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5 bills to track in committee this week

The deadline for reading in committee reports (passing bills out of committee and reading them into the record on the floor) from the opposite house, except House fiscal committees and Senate Ways & Means and Transportation committees, is on Friday. 

Ahead of the Friday cutoff, the Wire reached out to insiders to find out what bills are attracting the most attention – apart from the three state supplemental budgets, which are expected to move of their respective committees this week. 

The Wire is tracking five notable bills that could move out of committee – the death penalty repeal, the Boeing/aerospace manufacturing tax repeal , limiting high-capacity magazines, regulating facial recognition technology in the public sector, and a King County excise tax on businesses

While some expected the repeal of the tax rate preferences for Boeing and the aerospace industry to be a fight, The Daily Herald has reported that Boeing asked legislators to suspend the tax break. 

Despite it being worth billions of dollars, the tax break is complicating attempts to resolve an escalating trade dispute between the U.S. and the European Union, home to rival jet maker Airbus. The bill is scheduled for executive session in the House Committee on Finance on Thursday at 3:30.

A ban on high-capacity magazines has been a priority for Democrats this session. Nevertheless, Senate Democrats did not manage to wrangle the votes for their original version of the ban, which would have banned the sale of magazines that hold more than 10 rounds. 

However, a renewed effort is taking shape in the House, where a bill that would limit magazines to 15 rounds is being heard this morning in the Finance Committee. Lead sponsor Rep. Javier Valdez’s bill is written with more specific language to prevent Republicans from introducing a fusillade of amendments to run out of the clock. 

While still unsupportive of the bill, House Republicans are reportedly confident that even if the new version passes the House, it does not have the votes in the Senate.    

The bill seeking to regulate the use of facial recognition technology in the public sector follows last year’s failed attempt to pass a comprehensive data privacy bill. 

Hoping to get the provisions over the finish line this year via several bills, SB 6280 offers a regulatory framework for the commercial use of facial recognition technology. It also lays out requirements for testing, training, and disclose of the technology’s implementation. The bill is scheduled for executive session in the House Committee on Innovation, Technology & Economic Development at 8:00.

Originally taking the form of HB 2907, a resurrected version of the King County Excise Tax on big business has been introduced by Rep. Nicole Macri after the original stalled. 

The updated bill grants payroll tax authority to King county to fund affordable housing and homelessness services. It includes exemptions for employees with salaries under $150,000, grocery workers, small businesses with less than 50 employees or revenues less than $3 million. A public hearing in the House Committee on Finance is scheduled for Friday at 3:30

There are some key differences between the resurrected and original version, as explained by SCC Insight:

The tax is fixed at .25% of payroll (HB 2907 let the county set it anywhere between .1% and .2%). In addition, there is a new concept of a ‘participating city’: any city in King County with a population of at least 60,000 that opts in. A participating city will receive two-fifths of the county’s tax revenues collected within the city as a pass-through (so the city would get .1%, and the county would get .15%).” 

Seattle City Council members raised concerns about the possibility of any bill that would include language preempting the city’s tax authority. 

While the council sent a letter to the Legislature urging it not to support any amendments that preempt the city from levying its own big business taxes in the future, Council Members Andrew Lewis, Alex Pedersen, Lisa Herbold, and Dan Strauss voted against a resolution from Council Member Kshama Sawant to condemn any potential preemption. Council Member Tammy Morales was the lone “yes” vote on the council in favor of Sawant’s resolution.   

The death penalty repeal would eliminate the death penalty and instead require life imprisonment without possibility of parole as the sentence for aggravated first degree murder. The bill has bipartisan support and is scheduled for executive session in the House Committee on Public Safety at 8:00 on Thursday.


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