Interim Washington Legislative Report: Bills of Interest to Contractors

Local Preference Bill Morphs Into Reciprocity Bill

Legislation that would have originally established a 7% preference for “resident contractors” on public works projects in Washington state was opposed by major contractor groups. The opposition was based on local preference being costly to taxpayers, harmful to many contractors with long time presences in the state who would fail to qualify as “resident contractors” due to the legislation’s high requirement of Washington workforce members, and likely would have precipitated retaliation by neighboring states which would particularly impact contractors in Washington, Vancouver and other border areas.

That legislation evolved into a new bill (SB5662) which eliminates the bidding advantage and replaces it with a “reciprocity” provision. The reciprocity provision requires public owners to provide a reference to Washington contractors only against out-of-state contractors which come from states that have biding preferences that work against Washington contractors. If another state does not have an in-state preference, then no preference will apply in Washington.

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