Washington Legislative Week in Review: Public Funds Bill Passes Senate

The Washington State Legislature will be releasing its proposed budgets after the state revenue forecast is released Thursday. House Democrats are expected to release their budget proposal soon afterward, with the Senate waiting to release its budget until after the House this year.

Until this week, most lawmakers were talking about sending a half-penny sales tax increase to voters. On Friday, the Caseload Forecast Council announced that a reduction in demand for state services will save the state an extra $200 million. Some legislators are now talking about using that savings and securitizing a few hundred million more to avoid the ballot entirely. Securitization refers to selling a future revenue stream in exchange for a cash payment now.

The regular session ends on Thursday, March 8.

Public Funds

Senate Bill 5913 passed the Senate on Thursday, Feb. 9, by a vote of 43-2 with four excused. The bill was then referred to the House Business & Financial Services Committee, where it has been scheduled for a hearing on Thursday, Feb. 16. The bill will allow federal credit unions to become public depositaries and raise the amount that public entities could deposit at a credit union to the maximum level of federal insurance. Current law allows state-chartered credit unions to be depositaries up to a maximum of $100,000.


Garnishment

Substitute House Bill 1552 passed the House on Friday, Feb. 10, by a vote of 92-4 with two excused. The substitute bill modifies the forms used in garnishment proceedings, increases the exemption for wages from 30 times the federal minimum hourly wage to 35 times the federal minimum hourly wage and increases the minimum and maximum amounts that may be collected for the garnishment attorney fee.


Document Recording Fees

House Bill 2048 passed the House on Thursday, Feb. 9, by a vote of 55-42 with one excused. The bill increases county recording fees to $40 from the current $30 surcharge for local homeless housing and assistance.


Foreclosures

Substitute House Bill 2421 passed the House on Saturday, Feb. 11, by a vote of 91-1 with six excused. The substitute bill amends the Foreclosure Fairness Act to, among other things:

  1. Change when a borrower may be referred to mediation;
  2. Change the time period between the trustee sale and the recording of the notice of sale for owner occupied residential real property;
  3. Allow the mediator discretion to cancel a mediation session and continue a session;
  4. Provide immunity for all foreclosure mediators;
  5. Clarify what information a beneficiary and borrower must provide each other before mediation;
  6. Change the allocation of funds remitted by beneficiaries; and
  7. Cake other procedural changes to the mediation process.

Short Sales

Substitute House Bill 2614 passed the House on Monday, Feb. 13, by a vote of 69-29. The original bill prohibited the beneficiary on a deed of trust from obtaining a judgment on a deficiency balance in conjunction with a short sale of owner-occupied residential real property, if the beneficiary had filed an IRS forgiveness of debt (1099-C) or the beneficiary consented to the sale of the property in writing.

The substitute bill

  1. Removes the provision prohibiting a beneficiary from obtaining a deficiency judgment when the beneficiary consented to the short sale; and
  2. Specifies that the bill only applies when the property that was sold was occupied by the borrower as the borrower’s principal residence at the time of the sale.

Tax Preferences

Substitute Senate Bill 6088 passed the Senate on Saturday, Feb. 11, by a vote of 45-3 with one excused. The substitute bill requires any bill introduced that would adopt a new tax preference or expand or extend an existing tax preference to include legislative intent provisions that might provide context and/or data for purposes of reviewing the preference under the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission (JLARC) review. Tax preferences must also include a specific expiration date. Tax preferences without a specified date expire five years after taking effect.


Raffles

Senate Bill 6465 passed the Senate on Saturday, Feb. 11, by a vote of 47-0 with two excused. The bill authorizes bona fide charitable or nonprofit organizations to conduct raffles that exceed $5,000 if the organization obtains a license from the gambling commission. Credit unions are authorized to conduct raffles under current law.


Drivers’ Licenses

Substitute Senate Bill 6150 passed the Senate on Monday, Feb. 13, by a vote of 29-19 with one excused. The substitute version of the bill authorizes the Department of Licensing (DOL) to implement a facial recognition matching system for all driver’s licenses, permits and identicards. Any facial recognition matching system selected by DOL must be used only to verify the identity of an applicant for, or holder of, a driver’s license, permit or identicard. The bill also allows the DOL to issue a driver license or identicard for a period of other than six years in order to evenly distribute the yearly renewal rate.


 

Questions? Contact a member of the Association’s Legislative Advocacy team:

Mark Minickiello, Vice President, Legislative Affairs
Stacy Augustine, Senior Vice President & General Counsel

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