The 2013 Session of the Washington State Legislature (originally scheduled for 105 days) kicked off on January 14th. During the first week, Jay Inslee was sworn in as Governor and the State Legislature took new form. While Democrats held a 26-23 Senate majority going into the Session, two Democrats joined forces with all 23 Republican Senators to form a new “Majority Coalition Caucus” that assumed control of the Senate. Democrats retained control in the House with 55-43 seats.
All wine issues were heard before the House Government Accountability & Oversight Committee, chaired by Rep. Chris Hurst, a Democrat from Enumclaw and the Senate Commerce Committee. Senator Janae Holmquist Newbry from Moses Lake served as Chair.
After six long months of debate through one Regular Session and two Special Sessions, Washington State lawmakers finally adjourned Sine Die at 6pm on June 29th and the 2013 Legislative Session officially came to a close.
Just in time to avert a shutdown of state government on July 1st, the Legislature voted to approve a $33.6 billion two-year operating budget that reflected real bipartisanship and satisfaction amongst both chambers. Democrats were able to increase revenue by addressing court decisions on estate taxes and a revision of the telecommunications tax policy, while the Senate majority held off attempts to repeal certain B&O tax exemptions and extend temporary taxes on services and beer, among others. The end result includes a $1 billion down payment towards education spending, commits the state to an expansion of the Medicaid program and refrains from tuition increases at the state's colleges and universities. The only thing left on the table was a highly controversial $10 billion transportation revenue package that included a 10.5 cents gas tax increase and funding for transportation projects across the state. While the bill passed the House, the Senate Majority Coalition Caucus refused to entertain it this year.
As promised, Governor Inslee held a bill signing ceremony Sunday, June 30th to ensure the budget was in place and the government would be open for business by the new fiscal year beginning Monday, July 1st.
Here are the priority bills that PASSED the 2013 Legislative Session and were signed by the Governor:
Senate Bill 5674 – Expanding the Farmer’s Market Wine/Beer Sampling Program
Senate Bill 5774 – Authorizing students under the age of 21 to "taste" wine in Community College (2 year) viticulture and enology programs
Senate Bill 5607 – Creating a beer, wine and spirits theater license, allowing certain small theaters to serve alcohol
Senate Bill 5517 – Removing the 50% requirement for grocery sales for a wine and beer tasting endorsement
House Bill 1001 – Creating a wine and beer theater license for theaters with up to four screens.
Here are the priority bills that FAILED the 2013 Legislative Session:
Senate Bill 5045 – Allowing day spas to provide one glass of wine to customers without charge
House Bill 1742 – Allowing retail establishments that hold a permit to sell beer growlers to also sell wine growlers
House Bill 1805 – Allowing culinary classes to serve and sell wine
Senate Bill 5310 – Creating a new liquor license for senior centers to be able to serve wine, beer and sprits at their facility
House Bill 1459 – Authorizing students under the age of 21 to "taste" wine in Community College (2 year) viticulture and enology programs
As always, our WWI lobby team of Jean Leonard and Anne McGrath are busy in Olympia, representing your interests and protecting your business. As Legislators and other affected stakeholders grapple with I-1183's aftermath, we are actively engaged with all issues that could impact your winery.