Log in

Legislative Affairs in Washington state

Key Terms

The Washington State Legislature is a bicameral body that convenes annually.

bicameral (adj) having two branches or chambers.

Washington is divided into 49 legislative districts, with one (1) state Senator and (2) state Representatives elected in each district (49 Senators and 98 Representatives). (leg.wa.gov/LIC/Documents/EducationAndInformation/)

Legislative sessions

Legislative sessions are defined by the biennium or the two-year period in which bills are considered... 

biennium (noun) a specified period of two years.

2021 A long session. a budget year. 105 days.

2022 A short session. An off year; not a budget year. A supplemental budget year. 

General Human Resources (HR) bills. Some bills are bills introduced from the previous years. In a long session, in the new year, we start with a brand new numbering system. Everything that has a 1,000 to 4,000, 4999 is going to be a House Bill. Everything up to 5,000 to 7,000, 7999 is going to be a Senate Bill. Joint resolutions are 8,000. These remain in place for the next two years then everything starts over again. 2021 are new numbers i.e., be mindful of online research with bill numbers.

2022 Legislative Sessions

Bills that have passed the Legislature

General HR Legislation

SB 5355 - Establishing wage liens. Effective 1/1/2022

Brief Summary of Engrossed Substitute Bill

  • Creates a statutory wage lien for claims on unpaid wages.

  • Creates procedures for establishing, foreclosing, extinguishing, and prioritizing wage liens.

SB 5172 - Concerning the retroactivity of overtime claims in exceptional cases. Effective 7/25/2021

Brief Summary of Engrossed Substitute Bill (As Amended By House)

  • Phases in overtime pay requirements for certain agricultural employees as follows: (1) beginning January 1, 2022, after 55 hours; (2) beginning January 1, 2023, after 48 hours; and (3) beginning January 1, 2024, after 40 hours.

  • Prohibits the award of damages or other relief to certain agricultural employees seeking unpaid overtime under the overtime statute as it existed on November 4, 2020, and applies the prohibition retroactively.

SB 5115 - Establishing health emergency labor standards. Effective 5/11/2021

Brief Summary of Engrossed Substitute Bill (As Amended By House)

  • Creates an occupational disease presumption, for the purposes of workers' compensation, for frontline employees during a public health emergency.

  • Requires certain employers to notify the Department of Labor and Industries when 10 or more employees have tested positive for the infectious disease during a public health emergency.

  • Requires employers to provide written notice to employees of potential exposure to the infectious disease during a public health emergency.

  • Prohibits discrimination against high-risk employees who seek accommodations or use leave options.

SB 5025 - Concerning the consumer protection improvement act. Effective 7/25/2021

Brief Summary of Substitute Bill (As Amended By House)

  • Increases the maximum civil penalties for a violation of the Consumer Protection Act.

  • Establishes an enhanced civil penalty for unlawful acts or practices targeting specific individuals or communities based on demographic characteristics.

  • Provides civil penalty actions are exempt from limitations restricting the time in which the action must be brought by the state.

  • Requires the Office of the Attorney General to regularly evaluate civil penalty levels and provide the Legislature with a report.

Long-Term Services and Support (LTSS) Trust Act

HB 1733 - Establishing voluntary exemptions to the long-term services and supports trust program for certain populations. Effective 6/9/2022

Brief Summary of Engrossed Substitute Bill

• Establishes exemptions from the payment of premiums under the Long- Term Services and Supports Trust Program for certain veterans, spouses and registered domestic partners of military service members, nonimmigrant temporary workers, and employees who work in Washington and maintain a primary residence outside of Washington.

HB 1732 - Delaying the implementation of the long-term services and supports trust program by 18 months. Effective 1/27/2022

Brief Summary of Substitute Bill

  • Delays the collection of premium assessments under the Long-Term Services and Supports Trust Program (Trust Program) until July 1, 2023.

  • Delays the availability of approved services under the Trust Program until July 1, 2026.

  • Allows persons born before January 1, 1968, who do not meet the 10- year minimum for paying Trust Program premiums to receive partial benefits based on the number of years of premium payments.

HB 1323 - Concerning the long-term services and supports trust program. Effective 7/25/2021

Brief Summary of Substitute Bill

  • Requires that self-employed persons who wish to elect coverage under the Long-Term Services and Supports Trust Program (Trust Program) exercise that option by January 1, 2025, or within three years of becoming self-employed for the first time.

  • Authorizes federally recognized tribes to elect to collect the premium assessment for their employees under the Trust Program.

HB 1206 - Protecting temporary workers. Effective 7/25/2021

Brief Summary of Substitute Bill

• Establishes specific standards under the Washington Industrial Safety and Health Act for staffing agencies and worksite employers regarding training, assessing hazards, sharing information, and other requirements.

HB 1097 - Increasing worker protections. Effective 7/25/2021

Brief Summary of Engrossed Substitute Bill

  • Establishes statutory procedures for an employer to contest an order of immediate restraint (OIR) and appeal alleged violations of the OIR, and authorizes the imposition of daily civil penalties.

  • Amends the Washington Industrial Safety and Health Act's antiretaliation provision by explicitly prohibiting acts that would deter a reasonable employee from exercising their rights, and by expanding the time for filing a complaint, authorizing civil penalties, and making other changes.

  • Creates a grant program to assist small businesses in equipment purchases or capital costs during a state of emergency proclamation.

HB 1016 - Making Juneteenth a legal holiday. Effective 7/25/2021

Brief Summary of Bill

• Designates June 19, recognized as Juneteenth, as a state legal holiday.

Workers Compensation

SB 5190 - Providing health care workers with presumptive benefits during a public health emergency. Effective 5/11/2021

Brief Summary of Engrossed First Substitute Bill

  • Makes health care employees who left work to quarantine during a public health emergency eligible for unemployment insurance benefits.

  • Provides that misconduct for unemployment insurance purposes does not include entering quarantine or contracting the disease that is the subject of a public health emergency.

  • Provides presumptive workers' compensation coverage for health care employees who are in quarantine or contract the disease that is the subject of a public health emergency.

SB 5046 - Concerning workers' compensation claim resolution settlement agreements. Effective 4/16/2021

Brief Summary of Bill

  • Amends the workers' compensation claim resolution structured settlement provisions to allow for settlements to be paid in a single lump sum.

  • Requires the Board of Industrial Insurance Appeals to provide copies of all final claim resolution settlement agreements to the Department of Labor and Industries.

Paid Family and Medical Leave

SB 5097 - Expanding coverage of the paid family and medical leave program. Effective 7/25/2021

Brief Summary of Engrossed Substitute Bill (As Amended By House)

  • Expands the definition of family member in the Paid Family and Medical Leave (PFML) program.

  • Requires the Employment Security Department to collect and analyze data and submit reports to the Legislature with certain information regarding the PFML program.

  • Requires the General Fund to cover certain additional leave expenses.

HB 1087 - Clarifying the continuity of employee family and medical leave rights. Effective 4/16/2021

Brief Summary of Bill

• Specifies that the Family Leave Act as it existed prior to January 1, 2020, applies to valid claims based on conduct before that date and the Paid Family and Medical Leave Act applies to claims after that date.

HB 1073 - Expanding coverage of the paid family and medical leave program. Effective 4/21/2021 

Brief Summary of Engrossed Second Substitute Bill

  • Provides grants to certain employees ineligible for paid family and medical leave benefits due to insufficient hours worked.

  • Provides grants to smaller employers with employees taking leave in receipt of a grant

Unemployment Insurance

SB 5061 (HB 1098) - Concerning unemployment insurance. Effective 2/8/2021

Brief Summary of Engrossed Substitute Bill

  • Limits unemployment insurance rate increases by: (1) capping the social tax; (2) suspending the solvency surcharge tax; and (3) relieving certain benefit charges.

  • Increases access to benefits by: (1) expanding eligibility for those in high-risk households; and (2) waiving the waiting period when federally reimbursed.

  • Modifies weekly benefit amount thresholds by: (1) increasing the minimum from 15 to 20 percent of the average weekly wage; and (2) limiting benefits to a person's weekly wage.

  • Ends deductions of lump sum pensions from weekly benefit amounts.

  • Modifies the voluntary contribution and shared work programs, and certain training eligibility.

HB 1493 - Concerning job search monitoring. Effective 4/16/2021.

Brief Summary of Substitute Bill

• Provides the Employment Security Department discretion, for a limited time, regarding the type of job search evidence required from claimants collecting unemployment insurance benefits.

Child Care

SB 5237 - Expanding accessible, affordable child care and early childhood development programs. Effective 7/25/2021.

Brief Summary of Engrossed Second Substitute Bill (As Amended By House)

  • Establishes a new account for child care and early learning purposes and includes a nonexhaustive list of spending goals and strategies.

  • Expands eligibility and decreases copayments in the Working Connections Child Care Program and expands eligibility in the Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program.

  • Provides for increased rates, training, grants, supports, and services for child care and early learning providers.

  • Increases supports for families of children from birth to age 3, as well as for providers.

HB 1331 - Concerning early learning facility impact fees. Effective 7/25/2021.

Brief Summary of Substitute Bill

  • Provides that development of an early learning facility qualifies as a development activity with a broad public purpose for potential impact fee exemptions.

  • Allows an early learning facility to be exempted from up to 80 percent of impact fees without the local government being required to pay the impact fees from public funds other than the impact fee account.

  • Allows an early learning facility to be exempted from 100 percent of impact fees without the local government being required to pay the impact fees from public funds other than the impact fee account, if the developer records a covenant requiring that at least 25 percent of the children and families using the early learning facility will qualify for state subsidized child care, and that provides for payment of at least a portion of an applicable impact fee if the covenant is violated or if the facility is converted to another use.

SB 5151 - Concerning foster care and child care licensing by the department of children, youth, and families. Effective 7/25/2021.

Brief Summary of First Substitute Bill

  • Makes an outdoor nature-based child care pilot program permanent and adds this program to various provisions.

  • Amends provisions related to child care licensing including the definition of seasonal camps, programs in private schools, background check submissions, and an internal review process.

  • Makes changes to foster care licensing including creating a child-specific license and amending the definition of a qualified residential treatment program.

  • Prohibits the secretary of the Department of Children, Youth, and Families from charging fees to the licensee for obtaining a child care license until June 30, 2023.

SB 5023 - Concerning working connections child care eligibility and unemployment benefits. In Session...

Brief Summary of Bill

• Prohibits the Department of Children, Youth, and Families from counting certain federal unemployment benefits when determining eligibility and co-payment for the Working Connections Child Care program.

Fair Labor Standards Act: Rule Changes in 2021

Rollback of Joint Employment rule

On July 29, 2021, the Department announced a final rule rescinding the “Joint Employer Status Under the Fair Labor Standards Act” final rule (Joint Employer Rule). For more information please visit: https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/flsa/2020-joint-employment.

Independent Contractor rule

On May 5, 2021, the Department announced a final rule withdrawing the “Independent Contractor Status Under the Fair Labor Standards Act” final rule (Independent Contractor Rule). For more information, please visit https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/flsa/2021-independent-contractor.

Washington Supreme Court

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software