Senate Passes Controversial “Price Gouging” Bill in Olympia
Once again, State Democrats showed their economic ignorance, say critics, in proposing and passing a Price Gouging bill sought by AG Bob Ferguson.
Senate Bill (SB) 5191 passed by a vote of 29-20, mostly along party lines, and now head to the House to be voted and reconciled with their version (if it passes).
According to the text from the bill report, it considers a price increase of 15% or more to be gouging. The of industries included (but not limited to) is as follows:
"• building materials; • consumer food items; • goods or services used for emergency cleanup; • emergency supplies; • gasoline; • health care services; • housing; • medical supplies; • repair or reconstruction services; • transportation, freight, and storage services; and • personal protective equipment."
It also sets a curious precedent, saying the Governor may modify this list or conditions with emergency powers. That's on the dangerous side. The bill also fails to fully address costs and increases passed onto purchasers-retailers from manufacturers. Builders, for example, are facing astronomical jumps in construction materials not of their doing.
The report of the bill reads as follows, in part:
"An excessive price means a price more than 15 percent greater than the price at which the person sold, rented, or offered for sale or rent the same product or service immediately prior to the state of emergency. When the price prior to the state of emergency can not be determined, an excessive price shall be presumed where the price is more than 15 percent greater than the price of the same product or service offered for sale or rent by other similarly situated sellers prior to the state of emergency. The baseline price for the good or service is adjusted on the one-year anniversary of the state of emergency."
Ferguson claims his office has investigated over 1,300 cases of alleged gouging since March 202, the start of the pandemic. However, he offered no proof or data about how many of these were legitimate cases.
To read the bill report for yourself, click on the button below. The report is the bill condensed into easier to understand language that can be looked over.