Books

What You Need to Know About Washington’s Silenced No More Act

On March 24, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee signed into law the Silenced No More Act, greatly restricting the scope of nondisclosure and nondisparagement provisions that employers may enter into with employees who either work or reside in Washington state. Effective June 9, the new law prohibits employers from requiring or requesting that an employment agreement contain a provision: “Not to disclose or discuss conduct, or the existence of a settlement involving conduct, that the employee reasonably believed under Washington state, federal or common law to be illegal discrimination, illegal harassment, illegal retaliation, a wage and hour violation, or sexual assault, or that is recognized as against a clear mandate of public policy….” However, employers will still be able to enter into agreements that (1) prohibit the disclosure of the amount paid in a settlement agreement; and (2) protect “trade secrets, proprietary information, or confidential information that does not involve illegal acts.” An employer that violates the law can be found liable in a civil action for “actual damages or statutory damages of $10,000, whichever is more, as well as reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs.”

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The Washington Capitol in Olympia

What Happened in the Washington Legislature in 2022: A WSBA Wrap Up

The 60-day 2022 Washington legislative session began on Jan. 10 and adjourned Sine Die (the final adjournment with no day set to reconvene) on March 10. Legislators passed a number of policy measures, as well as a $17 billion transportation package providing funding for new ferries, roadway maintenance, and public transportation improvements and a $64.1 billion supplemental operating budget that funds raises for state workers, rental assistance, and further support of the state’s mental health system.

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Multi-colored fractal background

Strange New Trip: The Emerging World of Psychedelic Law and Decriminalization

After substances like LSD (acid), MDMA (ecstasy), and notably psilocybin (magic mushrooms) were classified as federally prohibited Schedule 1 drugs, a new wave of research into their therapeutic potential is growing, state and local governments are decriminalizing their use, and new areas of law are opening up. “Now there’s what’s referred to as a psychedelic renaissance …,” said Kathryn Tucker, special counsel at Emerge Law Group. “It’s just an incredible surge of interest.”

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Capitol in Olympia

Washington’s 2022 Legislative Session and What’s on Calendar at WSBA

The 2022 session of the Washington State Legislature began much like last year’s session—virtually and with a long to-do list! Legislators will consider a variety of issues this year. However, the general focus of the 60-day “short” session is to refine bills passed during the first half of the 2021-2022 biennium. The first day of session was Jan. 10, and it will continue through March 10.

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Melting clock

Sen. Patty Murray looked at her clock and asked why?

Murray is one of 15 cosponsors on the bipartisan bill, which has floated in legislative limbo for years, reemerging annually in, to date, unsuccessful attempts to put an end to the “fall back” time change. In March, Sen. Marco Rubio, who first put the bill forward, once again reintroduced the Sunshine Protection Act.

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The Federal Government’s Focus on Debt Collection Post-COVID

When the pandemic began early last year, the government extended aid to families and businesses everywhere. Funding was provided, payments were deferred, and many people were temporarily spared from facing eviction. Now that the workforce is beginning to restabilize, creditors and other institutions that are owed a balance from individuals are pushing harder for repayment. In many places rent moratoriums have expired, allowing landlords the right to evict for nonpayment. Many people are being forced to prioritize payments to bring down either their consumer debt or medical debt, and it is not uncommon for them to prioritize their mortgage or rent payments over a credit card bill.

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Capitol in Olympia

What You Need to Know About the Washington Nonprofit Corporation Act

Earlier this year, the Washington Legislature adopted, and Gov. Jay Inslee signed into law, an all-new Washington Nonprofit Corporation Act (the “New Act”). The New Act, which will take effect Jan. 1, 2022, is a total replacement for the current Washington Nonprofit Corporation Act, Chapter 24.03 RCW. Washington lawyers who represent nonprofits will likely want […]

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How Policing in Washington is Changing After the 2021 Legislative Session

What is needed for police reform? Last summer, in the wake of George Floyd’s murder, tens of thousands of protesters rallied in cities throughout America to highlight the urgent need to address that question. Here in Washington, officers kill more 35 people each year on average, although this is a low estimate as it only tracks shootings and not other modes of police killing. Two years ago, voters passed Initiative 940, which set new standards for use of deadly force and established requirements for law enforcement to receive de-escalation, mental health, and first-aid training. Yet, officers have killed more than 100 people in Washington since the initiative went into effect.

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The Washington Capitol in Olympia

Washington Legislative Recap: 2021 Session Summary for Legal Professionals

On April 25, the Washington State Legislature closed its unprecedented 2021 Regular Session, capping 105 days in Olympia that for the first time was also conducted nearly entirely virtually. Despite a few technical glitches and Zoom missteps, that have become commonplace during pandemic life, the session went surprisingly smoothly and WSBA Legislative Affairs was busy throughout, monitoring hundreds of bills that are of interest to lawyers and other legal professionals.

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Aerial view of Washington State Capitol Building in Olympia

What the WSBA is Tracking in Washington’s 2021 Legislative Session

The 2021 session of the Washington State Legislature is certainly like none in the history of the state—but so far things are going smoothly. With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Legislature like many other government bodies is conducting nearly all of its business virtually during the 105-day session. The first day of session was Jan. 11 and it will continue through April 25. Here’s what we’re watching.

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Washington State Capitol Building

Wrap Up: 2020 Legislative Session

Legislators passed a number of policy measures, as well as a $10.4B state transportation budget intended to mitigate Initiative 976’s potential effects on transportation spending and a $53.4B supplemental state budget that directs $200M to COVID-19 response.

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Washington State Capitol Building

Legislative Check-in: A WSBA Update of the 2020 Session

The 2020 legislative session is now past the halfway mark. As we move closer to the expected March 12 session end date, here’s an update on the WSBA’s legislative priorities: As predicted, after HB 1788 was pulled for a potential floor vote in the House, the bill failed to receive a vote by the Feb. […]

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