House and Senate do not reach agreement on Washington Privacy Act

OLYMPIA – Rep. Zack Hudgins, D-Tukwila, issued the following statement today on the Washington Privacy Act (Senate Bill 6281).

“Our modern innovation economy is fueled as much by the data consumers produce as the oil used in our factories. Finding regulatory balance between consumer’s data privacy and innovation is not easy – yet is needed now more than ever.

The Washington state House of Representatives has consistently pushed for legislation that was easy to understand, could be implemented, and consumer focused.

I am disappointed that we were not able to find common ground on the issue of consumer-focused enforcement with the Senate after both sides moved on the underlying policy so much.

Consumers currently have the ability to protect their rights in over 133 different and existing statutes referencing the Consumer Protection Act. It is unfortunate that multiple reasonable alternatives that kept a consumer voice in the enforcement process were rejected.

We felt a solution could have been at hand when some tech companies and some consumer groups supported the conference report proposal which preserved consumer’s ability to enforce their rights.

Strong Attorney General enforcement was never the issue, it was the role of consumers that proved impossible to reconcile. These issues of privacy, and the data economy, are not going to fade in Washington state or nationally.

I want to thank the bipartisan members of the House Innovation, Technology and Economic Development committee for their work this session and in the future on these issues that power our economy.

I would especially like to thank Speaker Laurie Jinkins, ranking member Rep. Norma Smith, Rep. Drew Hansen, Rep. Shelley Kloba, Sen. Manka Dhingra, and Attorney General Ferguson for their commitment to consumers and guidance in these discussions. Governor Inslee and United States Sen. Cantwell were also helpful with their deep expertise and commitment to privacy issues. State Sen. Carlyle has my utmost respect for his work and passion for privacy issues, even if we disagree on the role of how consumers can protect their data.”