February WA Legislative Session Update

Washington Nonprofits has been hard at work staying on top of the 2019 legislative session. As of writing this, we are coming up on the first major cutoff deadline in the session calendar, in which all bills must clear their original committee or be frozen until next year. Below is a summary of some key items Washington Nonprofits has been working on. Be sure to register for our upcoming Public Policy Advisory Call in March 7th to discuss these items and get the latest policy information.

HB 1808- Making the Nonprofit and Library Fundraising Exemption Permanent

Washington Nonprofits is supporting HB 1808, which would make the nonprofit and library fundraising exemption permanent. This bill would give donors a permanent use tax exemption for items purchased or won from nonprofit fundraisers. This bill has the support of the Washington State Joint Legislative Audit and Review Committee and its accompanying Citizens’ Committee. We sent a letterto the House Finance Committee expressing support for the bill and will continue to track its progress. Watch for action alerts from us as this bill works its way through the legislative process.

Nonprofit-Government Contracting Bills

Washington Nonprofits testified in support of HB 1521, which imposes new requirements on state agencies seeking to contract out for services. We used our testimony to make some recommendations to improve the bill for nonprofits. Our recommendations are:

  1. We recommend that the bill mandate that state agencies complete their cost analyses using all direct and indirect costs in their estimate. This would help ensure an apples to apples comparison when making the decision to contract out for services.
  2. We recommend adding quality, accessibility, and experience to the criteria for contracting out. This will help ensure that the state pays for quality and appropriate services instead of simply chasing a service provider based on price alone.
  3. We recommend ensuring that the monitoring provisions specified in the bill are consistent with the OMB Uniform Guidance issued in 2014. This will help ensure consistency among reporting requirements and can help avoid duplication and unnecessary reporting procedures. Analysis of the OMB Guidance is available from the National Council of Nonprofits here.

HB 1521 successfully passed the House State Government & Tribal Relations Committee and is now awaiting action by the House Appropriations Committee. We will continue to monitor and weigh in on this bill when appropriate.  

Washington Nonprofits is also working to learn more about HB 1744, which would require state contractors implementing contracts valued over $100,000 to purchase and use time monitoring software to monitor time spent working on contracts. We sent a letterto the House Innovation, Technology, & Economic Development committee that highlights our concerns about the bill. Currently, the bill is not scheduled for further action, however we will continue to monitor this bill and provide updates.

Volunteerism in State Government Study

Washington Nonprofits submitted a letterin support of SB 5265, which requires Serve Washington to conduct a study on volunteerism within state government. We believe that the proposed study will be helpful to advancing volunteerism throughout the state because of its emphasis on studying barriers to volunteerism. The bill also mandates research on “strengthening connections between state agency volunteer programs and the state’s volunteer infrastructure to support volunteer recruitment, volunteer engagement, and volunteer program training needs.” We think that this will provide instructive findings for nonprofit organizations. We will continue to monitor this bill and provide updates. 

Overtime Pay

Washington Nonprofits conducted rapid response for a House Labor and Workplace Standards Committee hearing on the Department of Labor & Industries’ overtime pay rule making. The hearing contained an update from L&I, as well as testimony from stakeholders in the rulemaking process. We worked to ensure that Committee members received our report and position paper on overtime pay.  

Census 2020

We are consistently engaging with state government, funders, and other partners about the importance of an accurate Census count in 2020. We recently posted our basic English and Spanish one pagers about the Census, with more materials to come in the coming weeks as we develop our toolkit. Our forthcoming materials are informed by the stakeholder research project we did throughout late 2018 and early 2019. Click here to read the report. You can see all of our latest work and information at www.washingtonnonprofits.org/2020Census

Voting Rights

In keeping with our 2019 public policy agenda, Washington Nonprofits signed in as pro on several bills intended to support and expand voting rights in our state. The bills we supported are:

  • HB 1063– Authorizing seventeen year olds to participate in primary elections.
  • HB 1209SB 5063– Providing prepaid postage for all election ballots.
  • HB 1339SB 5079– Enacting the Native American Voting Rights Act of Washington.
  • HB 1481– Concerning state reimbursement of election costs and payment of prepaid postage return costs.
  • SB 5207– Concerning notification of felony voting rights and restoration.
  • SB 5283– Allowing persons who will turn eighteen years of age by the general election to vote in the primary election.

Other Issue Areas

Washington Nonprofits has also signed in pro on legislation to expand rural broadband access, recalculate prevailing wages for certain nonprofit capital projects, prohibit dual agency in real estate transactions, and create the Washington State Office of Equity. We are also keeping our eyes peeled for bills related to labor law, liquor, gambling, and other issues of interest to nonprofit organizations. We will provide updates as appropriate.

About David Streeter 50 Articles
David Streeter is Washington Nonprofits’ Director of Public Policy and Advocacy.