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No Washington Privacy Act This Year?

SECOND UPDATE: A special session of the House Appropriations Committee on Tuesday, April 9, 2019 has extended the opportunity to pass the Washington Privacy Act for another week. For the latest news, please click here for our coverage.

The original article (with the first update) is below:

The clock appears to have run out on the Washington Privacy Act in the 2019 legislative session in Washington State. It was a packed agenda for the House Appropriations Committee, and the Committee did not vote on the Senate version of the Washington Privacy Act (2SSB 5376) or the various amendments that were proposed. At the end of the meeting, the Committee indicated it was the last scheduled committee hearing of the current legislative session.

The Senate version of the Washington Privacy Act passed earlier this year by a vote of 46-1. However, without a do pass recommendation in the Appropriations Committee, it will not make it to a vote on the floor of the House or go through the reconciliation process this year.

[UPDATE: There are apparently a few procedural mechanisms by which the bill could be revived this year. It remains to be seen whether any of these actions, outside of the standard legislative process, will happen.]

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The Appropriations Committee recommended a previous version of the bill by a vote of 19-11 earlier in the legislative session. However, after the Senate passed its version of the legislation, the House took up consideration of the Senate bill rather than proceed with its own version. A Striker amendment to the Senate version moved through the House Innovation, Technology & Economic Development (ITED) Committee by a 5-4 vote.

The Appropriations Committee held its public hearing on the bill on Saturday, and limited public comment from speakers to around 90 seconds each because of the sheer number of bills scheduled during the public hearing. The testimony on the Washington Privacy Act was overwhelmingly against the amended version that passed through the House ITED Committee last week. The ITED Striker amendment made a number of significant changes, including expanding the number of businesses covered by the bill and creating a private right of action.

There were a substantial number of amendments proposed to both 2SSB 5376 and the ITED Striker in the course of Monday’s executive session on the Washington Privacy Act. In the morning, the Committee indicated that the amendments were still coming in, and they ended up receiving a second staff briefing recapping all of the potential amendments to the Washington Privacy Act towards the end of the day. However, after they went off camera to caucus, the Washington Privacy Act was not one of the bills that they voted on.

Without a do pass recommendation out of the Appropriations Committee this year, the Washington Privacy Act will need to be brought up again in the next legislative session.

The Washington Privacy Act appeared to be on the road to passage after the nearly unanimous vote in the Washington state Senate and the support of Microsoft. However, even Microsoft testified this week against the latest House version of the bill, which contained a private right of action through the state’s consumer protection law. There was also continuing controversy over the facial recognition section of the bill, which was subject to a number of public comments in opposition as well as proposed amendments in both the ITED committee and the Appropriations Committee.

We have covered a number of other states considering privacy bills, but had been focused on the Washington Privacy Act given that it looked like it had a good shot on passing after the Senate vote. In light of its demise, we will be working on a roundup of movement on the legislative front in the next few weeks, as well as our initial coverage of the two privacy bills that were introduced in Texas recently which we haven’t yet covered.

Other Relevant Posts:

Maine Considering LD 946 to Protect Privacy of ISP Customers
Illinois House Passes Data Transparency and Privacy Act; Senate Passes KIDS Act
Texas Considers Consumer Privacy Act and Privacy Protection Act
Update: Special Session of Appropriations Committee Saves Washington Privacy Act for Another Week
Washington Privacy Act – Initial Look at the Current House Version
Summary of Connecticut SB 1108 on Data Privacy
Summary of Public Hearings on Maryland Online Consumer Protection Act
Summary of Washington Privacy Act After State Senate Passes
Florida Legislature Considers Biometric Information Privacy Act
Maryland Considering SB613 / HB0901 – Online Consumer Protection Act
With SD341, Massachusetts Joins States Considering CCPA-like Data Privacy Laws
Public Hearing on Washington Privacy Act (SSB 5376) in Senate Ways & Means – More Work to Be Done?
State CCPA Privacy Bills in Rhode Island, Hawaii and New Jersey
North Dakota Considers Study on Privacy Practices of Data Brokers

More Resources:

Check out the guide Clarip has written on the California Consumer Privacy Act and contact us to see a demo of the Clarip privacy management platform used by Fortune 500 clients.

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