Monthly Archives: January 2019

Keiser: “I heard your concerns, we are not moving forward”

January 31st, 2019|

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — Jan. 31, 2018

Keiser:  “I heard your concerns, we are not moving forward” 


“Thank you to everyone from across the state who have reached out to us in Olympia. I heard from hundreds of hairdressers who feared Senate Bill 5326 was a threat to their chosen profession. I want to be clear that it was never my intent to cause stress and anxiety to salon workers, much less jeopardize their livelihood. This entire process was an example of how democracy works best.

“As a legislator, it is my responsibility to listen when people tell me something is wrong and to thoughtfully make sure any legislative proposal achieves its intended goals without causing unintended consequences.

“Thanks to your outreach, it was made clear that this bill fell short of those requirements. I will still work hard to promote fair employment practices and will be focusing my time on legislation regarding non-compete clauses, legislation that hairstylists raised in our public hearing as a priority for them.

“That legislation, Senate Bill 5478, would limit non-compete contracts for both employees and independent contractors.

“I look forward to receiving input on SB 5478 and encourage people to continue engaging in the democratic process.” 

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For information:    Bre Weider, Senate Democratic Communications, 360-786-7326

Statement on SB 5326’s public hearing

January 28th, 2019|

I’ve heard from dozens of cosmetologists who were fearful that my intent was to take away their livelihood.  Let me say in the strongest possible terms that is not my intent, and I promise you it will not be the outcome of this effort. 

I hope removing the language regarding a booth rental ban will alleviate these concerns. The original bill was not fully understood as a proposal for tax fairness, which remains its primary goal.

The concerns I’ve heard have prompted two key changes to the bill:

  • The section banning booth rentals will be removed.
  • The scope of the bill will be broadened to apply to barbers.

Unfortunately, there is a lot of confusion and misinformation about what the bill actually does. I hope that this hearing will result in a clearer understanding of the legislation.  Bills are always a work in progress, and no bill begins as it ends. 

The bill before us brings forward the question of tax fairness—for both stylists and salon owners, and whether two individuals performing equal work are getting equal treatment. 

Last summer, a Spokane woman who owns a small salon, contacted me to consider what she called the unfair treatment of salon owners who employ cosmetologists.  I was interested in her evidence and looked for corroboration.  I spoke to my own hair salon owner who agreed there was a big problem in the industry with some salon owners treating booth renters more like employees than true independent contractors. 

Research revealed that two states had already acted on this issue passing new laws. My bill was patterned on those successful laws in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

Let me lay out part of the issue in our state: 

In 1991, the legislature passed a law that explicitly states booth renters are independent contractors for the purposes of B&O taxes.  That is current law; booth renters are independent contractors by legal definition. 

This created an unequal tax burden.

Consider two salons:

One is a salon owner who employs six cosmetologists, each of whom generates $50,000 a year in services and product sales.  The salon owner has revenues of $300,000 a year and is subject to our gross receipts tax, known as the B & O tax.  The salon owner must pay B & O taxes on those $300,000 dollars in revenues.

Or take the second case:  Another salon owner rents six booths to six cosmetologists who each generate $50,000 a year.  Each individual booth renter is separately reporting gross receipts that fall below the minimum tax rate of $56,000 a year, that is our state’s small business B & O tax exemption.

So not one penny of B & O tax is generated from the same $300,000 in gross receipts from the same activities. 

SB 5464 is scheduled for public hearing at 10 a.m. Monday before the Senate Committee on Labor & Commerce.

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For information:    Bre Weider, Senate Democratic Communications, 360-786-7853

Keiser: Trump administration is holding workers hostage

January 15th, 2019|

OLYMPIA – Addressing the continued federal government shutdown affecting 800,000 workers across the country, Sen. Karen Keiser (D-Des Moines) released the following statement:

“I am proud that the state of Washington is working hard to give furloughed federal workers the unemployment benefits they deserve. Our state continues to put working families first in times of need.

“Unfortunately, state unemployment benefits that are being paid to out-of-work employees will need to be refunded by the federal government when it repays those employees the back pay they are due. It’s vital we make sure those funds are fully repaid and that the federal government doesn’t short our state.

“As the chair of the Senate Labor & Commerce Committee, I am working closely with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the U.S. Department of Labor, and our Washington Congressional Delegation to make the process for overpayment recovery as compassionate and straightforward as possible when the shutdown ends and these employees return to work.

“There are options we are currently exploring, including:

  • Working with the Office of Personnel Management to see if, when backpay is awarded, they would deduct the amount owed by each claimant from their back paycheck and send directly to us. This would ensure the least hassle on behalf of the claimant and is an option we currently allow many employers and claimants.
  • Working with the U.S. Department of Labor to expedite conversations about prior interpretations about federal guidance related to unemployment overpayment recovery.
  • Working with our congressional delegation to try to find ways we can provide assistance to those workers working without pay.

“Almost 80 percent of the American workforce works paycheck to paycheck. These furloughed workers cannot go without a paycheck and still keep up with mortgage or utility payments and other pressing bills. This administration is forcing people to decide between paying their mortgage and taking their sick child to the doctor.

“President Trump is making it eminently clear how he views and values hardworking Americans across our nation.

“For years, we have fought to guarantee employee protections. We must, and will, continue to fight for working people more fiercely than ever.”

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For information:    Bre Weider, Senate Democratic Communications, 360-786-7326