Legislative Update 2020: Week 5
Last Wednesday, the House and Senate began marathon floor sessions to vote on policies that survived the first policy and fiscal cut-offs. The floor sessions will continue until Wednesday, February 19. During this time, the full chamber considers any bill that moved out of its policy committee or the fiscal committee. As mentioned last week, many landlord-tenant bills moved out of their policy committee and are awaiting further action.
If a bill does not make out of its chamber of origin (the House or the Senate) by the cut-off, it is considered dead for this legislative session.
These policy cut-offs are a small sigh of relief for those that lobby for or against legislation because cut-offs relieve the burden of tracking multiple policy proposals. This allows everyone interested to focus on specific legislation.
The bill that delays assessment of a late fee passed out of the House of Representatives by a vote of 92-4. The bill now heads to the Senate for policy hearings and potentially floor action.
The bills, that would implement just cause, remove the opportunity for fixed-term lease and allow occupants to assume a lease agreement; permit installment payments for move-in costs, and reform the requirements on the return of a security deposit remain on the House floor while lawmakers consider each other’s opinion on these issues.
Additionally, the bill that expands the Landlord Mitigation Fund to tenancies terminated under the domestic violence statute, remains on the House floor. WMFHA worked with stakeholders to draft an amendment that requires the Department of Commerce to protect the confidentiality of tenants for whom the state makes reimbursement since these tenants are escaping often violent situations.
In the Senate, the clean-up bill to Senate Bill 5600 remains in the rules committee for further discussion. We remain in discussions with stakeholders to further clarify some of the substantive changes being proposed in the amendments.
Something else to follow:
House Bill 2907 would permit King County to implement an employee payroll tax on employees earning in excess of $150,000 annually compensation. The tax would apply to employers with 50+ employees or to those with less than 50 employees but more than 50 percent of employees earn more than $150,000 in compensation per year. The proposal has the support of businesses that opposed the Head Tax in Seattle if that proposal preempts local jurisdictions from implementing their own Head Tax. The revenue generated from the tax would be used to preserve and construct new housing.
If you have questions, please contact Brett Waller by email or at 425.656.9077.