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Legislative Session Review: Washington

By Nathan Devers | April 6, 2018

 Washington - Adjournment Graphic

Washington adjourned its 2018 legislative session sine die on March 8, and Governor Jay Inslee (D) finished acting on the bills sent to his desk on March 28. Although the legislature did pass hundreds of bills, several priority measures failed to pass. Those bills include raising the smoking age to 21, raising the age to purchase semi-automatic rifles to 21, and implementing a carbon tax.

Legislative Highlights

  • Washington became the first state in the nation to pass a law protecting net neutrality. The law prohibits internet service providers from favoring or blocking particular products or websites and impairing or throttling speeds.
  • Inslee also signed a bump stock ban that makes it a crime to manufacture, sell, purchase, own, furnish, assemble, repair, loan, transport, or possess bump stocks in the state. The bill also features a bump stock buyback program.
  • Legislators approved employment measures, including ban the box and equal pay legislation. The ban the box law prohibits employers from asking job applicants about prior arrests or criminal convictions. The equal pay law requires any gender disparity in pay to be backed up with legitimate job-related factors, such as education, training, or experience, instead of unfair assumptions and practices. The measure also grants workers the right to inquire about, disclose, compare, or otherwise discuss wages without retaliation from their employer.

Election Preview

Although Governor Inslee will not be on the ballot this year, Washingtonians will be headed to the voting booths November 6, where all 98 state house seats and 24 out of 49 state senate seats are up for election. Primary elections will be held on August 7.

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