Other Topics

Lawmakers have more than 100 days to do the state's business this year. So they will have plenty of time to consider issues not related to the state budget, from dinosaurs to child abuse to crisis intervention.

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WA HB 1020: A new state dinosaur

House Bill 1020 aims to adopt the Suciasarus rex, a two-legged, three-toed, carnivorous animal related to the Velociraptor, Tyrannosaurus rex, and modern birds, as the official state dinosaur. The Suciasarus is the only dinosaur remains discovered in Washington state. The left femur of a theropod was found in Sucia Island Marine State Park, a rarity for paleontologists in the region.

Status: Bill is moving forward, passed by the House Committee on State Government & Tribal Relations on Jan. 17. Passed by the House on Feb. 20. Passed the Senate on April 12.

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WA HB 1009: Professional licenses for military spouses

House Bill 1009 seeks to make it easier for military spouses, specifically those in professions requiring licenses or state accreditation, work in Washington state. The relocation of military families and long waits for said licenses often leads many military spouses to face unemployment for months at a time. Agencies, boards, or commissions that issue licenses would need to create procedures and requirements to receive the benefit if the bill becomes a law.

Status: Passed the House Committee on Innovation, Community & Economic Development, & Veterans on Jan. 13. Passed by the House Committee on Appropriations on Jan. 30. Passed by the House on Feb. 15. Passed the Senate Committee on Labor & Commerce March 20, passed the Senate Committee on Ways & Means April 3. Passed the Senate April 10.

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WA SB 5171 Gender based pricing

Senate Bill 5171 seeks to end discriminatory pricing of similar goods solely on the basis of which gender they are being marketed to. Price differences will be allowed if there were discrepancies in manufacturing time, difficulty, cost, labor, or materials. If a court finds a violation, the attorney general may petition a court order to cease the sales and may direct restitution. Civil penalties for violating this act range from $1,000 to exceeding $100,000 in rare repeat circumstances. This bill, sponsored by Sen. Manka Dhingra, D-Redmond, was brought to her by a group of students from Lake City High School wanting to raise awareness about consumer gender discrimination.

Read this Crosscut story for more information about this proposal.

Status: Passed out of the Senate on March 7. Didn't make it out of a House committee. Appears to be dead.


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WA SB 5028 Name change requests

Senate Bill 5028 widens the opportunity for individuals (and their guardians, in the event that they are a minor) to request legal name changes. This includes allowing the request to be made at any district court in the state. Name change petitions will be heard in any superior court for reasons including but not limited to: Emancipation of minors, asylum or refugee status, gender expression/identity, domestic violence, stalking, and harassment. The court will also seal the file following the change to protect the identity and privacy of the person, as well as waive the change fees for those who are unable to pay them.  

Status: Passed by the Senate Committee on Law & Justice on Jan. 19. Passed the Senate on Feb. 1. Passed the House on March 24. Governor signed on April 6.

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WA SB 5013: Wine tax exemption for small wineries

Senate Bill 5013 would introduce a tax preference, making the first 20,000 gallons of wine produced in a year by Washington wineries not subject to some state tax. These include retail license application fees, spirits and distillers license fees, warehouse storage and distributor license fees, among others. SB 5013 would alleviate state wineries of extra expenses and to promote local business growth within Washington. If the positive effects of this bill are seen through a decrease in small wineries going out of business or an increase in the overall number of small wineries, then the tax preference will increase. 

Status: Introduced in the Senate Jan. 9. Did not pass out of Senate committee by the Feb. 17 cutoff. Bill appears to be dead.


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WA HB 1029: State workers and vaccine mandates

House Bill 1029 would give dismissed employees from executive branch state agencies pathways to reemployment if their dismissal was due to their refusal to get the COVID vaccine. The language of the bill argues that, especially considering the worker shortage, these dismissals only serve to deny the state qualified workers. 

Status: Introduced in the House Jan. 9. Did not pass out of the House committee by the Feb. 17 cutoff. Appears to be dead.


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WA SB 5280 Child abuse reporting by clergy

Senate Bill 5280 would make clergy mandatory reporters of child abuse or neglect. The proposal would make it illegal for clergy not to report sexual abuse allegations to authorities unless the information came in the form of a confession. Currently, Washington is one of a handful of states in the country that do not list clergy as mandatory reporters of child abuse or neglect.

For more information on this proposal, read this story on Crosscut.

Status: Passed out of the Senate on Feb. 28. Passed the House Committee on Human Services, Youth, & Early Learning March 24. Passed the House on April 11.


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WA SB 5371 Orca whale protection

Senate Bill 5371 would extend the range from which sea vessels can approach or position themselves around southern orca whales to 1,000 yards. A ship that exceeds this limit would have to reposition itself immediately unless it is being used for government or research purposes. A violation carries a minimum fine of $500. The bills would also raise the penalty for misdemeanor commercial whale watching and lays out the necessary permits and licenses needed for those businesses.

Status: Passed out of the Senate on Feb. 28. Passed the House on April 11.


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WA HB 1392 Right to repair consumer electronics

House Bill 1392 and Senate Bill 5464 would work to expand consumer access to electronics repair, especially in the wake of the overreliance on remote workspaces during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Starting Jan. 1, 2024, manufacturers would have to provide independent repair businesses “any parts, tools, and documentation required for the diagnosis, maintenance, or repair of such equipment.” Manufacturers wouldn’t be liable for any mistakes the repairers make, nor would they be forced to give any trade secrets, unless that information is necessary for repair.

Status: HB 1392 passed out of the House on March 4. Did not pass out of a Senate committee and appears to be dead.

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WA SB 5383 Pedestrian crossings

Senate Bill 5383 would allow pedestrians to, if there is no immediate danger, cross any street regardless of crosswalk or crossing sign, effectively repealing jaywalking. This would not be a total exemption of guilt in the event of an accident. Pedestrians and drivers must both still need to remain vigilant. Senate Bill 5383 would supersede any local or county acts, and repeal traffic regulations that pedestrians are subject to.

Status: Didn't make it out of the Senate. Appears to be dead.


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WA HB 1234 Civil forfeiture of abused and neglected animals

House Bill 1234 would expand the powers of animal care/control and law enforcement agencies, permitting them to, with probable cause, enter private property without a warrant in order to seize an animal they believe is being abused. Once this happens, owners would have to post a bond to the local district court, otherwise, their animal is forfeited to the agency that seized it, where it may be given to a new owner or euthanized. Following the forfeiture, owners are allowed to petition the court for a return for 14 days.

Status: Passed the House Feb. 8, Passed Senate Law & Justice March 22. Passed the Senate on April 12.

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WA HB 1424 Consumer protection in the sale of dogs and cats

House Bill 1424 seeks to introduce specific conditions for pet stores operating before July 25, 2021 to sell dogs and cats, including address restrictions, animal documentation and advertisement requirements. There would be a fine of 250 dollars for violations — three or more violations in a one-year period would lead to stores being unable to sell dogs and cats. Pet sellers would also not be allowed to own more than 50 intact dogs over the age of six months at any time. Also, any loans, leases, or installment transactions entered for the purchase of a dog or cat are considered void and uncollectable.

Status: Passed the House March 2, passed Senate Committee on Business, Financial Services, Gaming & Trade on March 28. Passed the Senate April 5.


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WA SB 5614 Adult entertainment establishments

Senate Bill 5614 would introduce protections and changes surrounding adult entertainment establishments, including exempting them from indecent exposure, sexual conduct and prostitution laws, as well as establish workplace safety training in the areas of conflict de-escalation and first aid. The bill would introduce limits on the percentage of the entertainers’ wage that the entertainment establishment can claim and institute a permanent security guard for all business hours. Finally, the bill would reinforce restrictions on the entry of minors and establish a specialized spirits, beer and wine adult entertainment nightclub license.

Status: Passed the Senate March 1. Passed House Committee on Labor & Workplace Standards on March 17. Did not make it out of the House Committee on Regulated Substances & Gaming. Appears to be dead.

For more information on this bill, read this Crosscut story.

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WA SB 5069 Interstate cannabis agreements

Senate Bill 5069 seeks to allow the governor to work with other states regarding cannabis-related business. Shipping between states would have to be regulated, tracked, tested and labeled in accordance with Washington state law. The bill would also make it so that the retailers and buyers can conduct business across state lines.

Status: Passed the Senate March 1, passed the House Committee on Regulated Substances & Gaming on March 23. Passed the House on April 12.

For more information on cannabis bills before the Legislature this year, read this Crosscut story:

How federal weed legalization would impact Washington state


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WA SB 5080 Social equity in the cannabis program

Senate Bill 5080 aims to extend the Cannabis Social Equity Program, which deals with issuing and reissuing retail cannabis licenses, to July 1, 2032, waiving annual license fees while also encouraging licensees to submit a social equity plan. The bill would also introduce cannabis processor and producer licenses and require a third-party contractor selected by the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board to evaluate social equity applicants. Local governments would also be able to provide objections and advice regarding the amount of retailer licensees.

Status: Passed the Senate Feb. 28, passed House Committee on Regulated Substances & Gaming on March 20, scheduled for a vote in the House Committee on Appropriations on April 1. Passed the House on April 10.

For more information on cannabis bills before the Legislature this year, read this Crosscut story:

How federal weed legalization would impact Washington state

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WA SB 5123 Regarding employment of lawful cannabis users

Senate Bill 5123 would prevent employers from discriminating against job applicants based on their use of cannabis, including any cannabis metabolites found in employer-required drug tests. The bill would maintain alcohol and drug-free workplace policies. This would not prevent employers from testing for other, illicit drugs, nor would it apply for federal government background checks, airline or aerospace positions and other “safety-sensitive positions.”

Status: Passed the Senate Feb. 22, Passed the House March 29.


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WA SB 5583 Young driver safety

Senate Bill 5583 aims to improve young driver safety through strengthening requirements during the process to get a drivers license. For applicants between the age of 18 and 21, a traffic safety education course licensed by the Department of Licensing would have to be completed in addition to the prior requisites. The bill would also get rid of the hours of operation restriction that intermediate license holders have, introduce voucher and grant programs for low-income students of the driver training education course and substantially raise the fee for a driver’s permit and new license. 

Status: Passed the Senate March 1. Passed the House on April 12.

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WA SB 5546 Washington state cannabis commission

Senate Bill 5546 would help establish a Washington State Cannabis Commission with the intent to “oversee research and education of the state's cannabis industry.” Within 60 days of the bill passing, the Washington State Department of Agriculture would hold a referendum consisting of cannabis producers and processors to see if the commission is created. Membership of the commission would comprise a director and 12 other cannabis-producing officers. 

Status: Passed the Senate March 8, passed the House Committee on Regulated Substances & Gaming March 27. Stuck in House Appropriations. May be in trouble or may be part of the budget.

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