2024 Week 7 Legislative Update

Posted By: Ryan Makinster Advocacy News,

As the Washington State Legislature starts to wrap up, everything starts going at an even faster rate during a short session. This week we saw what is called the Opposite House of Origin Policy Committee Cutoff, which means that if the bill was originally introduced in the House of Representatives then it had to be voted out of the Senate policy committee by Wednesday, February 21st. On Monday, Feb 26th the Opposite House Fiscal Committee will again see a number of bills die for the session, hopefully this shows you the speed of this session. Due to the fiscal cut off on Monday, the financial committees will be working through the weekend and so will your WMFHA GA Team. 

Your WMFHA GA team has been extremely active this week as all of our top priorities are still moving through the process including: ESHB 2114 (rent stabilization) and HB 2276 (REET).

ESHB 2114 – Rent Stabilization
The bill received a public hearing on Thursday, Feb 22nd in Senate Ways & Means (stream). Signed up to testify on the bill were 100 individuals in opposition to the bill, 40 in support and 3 stating they were “other”. Due in large part to all the “Calls to Action” and engagement from our membership, there were 2,464 signed in opposed to the bill (not wishing to testify) and 3,232 signed in support. The hearing was limited to only one hour of testimony, therefore a lot of critical voices were not heard. However, WMFHA along with our coalition partners sent in written testimony from experts in the industry and economists from across the county, along with extensive research showing the negative impacts of a rent cap policy. This bill has become the number one issue for the House Democrats and the Member of Color Caucuses in both chambers, therefore it has received a lot of media attention throughout this session. The bill needs to be voted out of the committee by the EOD on Monday, February 26 or it dies.  We expect it to be scheduled for Executive Session on Monday, but the agenda has not yet been published.

HB 2276 – Real Estate Transfer Tax
The bill was voted out of House Finance today, Feb 23rd, and make its way to the House Floor for consideration by the entire House of Representatives. The bill made its way to the House Floor last session as well, so this was expected. The WMFHA GA Team has been working with industry partners to create the Coalition Against Higher Real Estate Taxes, which launched a commercial several week ago to educate the public on the negative impacts of an increased RETT, these aired on television, online, and on the radio. The commercials wrapped up this week as the second half of the campaign started requesting the public to get engaged via calls to their legislators, particularly in key districts. The Senate version of the bill has not been scheduled for a vote out of Ways & Means. 

Upcoming Dates of Importance:
February 26 - Opposite House Fiscal Committee Cutoff
March 1 - Floor Cutoff
March 7 - Last day of Regular Session