Bills mostly favorable for supporting general city operations

by <a href="">Candice Bock</a>, <a href="">Sharon Swanson</a>, <a href="">Jacob Ewing</a> | Mar 27, 2020
The general government arena proved to be a mixed bag for cities during the 2020 session.

The general government arena proved to be a mixed bag for cities during the 2020 session. For the most part, bills that passed were favorable for cities. Some issues that proved either too complicated or too controversial to pass this session will certainly be back in 2021. A few highlights:

HB 2421 requires the state to reimburse counties for the state’s prorated share of election costs for primary and general elections in even-numbered years. In practice, this means that each entity with an issue on the ballot will pay a proportional share of election costs, including the costs associated with return postage. While this will be a change in practice requiring locals to pay return postage, the hope is by spreading the costs among all parties and with the state paying its share, overall cost changes should be nominal.

SB 6326 is an example of a good bill designed to help our smallest municipalities. In general, municipal officers are prohibited from accepting (directly or indirectly) any compensation, gratuity, or reward in connection with a contract from any other person beneficially interested in the contact. SB 6326 amends the rule on conflicts of interest to increase the permissible employment of a person for unskilled labor in connection with a contract from $200 to $1,000 per month.

HB 2567 impacts courts by prohibiting a civil arrest inside or within a one-mile radius of a court facility unless a court order authorizes arrest; the arrest is necessary for the immediate safety of judges, staff or the public; or circumstances justify a warrantless arrest. Additionally, the bill prohibits judges, court staff, security personnel and prosecutor’s staff from inquiring or collecting immigration or citizenship status information except in limited circumstances.

A bill that received a great deal of attention but ultimately was not enacted relates to personal privacy and the management of personal data. SB 6281, referred to as the Washington Privacy Act, would have required companies that process large amounts of personal data to allow consumers in Washington state the opportunity to access, correct, delete, and transfer that information. During the final days of the legislative session a private right of action clause was added. This last-minute addition derailed the legislation and time to negotiate further ran out.

Bill #



HB 2421

State reimbursing election costs

Delivered to Governor. If signed, effective July 1, 2021.

HB 2527

Establishes the Census Bill of Rights and criminal penalties for interfering with the 2020 Census

Signed by Governor. Effective March 18, 2020.

HB 2567/SB 6522

Establishes new policies and procedures for law enforcement officers and individuals visiting Washington court facilities

HB 2567 signed by Governor. Effective June 11, 2020.

HB 2701

Allows qualified contractors or engineers to carry out required testing and inspections of building with certain systems

Signed by Governor. Effective July 1, 2021.

HB 2783

Instructs the Washington State Building Code Council to adopt rules to develop a statewide process and set of standards for approving mobile on-demand gas providers

Signed by Governor. Effective June 11, 2020.

HB 2889

Utility tax disclosures requirements

Delivered to Governor. If signed, effective June 11, 2020.

SB 6187

Expands breach notification requires to include the last four digits of a social security number

Signed by Governor. Effective June 11, 2020.

SB 6326

Allows a city official in a city of fewer than 1,499 residents to personally benefit from a contract from unskilled day labor as long as monthly wages do not exceed $1,000

Signed by Governor. Effective June 11, 2020.

HB 1854/SB 5376

Addresses the use of facial recognition services and protections for consumer data

Did not pass

HB 2344/SB 6221

Imposes criminal penalties on retail pet stores selling dogs and cats. Encourages collaboration between animal care agencies and pet stores

Did not pass

HB 2529/SB 6503

Eliminates elections held in odd-numbered years

Did not pass

HB 2742/SB 6281

Establishes consumer privacy regulations

Did not pass

HB 2761

Authorizes local legislative authorities the ability to approve and regulate the use of facial recognition services by law enforcement

Did not pass

SB 5024

Disclosure of tax rates applications to relevant utility services

Did not pass

SB 6182

Requires televisions in public areas to display closed captions

Did not pass

SB 6238

Requires that any member of a local ballot measure statement committee be a registered voter of the locality where the ballot measure would be enacted

Did not pass

SB 6643

Allows for cities to submit a resolution to the vote of the people to change the city’s form of government to council-manager and directly elect a council chair (mayor) in the same election

Did not pass

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