Legislative Update: A Day on the Hill

Jodi Slavik   


The Legislature is more than half-way through its 60-day session, and Tuesday was a major make or break deadline for bills trying to become a law ("I'm only a bill, and I'm sittin' here on Capitol Hill...").  Bills had to be passed out of their house of origin by 5:00pm Tuesday to continue through the process.  Below is a list of bills that are still alive that may impact your business: 


ESHB 1313 - statewide paid sick & safe leave - passed House 52 - 45


HB 2332 - creates triple damages liability (!!) for wage and hour violations - passed House, 53-45

HB 2333creates anti-retaliation protections in the Minimum Wage Act - passed House,
53 - 45


HB 2334 - penalties and causes of action for misclassifying employees as independent contractors - passed House, 51-45


All of these bills are traveling to the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee where they are likely to receive a hearing, but unlikely to be passed because the Senate is still held by a coalition caucus of Republicans and two Democrats. In other words, unless Republicans agree to these pro-employee bills, they will likely languish in committee or on the Senate floor.   


Likely meeting a similar fate in the House Labor & Workforce Development Committee will be SB 5158, which creates a good faith defense against wage and hour complaints if the employer relied on agency guidance.


Among the bill casualties after Tuesday's cut-off are:


HB 2238 - mandates accrual of paid vacation up to 3 weeks for employees with 5 years of service - DIED in House Labor & Workforce Development Committee

HB 2230 - requires employers to reimburse for cell phones and cell plans if required for work - DIED in House Rules Committee

HB 2545 - statewide ban on application background checks - DIED in House Rules Committee

HB 2672 - increases minimum wage to $12 an hour over next three years - DIED in House Appropriations Committee

HB 2710 - creates retaliation cause of action in WLAD if the employee is protecting public policy - DIED in House Judiciary Committee

SB 6307 - preempting local ordinances on minimum wages, hours, retention, and leave - DIED in Senate Rules Committee

SB 6433 - creates religious discrimination cause of action in WLAD - DIED in Senate Law & Justice Committee

The next major deadline is March 7, when all bills must be voted off the floor of the opposing house. Very few of the above bills will make it that far. If any do, I will provide a full summary and how it will impact employers in Washington State in April.


Your chance to learn about the legislative process and bill updates firsthand is quickly approaching!  On Friday, March 7, the Washington State Council is sponsoring its annual
HR Day on the Hill. Meet your legislators, hear from experts, and learn from agency officials - and get a free lunch!

LWHRA is partnering with South King County HR Association to provide a bus pick-up at Westfield Southcenter. Click here for more information, including registration.