Washington’s legislature is trying to pass the weak, industry-backed Bad Washington Privacy Act for the fourth year in a row, as well as a different bill advanced from the House. Legislators seem to have agreed that either both bills pass, or none will. Whether together or separate, these bills theoretically protect people’s privacy, but don’t in practice. What’s frustrating is that the special bill status (NTIB) has made conversations about the bills over the past several weeks totally opaque, giving privacy advocates even more cause for alarm and concern.
These bills are:
- The Bad Washington Privacy Act (SB 5062) in the Senate.
- The Well-intended but Faulty Foundational Data Privacy Act (HB 1850/P2SSHB 1850) in the House.
The next step is taking place in the House Appropriations committee in an Executive session on Monday 2/28 at 10am, where they may vote on proposed amendments to HB 1850 and then whether to advance the bill itself.
P2SHB 1850 creates a governor-appointed data privacy commission charged with interpreting and enforcing the weak, loophole-ridden Bad Washington Privacy Act (SB 5062). There is no transparency or public oversight, so even if good commissioners get appointed, it is likely to be a playground for industry lobbyists. But, there is no guarantee good commissioners will get appointed – those same lobbyists are probably already working Gov. Inslee’s office to suggest industry-friendly members for the commission. As if that’s not enough, the bill also includes the anti-consumer “right to cure” when companies abuse people’s data.
Committee members of both parties have heard lots of reasons why this bill is so bad but we’re not sure they’ve gotten the message yet: now is a crucial time to contact your Representatives. Here’s a script you can copy and paste:
Please OPPOSE Data Privacy Amendment P2SHB 1850.
P2SHB 1850 provides no transparency or oversight for the governor-appointed data privacy commission it creates to enforce the Bad Washington Privacy Act – which I also oppose. At best, it will be a playground for lobbyists. The Commission could be a lot worse if Gov. Inslee, or a future Governor, appoints commissioners who care more about protecting big company profits than they do about protecting people like me. This bill also includes a right to cure that AG Ferguson has described as “anti-consumer,” and Consumer Reports describes right to cure as a “get out of jail free” card. Please vote no on P2SHB 1850.
Whether or not the amendment passes, please DO NOT ADVANCE HB 1850. Please also ask your colleagues in the Senate to OPPOSE SB 5062, the Bad Washington Privacy Act. Instead, please support legislation that protects people, not corporations, like the People’s Privacy Act (HB 1433).
How to contact your legislators about privacy legislation
On the web
Commenting on a bill on the state legislatures web site lets you forward your comments to one or all of your state legislatures. Here’s the link to comment on HB 1850, the Foundational Data Privacy Act.
- Fill in your address and click Verify District
- Choose your position (OPPOSE)
- Select the legislators you want to sent it to
- Fill out the rest of the form and click on Send Comment.
You can copy-and-paste the script here as a starting point for your comments, or write them from scratch if you prefer.
If you prefer to call, the legislative hotline at 1–800–562–6000 (TTY for Hearing Impaired 800.833.6388) lets you get a message to all your legislators at once.
- Tell them the bill you’re calling about (HB 1850) and your position (OPPOSE), and that you want to leave a comment.
- They’ll ask for your address, and then what you want to comment.
You can keep it simple if you want – “Please oppose amendment P2SSB H1850. This bill does not not protect our privacy.” – or go into more detail.
You can also email your legislators. You can find their contact information using the legislature’s District Finder. Make sure to include your name and city so that they know you’re a constituent.