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Friends and Neighbors,

Hundreds of hair stylists, cosmetologists and barbers from across our state came to Olympia on Jan. 28 to express their concerns with bills that would adversely affect how they operate as self-employed individuals. Their grassroots efforts – including compelling committee testimony – were impressive and effective. In fact, they led to the Democratic sponsor of Senate Bill 5326 (Concerning booth rental agreements) to release a statement on Jan. 31 saying the legislation would not be moving forward.  

Not yet settled

While this is good news, the issue is not yet settled. This involves more than just hair designers, cosmetologists and barbers – it includes other types of self-employed individuals.

House Bill 1515, and its companion Senate Bill 5513, could force many sole proprietors and independent contractors to work for an employer – as opposed to being their own boss. There were several individuals and groups who signed in to oppose House Bill 1515 last week, which gives you an idea of how many self-employed people could be negatively affected. Here's a sample of the groups who signed in opposed:

  • Associated Builders and Contractors
  • Associated General Contractors
  • Massage therapists
  • Pet care services
  • Physical therapists
  • Rideshare drivers
  • Washington Forest Protection Association
  • Washington Hospital Association
  • Washington Realtors
  • Washington Retail Association
  • Washington Technology Industry
  • Washington Trucking Association

The opportunity to be self-employed must be protected. Period. For many, it is the only way they can start their own business. The bills noted above aren't the only ones alive in the legislative process that would hurt small business. I stand against these bills – and I stand with the self-employed in our state. The Legislature should be advancing policies that help enable the American Dream – not make it harder to achieve.

Legislation I am prime sponsoring

I introduced 10 bills (House Bills 1800-09) and a House Joint Memorial last week. Here is a brief recap of what the measures would do:

House Bill 1800 | Allowing a local sales and use tax as a credit against the state sales tax for rural high-speed infrastructure without increasing the total sales and use tax rate.

House Bill 1801 | Entering abandoned cemeteries for authorized purposes. This is designed to resolve issues around Greenwood Cemetery.

House Bill 1802 | Concerning cemetery district withdrawal of territory. This eliminates a vote requirement when no voters live in the area of interest.

House Bill 1803 | Increasing the number of school districts that may be authorized to reduce the minimum number of required school days in a school year.

House Bill 1804 | Allowing an additional property tax exemption for seniors, veterans, and persons with disabilities leasing land in a mobile home park or manufactured housing community.

House Bill 1805 | Providing rental assistance to mobile home park tenants.

House Bill 1806 | Concerning the valuation of vehicles in private sales for purposes of use taxation. So you would pay the tax only on the actual sales price – not what the state assumes its value is.

House Bill 1807 | Extending the tax preference for investment projects in distressed counties and community empowerment zones.

House Bill 1808 | Making the nonprofit and library fund-raising exemption permanent.

House Bills 1807 and 1808 are to implement recommendations of the Legislative Auditor and the Citizen Commission for Performance Measurement of Tax Preferences.

House Bill 1809 | Requiring the beneficiaries of the Alaskan Way viaduct project to pay for cost overruns from the project. This is to uphold the promise that state taxpayers wouldn't get stuck with the bill for cost overruns – which currently total more than $150 million.

House Joint Memorial 4007 | Designating the bridge over the Skookumchuck River on SR 507 as the Regina Clark memorial bridge. This is to honor the life and loss of a Lewis County soldier.

You can view all of the bills for which I am the prime or secondary sponsor of here.

Recent video update

I tape video updates every two weeks during the legislative session to discuss issues that are going on in the Legislature. Last week, I highlighted a few of the bills that I recently introduced – including my broadband legislation and two measures to assist tenants in mobile home parks. You can watch it here. All of my past video updates can be found on YouTube.

Staying connected

Thanks for taking the time to read this update. If I can ever be of assistance, or if you have any ideas to share, please call me at (360) 786-7990 or email me at ed.orcutt@leg.wa.gov.  


Ed Orcutt

State Representative Ed Orcutt, 20th Legislative District
408 John L. O'Brien Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
(360) 786-7990 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000