Here is the weekly update on bills from session this week:
Senate Bill 5868
SB 5868 - Concerning the use of .09 funds for affordable housing - Expanding the use of the rural counties public facilities sales and use tax to include affordable workforce housing.
Senate Bill 5868, sponsored by 12th District Sen. Brad Hawkins to assist local governments with affordable workforce housing “infrastructure or facilities” cleared the House of Representatives 68-28 on March 2 with a slight revision. The legislation was backed by several local entities, including the city of Leavenworth and nonprofit, Chelan Valley Housing Trust.
3-day sales tax 'holiday'
HB 2018 – The bill would create a 3-day sales tax ‘holiday’ over the labor day weekend from Sep 3-5 on certain items for purchases under $1,000.
The intent is to give a sales tax break to WA residents but also to encourage shopping at small businesses across the state. To avoid opposition from local jurisdictions concerned over losing their share of local sales tax, the bill does establish a mechanism for the state to ‘pay back’ all lost local sales tax revenue to each jurisdiction. The Rules Committee has been relieved of further consideration, the bill will go to a floor vote.
House Bill 1868
HB 1868 - Concerning staffing needs in healthcare facilities - Improving worker safety and patient care in health care facilities by addressing staffing needs, overtime, meal and rest breaks, and enforcement.
House Bill 1868, sponsored by Rep. Marcus Riccelli (D-Spokane), addresses staffing needs, overtime, meal and rest breaks, and enforcement, making Washington the second state to mandate safe staffing standards for hospitals.
The major concern under this bill is that hospitals who are unable to meet the ratios, would be forced to close units to additional patients and in some cases may have to discontinue services entirely.
An executive session is scheduled, but no action was taken in the Senate Committee on Ways & Means.