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.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Homeowner's Bill of Rights Update: SB 6385 leaves House Judiciary Committee

Good news this afternoon: According to our Legislative Advocacy bill tracker, the House Judiciary Committee has reported Senator Brian Weinstein's SB 6385 out of committee in executive session today with a do pass recommendation after amending the bill in committee.

We haven't analyzed the striking amendment yet (it passed, 7-4), but I'll update this post once we've taken a look at the revised bill passed by the Judiciary Committee. We do know that the greatest champion of the Homeowner's Bill of Rights in the House, Representative Brendan Williams, supported the striking amendment, so the changes are probably constructive.

UPDATE: Here's Senator Brian Weinstein's reaction (to NPI):
The House striker basically changed the bill to give homebuyers the same warranty rights as that condo buyers have enjoyed since 1990. It certainly is a vast improvement over current law. I support it.
The Olympian has more on the changes:
Substitute Senate Bill 6385 is modeled after a statutory warranty for purchases of condominiums that has been on the books since 1990. The warranty was amended in 2004-05 to counter concerns brought by builders and insurers. It gives builders a chance to fix errors before a suit is filed.

Representative Pat Lantz, D-Gig Harbor, proposed the "condo amendment," which was given a hearing this week.

She changed it again Thursday to allow protections for up to 10 years for latent defects and water damage, but four years for other more easily discovered forms of damage.
SB 6385 is one of the Northwest Progressive Institute's top priorities this session. It allows Washingtonians to recover repair costs if their homes are damaged by negligent construction. NPI has strongly urged the House and Senate to send this important consumer protection legislation to Governor Chris Gregoire's desk.

The Judiciary Committee's action, one day before the February 29th bill cutoff, ensures SB 6385 moves forward to the next step in the legislative process.

The bill's fate is now up to House Speaker Frank Chopp. He has the power to either advance the Homeowner's Bill of Rights to the floor or stop it cold as he did with last year's version (unless the House Democratic caucus collectively overrules him, which happens very rarely).

Readers, at this moment your help is critically needed. Please ask your representatives to support the Homeowner's Bill of Rights. Call the legislative hotline at 1-800-562-6000 and ask to be connected to your lawmakers. Or, find your representative using the legislative directory and send an e-mail.


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