We’ve passed the first “cutoff” day of the 2016 legislative session. The number of bills being considered is winnowing down, as those that failed to move out of their first committee are brushed away.

In terms of appropriations, the legislature received unexpected news regarding health care costs. Increased state Medicaid costs will gobble up most of the increased revenue the state expects to earn this cycle. Wildfire suppression takes up the remaining revenue.This leaves precious little space for any bill requiring an appropriation.

What follows is a list of bills that we’re watching this legislative session. The Washington Business Alliance tracks bills which impact PLAN Washington, our policy framework for making Washington a top 5 state by 2025 in six critical areas: economy, education, environment, governance, health, and transportation.


League of Education Voters Bill Tracker
Career Tech Education

SB 6415 / HB 2868: Concerning career & technical education (CTE) materials, supplies, and operating costs.

  • During the recession funding for K-12 Career Tech courses was effectively reduced, even with all the McCleary-required increases. A new funding formula initiated in 2009 is providing schools with a perverse incentive to cut Career & Technical Education programs in favor of less costly general ed. courses, placing the future of CTE in jeopardy.
  • Sponsored by Senators Rolfes, Rivers, Parlette, Cleveland, Bailey, Jayapal, McAuliffe, Ranker, Warnick, Angel, Benton, and Hasegawa. Companion bill sponsored by Representatives Appleton, Johnson, Ryu, Muri, Van De Wege, Tarleton, Moscoso, S. Hunt, Tharinger.
  • Status: Senate Committee on Early Learning & K-12 Education
Charter Schools

SB 6194 / HB 2367: Concerning public schools that are not common schools.

  • Sponsored by Senators Litzow, Mullet, Fain, Hobbs, Becker, Rivers, O’Ban, Dammeier, Angel, Hill, Bailey, Sheldon, Miloscia, Braun, Baumgartner, King. Companion bill sponsored by Representatives Magendanz, Springer, Stokesbary, Manweller, Caldier, Hargrove, Kochmar, Smith, Buys, Walsh, Klippert, Johnson, Pettigrew, Stambaugh, Short, Wilcox, Harris, Condotta, Nealey, Hayes, Wilson, Muri, Rodne, and Van Werven.
  • Status: Successful floor vote in Senate. Companion referred to House Ed. Committee
Streamlining High School Graduations

HB 2556Eliminating the certificate of academic achievement as a requirement for high school graduation.

  • This bill streamlines high school graduation requirements and saves the state nearly $15 million a year
  • Sponsored by Representatives S. Hunt, Appleton, Ormsby, and Scott.
  • Requested by OSPI.
  • Referred to House Appropriations
STEM & State Need Grants

SB 6512: Requiring that a certain percentage of state need grant recipients be pursuing degrees in STEM subjects.

  • Under this bill, a work group is created to study the relationship between state need grants and the pursuit of degrees in STEM fields. The work group may invite, at its discretion, representatives from other public and private Washington institutions of higher education and agencies to provide advice and expertise. The work group shall report to the legislature and the institutions of higher education on its findings and recommendations by the end of 2016.
  • Sponsored by Senators Baumgartner and Conway
  • Status: House Rules Committee

Environment & Clean Energy

Diversifying the Green Economy

SB 5735Providing incentives for carbon reduction investments.

  • This bill modifies the Renewable Portfolio Standard (I-937) towards a new target: carbon reduction. SB 5735 would allow for utilities to meet I-937 requirements through approved carbon reduction investments like electrifying transportation or converting fleets from diesel to natural gas.
  • Sponsored by Senators Ericksen, Rivers, Angel, Baumgartner, Brown, Hewitt, Bailey, Schoesler, Parlette, Honeyford, Braun, Padden, Becker, Hatfield, and Sheldon.
  • Status: Successful floor vote in Senate. Referred to House Committee on Technology & Economic Development. Returned to Senate Rules Committee
Carbon Tax Compromise

SB 6306: Creating a fossil fuel carbon pollution tax

  • A compromise carbon tax that charge polluters a flat $8 per metric ton. It’s being presented as an alternative to I-732, which begins at $15 a ton and eventually ratchets up to $100 per ton.
  • Sponsored by Senator Hobbs.
  • Status: Senate Committee on Energy and Environment & Telecommunications
Retiring Montana Coal

SB 6132Relating to the retirement of electric generation facilities.

Washington Waters Bill

SB 5628Providing for stormwater, flood control, and water supply infrastructure in the state

  • Under this bill, three grant programs are created in the Department of Ecology to: reduce storm water pollution from existing infrastructure and development; reduce the risk of flooding, protect against damage caused by flooding, and protect and restore naturally functioning areas where floods occur; and improve the availability and reliability of water supplies for in-stream and out-ofstream uses.
  • Senators Honeyford, Hatfield, Braun, Hobbs, Warnick, and Chase.
  • Status: Senate Committee on Ways & Means
Small Modular Reactors

SB 5113Requires the Department of Commerce to coordinate and advance the siting and manufacturing of small modular reactors in the state.

  • This bill requires the Department of Commerce to expedite siting and manufacturing of small modular reactors (SMRs). SMRs are the latest advance in commercial nuclear technology, and many believe they are a solution to the sector’s most salient problems, including safety and cost.
  • Sponsored by Senator Sharon Brown.
  • Status: Successful floor vote in Senate. Referred to House Appropriations. Returned to Senate Rules Committee.
Fuel Mix Disclosure
  • SB 6533Improving the accuracy and transparency of the reporting and calculation of the fuel mix information to retail electric customers.
  • Sponsored by Senators McCoy, Ericksen, Sheldon, and  Takko.
  • Status: Senate Rules Committee
  • HB 2346: Promoting a sustainable, local renewable energy industry through modifying renewable energy system tax incentives and providing guidance for renewable energy system component recycling.
  • Sponsored by Representatives Morris, Smith, Haler, Rossetti, Tarleton, Hayes, and Peterson.
  • House Bill Analysis
  • Status: House Appropriations
Developing Clean Energy

HB 1758 / SB 5700: Extending tax preferences for biofuel, biomass, and energy conservation.

  • Sponsored by Representatives Tharinger, Wilcox, Van De Wege, Takko, Walkinshaw, Blake, Ryu, Orcutt, Fitzgibbon, Nealey, Smith, Moscoso, Fey, Jinkins, and Goodman. Companion bill sponsored by Senators Hargrove, Hatfield, Conway, and Warnick.
  • Status: House Committee on Finance
Nuclear Energy as Alternative Energy

SB 5091Including nuclear energy in the definition of a “qualified alternative energy resource” for the purposes of RCW 19.29A.090

  • This bill would include nuclear energy in the definition of a “qualified alternative energy resource” within the law that requires utilities to offer customers the option to purchase alternative energy resources.
  • Nuclear fits into a “kitchen sink” approach to renewable energy. It is potentially one of the safest, most efficient alternatives to carbon-intensive energy sources. Yet even though nuclear energy is carbon-free, it only makes up 4.1 percent of Washington’s electricity consumption. Demand for energy is expected to grow in Washington and across the United States, as much as 28 percent by 2040. Smart investment in nuclear needs to be part of Washington’s environmental and energy strategies
  • Sponsored by Senators Brown, Hewitt, and Sheldon.
  • Status: Successful floor vote in Senate. Referred to House Committee on Technology & Economic Development. Returned to Senate Rules Committee


Expanding Port Economic Development Activities

HB 2618 Concerning port district worker development and training programs.

  • This bill would allow Port District’s expanded authority to engage in workforce development efforts. By removing a date that is currently written into statute, restricting port’s to supporting only workforce development programs that were in effect since 2010, this bill will allow ports to invest additional resources directly with port workers to continue the mission of providing family-wage jobs in port-related industries. Industry-focused workforce development initiatives can support economic growth and industry competitiveness.
  • Sponsored by Representatives Tarleton, Zeiger, Appleton, Haler, and Santos.
  • Status: House Rules Committee
Cross Laminated Timber

HB 2857Concerning tax incentives that will promote manufacturing and use of sustainable wood materials.

  • This bill exempts gross receipts derived from the wholesale, retail, or manufacture of cross-laminated timber (CLT) from the B&O tax, in the form of a deduction. It would also exempt certain construction containing CLT as a major design component from the sales and use tax, in the form of a remittance.
  • There’s an exciting new way to use wood in place of cement in construction. Cross-laminated timber (CLT) isn’t plywood. It’s layers of big, strong pieces of lumber, like 2 x 8’s, glued together with other layers stacked in alternating directions. It’s lighter than cement, easier to handle and strong. For our state, it also means jobs, because CLT can use small trees, making thinning jobs profitable while reducing the danger of wildfires.  
  • Sponsored by Representatives Blake, Harris, Rossetti, Walsh, Wilcox, Fey, and Kilduff.
  • Related Reading: A path to healthier forests, buildings
    • Status: House Committee on Finance
Streamlining Business Regulations

SB 6221Promoting economic development through improving regulatory processes and providing technical assistance to businesses.

  • Under this bill, the Department of Commerce must develop business assistance materials to provide information about Washington’s business and regulatory requirements and efforts to streamline government regulations. Business assistance efforts must be prioritized by collaborating with businesses in key industry sectors, including sectors participating in regulatory streamlining pilot projects.
  • Sponsored by Senators Brown, Angel, Braun, Hewitt, and Roach.
  • Status: Senate Ways & Means
Leveraging Federal Funds

SB 6220Promoting economic development by maximizing the use of federal economic development funding opportunities

  • This bill would require the Department of Commerce to provide an annual report to the economic development committees in the Legislature on the amount of federal economic development funding received and disbursed, along with any required matching amounts. To maximize the impact of federal funding, Dept. of Commerce must coordinate with public research facilities to leverage investments for R&D, innovation, and technology commercialization to promote job growth and business development in Washington.
  • Sponsored by Senators Brown, Angel, Braun, Hewitt, Roach, Parlette, and Sheldon.
  • Status: Senate Rules Committee
Enacting the Tourism Marketing Act.

HB 1938 / SB 5916: Enacting the tourism marketing act.

  • This bill proposes to fund tourism promotion with a fee charged to tourism related businesses.
  • The legislation 1) creates the Washington Tourism Marketing Authority (WTMA) as a public body to manage financial resources for state tourism marketing, 2) authorizes WTMA to contract for state tourism marketing services, and 3) requires businesses within several tourism industry sectors to pay fees that fund statewide tourism marketing services.
  • Sponsored by Representatives Appleton, Johnson, Ryu, Muri, Van De Wege, Tarleton, Moscoso, S. Hunt, and Tharinger. Companion bill is sponsored by Senators Brown, Chase, Angel, Kohl-Welles, Hatfield, Benton, and McAuliffe.
  • House Committee on Finance
Maritime Jobs Bill

HB 1681Increasing jobs in the maritime trades industry

  • This bill makes it easier for nonresident-owned vessels to comply with regulations.
  • Sponsored by Representatives Tharinger, Wilcox, Van De Wege, Orcutt, Ryu, Tarleton, Fitzgibbon, Blake, Reykdal, Walkinshaw, Lytton, Moscoso, and Santos.
  • House Committee on Finance
Vessel Recapitalization

HB 2456Concerning the taxation and permitting of vessels in Washington.

  • Sponsored by Representatives Tarleton, Young, Clibborn, DeBolt, Orcutt, Wylie, Wilcox, and Manweller.
  • House Committee on Finance
Composites Tax Incentive

HB 1764 / SB 5701: Creating a business and occupation tax credit for advanced composite manufacturing and wholesaling.

  • Sponsored by Representatives Van De Wege, Stokesbary, Tharinger, Ryu. Senators Warnick, Hargrove, and Conway. Companion bill is sponsored by Senators Warnick, Hargrove, and Conway.
  • Requested by OFM.
  • House Committee on Finance
Rural Manufacturing & Industrial Job Creation Incentives

HB 2538Modifying a property tax exemption for the value of new construction of industrial and manufacturing industries in targeted areas

  • Sponsored by Representatives Stokesbary, Fey, Haler, Kirby, and Vick.
  • House Committee on Finance
Data Center Tax Incentives

HB 1759:Modifying the computer data center sales and use tax exemption.

  • This bill extends the computer data center sales and use tax exemption for original server equipment and replacement server equipment until 2026, while also increasing the employment requirements for a qualifying business receiving an exemption.
  • Sponsored by Representatives Manweller, and Ormsby.
  • House Committee on Finance


Evaluating State Spending SMART Act)

SB 5944Implementing the periodic review of state spending programs.

  • JLARC must regularly review and make recommendations on the termination or continuation of certain state spending programs, based on performance statements.
  • Senators Hill, Rivers, Litzow, Bailey, Braun, Brown, Parlette, Hewitt, and Benton.
  • Related reading: Measuring outputs, not just inputs
  • Status: Successful floor vote in Senate. Referred to House Appropriations. Returned to Senate Rules Committee



Senate Bill 6519Expanding patient access to health services through telemedicine and establishing a collaborative for the advancement of telemedicine.

  • Sponsored by Senators Becker, Cleveland, Dammeier, Frockt, Brown, Angel, Rivers, Bailey, Keiser, Conway, Fain, Carlyle, Rolfes, Chase, and Parlette.
  • Status: Senate Committee on Ways & Means


Electrifying Transportation

HB 2966Concerning electrification of transportation infrastructure.

  • This bill would authorize a jurisdiction that is engaged in the generation, sale, or distribution of energy, to 1) Assist its customers in financing the acquisition and installation of charging infrastructure; and 2) Offer programs, services, or investment in the electrification of transportation for its customers that benefit ratepayers.
  • Sponsored by Representatives Muri and Fey.
  • Status: House Committee on Technology & Economic Development
Electric Vehicle Incentives

HB 2613Modifying retail sale and use tax exemptions for certain clean alternative fuel and electrically powered vehicles.

  • This bipartisan bill would allow the first $35,000 of any plug-in vehicle to be exempt from sales tax. Fixes the “hard” cap from 2015 transportation package that denies all tax breaks to vehicles over that price. Underlying law applies to battery electrics (like the Nissan Leaf) and plug-in hybrids with more than 30 miles electric range (such as the Chevy Volt) through July 1, 2019.
  • Preferred policy of the Seattle Electric Vehicle Association.
  • Sponsored by Representatives Condotta, Reykdal, Manweller, Fitzgibbon, Muri, MacEwen, Magendanz, Stokesbary, Haler.
  • Status: House Committee on Transportation