businesses. Read more. On April 19, Inslee signed the bill into law.

This article is part of a weekly series. Read last week’s update here.


Mike Richards grew up in Charlotte, North Carolina. He graduated from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA with a degree in Multiplatform Journalism and a minor in Public Relations. He wrote and published articles at Pittsburgh’s NPR station covering a variety of topics.

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