Keypoint: The Washington Privacy Act is back.
The Washington state legislature will once again consider consumer data privacy legislation when it convenes on January 11, 2021. On January 5, 2021, Senators Reuven Carlyle and Joe Nguyen pre-filed the 2021 version of the Washington Privacy Act (WPA) (Senate Bill 5062). The WPA is scheduled for a public hearing in the Senate Committee on Environment, Energy & Technology on January 14, 2021, which committee is chaired by Senator Carlyle.
In the past two years, versions of the WPA passed the Washington Senate without issue. However, in 2019, the bill failed in the Assembly. In 2020, the Assembly passed an amended version of the bill but the two chambers were unable to reach a compromise. Ultimately, both years, the WPA failed because the two chambers could not reach a compromise on the bill’s enforcement provisions.
The 2021 WPA is divided into four parts. Part 1 concerns the processing of personal data by the private sector. Parts 2 and 3, which are new to the WPA, concern the processing of personal data for public health emergencies, including contact tracing. Those parts were written in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Part 4 contains miscellaneous provisions such as effective dates.
The below discussion focuses on Parts 1 and 4.