Washington Privacy Act Update: WPA Moves To Conference Committee

Husch Blackwell LLP

Keypoint: With just two days to go before the close of the Washington legislature, a conference committee will try to resolve conflicts between the House and Senate versions of the WPA.

As we previously reported, on Friday, March 6, the Washington House passed an amended version of the Washington Privacy Act (WPA) that included a private right of action. The bill then moved back to the Senate where, on Monday, March 9, the Senate refused to concur in the amendments and asked the House to recede from them. Predictably, the House refused.

However, the House requested that the Senate agree to a conference committee, which request the Senate quickly granted. The House and Senate thereafter appointed three members each to participate in the conference committee.

The Senate appointed Senators Carlyle, Dhingra, and Rivers – all of whom sponsored the Senate version of the WPA and voted in its favor. Senator Carlyle has been the Senate bill’s lead advocate.

The House appointed Representatives Hudgins, Hansen, and Dufault. Representative Hudgins sits as chair of the House Committee on Innovation, Technology & Economic Development, which is the committee that amended the WPA to include a private right of action. Representatives Hudgins and Hansen voted in favor of the amended House version while Representative Dufault voted against it.

For the conference committee to be successful, it will need to find compromise positions on the two biggest differences between the House and Senate versions of the WPA – enforcement and facial recognition. It will need to find those compromise positions quickly as the legislative session closes Thursday, March 12.

If a compromise is reached, both chambers would have to adopt the conference committee report for the WPA to pass and head to the Governor. Interested readers should click here to stay up-to-date on all of the developments.

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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