After unanimous votes in the Washington State Senate and House of Representatives, Senate Bill 6421 is ready to be signed into law by the governor. The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Curtis King, R-Yakima, says he’s pleased his measure was met with so much support.

“The bill is designed to help our state’s contractors and subcontractors have their retainage returned more quickly,” King said. “The idea is to speed up the process to avoid delayed payments that could potentially have a negative effect on a contractor’s bonding capacity.”

Retainage is a percentage of cost held by the government on a prevailing-wage contract until the job is completed and all contractors and subcontractors have submitted the appropriate paperwork. SB 6421 will allow a contractor to file an affidavit of wages paid on behalf of a subcontractor if the subcontractor has ceased operations or failed to file an affidavit itself. King said the simple change to state law will have a dramatic impact on these businesses.

“In my district we had a contractor who submitted all the proper paperwork to have the retainage returned, along with all its subcontractors save for one,” King said. “Because that subcontractor didn’t know it was supposed to file a certain form, the general contractor was unable to receive the funds it was owed, which means it didn’t have the capital needed to continue working on new projects and reinvesting in the business. It took more than a year to correct that situation, which is too long a time for our businesses to have to wait.”

“State law says that every contractor and subcontractor on a project has to submit their affidavit or else nobody gets paid the retainage,” King continued. “It should be a much smoother process than it currently is, and my bill will help make that a reality.”

The new law will take effect June 7.