Science & Technology

Washington state lawmakers pass tough new cybercrime bill — but that’s about it for tech

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Cybercrime turned extra of against the law. But proposed tax-breaks and gender-pay-equity payments died in committee. That’s how a number of payments affecting the know-how trade fared this 12 months within the Washington Legislature.

The primary goal of the 2016 session has been to make mid-course corrections to the state’s $38 billion 2015-2017 funds, adopted final 12 months. The quick 60-day session, the give attention to schooling points, plus a impasse on the funds talks put many different issues on a political again burner this session.

One piece of laws that made it by means of was a cybercrime bill by Rep. Chad Magendanz, R-Issaquah, that sailed by means of the Home and Senate. The laws will flip a wide range of malicious on-line actions into prosecutable crimes with jail occasions and fines. 

“This was a reasonably vital step,” Magendanz stated. “Different states might be utilizing this as a mannequin.” 

Whereas the Home and Senate handed the bill, it is amongst a number of dozen that Gov. Jay Inslee might conceivably veto between now and April 2 as a measure to pressure the 2 chambers to hurry up their lagging funds talks. Inslee vetoed 27 payments — none of them tech-related — late Thursday to indicate he’s critical.

Inslee declined to say if and when he would veto any further payments. April 2 is the deadline for them, together with the cybercrime bill, to turn out to be regulation with out his signature. So any Inslee motion must happen previous to that date.

Hackers, take word. Magendanz’s bill create the next crimes:

In the meantime, proposed tax breaks for life sciences, crowdfunding and the space exploration industry all stalled within the Home Finance Committee. Committee chairwoman Rep. Kristine Lytton, D-Anacortes, stated these payments are higher suited to be tackled within the 120-day-long 2017 session when main and tax funds issues might be mentioned.

A bill to regulate biometric identifiers simply handed the Home but by no means made it out of the Senate Regulation & Justice Committee, whose chief focus this session has been an investigation into the Washington Division of Corrections’ inmate-early-release scandal. Biometric identifiers embody fingerprints, voice prints, retinal scans and packages analyzing how an individual walks and strikes. The bill’s purpose was to handle the unauthorized switch of such info from one agency to a different. It’s sponsor Rep. Jeff Morris, D-Mount Vernon, plans to reintroduce that bill subsequent 12 months.

A bill by Rep. Tana Senn, D-Mercer Island, to permit staff, particularly girls, to extra actively pursue equitable-pay issues of their corporations with out retaliation died within the GOP-controlled Commerce & Labor Committee. That committee has been an unsurmountable hurdle for most Democratic wage-improvement payments lately. The tech trade strongly backed this bill, which simply handed the Home.

One other bill that split the tech community was one by Rep. Derek Stanford, D-Bothell, that would have rendered void any “unreasonable” non-competition clauses in worker agreements. Beneath the bill, “unreasonable” non-compete agreements would have included these for seasonal and short-term staff, laid-off staff, these terminated with out simply trigger, and people involving impartial contractors. The bill additionally would have banned non-compete necessities that final for multiple 12 months from the top of employment, and for staff who should not executives.

Stanford’s bill would have introduced Washington state extra in keeping with California regulation, stopping corporations from maintaining many departing staff from taking related jobs at rivals for specified intervals of time after they go away.

Nonetheless, a pre-floor-vote depend couldn’t assure that the bill had the 50 votes must pass the 98-member Home. A robust rule of thumb within the Home and Senate is that no bill goes to a ground vote until the bulk caucus leaders already know passage is assured. Stanford plans to reintroduce this bill subsequent 12 months.

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