Washington Legislative Week in Review: Public Funds Bill Passes House

As the 2012 Washington state legislative session enters the home stretch, Senate Bill 5913—the public funds bill—is now a stone’s throw from becoming law.

The Public Funds bill passed the Washington State House of Representatives yesterday by a vote of 80-16 with two excused. The bill, which passed the Senate on Feb. 9, allows federal credit unions to become public depositaries and raises the amount that public entities can deposit at a credit union to the maximum level of federal insurance.

The next step is for the bill to be signed into law by Governor Christine Gregoire. If the bill is delivered to her before the legislature’s scheduled adjournment on March 8, she will have five days to either sign or veto the legislation. If it is not delivered before the end of session, she has 20 days to either sign or veto the bill.

Most of the policy committees have held their final hearings of the year—House and Senate financial institutions committees included—and the work this week will focus on floor session and passing bills necessary to implement the budget. The deadline to consider opposite-house bills is Friday, March 2, at 5 p.m., and the last day allowed for regular session under state constitution is Thursday, March 8.

“While most of the bills the Association has been working are in good shape,” said Northwest Credit Union Association (NWCUA) Vice President of Legislative Affairs Mark Minickiello, “staff remains keenly aware of the old adage that no one’s life, liberty or property are safe while the legislature is in session.”

The NWCUA is continuing to track the progress of a number of other bills, including:

Garnishment

Substitute House Bill 1552 received a do-pass recommendation from the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday, Feb. 23, and was referred to the House Rules Committee. The 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. During executive session the bill was amended to clarify that Washington state pension systems income cannot be garnished, and to clarify that a garnishment can be executed by rendering a check mark on a form. This amendment does not change current law but changes the form for further clarification.


Document Recording Fees

Engrossed Substitute House Bill 2048 received a do-pass recommendation from the Senate Financial Institutions, Housing & Insurance Committee on Wednesday, Feb. 22, and was referred to the Senate Ways & Means Committee. The bill increases county recording fees to $40 from the current $30 surcharge for local homeless housing and assistance.


Foreclosures

Substitute House Bill 2421 received a do-pass recommendation from the Senate Financial Institutions, Housing & Insurance Committee on Tuesday, Feb. 21, and was referred to the Senate Rules Committee. The bill amends the Foreclosure Fairness Act passed last year.


Short Sales

Engrossed Substitute House Bill 2614 received a do-pass recommendation from the Senate Financial Institutions, Housing & Insurance Committee on Wednesday, Feb. 22, and was referred to the Senate Rules Committee. The bill provides that if a beneficiary agrees to a short sale of owner-occupied residential property and reserves the right to pursue the outstanding debt, the beneficiary must provide a written notice to the seller. The notice must state the amount of the outstanding debt, the fact that the beneficiary may collect upon the debt for three years after releasing its interest, and that the seller has the ability to negotiate for a full release of the debt. If a court action is not pursued within three years of releasing its security interest, the beneficiary forfeits the right to collect upon the debt. Similarly, if no written notice is provided, the beneficiary has three years from releasing its security interest to collect upon the debt or that right is forfeited.


First Mortgage Tax Exemption

House Bill 2794 was introduced on Thursday, Feb. 23, and referred to the House Ways & Means Committee. The bill would narrow the business and operation (B&O) tax exemption on interest earned on first mortgages to financial institutions located in 10 states or less. The bill would also require the Joint Legislative Audit & Review Committee (JLARC) to review the deductions by June 30, 2015, and make a recommendation to the legislature as to whether the deductions should be modified, continued without modifications or terminated immediately. The JLARC’s 2011 review of the exemption resulted in their recommending the exemption be reviewed.


Drivers’ Licenses

Engrossed Substitute Senate Bill 6150 received a do-pass recommendation from the House Transportation Committee on Tuesday, Feb. 21, and was referred to the House Rules Committee. The bill allows the Department of Licensing (DOL) to implement a facial recognition matching system for driver’s licenses, permits and identicards. The bill also changes the renewal period from five years to six years for driver’s licenses, motorcycle endorsements and identicards; increases fees for driver’s licenses, identicards, commercial driver’s licenses, instruction permits, original license examinations, duplicate licenses, and DUI hearings; and provides that a driver’s license issued to a person under the age of 21 expires on the person’s 21st birthday.


Raffles

Senate Bill 6465 received a do-pass recommendation from the House State Government & Tribal Affairs Committee on Monday, Feb. 20, and was referred to the House Rules Committee. 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 already authorized to conduct raffles under current law.

 

Questions? Contact a member of the Association’s Legislative Advocacy team:
Mark Minickiello, Vice President, Legislative Affairs
Stacy Augustine, Senior Vice President & General Counsel

Posted in Advocacy News.