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Dear Friends,

Many of you have asked me how you can best stay informed during the 2019 legislative session. First, I would encourage you to subscribe to the Capitol Buzz—a weekday summary of online news stories from across the state. I would also recommend bookmarking the News and Media page on the House Republican website, where you’ll find our press releases, radio interviews and video updates. Finally, please feel free to email me with questions. I always look forward to hearing from you, and want to be as helpful as I can in helping you navigate state government.

Topics in this update include:

  • Working to protect your data and privacy
  • Advocating for better stewardship of postconsumer recyclables
  • Sponsoring House page Annie Philp
  • My weekly radio interview on KSER
  • Contacting me

Working to protect your data and privacy

This past Friday marked the first major deadline of this 105-day session, policy committee cutoff. By Friday evening, all policy bills (i.e. bills without a fiscal impact) were required to have been approved in their respective committees. Those that weren’t are now considered “dead” for the year unless deemed necessary to implement the budget.

Thankfully, both of the data privacy bills I introduced this session are still making their way through the legislative process. House Bill 1503 focuses on data brokers—companies with whom you have no direct relationship that collect and monetize your personal information to third parties. Thousands of these companies operate in the United States.

HB 1503 would require all data brokers who traffic in Washingtonians’ data to register annually with the state’s Office of Privacy and Data Protection, pay a registration fee, and provide information regarding how they collect, store and sell your personal information. It would also require them to disclose their opt-out procedures. For the first time, you would know which companies are monetizing your personhood, and for what purpose. This would be a critical first step.

I know this issue flies under the radar for many people, but it shouldn’t. You would be shocked by just how much information these data brokers have about you and your loved ones. Two of the largest data brokers are Acxiom and Oracle, each of which provide thousands of data points about you to companies like Facebook, Google and Apple.

Below is an infographic from a recent presentation by Alex Alben, the state’s Chief Privacy Officer, showing the types of data points these companies are collecting, storing and selling (infographic via Cracked Labs):

It’s a massive industry, and a largely secretive one. A strong free enterprise system requires voluntary relationships. What’s going on right now is anything but that.

HB 1503 was approved by the House Innovation, Technology and Economic Development (ITED) Committee earlier this month, and was approved by the House Appropriations Committee last night.

The other data privacy bill I’m working on this year is House Bill 1840, which would protect Washingtonians’ payment credentials in business transactions with state agencies.

In its 2018 Data Breach Report, the Office of the Attorney General revealed that data breaches, such as malicious cyberattacks, unintentional breaches and unauthorized access, compromised the personal information of 3.4 million Washingtonians. Financial information was the most commonly compromised type of data for the third straight year.

Under HB 1840, all state agencies would be prohibited from storing payment credentials on state data systems, and would be required to eliminate existing payment credentials by July 1, 2021. Third-party companies fully compliant with industry-leading security standards would store this data instead, and would be barred from transferring, selling, trading, monetizing, or otherwise sharing it unless required by law.

In addition, the bill would also require the state to develop a policy for minimizing the retention of social security numbers and other sensitive, personally identifiable information by state agencies whenever not required for their day-to-day operations or by law.

HB 1840 is a continuation of my efforts from last biennium. In the 2017 and 2018 sessions, my bill (then HB 1421) was unanimously approved by the House, but did not receive a vote in the Senate. This session, HB 1840 has been unanimously approved by the House ITED Committee, and is now in the House Appropriations Committee.

Advocating for better stewardship of postconsumer recyclables

Another bill I introduced this session that survived cutoff and is awaiting a vote on the House floor is House Bill 1665. This bill would direct the Washington State Department of Commerce to complete an economic analysis of recyclable material and solid waste processing, export and disposal in our state. The analysis would include:

  1. An overview of existing types of recycling business practices that involve processing materials into saleable products;
  2. An evaluation of opportunities and barriers to increasing state and regional: (1) reuse of materials; and (2) manufacturing using recyclable materials; and
  3. The implications of relevant global and regional recycling market changes on businesses collecting and processing recyclable materials.

The report would be due to the Legislature by September 1, 2020, and would be accompanied by recommendations from Commerce that identified the:

  1. Recyclable materials with the greatest economic value to recycling programs that have market viability; and
  2. Economic opportunities and challenges of reusing Washington consumers’ and businesses’ waste as a raw material for manufacturing.

I believe such an analysis would be helpful in informing us as to how we can best ensure economic interests are aligned with environmental interests when it comes to recycling. In my view, we should be doing everything we can to encourage and incentivize businesses that rely on recyclables to manufacture products from them and reuse them in more effective ways than they are currently.

Sponsoring House page Annie Philp

Earlier this month, I had the privilege of sponsoring South Whidbey High School student Annie Philp as a page here in the state House. I always find joy in getting to know the students who participate in the House Page Program, and I found Annie to be smart, enthusiastic and inquisitive. I want to thank her for her service to the House, and wish her the very best going forward. I know she has a bright future ahead.

Weekly radio interview on KSER

Every week, I have the opportunity to join KSER’s Ed Bremer for a 15-minute interview to discuss my priorities and the latest from Olympia. I’m grateful to Ed for making the time available to me. If you’d like to listen to these interviews, you can navigate to my SoundCloud page by clicking on the image below.

Contacting me

Please continue contacting me with your comments, questions or concerns. My email address is norma.smith@leg.wa.gov, and my phone number is (360) 786-7884.

It is an honor to serve you.

Warm Regards,

Norma Smith

State Representative Norma Smith, 10th Legislative District
435 John L. O'Brien Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
(360) 786-7884 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000