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WSAB State Legislative Bill/Issue Tracking Report


64th Washington State Legislature, First Regular Session
Bill Status as of: July 1, 2015 - The 5th day of the Third Special Session 

WSAB has represented Washington’s radio and television stations in the State Legislature since 1935. Each year, WSAB protects and promotes the interests of broadcasters on a variety of bills and issues.

Symbol Key:
HB/SB: 
Original (House/Senate) Bill
SHB/SSB: 
Substitute (House/Senate) Bill - Amendments were added by the committee and compiled into a Substitute Bill.
EHB/ESB: 
Engrossed (House/Senate) Bill - Amendments were added during consideration of the bill by the full House or Senate and consolidated before final passage into a new bill.

Cut-Off Dates:  The Legislature establishes "cut-off" dates to gauge the performance of bills.  A bill must meet a particular progress benchmark by each cut-off or it may no longer be considered and is deemed "dead" for the session.  Bills necessary to implement the budget are exempt from "cut-off" deadlines.  There are no Cut-Off Dates during a Special Session.

ADVERTISING

NEWS GATHERING & REPORTING

TAXES

MISCELLANEOUS


ADVERTISING

HB 1114:  Internet Poker.  This bill would authorize and regulate internet poker.  The bill has a provision requiring any advertising, including broadcast advertising, to contain a disclaimer: “CAUTION:  Participation in gambling activity may result in pathological gambling behavior causing emotional and financial harm.  For help, call 1-800-547-6133.”  STATUS:  In House Commerce & Gaming Committee.

ESSB 5477: Regulating Vapor Products.  This bill as passed by the Senate would require advertising for e-cigarettes/vapor products to contain a warning of the harmful effects of the product and that it should be kept out of the reach of children.  STATUS:  Passed Senate; not considered by House prior to adjournment of Regular Session; returned to Senate Rules Committee.

SB 5573/2SHB 1645:  Regulating Vapor Products.  These two identical bills would establish regulations for e-cigarettes/vapor products.  They would require the Department of Health to adopt rules regulating the advertising of vapor products.  STATUS:  SB 5573 in Senate Health Care Committee.  HB 1645 in House Rules Committee.

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NEWS GATHERING & REPORTING

OPEN RECORDS ACCESS

HB 1086: Public Records Cost Recovery.  This bill would establish a mechanism for the recovery of the costs of copying public records where the purpose of the public records request is the sale or resale of all or part of a record.  STATUS:  Passed House State Government Committee; referred to House Appropriations Committee.

HB 1189: Hours of Availability Public Records.  This bill would exempt cities, towns and special districts that do not maintain office hours for a minimum of 30 hours per week from having to meet that minimum open office requirement, but must post on the agency web site directions on how to contact agency personnel to inspect or copy records.  STATUS:  Passed House; not considered by Senate prior to adjournment of Regular Session; returned to House Rules Committee.

ESHB 1349:  Public Records Requests for Purpose of Obtaining Exempt Unemployment & Licensing Information.  This bill would prohibit a person from making a public records request for the names or nonexempt contact information of agency employees or volunteers in order to obtain information that falls under the employment and licensing exemption of the PRA to use for a commercial purpose or to harass, stalk, threaten, or intimidate any person. A person requesting employee or volunteer names or contact information must swear under oath that the information will not be used for such purposes.  STATUS: Passed House; not considered by Senate prior to adjournment of Regular Session; returned to House Rules Committee.

HB 1374: Disclosure of Public Agency Contract Information. This bill declares any clause in a contract between state or local agencies and private vendors that prohibits disclosure of the existence of the contract to be against public policy and unenforceable.  STATUS:  In House Judiciary Committee.

HB 1691:  Public Records Action Remedies.  This bill would give a court the discretion to award attorney fees and costs to the prevailing party in an action regarding a public records violation.  It would also permit the court to impose a fine on the government agency if it were found to have violated the Public Records Act, and it would require the fine to be deposited into a fund to enhance the preservation of state public records.  The court could also order that the prevailing party be paid a portion of the fine.  STATUS:  In House State Government Committee.

SB 6014:  Remedies for Actions Under Public Records Act.  This bill would provide that a court could levy a fine against an agency for violating the Public Records Act.  The fine would be deposited in the public records efficiency account for the preservation of public records.  The prevailing party could be granted an award of up to 25% of the fine.  STATUS:  In Senate Government Operations & Security Committee.

SHB 1723:  Booking Photos.  This bill would make booking photos open and available to the public.  STATUS:  Passed House Public Safety Committee; in House Rules Committee.

HJR 4208:  Public Records State Constitutional Amendment.  This proposed amendment to the State Constitution would require any legislation or regulation that limits the public’s right of access to records held by the executive branch of government to contain a section setting forth findings demonstrating the compelling government interest that necessitates the adoption of the limitation.  STATUS:  In House State Government Committee.

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NEWS GATHERING & REPORTING

OPEN MEETINGS

HB 1425:  Open Meetings Applied to Advisory Committees.  This bill would make meetings of an advisory board, committee or other entity established by a public agency to provide formal advice or recommendations to the agency subject to the Open Meetings Act.  STATUS: In House State Government Committee.

SSB 5329:  Public Employee Collective Bargaining.  This bill would make collective bargaining contract negotiations between a public employee union and a public agency subject to the Open Meetings Act.  STATUS:  In Senate Rules Committee.

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NEWS GATHERING & REPORTING

MISCELLANEOUS

ESHB 1093: Unmanned Aircraft (Drones). This bill would establish limitations on the use of unmanned aircraft or drones.  A drone may be flown in Washington airspace only when the FAA has given specific permission; the drone has the name of the owner/operator; and, it does not have a sensing device (such as a camera) onboard.  This is not the bill drafted by the Governor’s Task Force on Unmanned Aerial Vehicles.  STATUS: Passed House; not considered by Senate prior to adjournment of Regular Session; returned to House Rules Committee.

SHB 1639:  Drones.  This bill would regulate the use of drones by state and local government agencies.  STATUS:  Passed House; passed Senate with amendments; returned to House for concurrence; referred to House Rules Committee.

HB 1910/SB 5732:  Police Dash/Body Cams.  These two identical bills would govern the use of “body cams” and “dash cams” by law enforcement officers.  Certain recordings are subject to public disclosure under the Public Records Act.  STATUS:  HB 1910 in House Judiciary Committee.  SB 5732 in Senate Law & Justice Committee.

SHB 1917:  Video or Sound Recordings Made By Law Enforcement or Corrections Officers.  This bill would exempt from public disclosure any video or audio recording made by a law enforcement of corrections officer.  STATUS:  In House Rules Committee.

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TAXES

SHB 1689:  Broadcaster B & O Tax.  This bill would update the B & O Tax structure for radio and television stations.  It would reinstate the “standard deduction” and modernize the terminology in the provision detailing the method for calculating the station’s signal coverage area for purposes of the out of state audience deduction.  The Substitute Bill would create a separate section of law that would outline the updated metrics for reinstating the standard deduction and the out-of-state audience deduction.  STATUS:  In House Rules Committee.

HB 1796/SB 5641:  Broadcaster B & O Tax.  These two identical bills contain the same provisions regarding local broadcaster B & O Tax provisions as HB 1689.  They also include separate provisions that apply the broadcaster B & O Tax structure to out-of-state broadcasters, such as Disney Channel, ESPN, CNN, HBO, Cinemax, etc.  STATUS:  HB 1796 in House Finance Committee. SB 5641 in Senate Ways & Means Committee.

HB 2150:  Reforming B & O Tax.  This bill would make substantial changes to the way in which B & O Tax is assessed against many businesses.  The effect on broadcasters’ B & O Tax would be to increase the tax rate from .484% to 3.75%.  It provides for a choice of deductions from the gross revenue taxable amount of either 1) a flat 30%; 2) an annual or monthly amount that is equal to an exemption of the first $500,000 of gross revenue; or, 3) compensation paid to employees, not to exceed $200,000 per employee annually.  The bill also would restructure the method of apportionment of out of state revenue, and would set the tax rate for retransmission consent revenue at 1.6%.  STATUS:  In House Finance Committee.

ESSB 6138:  Taxes.  This is the revenue package that funds the 2015-2016 biennial budget.  Among other things, it reinstates the B & O Tax rate of 1.5% on revenue received as royalties from the current rate of .484%.  Television station retransmission consent revenue is categorized by the Department of Revenue as a royalty.  Therefore, television stations’ B & O Tax rate on retransmission consent revenue will increase on August 1, 2015 from .484% to 1.5%.  STATUS:  Passed the House; passed the Senate; delivered to the Governor.

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MISCELLANEOUS

SHB 1021/SSB 5264:  Silver Alert.  These two bills would establish a “silver alert” for senior citizens over 65 who are missing.  Substitute House Bill 1021 designates an endangered Missing Person Advisory for a person with dementia and who is 60 years old or older as a Silver Alert. Substitute Senate Bill 5264 requires the State Patrol to create a Silver Alert system.  STATUS:  SHB 1021 re-passed House; passed Senate in 1st Special Session; signed by Governor; Chapter 2, Laws of 2015 1st Special Session. SSB 5264 passed Senate; not considered by the House prior to adjournment of Regular Session; returned to Senate Rules Committee.

SHB 1092/SSB 5059:  Patent Trolls.  These two identical bills would provide a framework with which a court could determine whether a patent infringement claim has been asserted in bad faith against a person or business that has received a demand or been threatened with litigation or against whom a lawsuit has been filed claiming patent infringement.  STATUS:  SHB 1092 in House Rules Committee.  SSB 5059 passed Senate; passed House; signed by Governor; Chapter 108, Laws of 2015.

HB 1577:  Non-Competition Agreements.  This bill would make a noncompetition agreement unenforceable if an employee is non-exempt; earns less than $39,500 annual wages; is restricted from competing for an unreasonable time, which the bill defines as six months or longer; or, is terminated without just cause or laid-off.  STATUS: In House Rules Committee.

HB 1926:  Non-Competition Agreements.  This bill would make non-competition agreements unenforceable, except when the agreement is entered into as a part of the contract for the sale of a business.  STATUS:  In House Rules Committee.

E2SHB 1763:  Music Licensing Agencies.  This bill would require BMI, SESAC and ASCAP to file with its various contract forms with the Secretary of State, obtain a business license and pay a fee of $1,500 annually.  It would also require any agent of the organization to identify themselves when they enter a business establishment for the purpose of determining whether the establishment is required to have a music performance license.  It applies the Consumer Protection Act to music licensing organization activity and directs the Attorney General and the Department of Licensing to conduct a public information campaign to educate business proprietors of their rights and obligations regarding the public performance of copyrighted music.  STATUS:  Passed House; not considered by Senate prior to adjournment of Regular Session; returned to House Rules Committee.

HB 2057:  Light Pollution.  This bill would require the State Department of Ecology to conduct a study that analyzes the current extent of light pollution that adversely affects the quality of the environment, value of property and the health and well-being of the public. The study must be reported to the Legislature by January 1, 2017.  In the past, light pollution bills have not taken into account broadcast tower lighting and could have had severe consequences for the broadcasting industry.  WSAB will be watching the study and its conclusions to ensure that they do not adversely affect broadcast tower lighting.  STATUS:  In House Environment Committee.

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