Data-privacy bill awaits a House-Senate compromise

Day 58 of 60 of the 2020 session of the Washington Legislature in Olympia.

Data-privacy bill awaits a House-Senate compromise

2020 Washington Legislature, Day 58 of 60

Everett Herald political reporter Jerry Cornfield: | @dospueblos

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OLYMPIA, March 10, 2020 — Good morning. It’s Tuesday and less than 72 hours remain in the 2020 session.

A deal on a supplemental operating budget is pretty much wrapped up, I hear. However, Democratic leaders of the House and Senate may be leery to reveal many details until the document is printed and in the hands of every representative and senator. That could take until mid-day Wednesday.

• There was a lot of concurring going on Monday in both chambers. As a result, many bills crossed the finish line, including ones banning those thin single-use plastic bags, exempting the dates of birth of public employees from disclosure to the public and allowing Seattle to use traffic cameras to ticket bus-lane and crosswalk violators, which is better known as the “block the box” bill.

• There still are some conflicts on policy bills. Data privacy is one example. The two chambers are at odds over whether to include a private right of action so that individuals can file suit. The Senate doesn’t want it and prefers enforcement be left to the Attorney General’s Office. The House does want it as a consumer protection provision.

They had the same tug-of-war in 2019 and the legislation died. They’ve got three days to find a compromise if they want to avoid the same fate in 2020.

• The death toll in Washington from the coronavirus is 22, according to the state Department of Health.

• Today, at 9 a.m., Gov. Jay Inslee plans a news conference to “detail new policies that will support workers and businesses impacted by COVID-19, as well as announce a new directive for long-term care facilities,” according to a news release by his office.

The same notice made clear what the governor will not do: mandate closures of community spaces or cancellation of events. Specifically, the release includes this line in bold:

“**Please note: The governor will not be rolling out any proposed community restrictions or related decisions at this press conference.”

Meanwhile, on Monday, it was announced that Inslee is done, for now, with public bill signings. Drew Shirk, the governor’s legislative director, explained in a memo to lawmakers that it is “one extra precaution we’re taking to maintain public health standards and minimize COVID-19 exposure in large, social settings.”

• Washington’s presidential primary is today.

We know President Donald Trump will win the Republican primary and collect 43 delegates. For Democrats, if it’s close, it may be a little dicey to declare Bernie Sanders or Joe Biden the winner, since many votes will be counted in the coming days. Figuring out everyone’s share of delegates may not be doable until March 20, when county auditors must certify election results.

Election results will be posted on the Secretary of State’s website.

What we’re writing and reading

• Seattle may soon be able to install automated traffic cameras to ticket drivers blocking bus-only lanes and crosswalks, reports Mike Lindblom of The Seattle Times.

• As panic mounts over the coronavirus, so do sales of toilet paper, bottled water and condoms. But it’s not quite what you think, writes Andrea Brown of The Herald.

• Washington ranchers are losing land to solar farms and wine, but help may be on the way, reports Mandy Godwin of Crosscut.

• A presidential primary special: Joe Biden’s secret governing plan, by Mike Allen and Jim VandeHei of Axios.

What’s happening

The Senate gets under way at 9 a.m., with the House settling in at 10 a.m.

Legislative agendas, schedules and calendars


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Beat reporters: Jerry Cornfield (Herald) | Rachel La Corte (AP) | Joseph O’Sullivan (Times) | Jim Brunner (Times) | Melissa Santos (Crosscut) | Jim Camden (Spokesman-Review) | Austin Jenkins (NW News Network) | James Drew (News Tribune)

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