Washington Legislative Week in Review: NWCUA Issues Call to Action in Support of HB 1582

The Northwest Credit Union Association (NWCUA) issued a call to action this week to build support for a pair of NWCUA-sponsored bills currently moving through the Washington State Legislature.

Based on the recommendations of the NWCUA’s Washington State Model Act Subcommittee, Senate Bill 5302 and Substitute House Bill 1582 would both amend the Washington Credit Union Act to allow state-chartered credit unions to compensate board members, among other changes.

After passing the Senate on Feb. 26 by a vote of 49-0, Senate Bill 5302 has been referred to the House Business & Financial Services Committee, where it is expected to soon be scheduled for a hearing.

HB 1582, meanwhile, was pulled from the House Rules Committee on March 1 and is now on the House Floor Calendar. According to NWCUA Vice President of Legislative Affairs Mark Minickiello, a House vote could come as early as this week.

Call to Action: Washington credit union CEOs and Advocates are asked to contact their state Representatives and urge them to vote YES on HB 1582. Click here to take action.

Last week in Olympia, the Washington Supreme Court ruled in a 6-3 decision that the two-thirds supermajority requirement for the Legislature to raise taxes under Initiative 1053 is unconstitutional.

The case began at the end of the 2011 Legislative session when 11 freshmen House Democrats wanted to get clarity on this issue of the two-thirds requirement. There had been attempts previously where the court threw it out because the issue wasn’t properly before them. In a scripted question and answer session between three Democratic House members and Speaker Frank Chopp on the floor of the House that evening (at around 10 p.m.), Chopp was asked how many votes it would take to end the banks’ B&O tax exemption on first mortgages and devote the money to K-3rd grade class-size reduction.

His answer, that only the courts could override his ruling based on Initiative 1053, was used as the basis for the lawsuit. The plaintiffs argued that the ruling by Chopp prevented them from passing the bill, that they had exhausted the parliamentary options and that an appeal under the House rules wouldn’t have helped.

The majority opinion (Owens, Madsen, Chambers, Fairhurst, Wiggins and Gonzalez) says that article II, section 22 of the State Constitution “prohibits either the people or the legislature from passing legislation requiring more than a simple majority for the passage of tax legislation – or any other ordinary legislation.”

Furthermore, “The Supermajority Requirement unconstitutionally amends the constitution by imposing a two-thirds vote requirement for tax legislation. More importantly, the Supermajority Requirement substantially alters our system of government, thus enabling the tyranny of the minority.” (page 20)

In the Legislature last week, neither the House Business & Financial Services Committee nor the Senate Financial Institutions & Insurance Committee held hearings. The only hearings held were those before the House fiscal committees and Senate Ways & Means and Transportation committees, passing out bills in advance of the March 1 cutoff. Between now March 13, the Legislature will be spending most of its time passing bills out of Rules and through their house of origin. (March 13 being the cutoff for bills to pass out of their house of origin.)

Financial Literacy – House Bill 1173 passed the House on March 4 by a vote of 93-4 with 1 excused. The bill modifies membership and certain procedures and duties of the Financial Education Public-Private Partnership (FEPPP) and requires the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) to make available to all school districts the curriculum for a course or courses in financial education.

Independent Contractor Relationships – Second Substitute House Bill 1440 received a do pass recommendation from the House Finance Committee on Feb. 28 and was referred to the House Rules Committee. The bill would create a new test to determine whether an individual is an independent contractor for purposes of the new Employee Fair Classification Act, the Minimum Wage Act, the Wage Payment Act, and laws on prevailing wage,wage deductions, industrial insurance, and unemployment compensation. The Association has concerns with this bill as it allows for creation of a statutory lien for wage claims that would have priority over all other liens.

Collection of Unpaid Wages – House Bill 1467 was pulled from the House Rules Committee on March 1 and is now on the House Floor Calendar. The bill Modifies procedures for the collection of unpaid wages by the Department of Labor & Industries (L&I). As part of the bill, L&I is authorized to match its outstanding warrants against deposit accounts held by financial institutions registered in Washington State. The Association is supporting a floor amendment that would require L&I to use the same process that the Department of Revenue (DOR) currently uses to perform data matching with financial institutions.

Credit Card Surcharging – Substitute House Bill 1870 was pulled from the House Rules Committee on March 1 and is now on the House Floor Calendar. The bill prohibits a person that accepts credit cards for the transaction of business from imposing a surcharge for the use of a credit card in lieu of payment by cash, check, or similar means. The substitute version of the bill exempts government entities.

 

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

Jennifer Wagner, Vice President of Legislative Advocacy
Mark Minickiello, Vice President of Legislative Affairs
Pam Leavitt, Policy Advisor

Posted in Advocacy News, Around the NW, Community Impact, Events, NWCUA.