Washington State House Democrats


Rep. Sells’ 1/26/18 Update: Car Tab Relief / Net Neutrality / Fair Chance Act

Car Tab Relief Passes House

After ST3 passed to expand light rail up to Everett, many of you reached out to me, shocked about the increased cost of car tabs. For many working families, that increase is a major burden. Many of you also contacted my office to let me know it is important for you to see that the Legislature is ensuring these transit projects are completed on time.

Our region needs to move forward with light rail and I agree with you, it is important we uphold the projects that voters approved when ST3 passed. But we shouldn’t be taxing people unfairly. ST3 uses what is called the “1996 MVET” to assess car value and it is widely seen as unfair because it overvalues vehicles. We have a better valuation schedule, called the “2006 MVET” that is more fair and accurate, and closely tracks with Kelley Blue Book values.


I voted to pass legislation (House Bill 2201) that moves to the 2006 MVET and if the bill passes, drivers will see corrected car tab taxes this year.

This bill was the only bill to have bipartisan support and also keep light rail projects on track, while still returning $780 million to tax payers.

Protecting Net Neutrality & Internet Privacy

A pair of bills working their way through the House would protect net neutrality and consumers’ internet privacy in our state. House Bill 2282, which I co-sponsored, advanced out of committee this week.


This legislation would ensure that under the state’s consumer protection authority, Washington would continue to safeguard net neutrality for consumers despite the Federal Communications Commission’s rollback of these protections last month. Specifically, the bill protects consumers from:

  • Blocking of lawful content by internet service providers;
  • “Throttling,” or slowing down, of lawful content by internet service providers; and
  • Favoring of certain content over others by internet service providers due to special deals (“paid prioritization”)

Also under consideration is House Bill 2200, which prevents Internet Service Providers (ISPs) from using customers’ private information – such as browsing and search history – to market to them without their consent. This bill passed the House three times last year on a strong bipartisan basis, only to fail to advance in the Senate. With the new leadership in the Senate, the chances of its success this year are much better.

Life is About Second Chances

The revolving door of prison can be hard to escape – once you have been arrested or convicted, there are far-reaching consequences that can make it hard to succeed. One of the barriers that people face is trying to get a job with a criminal record.


Under current law, most job applications include a box you have to check if you have a criminal record. The application doesn’t ask for an explanation or any details on the circumstances surrounding your arrest or conviction. When employers see that box checked, they generally don’t call the applicant back for an interview.

I believe everyone should get a fair chance to tell their story. Everyone should have the opportunity to earn a living and provide for their families.

That is why I am supporting the Fair Chance Act, which would prohibit employers from asking about an applicant’s criminal background until after the employer initially determines that the applicant is otherwise qualified for the position. The bill includes exemptions, such as financial institutions, law enforcement agencies and jobs that involve working with children or vulnerable people.

This legislation is good policy; it reduces recidivism and helps local economies. Currently, 29 states and over 100 local jurisdictions already have some version of this law in their books.

As always, thank you for reading my newsletter. If you need additional information on these or any other issues currently under discussion in Olympia, or you want to give me some feedback, please contact my office.


Sells Sig