E2SHB 1521

This analysis was prepared by non-partisan legislative staff for the use of legislative members in their deliberations. This analysis is not a part of the legislation nor does it constitute a statement of legislative intent.

C 269 L 20

Synopsis as Enacted

Brief Description: Providing for accountability and transparency in government contracting.

Sponsors: House Committee on Appropriations (originally sponsored by Representatives Dolan, Harris, Valdez, Frame, Caldier, MacEwen, Griffey, Blake, Sells, Tarleton, Fitzgibbon, Ryu, Kilduff and Ormsby).

House Committee on State Government & Tribal Relations

House Committee on Appropriations

Senate Committee on State Government, Tribal Relations & Elections

Senate Committee on Ways & Means


Contracting Out.

Prior to July 1, 2005, state agencies and institutions of higher education were prohibited from contracting out for services regularly and historically provided by classified employees. Employees in classified services include state employees not specifically exempt from the state civil service statute. Beginning July 1, 2005, the Personnel System Reform Act of 2002 lifted this prohibition on contracting and authorized state agencies and institutions of higher education to purchase services, including services traditionally and historically provided by state employees in classified service, if the following criteria are met:

Certain entities and contracts are exempt from these criteria, such as contracts for services expressly mandated by the Legislature, printing services, and certain contracts by the Department of Enterprise Services (DES) and Consolidated Technology Services Agency.

Contract Management Policies and Procedures.

The DES must adopt policies and procedures for effective and efficient management of contracts by state agencies. These include procedures for selecting potential contractors based on their qualifications, performance measures, model contract terms to ensure contract performance and compliance with state and federal standards, executing contracts using electronic signatures, and procedures and criteria for terminating contracts. Agencies must provide, on an annual basis, a list of contracts that the agency has entered into or renewed.

The DES must maintain a list of all contracts entered into by agencies. Agencies are encouraged to enter into performance-based contracts that identify expected deliverables and performance measures or outcomes. Payment for goods and services under performance-based contracts should be contingent on the customer achieving performance outcomes.

To provide the maximum practicable opportunity for increased participation by minority- and women-owned and controlled businesses in public works and agency procurement, goals are established in statute for each state agency. If necessary to meet these goals, contracts may be awarded to the next lowest responsible bidder, or all bids may be rejected and new bids obtained, if the lowest responsible bidder does not meet the goals established for a particular contract.

The Washington Law Against Discrimination (WLAD).

The WLAD prohibits discriminatory practices in employment, real estate transactions, public accommodations, credit, and insurance, based on a person's protected characteristics or membership in a protected class. Protected characteristics include race, gender, sexual orientation, and the presence of a disability. Complaints are filed with the Human Rights Commission (HRC), which may conduct an investigation and issue a finding as to whether the WLAD has been violated.


Contracting Out.

The applicability of the contracting out requirements for state agencies and institutions of higher education is narrowed to apply only to contracts for services that: (1) have been customarily and historically provided by classified employees on or after July 1, 2005; and (2) would displace or relocate classified employees.

The following additional criteria must be met before the department, agency, or institution of higher education may contract for services:

Departments, agencies, or institutions of higher education must also:

Contracts relating to the DES's activities are subject to the contracting out requirements.

The following contracts are exempt from the additional criteria for contracting out, as well as the requirements relating to posting information on a website, maintaining specified records, and including certain terms in contracts for service:

Contracts for fire suppression awarded by the Department of Natural Resources are contracts expressly mandated by the Legislature and are therefore also exempt from all contracting out provisions.

Contract Management Policies and Procedures.

The uniform policies and procedures for management of contracts are modified to include: precontract procedures to ensure compliance with minority- and women-owned business participation; model terms to facilitate recovery of the costs of employee staff time expended to achieve substantial compliance; and procedures and criteria for terminating contracts that are not achieving performance standards. Agencies must monitor performance-based contracts to ensure that all aspects are being properly performed and that performance standards are being achieved.

The state is prohibited from contracting with industry partners that have violated the WLAD. Existing contracts must be terminated immediately, unless the industry partner has complied with conditions or obligations resulting from that violation or taken significant and meaningful steps to correct the violation, as determined by the HRC.


The act applies prospectively only and does not impact contracts in effect prior to the effective date of the act.

Votes on Final Passage:







(Senate amended)




(House concurred)


June 11, 2020