Washington Privacy Act Fails

Husch Blackwell LLP

Keypoint: For the second year in a row, the Washington Privacy Act has failed to become law.

Yesterday afternoon, on the final day of the Washington legislative session, Senator Reuven Carlyle issued a statement announcing the failure of the Senate and House to reach a compromise on the Washington Privacy Act (WPA) (SB 6281). Senator Carlyle’s statement identified one insurmountable obstacle – enforcement.

As we have discussed numerous times over the past month, the Senate version of the WPA would have vested enforcement authority solely within the state Attorney General’s office. In comparison, the House version of the WPA would have created a private right of action.

Ultimately, this disagreement proved too much to overcome.  In his statement, Senator Carlyle explained:

“Following two historic, near-unanimous votes on proposals in the Senate this year and last, I’m deeply disappointed that we weren’t able to reach consensus with our colleagues in the House. The impasse remains a question of enforcement. As a tech entrepreneur who has worked in multiple startup companies, and in the absence of any compelling data suggesting otherwise, I continue to believe that strong attorney general enforcement to identify patterns of abuse among companies and industries is the most responsible policy and a more effective model than the House proposal to allow direct individual legal action against companies.”

With the failure of the WPA, attention will turn to other states where consumer privacy legislation has been filed this year.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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