The 1st Regular Session of the 65th Idaho Legislature convened on January 7 and adjourned on April 11.The legislature met for a total of 95 days – tied for the third longest session in Idaho history. During that time there were 761 draft proposals, 522 pieces of legislation introduced, with both houses passing 331 bills.
COOPERATIVE MARKETING UPDATE: H60 had the primary purpose of updating Idaho’s cooperative marketing association statute and ensuring it is not more restrictive than federal law. The bill updated the existing statute to align with the Capper-Volstead Act. The new law adds a provision to allow the current practice of one man, one vote and/or that the cooperative does not pay dividends on stock or membership capital in excess of 8% annually. There was an overwhelming amount of support for H60 and the bill will be implemented into law on July 1, 2019.
COOPERATIVE UTILITIES: S1152 addressed cooperatives that distribute electric power and that provide telecommunications and broadband services to their members in rural Idaho. These cooperatives are member-owned and member-managed. The member driven boards of directors set their own service rates and determine their own service standards without Public Utilities Commission oversight. Because they are member-owned and member-managed, in many states, these cooperatives are specifically exempted from state unclaimed property laws. S1152 brought Idaho into line with a number of states that have historically exempted patronage capital credits from unclaimed property statutes. Cooperatives will be able to decide how to deal with their unclaimed capital credits and either be exempt from or subject to the State's unclaimed property laws as they choose. A similar bill was passed several years ago for agricultural cooperatives which allowed them to retain patronage inside the cooperatives to be used for educational purposes.
PROPANE TANK SAFETY LAW: H94 provides a layer of safety for the public propane consumer. The safety of Idahoans is put at risk when discount propane providers fill propane tanks already leased to customers by Idaho propane companies. Normally, discount propane providers do not conduct safety inspections or leak tests, and often overfill tanks to dangerous levels. This law will protect consumer safety by restricting the filling of propane storage tanks or cylinders to its owner or someone having the owner's authorization. The tanks are an integral part of a pressurized fuel system. If a tank is not filled properly and becomes damaged because of negligent actions, or if it is filled with contaminated gas, an accident could occur resulting in property damage and personal injury. Additionally, the law provides liability protection and legal recourse in the event of a violation. An individual who owns a container, or his agent, has the greatest interest in seeing that only safe filling procedures are followed and that all governmental regulations are met. Propane tanks owned by an individual can be filled by any company the customer chooses and will not be affected by this legislation. H94 passed through both chambers with solid support and has received the governor’s signature. The legislation had the support of agricultural cooperatives in Idaho, Idaho Consumer-Owned Utilities Association, the Rocky Mountain Propane Association and Food Producers of Idaho, a number of which have members that dispense propane.
Week 22 – July 1, 2019
Rural Oregon Wins!
After leaving Salem to stop a vote on HB 2020, Cap and Trade, the Senate Republicans agreed to return under an agreement to kill HB 2020. This allowed the legislature to complete their business and adjourn just before midnight last night, and by the constitutional sine die of June 30th.
The past few weeks have been historic. No one expected the minority caucus and rural grassroots to leverage the super majority and start a movement that has received national attention. It is because of these combined efforts that HB 2020 is dead today.
The power of the rural grassroots movement was demonstrated on Thursday with a rally that brought thousands to the State Capitol. #timberunity joined with farmers, ranchers, truckers and others in support of the Oregon 11, celebration of natural resource jobs and opposition of HB 2020. Attendees came from all corners of the State; many driving through the night to bring their trucks and equipment to Salem.
The rally was a powerful event that brought back the memories and energy of the spotted owl timber wars and the Klamath Bucket Brigade. We hope this engagement and passion continues forward.
Legislature Gets Back to Work
The Legislature worked through Saturday and late Sunday. There were over a hundred bills up for consideration. Several bills of interest for NWACC members were:
HB 2005 –
HB 2007 – Diesel Regulations. Phases out older engines. Only applies to tracks registered in Multnomah, Clackamas and Washington Counties and exempts farmers, loggers and small fleets. PASSED
HB 2164 – The technical fix bill for the Commercial Activities Tax. PASSED.
On April 28, 2019 the Washington State Legislature adjourned sine die. Since that time, Governor Inslee has taken formal action on bills passed by the Legislature. The latest date available for executive action was May 21, the 2019 session is officially now complete.
For the first time in a decade, the Washington Legislature completed its work on time during a scheduled 105-day odd-year session. This is a significant accomplishment because odd-year sessions require legislators to draft, negotiate and adopt the next biennium's operating, transportation and capital budgets along with their other policy bill work.
Despite record revenue growth; maintenance level funding increases, new policy investments and one party control of both chambers and the Governor’s office, the Legislature decided to raise revenue through a variety of tax increases discussed in this report. The 2019-2021 biennial operating budget increases state spending by approximately 17% over 2017-2019 levels.
Almost 2,300 bills were introduced this session and 485 were passed and signed.
2019-2021 Biennium Budgets Operating Budget: The $52.4 billion 2019-2021 biennium operating budget was negotiated, agreed to and confirmed via conference committee report on April 28. Signed by the governor on May 21, with partial veto.
Transportation Budget: The 2019-2021 biennium transportation budget was also agreed to in the form of a conference committee report on April 28. Signed by the governor on May 21, with partial veto.
Capital Budget: The $4.9 billion 2019-2021 biennium capital budget was unanimously passed by the
Senate and House during the final days of session. Signed by the governor on May 21, with partial veto. Revenue
A significant number of revenue bills estimated to generate slightly over $1 billion during the next two fiscal years were passed, most of them during the final weekend of session. If you include the property tax levy cap in SB 5313 the amount of revenue raised goes slightly over $2.4 billion.
SHB 2156 and SB 5961: Both chambers introduced a capital gains tax on extraordinary revenue.
The House bill was tied to its proposed operating budget and the Senate bill was not. Neither capital gains tax bill made it to the floor for a vote.
E2SHB 2158: Business & Occupation tax increases for certain businesses -Generates an estimated $380 million over the next two years that is dedicated to higher education funding by creating the "Workforce Education Investment Act." Signed by the governor on May 21. The bill contains several effective dates.
SHB 2167: Additional 1.2% Business & Occupation tax on specified financial institutions -
Estimated to generate $133 million over the next biennium. Signed May 21 by the governor.
Effective July 28, 2019.
ESSB 5993: Hazardous Substance Tax Increase (via the Model Toxics Control Act) -Estimated to generate an additional $165 million over the next biennium. Signed by the governor on May 21.
Effective July 1, 2019.
ESSB 5997: Modification to the non-resident sales tax exemption program-Estimated to generate $54 million over the next biennium. Signed May 21 by the governor. Effective July 28, 2019.
ESSB 5998: Graduated real estate excise tax (REET) -Estimated to generate $244 million over the next two years. 1.1% for properties with selling price equal or less than $500,000, 1.28% for properties with selling price greater than $500,000 but equal or less than $1.5 million (Note: 1.28% is the current REET rate), 2.75% for properties with selling price greater than $1.5 million but equal or less than $3 million, 3% on the portion of the selling price that is greater than $3 million. Signed May 21 by the governor. Effective January 1, 2020.
ESSB 6004: Tax preference elimination for travel agents and tour operators -Estimated to generate $5 million over the next two years. Signed by the governor on May21. The bill contains an emergency clause and takes effect on July 1, 2019.
ESB 6016: Narrowing of the preferential tax rate for qualifying international investment management services - Estimated to generate $59 million over the next two years. Signed by the governor on May 21. This bill takes effect July 28, 2019, except for sections 2 and 3 relating to the preferential B&O rate which contains an emergency clause and takes effect on July 1, 2019.