Friday marks the 19th day of the 105-day legislative session. As mentioned above, committees held hearings on a suite of bills to strengthen reproductive access and rights, and legislators convened a bipartisan press conference about traffic safety proposals. More than 1,000 bills have been filed this session so the pace is picking up to hear and move bills before the committee cutoff dates in February.
Committees this week moved bills forward that would increase the penalty for hazing, create a cold case investigations unit for missing and murdered indigenous people, restrict the sale of cosmetics with certain toxic chemicals, and require six months’ notice for rent increases over five percent. Committees also moved additional gun safety bills forward including the assault weapon bill requested by the governor and attorney general and the governor’s request legislation to require training before purchasing a firearm. Next week’s possible committee votes could include a bill to end puppy mills and to limit nighttime use of lights on wind turbines.
Outside the Legislature, the Washington Supreme Court heard arguments this week about the state’s new capital gains tax. Washington has the most regressive tax structure in the country, and legislators passed the capital gains tax in 2021. The tax only applies to very wealthy individuals and is expected to be paid by about 7,000 people. At the same time the capital gains is going into effect, so is the new Working Families Tax Credit which will provide up to $1,200 back to more than 400,000 low-income Washington households. Applications open next week on Feb. 1.