Legislative Update Feb. 26th, 2024

WA Lawmakers set for busy hearing week with Friday Bill Cutoff

Under two weeks left now in the 2024 Washington legislative session. New focus this week on three key voter led initiatives, and a hard cutoff Friday, March 1st at 5 pm, where any House bills in the Senate and Senate bills in the House without a fiscal impact are done for the year. With the key focus now on the budget there three key housing related tax bills that could be resurrected in what the legislature calls “needed to implement the budget,” or NTIB.

In addition to an increase, this bill also adds a new “transfer tax” concept to real estate transactions. The Washington REALTOR® Legislative committee voted to push back against this bill and has launched an advertising campaign to oppose it. Passed out of the House Finance committee Feb 23rd.

Reestablishing a business and occupation tax while offering a tax exemption from landlords participating in rent control measures

  • Raising the Property Tax Lid SB5770

Lifts the property tax lid to up to 3% (from 1%) of value. Also allows for excess funds to be banked for high inflation years. This bill is reported to be DEAD

  • State Property Tax Exemption SB6259 / SJR8209 Authorizes a State Property Tax Exemption of $100k or 60% of the county median home value. This would require passage of a constitutional amendment.

Legislature to hold hearings on 3 (of 6) voter led initiatives

Democratic leadership has said they may consider passing three of the proposed Initiatives “as is.” It means they would now become law and not be placed on the ballot. Hearings on those three are set for this week:

  • Reasonable police pursuit (I-2113): set for a public hearing in a joint House & Senate committee hearing on 2/28.
  • Clarifying the prohibition on a state income tax (I-2111): set for a joint House & Senate committee hearing on 2/27.
  • Establishing the parental bill of rights (I-2081): set for a public hearing in a joint House and Senate committee on Feb. 28th


Three other initiatives will not be heard and instead, will instead go straight to the November ballot.

  • Removing the State’s Carbon Emission Tax (I-2117)
  • Opting Out of Long Term Care Tax (I-2124)
  • Repealing the Capital Gains Tax (I-2029)


READ MORE ON THE INITIATIATIVES HEREhttps://www.spokanerealtors.com/statewide-initiatives-2024/

Additionally, there are several housing bills, both good and bad, still alive.

Key Washington REALTOR® Bills


Increase Housing Supply Through Transit-Oriented Development HB2321 & HB 2160

This bill allows for more flexibility with cities wanting to build locally-developed programs that reflect market conditions, with state funding support, and by using successful incentive programs like the Multi-Family Tax Exemption (MFTE).  Cities deserve state financial support for local TOD planning and infrastructure needs, to ensure that TOD areas have a mix of residential and commercial development, while also providing community services and amenities. Unfortunately, the “affordability threshold” in the current legislation makes this measure unworkable, in the eyes of Washington REALTORS. A floor vote is scheduled in the House for HB 2321.


Co-Living Bill HB 1998

Requires jurisdictions to allow co-living as permitted in any zone that allows multi-family. PASSED – on the way to the Governor

Rent Control HB 2114

Limits rent and fee increases, requiring notice of rent and fee increases, limiting fees and deposits, establishing a landlord resource center and associated services, authorizing tenant lease termination, creating parity between lease types, and providing for attorney general enforcement. Variations of between 5% and 7% caps are being debated.

Banning Natural Gas HB1589

HB 1589 has passed a modified version of this bill. This bill is alive, but several expected modifications are expected. Set for a floor vote.

Creating a Washington State Department of Housing HB 2270

This bill would create a new Washington State Department of Housing.


HOA modification bill SB5796

This is a bill designed to have HOA’s be a part of the solution to removing legally outdated, or racist language from homeowner’s titles and association language. Opponents are concerned the impact would be to take away HOA authority. Washington REALTORS® Worked with Sen. Padden to add an amendment that delayed this transition until 2028, so that over the next 3 years, we can determine which parts of the RCW’s are impacted. The Senate is set to vote on this measure.


Spokane REALTOR® Bills of Note               


Modifying the state’s HB1110 Infill requirements HB2321

This measure helps fix the issues we saw surface with 5-and-6-plexes in the City of Spokane.  Set for a floor vote.


Incentives for Affordability and Building Conversions SB 6175

A key favorite by several Spokane area lawmakers, this measure would offer incentives such as the Multi-Family Tax Exemption for the Conversion of Existing Office Space into Residential Housing. Local commercial reports show Spokane has a 31% vacancy rate for commercial office space.


UGA Swaps SB 5834

Sen Short’s bill has passed the Senate.

Allows for GMA swaps during a County’s annual review process. Has passed the Senate and heads to the House. This bill is set for a Senate floor vote.

Wildfire Recovery Building Standards HB1899

Has passed the House, but as a substitute bill that would set up a fund for just the cost of a heat pump and offers no assistance for charging stations and solar panels.

Promoting Bee Habitat SB 5934

SB 5934 has passed.

Sen Mike Padden’s bill. Has been modified to say at least 25% of code required landscaping be set aside for Bee friendly habitat.. adding “to the extent practicable.”


Lawmakers are set to wrap up this session on March 7th