Another legislative cycle is upon us! The 2019 session—scheduled to last 105 days—began Jan. 14.
The next several weeks in Olympia are likely to be interesting as Democrats have increased their majorities in both the state House of Representatives and the state Senate, leading to talk of ambitious legislative proposals.
During most sessions, WSBA supports legislative proposals initiated by WSBA Sections and approved by the Board of Governors. This year, our Bar-request legislation is Senate Bill (SB) 5003. The bill, which was proposed by the Corporate Act Revision Committee within the WSBA Business Law Section, seeks to address preemptive rights, cumulative voting, and approval of asset sales under the Washington Business Corporation Act to better align with the Model Business Corporation Act and other leading corporate law jurisdictions, such as Delaware. A public hearing on SB 5003 took place on Jan. 17, and a member of the Business Law Section testified in favor of the bill. If you’d like to watch the hearing remotely, please check the TVW schedule for a direct video link.
Our WSBA legislative stakeholders also have several proposals on deck this session. The Administrative Office of the Courts will prioritize technology modernization projects for all court levels and funding for courthouse interpreters. The Office of Civil Legal Aid will request an expanded budget for additional full-time employees. The Attorney General’s Office will introduce a number of bills this session, covering issues such as data breach notifications, high capacity firearm magazine restrictions, and the repeal of the death penalty. As usual, this will be a busy session for all involved!
In odd-numbered years (the long session), lawmakers are responsible for creating a balanced budget that will guide the state’s spending for the following two years, or “biennium.” This will remain a top priority for legislators, along with other important issues such as funding for mental health, tax reform strategies, and access to affordable housing across the state. (On even-numbered years, legislative short sessions are scheduled to last 60 days.)
We will provide regular updates throughout the session on NWSidebar and other WSBA communication channels. If you have comments or questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.