Week 10 of the 2021 legislative session begins with a public hearing in the Finance committee on ESSB 5096 from Sen. Robinson, which invests in Washington’s families and creates a more progressive tax system by enacting an excise tax on the sale or exchange of certain capital assets. The Capital Gains Excise Tax mostly impacts wealthy Washingtonians and includes several exemptions to avoid taxing working families, helping to rebalance Washington’s regressive tax code. ESSB 5096 passed the Senate 25-24.
In the Consumer Protection & Business committee, members will hear ESSB 5191 from Sen. Darneille, which passed the Senate 29-20. The bill prohibits sale or rental of certain good and services at an excessive price during a state of emergency.
The Appropriations committee will hear SHB 1277 and SHB 1282, from Reps. Ormsby and Simmons. SHB 1277 funds critical new investments funding housing services and creates the Eviction Prevention Rental Assistance Program. HB 1282 reforms allowed earned time for certain offenses.
Tuesday morning, the Housing, Human Services & Veterans committee will hear E2SSB 5160 from Sen. Kuderer which passed the Senate 29-20. The bill provides certain tenant protections during the public health emergency, legal representation in eviction cases, establishes an eviction resolution pilot program for nonpayment of rent cases, and authorizes landlord access to certain rental assistance programs.
The Public Safety committee will hear E2SSB 5259 from Sen. Nobles. E2SSB 5259 mandates the collection of data on police uses of force so that the state can study the issues and make systemic change, adding more transparency to Washington’s policing. It passed the Senate 46-2.
Later that morning, the Civil Rights & Judiciary committee will hear ESSB 5038 from Sen. Kuderer, which prohibits the open carry of certain weapons at public permitted demonstrations and the state capitol. It passed the Senate 28-20.
On Wednesday, the Health Care & Wellness committee will hear E2SSB 5377 from Sen Frockt, which will strengthen Washington’s public option and standardized plans, building on the work from Cascade Care passing in 2019. The goal is increased affordability and higher quality insurance available on the state health insurance exchange and passed the Senate 30-18.
The Labor & Workplace Standards committee has scheduled executive session on ESSB 5193 from Sen. Conway, which requires the Employment Security Department must create a training program for reserve unemployment insurance claim adjudicators and work with the Office of Financial Management to identify state employees qualified for the program. The bill passed the Senate 48-0.
The Children, Youth & Families committee will hold a public hearing on E2SSB 5237 (passed the Senate 28-21), the Senate companion from Sen. Wilson to Rep. Senn’s Fair Start for Kids Act. At the same time, the Health Care & Wellness committee is hearing ESSB 5203, which authorizes the state Health Care Authority to work with other groups and states to produce, distribute or purchase generic drugs, potentially lowering the cost of life-saving medications. It passed the Senate 28-21.
On Friday, the Housing, Human Services & Veterans committee has scheduled executive session for E2SSB 5160, and the Environment & Energy committee has scheduled executive action on Sen. Saldaña’s HEAL Act, E2SSB 5141 , which passed the Senate 28-21. The HEAL Act seeks to address how disproportionate exposure to environmental hazards has led to a higher risk of adverse health outcomes for Black, Indigenous, and other communities of color.