2021 Legislative Bills Recap

This 2021 Legislative Bills information will be updated regularly. 

Liquor Related Legislation

SB 5417/HB 1480: Extending certain privileges granted to liquor licensees to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus pandemic (alive)

HB 1483: Concerning workforce development in the beverage alcohol industry (alive)

COVID Hospitality-Related Relief Bills

SB 5061: Concerning Unemployment Insurance (signed into law)

SB 5272: Concerning temporarily waiving certain liquor and cannabis license annual fees (signed into law)

HB 1095: Removing tax obligations from PPP and other Federal and State COVID 19 pandemic-related grants (signed into law)

HB 1332: Concerning property tax deferral during the COVID 19 Pandemic (alive)

HB 1368: Responding to the COVID pandemic through state actions supported by federal funding (signed into law – info on small business grants coming soon!)

HB 1299: Providing B&O tax relief to the hospitality industry (did not pass out of committee before the required deadline, however, if deemed “necessary to implement the budget” could be revived for consideration)

COVID-19 LCB Temporary Policies Extension Bill Clears House

We are very pleased to report that HB 1480, which would codify and extend the timeline for the LCB’s temporary COVID-19 allowances, cleared the House yesterday by a vote of 86 – 12. This bill is a high priority for our guild and for our partners in the restaurant and bar industry.

The bill is necessary so that licensees can continue curbside, beer/wine/spirits to go, deliveries, and other COVID-19 related allowances. While the LCB has been a fantastic partner in allowing this flexibility since last March, this bill gives these policies needed backing in state law.

The bill will now go to the Senate, where it will need to receive another hearing and vote before it can be signed into law.

Liquor Related Legislation

HB 1480: Extending certain privileges granted to liquor licensees to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus pandemic

COVID Hospitality-Related Relief Bills

SB 5061: Concerning Unemployment Insurance (signed into law)

SB 5272: Concerning temporarily waiving certain liquor and cannabis license annual fees (passed both House and Senate)

HB 1095: Removing tax obligations from PPP and other Federal and State COVID 19 pandemic-related grants (delivered to Governor)

HB 1368: Responding to the COVID pandemic through state actions supported by federal funding (signed into law)

HB 1299: Providing B&O tax relief to the hospitality industry (pending action)

This week marked an important legislative deadline: all bills that failed to be voted out of policy committees are now considered dead for the Session. Bills with fiscal impacts have until February 22nd to be voted out of committee. There’s one big caveat – anything considered “necessary to implement the budget” can be resurrected after cut-offs.

We continue to work with a coalition of associations representing hospitality businesses, wineries, and distilleries on bills that will extend relief to our sector, which has been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. Here’s a quick look at some of the bills we’re working on that are still moving through the process:

Liquor Related Legislation

SB 5417: Extending certain privileges granted to liquor licensees to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus pandemic

COVID Hospitality-Related Relief Bills

SB 5061: Concerning Unemployment Insurance (signed into law)

SB 5272: Concerning temporarily waiving certain liquor and cannabis license annual fees

HB 1095: Removing tax obligations from PPP and other Federal and State COVID 19 pandemic-related grants (awaiting Governor Inslee’s signature)

HB 1368: Responding to the COVID pandemic through state actions supported by federal funding (signed into law)

HB 1299: Providing B&O tax relief to the hospitality industry

$2.2 Billion COVID-19 Relief Bill Sent to Governor

This week, the Senate voted to approve House Bill 1368, which allocates $2.2 billion in COVID-19 federal relief funds. The bill had already cleared the House and is now awaiting the Governor’s signature. Included in the bill is $240 million in grants to small businesses to be issued through the WA Department of Commerce. The bill also provides funding for K-12 schools, public health, healthcare, and assistance to individuals.

Once available, we’ll get you information on how to apply for these new grants. Businesses may be eligible if annual gross receipts were less than $5 million in 2019.

Legislative Update

Things are moving quickly, and we’ve been busy working on several bills designed to provide relief for breweries and the restaurants, bars, and venues that sell our beer. Here’s a look at some of the highlights.

Unemployment Insurance bill passed by the House & Senate – Relief on the way before April 1st payments – SUPPORT

The Senate and House acted early on Senate Bill 5061, which provides $1.73 billion in relief for businesses through the unemployment insurance system, with the bill already clearing both chambers and now awaiting the Governor’s signature. WBG lent its voice to the WA Hospitality Association-led coalition working this bill and we’re very pleased to report its’ early passage will lower unemployment rates before the first payment is due at the end of April. We heard from many members who saw their unemployment insurance rates skyrocket, through no fault of their own. This bill will provide some timely relief.

Federal COVID-19 Relief Funding Bill – SUPPORT

ESHB 1368, a bill that would allocate $2.2 billion in federal funding for COVID-19 relief, is on the fast track for passage. $240 million of the funds are dedicated to small business grants. The bill also provides funding for K-12 schools, public health, healthcare, and assistance to individuals.

It passed out of the House by a vote of 61-36 and will soon be eligible for a vote of the full Senate.

One Year Waiver for Liquor License Fees – SUPPORT

SB 5272 would waive liquor license fees for one year, including brewery licenses, beer/wine and beer/wine/spirits restaurant licenses, and tavern licenses. The measure passed the Senate this week by a vote of 48-1 and will now be considered in the House.

State Tax Exemption for Federal/State Emergency Grants – SUPPORT  

SHB 1095 cleared the House last week and is moving quickly through Senate. This needed bill would provide state tax exemptions for federal and state emergency grant moneys received on or after February 29, 2020.

Extending Temporary COVID-19 Privileges for Liquor Licensees – SUPPORT

HB 1480/SB 5417 is Liquor & Cannabis Board request legislation that would extend COVID-19 related temporary policies on deliveries, curbside sales and others to provide better certainty for licensees by codifying these allowances in state law. The bill is scheduled for hearings in both the House and Senate next week.

We’ll keep you updated as these bills continue to move.

This week, the Senate Business, Financial Services & Trade Committee hosted a work session highlighting COVID-19 impacts on small business and recovery opportunities for the hospitality sector. Pamela Brulotte, owner at Icicle Brewing and Past WBG President, presented as part of the small business panel and did a fantastic job highlighting the challenges WA brewers are facing as a result of the pandemic and the need for relief. You can view Pam’s testimony (starts at the 53:49 mark), here.

We continue to meet with legislators and have hosted several virtual “townhall” style meetings for legislators and their brewery constituents. If you would like the guild to arrange a meeting for you with your legislators, please email annie@washingtonbrewersguild.org.

We’ll have an updated bill tracking and summary list for you next week.

The WA State Legislature convened a mostly virtual session on Monday, January 11th. It’s already been a busy week of bills introductions and hearings for our guild. It’s important to note that while on its own, not any one of these bills will provide the relief necessary to stimulate economic recovery for WA brewers and hospitality. However, we are looking to identify and engage on a package of policy initiatives that will help get our industry relief, everywhere possible.

 

SB 5061 – Concerning Unemployment Insurance, SUPPORT

Summary: makes changes to unemployment insurance for employers and employees and seeks to address the significant rate hikes employers are facing, through no fault of their own.

Status: Bill was heard in the Senate Labor, Commerce, & Tribal Affairs Committee on 1/13. Scheduled for a committee vote on January 18th.

Bill Link

HB 1095 – Concerning the taxation of governmental financial assistance programs, SUPPORT

Summary: Provides a business and occupation tax, a public utilities tax, and a retail sales tax exemption for a qualifying grant received on or after February 29, 2020, that is related to a national or state emergency proclamation

Status: Bill was heard in the House Finance Committee on 1/14. Scheduled for a committee vote on January 19th.

Bill Link

Full Legislative Tracking List Coming Soon