Offering frequent news and analysis from the majestic Evergreen State and beyond, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Help move the Homeowner's Bill of Rights forward: Ask Senators to support SB 5895

A few days ago, the Senate Ways & Means Committee held a hearing on Senate Bill 5895, this year's version of the Homeowner's Bill of Rights, prime sponsored by Senator Rodney Tom (D-48th District).

SB 5895, as we've explained before, adds a warranty to new homes that would protect buyers from getting stuck with the repair bill and losing their life's savings if something goes wrong with their home.

We have a lemon law for cars and we have laws that guard against defective appliances. Why is it that Washington homeowners have no recourse if they discover a latent defect with their home? That's the question to be asking lawmakers, who for years have considered legislation similar to SB 5895 but haven't sent anything to Governor Gregoire's desk for her signature.

Last year's bill got through the Senate and through House Judiciary, but was unfortunately killed in House Rules by Speaker Frank Chopp.

However, to his credit, Chopp and House leadership agree that the Legislature needs to do something. They've been working on HB 1393, which is prime sponsored by Majority Caucus Liaison Larry Springer, who represents the 45th District. As of Friday, HB 1393 had successfully made it out of the House Ways & Means Committee, where it had arrived after leaving the House Judiciary Committee with some very minor changes on February 19th.

The Senate Labor, Commerce, & Consumer Protection Committee, meanwhile, handed SB 5895 off to the Senate Ways & Means Committee before the bill cutoff last Wednesday. SB 5895 now needs to pass out of Senate Ways & Means.

The bills are both built around the idea of a statutory warranty, but diverge in their specific language. SB 5895's warranty is more comprehensive and transferable to subsequent buyers, which makes it the stronger bill. However, the State Senate needs to act on SB 5895 soon, or it could fall victim to the next legislative cutoff, which is less than two weeks from today.

Please join us in contacting Senators on the Ways & Means Committee and urging them to pass SB 5895. Senators on the Ways & Means Committee are:
  • Margarita Prentice (D) Chair
  • Karen Fraser (D) Vice Chair (cosponsor of SB 5895)
  • Rodney Tom (D) Vice Chair (prime sponsor of SB 5895)
  • Joseph Zarelli (R)
  • Dale Brandland (R)
  • Mike Carrell (R)
  • Darlene Fairley (D)
  • Mike Hewitt (R)
  • Steve Hobbs (D)
  • Jim Honeyford (R)
  • Karen Keiser (D)
  • Adam Kline (D)
  • Jeanne Kohl-Welles (D) (cosponsor of SB 5895)
  • Joe McDermott (D)
  • Ed Murray (D)
  • Eric Oemig (D)
  • Linda Evans Parlette (R)
  • Cheryl Pflug (R)
  • Craig Pridemore (D)
  • Debbie Regala (D)
  • Phil Rockefeller (D)
  • Mark Schoesler (R)
To email a Senator, just type their last name and first name into the To field in any client, separated by a dot, then add to the end. So:

You may also call the Legislative Hotline at 1-800-562-6000 or look up the office contact information for any Senator on Ways & Means at the Legislature's website.


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