Lens LegiTrack Update: February 23, 2018

Lens LegiTrack Update: March 20, 2017
LegiTrack follows the movement of bills relevant to business over the past week. Photo: Jim Bowen

Harbor maintenance tax reform

SJM 8008 (Chase) would ask Congress to reform the Harbor Maintenance Tax (HMT) to ensure that U.S. ports are not competitively disadvantaged or losing market share to Canada. Read More. . Read More. The memorial would also request that donor ports receive more benefit for imposing the tax on incoming cargo. The House Technology and Economic Development approved the measure unanimously on Feb. 22.

Statewide marketing program

SB 5251 (Takko) would create the Washington Tourism Marketing Authority to oversee the statewide tourism marketing plan. Read More. The bill would collect 0.2 percent of retail sales tax collected on restaurants, lodging and car rentals to fund the implementation of the statewide tourism plan. The measure was referred to Appropriations on Feb. 22.

Electrical and gas company regulation

HB 2839 (Morris) would allow the Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC) to consider alternative forms of regulation for electrical and gas companies. Read More. The bill requires UTC and those utility companies to also consider adding a Greenhouse Gas “planning adder” when discussing or implementing conservation programs. On Feb. 22, the Senate Energy, Environment and Technology approved the measure.

Future of work task force

SB 6544 (Chase) would create the Future of Work Task Force to address manufacturing job loss issues. Read More. The bill requires the task force to assess current and future drivers of changing industries and work in Washington. On Feb. 23, the House Higher Education Committee elected to move the measure out of committee.

Expanding apprenticeship programs

SB 6486 (Ranker) would expand registered apprenticeship programs. Read more. The measure requires the Workforce Training and Education Coordinating Board to develop an apprenticeship strategic plan. It also requires an apprenticeship workgroup to review existing apprenticeship programs and offer recommendations on expanding youth and adult apprenticeship opportunities. The House Higher Education Committee approved the measure on Feb. 23.

Budget

HB 2299, (Ormsby) increases overall spending by $529 million and assumes the passage of a capital gains income tax. Read more. It received a “do pass” recommendation from the Appropriations Committee Feb. 21.

SB 6032 (Rofles) would increase spending during the 2017-19 biennium by more than $1 billion but involves no new taxes. Read more. It received a “do pass” recommendation from Ways and Means on Feb. 21 and has been placed second reading by Rules Committee.

Manufacturing

HB 2992 (Chapman) gradually lowers the B&O manufacturing tax rate from 0.484 to 0.2904 percent by 2024. Read more. It received a “do pass” recommendation Feb. 19 from the House Finance Committee and has been referred to Rules Committee.

Broadband

ESSB 6034 (Rofles) creates a pilot program between the Kitsap Public Utility District (PUD) and private telecommunication companies to extend broadband access to the county’s rural communities. Read more. It cleared the House Committee on Technology & Economic Development on Feb. 22.

HB 2664 (Dye) would extend to urban districts a state policy adopted nearly two decades ago for rural port districts, which supporters say will hasten access to broadband. Read more. The measure received a “do pass” recommendation from the Senate Committee on Energy, Environment & Technology Feb. 22.

Microbrews

HB 2419 (Hargrove) allows microbreweries and wineries to fill and sell growlers of their own products at farmers markets. Read more. The bill passed in the House 78-17 and received a Feb. 21 public hearing in the Senate Committee on Labor & Commerce.

Timber Industry

ESSB 5450 (Liias) directs the Washington State Building Code Council (WSBCC) to adopt rules for CLT use when building residential and commercial buildings. Read more. The bill passed in the Senate 45-2 and cleared the House Committee on Local Government on Feb. 22.

Environment

SB 6253 (Carlyle) would set a timeline for Washington state energy production to be carbon-free by 2045. Read more. It was placed in the Senate Rules “X” file on Feb. 22.

ESHB 1144 (Fitzgibbon) would revise benchmarks created in a 2008 state law to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as compared to 1990 levels. Read more. It passed in the House Feb. 14 on a 50-48 vote and received a “do pass” recommendation from the Senate Committee on Energy, Environment & Technology on Feb. 22.

Capital Gains Tax

HB 2967 (Lytton) would impose a capital gains income tax to provide property tax relief to some state residents. Read more. It received a “do pass” recommendation from the House Finance Committee Feb. 19 and has been referred to the Rules Committee.

Net Neutrality

HB 2282 (Hansen) would impose net neutrality regulations in Washington state. Read more. It was passed by the House Feb. 9 in a 93-5 vote. On Feb. 22 it received a “do pass” recommendation from the Senate Committee on Energy, Environment & Technology.

Sound Transit

HB 2357 (Reeves) would enable drivers to set up semi-annual or quarterly payment plans for their motor vehicle excise tax (MVET) owed to Sound Transit as part of ST3. Read More. The bill was revived in an unspecified Senate committee and received a “do pass” recommendation on Feb. 22.

Carbon Tax

SB 6203 (Carlyle) would impose a tax on carbon emitted by fossil fuels and electricity, beginning in July 2019. Read more. Revenue would go to carbon reduction projects, among other things. It cleared the Senate Ways and Means Committee on Feb. 22.

Public Land Management

HB 2175 (Maycumber) would exempt certain land-use practices employed by the state Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) from requiring an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) under the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA). Read More. The bill was passed by the House 98-0 on Feb. 12 and it received a Feb. 20 public hearing of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Water, Natural Resources & Parks.

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

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