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Table of contents SEATTLE | TACOMA | BELLEVUE
+$1000 extra costs = 1,557 priced out households
WHO WE ARE The Building Industry Association of Washington is the state’s largest trade association representing thousands of companies in the home building industry.
Income needed to qualify
Washington state families are being priced-out at an alarming rate.
BIAW is dedicated to ensuring and enhancing the vitality of the building industry for the benefit of its members and the housing needs of citizens.
BIAW MANAGEMENT Executive Vice President Greg Lane Education and Workforce Development Director Al Audette Communications Director Janelle Guthrie Government Affairs Director Jan Himebaugh ROII Director Jenn Kavanaugh Association Services Director Brenda Kwieciak General Counsel Jackson Maynard Finance and Human Resources Director Pam Hines
B U I L DI NG INSI G H T ED I TO R I A L S TA F F Communications Director Janelle Guthrie Communications Manager Bailee Wicks Layout and Design Lena Anderson
April is National New Homes Month
Legislative potpourri: A “light session” turns into an “all-you-can-eat” buffet
Let’s celebrate by helping renters achieve homeownership.
The 105-day 2021 legislative session ends on April 25.
To submit editorial or advertise, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Building Insight is proudly printed by:
Median home price
Join BIAW in safety stand-down week May 3-7
National safety stand-down week raises fall hazard awareness across the country.
Thousands of Washington families priced out of housing market
Legislators considering a number of bills that will significantly increase the cost of a new home.
President’s message With the news that Major League Baseball is planning a full 162game season starting April 1, I’m reminded of the film, Field of Dreams. I like to say, “If you build it, they will come.” As we celebrate National New Homes Month in April, it’s a time of hope and opportunity. If we can build, many good things will come. Building new homes brings hope Throughout this legislative session, BIAW has been reminding legislators how their policies can provide hope for aspiring homeowners—or how they kill can that hope by pricing homeownership out of reach. Everyone should have the opportunity to pursue the American Dream of homeownership at a price they can afford.
Tracy Doriot, BIAW Certified Builder President
New homes help improve the market We’ve asked lawmakers to consider ways to increase new housing stock by adding more flexibility to the state’s land use laws. With housing prices continuing to rise, increasing the supply of available housing relieves some of the pressure caused by heightened demand. This helps keep prices from continuing to rise so quickly and provides more choices when it comes to where people can live. New homes bring new revenues Residential construction is responsible for 5% of Washington’s total sales tax revenue, not to mention property taxes, permit fees and the many other taxes and fees associated with building. Last summer, we released an economic report on the impact of the 46,968 single family homes built in Washington in 2019. The construction phase alone contributed $3.54 billion in taxes and other revenue to state and local governments. Allowing us to build is a critical way to rebuild our economy without resorting to new taxes. New homes bring opportunities The National Association of Home Builders recently announced that home ownership is the single biggest driver of household wealth across all demographics. Home equity provides families more opportunities, allowing them to pay for college, remodel, invest in business opportunities and pay off debts. Building new homes also provides great jobs with low barriers to entry. The construction industry continues to offer people of all demographics opportunities to work in a variety of specialties, to work their way up and even to own their own businesses. BIAW provides scholarships and grants and participates in training programs in communities across the state to prepare the next generation of workers for our industry. When people complete their training, we’ll be ready to put them to work so they’re ready to afford new homes for their families. We know that if we build these training opportunities with the promise of a solid career, they WILL come. Thank you all for your part in bringing the hope and opportunity of new homeownership to life.
New Homes Month
April is new homes month by Bailee Wicks
April is National New Homes Month. Let’s celebrate by getting renters closer to buying a home in Washington. Although the change from renting to owning seems overwhelming and full of ambiguity, there are many ways to help potential home buyers achieve their dream of ownership.
...the largest misconception is the idea that a potential buyer has to have 20% to use as a down payment to buy a home.
According to a study conducted by the National Association of Home Builders, 62% of renters reported they could not afford a down payment, and 41% of renters said they didn’t believe they would qualify for a mortgage. It is important as lenders and insurance professionals to remind renters who are worried about the finances of buying a home that there are tons of options available to work with them to eventually reach homeownership. Strike down misconceptions There are plenty of misconceptions when it comes to buying and lending, but the largest misconception is the idea that a potential buyer has to have 20% to use as a down payment to buy a home. Although conventional loans can require that much, there are other options for first time buyers. The best way to debunk this misconception is informing the public as much as possible. Our members create housing and shelter for those in Washington state and there is nothing better than assisting families in living the American Dream.
Inform potential buyers of benefits Building Equity When people are renting, their money goes to the landlord and does not help them in their future. When they own a property or home, the money goes toward the mortgage and builds equity. In a sense, paying a mortgage is a form of savings since it increases home equity, which people can tap into if they need money in the future or choose to sell. In today’s market, home equity is steadily increasing, and homeowners see a substantial return when they sell. Tax Deductions Owning a home can reduce the amount people pay in income taxes. People can deduct mortgage interest and property tax payments from their federal taxes. When interest represents the bulk of the monthly mortgage payment in the early years of their mortgage, tax deductions can put a significant amount of money back in homeowner’s pockets. Credit History When people buy a home and consistently make monthly loan payments on time, it demonstrates to other lenders that they are good borrowers, and the risk of defaulting on a loan is low. This strong credit history will help in the future when they need other loans for buying a car, making improvements to the home, or paying other major expenses. How you can help Remember to do your part to help educate firsttime homebuyers on the process of buying a new home. For more information on New Homes Month, contact BIAW Communications Manager Bailee Wicks at email@example.com or (360)-952-7800 ext. 143.
Executive Vice President’s message This issue of Building Insight is devoted to highlighting one program available exclusively to members of BIAW: the ROII program. Safety has its rewards ROII delivers results! ROII consistently outperforms other retro programs in the construction industry, delivering better refunds from the Department of Labor & Industries year after year. Since its inception, ROII has returned over $500 million in refunds to participants. In 2020, the average participant refund was 40% of the workers’ compensation premium paid during the 2016-17 plan year. ROII also provides more services in-house than other retro programs—with no hidden costs to participants, including claim assistance, safety and prevention consultations, risk management and a return-to-work process for injured employees. Get started at ROII.com. Greg Lane
Executive Vice President
Legislative session update It’s hard to describe the 2021 legislative session as anything less than absolutely brutal. Legislators said they would focus solely on COVID recovery. Instead, they are pushing an unprecedented number of bills that are anti-housing, anti-business and only increase spending and taxes for Washington employers. The confirmed theft of $650 million from the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund, which is 100% employer paid, combined with the government-mandated shutdown of dozens of industries, has created historic increases in UI taxes on employers. While legislators approved a slight reduction in 2021 UI tax increases, employers will still bear the tax burden of being shut down by the governor over the next five years. BIAW and our partners in the business community continue to work to avoid tax increases that force businesses to pay for expenses completely out of our control. We also continue fighting SB 5096, creating an income tax on capital gains. Voters in Washington have repeatedly rejected a state income tax. Yet this Legislature is approving one anyway. With the state revenues fully recovered from the impacts of COVID, plus $7 billion in new money from the federal government, there is absolutely no need for a new income tax. It will only drive jobs and wealth out of our state. Thank you A huge thank you to all our members for taking the time to share the industry’s position on legislation this session. Your collective voices have helped tremendously. Remember to check your email for weekly bills we are working on, social media for timely updates and our website for the status of legislative session. We need to keep explaining to legislators why it’s impossible to make housing more affordable by making it more expensive through added regulations and taxes.
Making the most of your doctor visit by Bailee Wicks Communications Manager
Use this checklist to make sure you share all the facts your doctor needs to know: n Your symptoms, even if they are embarrassing (keep in mind, your doctor has probably heard it before). If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID, contact your doctor before your appointment as they may have special protocol for your visit.
The BIAW Health Insurance program proudly serves members of the building and construction industries in Washington state by helping companies provide affordable, quality health insurance benefits to their employees and their families. And while having access to health care is a great benefit, there are small things you can do to make sure you are getting the most from your health insurance plan. Whether in person or online, doctors typically spend about 10 to 15 minutes with each patient, so making the most of your time is important. When you communicate effectively with your doctor, you’ll help your doctor make wise decisions about your care in the short time they have with you. Be a partner in your health care by telling your doctor everything you think he or she needs to know. Patients who are upfront are more likely to be satisfied with the care they receive. Being open and honest with your doctor is vital to receiving the care you need and making the most of the time you have with your healthcare provider. Interested in learning more about the BIAW Health Insurance program? Contact our team at Capital Benefit Services online at BIAWHealthTrust.com or (425) 641-8093.
n Recent changes in your health, diet, exercise or lifestyle, such as stress, weight gain or weight loss. n Health conditions you have (or have had), such as allergies, diabetes or high cholesterol. n Other doctors or health care providers who have provided care for you recently. n Any lab tests you’ve had in the past year. Bring results with you to the appointment. n Your family health history, such as whether anyone in your family has or had cancer, high blood pressure or any other illness. n Medications you take, including over the counter medications, vitamins and supplements. n Medication allergies. n Recent illnesses or surgeries that you’ve had. n Lifestyle choices that may affect your health, such as drinking, smoking or drug use.
*This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Please seek the advice of a qualified medical professional before beginning or ending medical treatment or if you have questions regarding a medical condition.
Legislative potpourri: A “light session” turns into an “all-you-can-eat” buffet by Jan Himebaugh
Government Affairs Director
The 105-day 2021 legislative session ends on April 25 —which for many cannot come soon enough. Coming into legislative session, lawmakers said they would focus on a narrow set of issues, namely around COVID recovery, especially given the only public access point is through a digital portal. In reality, legislators have broadened this focus to include anything they’ve ever wanted and more. Successes Thanks to BIAW members’ efforts, we were able to take several bad policies decisions off the table. Contractor Liability Home builders will escape the seemingly annual attempt to make general contractors liable for all subcontractors’ employee wages and benefits. BIAW members did a stellar job of engaging with members of the legislature and in testimony outlining the problems with this proposal. Qui Tam Another recurring issue that looks to be dead is the “qui tam” bill, which gave third parties the ability to audit and bring any claim against an employer for any violation. The liability and the costs of this would spur incredible amounts of litigation against employers. There’s no need for this law when the Department of Labor & Industries already enforces employment laws. Vesting BIAW members also participated in successfully “Connecting Construction to the Capitol” to stop an attempt to upend Washington’s vesting laws in the Growth Management Act (GMA). Builders rely upon local legislative land use choices when making purchases for future home sites. Upending land use laws will drive up the cost of housing. 8
Still in play As we go to print, several troubling measures remain on the table. Capital Gains Income Tax Both the House and Senate budgets rely upon this new income tax, despite $3 billion in increased revenue in the Washington Economic and Revenue Forecast Council’s March revenue forecast. What the final proposal will look like is still in question, including the looming question of whether real estate gains will be exempt. Climate and Carbon Issues Low carbon fuel standards and cap and trade remain in play as is the potential to incorporate climate change into GMA, although this bill did officially die in the Senate Transportation Committee. Even with all these measures still on the menu, the legislature is still eyeing other GMA issues. They’re still considering moving the comprehensive plan cycle from 8 to 10 years while adding more tribal engagement. They might also add salmon protection to GMA along with a net ecological gain standard for development regulations and public projects—which will trickle down to private projects required to hook into public infrastructure. Will legislative leaders keep appetites in check through the end of session? Or will they continue to load their plates with burdensome and expensive new policies? I guess we’ll find out when it’s time to pay the check.
BIAW Connecting Construction to the Capitol recap by Bailee Wicks
Senator Perry Dozier (R), Dist. 16, Waitsburg, meets with Home Builders Association of Tri-Cities members and staff.
BIAW’s virtual Hill Day: Connecting Construction to the Capitol did just that. BIAW members from local associations held more than 75 meetings with policymakers, raising and discussing industry issues that impact the home building industry. Thank you to all local association staff who set up and assisted in coordinating this year’s Hill Day experience. And thank you to our members who participated and shared these issues with your legislators. BIAW received overwhelmingly positive feedback about your conversations.
Building Industry of Clark County members meet with long-time housing advocate Senator Lynda Wilson (R), Dist. 17, Vancouver.
Thank you, Senator Brad Hawkins (R), Dist. 12, East Wenatchee, for meeting and discussing important housing issues with members of the Central Washington Home Builders Association.
Representative Andrew Barkis (R), Dist. 2, Olympia, meets with members of the Master Builders Association of Pierce County and Olympia Master Builders.
Get rewarded for safety by Leah Jaber ROII Marketing Manager
Want to be rewarded for safety in your workplace? Join the crowd—by joining the state’s largest, longest-operating construction Retro (Retrospective Rating) safety incentive program: ROII. It’s the workers’ comp safety program trusted by more Washington businesses. And the only Retro program that belongs to the Building Industry Association of Washington (BIAW), the association that got the industry back to work by advocating for our essential workforce status.
Zella West Nob Hill Water Association, participant since 1995 Yakima, WA
Our goal is to eliminate injuries through improvements in workplace safety and preventative strategies. If an employee is injured, we’ll help you help them get better quicker with a successful return-to-work experience. Businesses that participate and share our goal can earn an average refund of 36%. Only ROII has returned over $500 million in refunds to participating companies since 1982. With field reps across the state, we understand how things work—right where you work. Large or small, we have your back. ROII’s experts are committed to helping participants navigate L&I’s daunting workers’ comp system. It’s just one of our all-inclusive services. We don’t believe in add-ons, surprise charges, or “we outsource that.” In an industry where “word-of-mouth” is key, ROII wants to not only tell you about our program, but share what participants are saying about ROII. ROII continues to outperform our competition: all of our services are provided in-house, with no hidden fees (unlike some Retro programs that use additional fees to chip away at your bottom line—while adding to theirs). If you are not currently enrolled in the ROII program, you are missing out. Don’t let this opportunity pass, get started at ROII.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org. 10
We had a difficult L&I claim that started right in the middle of COVID. It’s been years since our last big claim, so we didn’t know what we needed to do. Our claim rep. was simply amazing. We are a small company without a full-time HR person, and she guided us every step of the way. I was so relieved that she was on our team, helping us through uncharted and unfamiliar water. I couldn’t imagine doing it without her. She is the best!
The BIAW ROII program has been an integral part of our business. Our team has access to a vast field of knowledge and support for workplace safety and claim management. In addition to these resources is a sizable refund check on premiums paid to L&I. I cannot imagine existing without this program.
Deacon Band Band Construction Inc., participant since 2008 Spokane, WA
When it comes to safety and prevention, the field reps at ROII know their stuff. With their help, we were able to decrease our claims by over half after implementing a stretch program on the jobsite and after long drives. The visit didn’t cost me a thing, but because of this small change, we will be receiving our highest return this plan year.
Stephanie Stremler Creative Stoneworks Inc., participant since 2017 Bellingham, WA
no add-ons, surprise charges, or outsourcing. ever. Looking for a workers’ comp safety program? Be sure to read the fine print! Only ROII offers Reward #18: our promise to include all services with no surprise add-on fees. Other Retro programs may charge additional fees for services like help navigating a claim with L&I or return-to-work assistance. Costs that chip away at your bottom line— while adding to theirs. No wonder ROII is Washington State’s largest workers’ comp safety program.
Get started today at ROII.com or visit BIAW.com/ROII to download our brochure.
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ROII Safety Services
Safety vigilance in a difficult pandemic year by Bob White ROII Safety Services Director
Over the last month, we have seen some horrible tragedies due to lapses in following simple safety protocols. It’s been a long year for everyone living with COVID. Some people have lost loved ones or live with heightened stress and anxiety during this time, which can cause workers to become distracted. Others have had extended time away from work due to government-mandated shutdowns and
comprehensive benefits. Still, others have elected to stay home and may not be as sharp when returning to work. Some companies have had to hire new workers as a result, and these new workers may not have as much experience in safety on the job. As with COVID, now is not the time to let our safety guard down. Remember to help watch out for each other.
Five reasons to watch out for others’ safety:
When you keep an eye on other people’s safety, your safety awareness improves. We see hazards that other people don’t notice, making for a much safer working
You’ll never have to regret that you could have said something but didn’t. Imagine if you knew of a safety concern and didn’t say something, and a person got hurt. This could be on your mind for a very long time, if not the rest of your life. By speaking up if you see
change the outcome but failed to do so.
distract someone from safe working practices. For the day at the beach or going golfing on a nice day. Just like that, they are distracted from work and might risk an injury. Watching out for your co-worker’s safety can help prevent problems that could arise from distraction.
It’s just the right thing to do. At times, a co-worker may not praise you for pointing out a safety risk –you might even be met with resistance –but it’s simply the right thing to do. You can’t argue about doing the right thing.
We’re all at risk of occasional cognitive failure. When you are staring right at your keys but still can’t find them, or for a split second, don’t notice a car speeding toward you on the road – you are experiencing cognitive failure. If this happens during a high-risk job, the consequences can be devastating. No one is perfect, and our concentration efforts can fail us at times. Cognitive failure can set the best worker up for an opportunity to be injured.
the nightmare of knowing you had the power to help
about family, friends, vacation, hobbies, etc., can example, a co-worker may daydream about spending
something potentially dangerous, you’ll never have
Even the safest of workers can get distracted. Thinking
Always remember, no task is so vital that it be done at the risk of safety. If you are a ROII participant and have a safety question, please contact ROII Safety Services Director Bob White at email@example.com or (360) 352-7800 ext. 109. If you are not a ROII participant but would like to be, please visit roii.com.
Safety Stand Down Week
Join BIAW in Safety Stand-Down Week May 3-7
2. Think about asking your subcontractors, owner or others associated with your project to participate in the stand-down. 3. Consider reviewing your fall prevention program. This will help provide a more effective stand-down. a. What types of falls could happen: n Falls from ladders n Falls from a roof n Falls from a scaffold
by Bailee Wicks
n Falls down stairs
n Falls from structural steel n Falls through a floor or roof opening n Falls through a fragile roof surface
Fatalities caused by falls from elevation continue to be a leading cause of death for construction employees, accounting for 320 of the 1,008 construction fatalities recorded in 2018, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data. Those deaths were preventable. The National Safety Stand-Down Week raises fall hazard awareness across the country in an effort to stop fall fatalities and injuries. Join BIAW for National Safety Stand-Down Week from May 3-7.
b. What needs improvement? Is your program meeting its goals? Are you experiencing fatalities, injuries or near misses? Are employees aware of the company’s fall protection procedures? c. What training have you provided to your employees? Does it need revision? 4. Develop presentations or activities that will meet your needs. Decide what information will be best for your workplace and employees. The meeting should provide information to employees about hazards, protective methods and the company’s safety policies, goals and expectations. Hands-on exercises (a worksite walk around, equipment checks, etc.) can increase retention. 5. Decide when to hold the stand-down and how long it will last. Decide if the stand-down will take place over a break, a lunch period or some other time.
What is a Safety Stand-Down? A Safety Stand-Down is a voluntary event for employers to talk directly to employees about safety. Companies can conduct a Safety Stand-Down by taking a break to have a toolbox talk or another safety activity such as conducting safety equipment inspections, developing rescue plans or discussing job specific hazards. How to hold a Safety Stand-Down 1. Try to start early. Designate a coordinator to organize the stand-down. If you have multiple work sites, identify the team that will lead the stand-down at each site.
6. Hold your stand-down. Try to make it positive and interactive. Let employees talk about their experiences and encourage them to make suggestions. 7. Follow up. If you learned something that could improve your fall prevention program, consider making changes. For more information about National Safety StandDown week, visit https://www.osha.gov/stop-fallsstand-down. If you are a ROII participant and have questions about safety, contact ROII Safety Services Director Bob White at firstname.lastname@example.org or (360) 3527800 ext. 109. april 2021
ROII Field Staff
Meet the ROII field staff With 71,363 square miles of personal safety and prevention assistance, our statewide field reps understand how things work—right where you work. ROII gives you training and tips for keeping your people, and your business, safer. So no matter where you live or work in Washington state, our field reps will visit you faceto-face. Large or small, we have your back.
ROII Field Representative
Jesse has been in the roofing industry for 30 years. After leaving the roofing life, he worked for the State for three years but didn’t quite feel at home. He jumped at the opportunity in 2017 to join BIAW as an ROII field representative where he could use his knowledge of construction safety. His favorite part of the job is meeting with participants on their jobsites, learning about what they do, and making an impact on how they view safety.
ROII Field Representative
Jim has been in the residential construction industry for over 40 years, including owning a remodeling business for 28 years. While operating his company, he was an energetic member of the Spokane Home Builders Association. He received numerous certifications, project design awards and the coveted BIAW Distinguished Service Award. Jim was recruited to serve as a field representative for the BIAW’s ROII program in 2017. Jim feels it is an honor being part of a dedicated team helping member companies successfully return their injured employees back to work and improve workplace safety.
We’ve been a member since 1993, and ROII has returned more than seven times our membership cost over that time, while keeping our workers safe. What is not to love about that?
Ted Clifton Zero Energy Plans LLC, participant since 1993 Coupeville, WA
ROII Field Representative
After spending more than a quarter-century as a builder member himself, Kevin understands the contrast between the passion for building and the challenges of regulatory requirements. As a Past-President of BIAW and Central Washington Home Builders Association, Kevin is uniquely invested in the ROII program and remains dedicated to its continued success. Kevin has been with ROII for four years and serves central Washington, north-central Washington, Whatcom County, Island County, Tri-Cities and Snohomish County.
Bob White ROII Safety Services Director
Bob has served the members of BIAW since 1999. He’s handled all of the association’s logistics and oversaw the restoration, repair and remodel of the historic McCleary Mansion that served as the BIAW headquarters until 2020. Previously, he worked as a professional driver in the timber industry for 13 years, hauling logs and heavy equipment throughout the Pacific Northwest. In 2011, he was appointed as the safety services director for BIAW’s ROII program, helping participants work safer, avoiding costly workers’ compensation claims and expensive safety violations.
Not already an ROII participant and want to be rewarded for safety in your workplace? Join the crowd—by joining the state’s largest, longest-operating Retro (Retrospective Rating) safety incentive program: ROII. Get started at ROII.com or email email@example.com.
Thousands of Washington families priced out of housing market by Bailee Wicks Communications Manager
$1000 in added costs = 2,500+ households behind The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) released its 2021 Priced-Out Estimates, showing how higher home prices and rising interest rates affect people’s ability to buy new homes. In Washington state, the median home price is $522,023, requiring a minimum income of $112,295 to qualify for a mortgage. At that price point, more than 72% of Washington’s roughly 3 million households are priced out. And for every $1,000 in additional costs, 2,524 more households are unable to qualify for a new mortgage. Washington’s housing affordability chart shows how many households are priced out at various price points above and below the median price. Proposed bills add costs to housing Legislators are considering a number of bills this session that will significantly increase the cost of new homes. Many of the bills have worthy goals; however, they also have significant consequences. By adding more and more regulation, sadly, it tells those in disadvantaged, lower and middle economic classes they will not be able to own a home. That’s why, as Washington continues work to recover from the economic fallout of the COVID pandemic, BIAW is supporting legislation that helps address the state’s housing shortage with homes more people can afford. 16
BIAW actively opposes measures that add new regulations, requirements and restrictions that drive up the costs of home ownership and reduce the supply of new housing to meet the state’s needs. BIAW supports legislation that allows for more ‘middle rung’ housing to be zoned and built to allow first-time homebuyers an opportunity to achieve the American Dream of homeownership. As seen in the graphic, for every $1,000 in additional costs including new regulations, the following areas are pricing out families. If you have questions about the 2021 priced out estimates or how rising prices are affecting communities statewide, contact BIAW Communications Manager Bailee Wicks at baileew@ biaw.com or (360) 352-7800 ext. 143.
Total Households Households who can afford median price Priced out households
COVID has made a huge impact on businesses, families and the state economy including the housing market. With a hot homebuyer’s market and ongoing shortage of new construction, home builders are troubled by a growing crisis in housing: People in middle and lower-income brackets are increasingly priced out of the market for home ownership.
Seattle Tacoma Bellevue
MT. VERNON | ANACORTES
Income needed to qualify
Median home price
+$1000 added costs = +126 priced out households
SPOKANE | SPOKANE VALLEY
+$1000 added costs = +63 priced out households
BREMERTON | SILVERDALE
SEATTLE | TACOMA | BELLEVUE
+$1000 added costs = +189 priced out households
+$1000 added costs = +116 priced out households
+$1000 added costs = +1,557 priced out households
OLYMPIA | LACEY | TUMWATER
+$1000 added costs = +41 priced out households
+$1000 added costs = +140 priced out households YAKIMA
+$1000 added costs = +82 priced out households
+$1000 added costs = +112 priced out households
+$1000 added costs = +58 priced out households
+$1000 added costs = +23 priced out households
200,000 150,000 100,000 50,000 0
Walla Walla Mt. Vernon/ Olympia/ Spokane/ Anacortes Tumwater/ Spokane Valley Lacey
MAJOR METRO AREAS IN WASHINGTON STATE
Source: NAHB 2021 Priced-Out Estimates
BIAW files amicus brief supporting challenge of $18 million fine by Brooke Frickleton Associate General Counsel
After the Washington State Court of Appeals Division II affirmed a record $18 million fine against the Grocery Manufacturer’s Association (GMA)— now known as Consumer Brands Association (CBA), BIAW with support from Enterprise Washington and the Washington Farm Bureau filed an amicus brief supporting an appeal to the State Supreme Court.
Violations of First and Eighth Amendments? The GMA raised several arguments to justify its conduct and to reduce the size of the penalty. They pointed to speech and political engagement rights under the First Amendment of the US Constitution as well as the “excessive fines” clause in the Eighth Amendment.
State election officials originally fined the GMA over its actions related to a 2013 ballot initiative (I-522), mandating the labeling of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). The GMA opposed the initiative, which failed to pass. After several years of litigation, courts found the association violated certain campaign finance disclosure laws, resulting in a $6 million penalty that was tripled and now stands in excess of $19 million with costs and fees.
The Washington State Supreme Court ultimately rejected GMA’s arguments in the bulk of the case in April 2020. The Court remanded the Eighth Amendment excessive fines issue to the Court of Appeals, but left a key issue open: Whether the excessive fines clauses in the state and federal constitutions allow a $6 million penalty for campaign public disclosure violations, and an additional $12 million in punitive damages.
Attorney General files suit in Thurston County Superior Court alleging that the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) violated the state’s campaign disclosure laws.
Thurston County Superior Court rules GMA intentionally violated state campaign finance laws and triples GMA’s $6 million penalty to a record-setting $18 million. GMA appeals.
Division II Court of Appeals upholds the Superior Court ruling on the violation, accepting the tripling of GMA’s penalty. GMA appeals to State Supreme Court.
On remand, the Court of Appeals Division II upheld the $18 million penalty in November 2020, ruling the penalty did not violate the state or federal constitutions. Chilling effects on free speech GMA is again petitioning the State Supreme Court to review the case. They’re arguing the Court of Appeals misapplied the excessive fines clause when it failed to fully consider the chilling effects on free speech as part of its excessiveness inquiry. BIAW joined in writing an amicus brief in support of the petition, emphasizing how the relationship between the First and Eighth Amendments makes this case unique and compelling for trade associations, the broader business community, and First Amendment advocates, among others. Largest campaign finance penalty in history The fine is the largest in campaign finance in Washington as well as U.S. history, dwarfing all other campaign finance penalties ever issued—including the fine levied against an organization on the other side of the ballot issue who only was assessed $322,000.
influence voters about election issues, BIAW and the others included are well-positioned to discuss why review in this case is of broad importance. The amicus brief prepared collectively by BIAW’s legal staff and Enterprise Washington addresses why the Court must determine whether the excessive fines clauses in our state and federal constitutions permit an $18 million fine for political activities. The brief also urges the Court to determine whether a fine of that size implicates an organization’s right to free speech due to the massive fine’s potential to have a chilling effect on those rights. The Grocery Manufacturers Association filed its petition for review of the Court of Appeals’ decision to uphold the fine with the State Supreme Court in early January. BIAW filed its amicus brief in support of review in early March. The state Supreme Court has not yet decided whether to accept review but all organizations involved remain hopeful the Court will grant acceptance due to the truly novel and unprecedented nature of the constitutional issues presented.
Substantial public interest? In order for the State Supreme Court to take review, it must consider whether the issue is of “substantial public interest.” As organizations that seek to
State Supreme Court upholds the GMA’s campaign finance law violations, remands the case back to the Court of Appeals to consider the GMA’s argument that the penalty is excessive under the state and federal constitutions.
Court of Appeals upholds the $18 million penalty ruling as not excessive.
The GMA files its petition for review to the State Supreme Court alleging the Court of Appeals misapplied the excessive fines clause when it failed to consider chilling effects on free speech as part of its excessiveness inquiry.
BIAW along with Enterprise Washington and the Washington Farm Bureau file amicus memorandum in support of GMA’s petition for review.
BIAW SUMMER BOARD MEETING JUNE 7-9, 2021
Building Industry Association of Washington 300 Deschutes Way SW, Ste. 300 | Tumwater, WA 98501 (360) 352-7800 | BIAW.com |
Monday, June 7 6:30 - 9:00 p.m.
EIR Awards Reception
Tuesday, June 8 11:30 - 1:00 p.m.
General Membership Luncheon
7:00 - 10:00 p.m.
Spike Party (Invitation Only)
Wednesday, June 9 9:00 - 11:30 a.m.
Board of Directors
Hall of Fame Call for Entries
BIAW EXCELLENCE IN REMODELING 2021
BIAW is now accepting nominees for its Hall of Fame. The purpose of BIAW’s Hall of Fame is to honor men and women who have made significant and lasting contributions to BIAW. The Hall of Fame acknowledges lifetime achievement in the building industry. If you’d like to submit a nominee for a BIAW member, industry leader, or legislator you believe is worthy of entry into the Revered Hall, go to BIAW. com and download an entry application. Questions? Contact Brenda Kwieciak at BIAW at (360) 352-7800, ext. 113 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Submission deadline is May 1.
BIAW’s Excellence in Remodeling Awards, presented by Phase II General Contractor, is NOW accepting entries! This annual event honors quality craftsmanship by members all across the state. Deadline to submit your entries ONLINE at EIRAwards.com is April 23. Important Dates Now | Call for entries April 23 | Deadline to submit entries May 3 | Winners announced (via email) June 7 | EIR Awards reception in conjunction with the BIAW summer board meeting Questions Contact Brenda Kwieciak at (360) 352-7800, ext. 113 or email@example.com.