2024 Week 3 Legislative Update
Week three is done and the first committee cut-off date looms large. The policy committee cutoff date is next Friday, which means that any bills that are not required to implement the budget need to be out of the committees in their house of origin by Friday or are dead (although some shenanigans can still happen.) This also means that next week will be hectic and dynamic with committee agendas possibly changing from what is included in this e-mail. This also means we may have a better idea of which of our priorities are moving and which are not after next week.
The highlights of this week’s committee work included bills on pet deposits/fees, a real estate transfer tax, a rental industry B&O tax, rent stabilization, credit reporting for on time payments, and unlawful detainer reform.
SB 6064, which would limit pet deposits and eliminate pet rent was heard in (S) Housing on Wednesday. WMFHA members Katie Phelan-Chostner, 1UP Floors and Lauren Trujillo both testified to their concerns on the bill. After the hearing, Senator Hansen, the sponsor reached out to WMFHA and other stakeholders to discuss our concerns and find a solution which is ongoing.
The B&O tax bill, SB 6136, was amended in (S) Housing to remove the rent cap tax exemption and moved out of committee. The credit reporting bills were heard in their respective committees with HB 2323 scheduled for exec session next week and SB 6212 scheduled for exec session today, but no action was taken. WMFHA members Sheri Druckman, Legacy Partners and Chris Dukelow were scheduled to testify on HB 2323, but the committee ran out of time. However, they both were able to share their compelling statements on SB 6212 in the (S) Housing committee.
Of high importance, especially for our members in King County, SB 6210, Senator Mullet’s “Unlawful detainer reform bill” was heard today in (S) Housing. Brett Waller, Devco Residential Group and Suzanne, GMD development, two affordable housing providers offered impactful testimony on the broken eviction process. A committee substitute has been offered which will remove large sections of the bill, but still increase funding and the number of commissioners hearing these cases to speed up the process.
Finally, SB 5961, rent stabilization, was amended in (S) Housing by changing the rent cap to 15% with a sunset date of 2044, but would also remove the state pre-emption on local rent control. The amendment passed along party lines but is now stalled in committee with Senator Jeff Wilson excused and Senator Cleveland holding strong in her opposition.
Bills we are tracking, but are not high priority, that were heard this week include HB 2308 / SB 6175 “Housing affordability tax incentives,” HB 2270 “Create a WA state dept. of housing,” SB 6191 “Affordable & workforce housing,” and SB 5901 “Co-living housing.”