DOL Updating DRIVES System & License eXpress Will Be Offline July 4th Weekend
The Department of Licensing will be updating their DRIVES system. The update will include enhancements to their License eXpress system with a new look, navigation, and help features.
License eXpress will be down from Saturday, July 2nd through Monday, July 5th. All services are expected to resume normal operation on Tuesday, July 6th.
Dealers are allowed to purchase and use hard copy Vehicle Title Applications & Dealer Temporary Permits during this downtime, but all information from the hard copy application must be entered into the E-permits system when the system comes back online.
In observance of the 4th of July holiday, all vehicle licensing offices will be closed on Monday, July 5th.
L&I Issues New Workplace Safety & Health Guidance for Masks & Social Distancing
The Department of Labor & Industries updated their COVID-19 workplace safety and health guidance in the hopes of helping employers adapt to the new CDC masking policies that have been adopted by Governor Inslee.
The updated guidance outlines the steps employers must continue to take to keep workers safe, but also allowing for fully vaccinated workers to remove their masks.
- Fully vaccinated employees do not have to wear a mask or socially distance at work, unless their employer still requires it.
- Before ending mask and social distance requirements, employers must confirm workers are fully vaccinated, by having the worker either sign a document attesting to their status or provide proof of vaccination.
- Employers must be able to demonstrate they have verified vaccination status for workers who are not masked or physically distanced. Verification methods may include creating a log of workers who have verified they’ve been vaccinated and the date of verification, or checking vaccination status each day prior to employees entering the place of business, or marking a worker’s badge show that they are vaccinated.
Acceptable documentation to demonstrate an employer has verified worker vaccination status includes a CDC vaccination card, a photo of the CDC card, documentation from a health care provider, a signed attestation from the worker, or documentation from the state immunization information system.
Employers may require mask use by workers or customers, and employers must allow employees to wear a mask or other protective equipment if they choose to do so. If an employee is not fully vaccinated or their vaccination status is unknown, the employer must continue to require masks and social distancing. Also, employers cannot fire or discriminate against an employee who is at high risk of contracting COVID-19 and who is seeking accommodations that will protect them from virus exposure.
All persons who are not vaccinated must still wear face coverings in all public spaces.
For more information on L&I's guidance, visit Mask and Distancing Requirements Are Changing: Key COVID-19 Updates for Fully Vaccinated Workers.
Alert from NIADA - PPP Loan Recipients' Information Made Public
The Small Business Administration was required to release public data on all businesses that received loans through the Paycheck Protection Program. The information that was released, including borrower's names, addresses, loan amounts, and lender information was in response to a court order from a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit that was filed by the Center for Public Integrity and 10 other organizations challenging the SBA’s refusal to release records on borrowers and their loan information.
Now third-party businesses can use the disclosed information to target PPP loan recipients with deceptive marketing materials and fraudulent claims. NIADA is urging all businesses who received PPP loans to be aware of any third-party marketing in reference to your PPP loan that may imply an affiliation with the PPP loan program, the Small Business Administration, or your PPP loan lender. NIADA suggests you should check with your lender or the SBA to confirm any claims being made.
NHTSA's Final Rule On Odometer Disclosure Requirements and Electronic Odometer Disclosure Systems
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced their Final Rule that revises the odometer disclosure requirements and also allows for individual states to implement their own electronic odometer disclosure system.
The average vehicle age is around 12 years and the NHTSA believes that these older vehicles, that are exempt from mileage disclosure, are at risk for odometer fraud. The NHTSA addresses this issue by increasing the odometer disclosure requirements from vehicles that are less than 10 years old to requiring an odometer disclosure for any vehicle that is less than 20 years old beginning with the model year 2011.
The Final Rule also sets requirements and establishes standards for states to implement their own system to accept odometer disclosures in electronic format. By doing so, the NHTSA states that this will remove the last remaining federal obstacle to paperless motor vehicle title transfers.
The Final Rule was initially set to take effect on January 1, 2021; however, the Department of Licensing's DRIVES system will not be updated to accommodate the change until July of 2021. Until then, the odometer disclosure requirements will remain unchanged.
Washington State Supreme Court Ruled Initiative 976 Unconstitutional
On Oct. 15, 2020, the Washington State Supreme Court ruled Initiative 976 (I-976) as unconstitutional.
All provisions in the initiative will not be implemented and the ruling leaves all affected taxes, fees, and charges in place including the collection of the additional 0.3% motor vehicle sales/use tax on all sales and leases of motor vehicles.
To view the Supreme Court decision, visit I-976 Supreme Court Decision.
Dealers Will Be Responsible for Paying Tolls
The Department of Transportation will implement a new billing system that will give them the ability to mail toll bills to dealers for trips made on toll roads while using dealer plates.
The DOT is encouraging all dealers to sign up for a Good to Go! account and purchase a pass. By purchasing a pass, you will pay lower toll rates than without a pass and the toll will automatically be deducted from your account.
If you do not want to purchase a pass, you may just pay the toll fee when you receive the bill in the mail.
To set up an account or to pay a toll bill, visit WSDOT Good to Go! at https://mygoodtogo.com/olcsc/.
If you fail to pay your toll bill, you will be assessed late fees and penalties plus the Department of Licensing may place a hold on your vehicle registration and license, preventing you from renewing tabs or applying for additional licenses.
For more information on setting up an account and purchasing a pass, visit their website at https://mygoodtogo.com/olcsc/ or call DOT's Good To Go! at 1-866-936-8246. Their call center is open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., and on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Federal and State Changes to Overtime Rules Starting January 1, 2020
Starting on January 1, 2020 the new federal employment overtime rules will go into effect. The new federal overtime rule raises the salary thresholds for exempt employees and allows employers to count a portion of certain bonuses and commission earnings towards meeting the salary level.
The new federal overtime rule includes raising the standard salary level to $684 per week, raising the total annual compensation requirement for highly compensated employees to $107,432 per year, allowing employers to use non discretionary bonuses and incentive payments like commissions to satisfy up to 10% of the standard salary level, and revising the special salary levels for workers in U.S. territories and the motion picture industry.
Washington State’s Department of Labor & Industries has also updated our state’s overtime rules to more closely align with these new federal rules. The new state changes will be phased in over time starting on July 1, 2020 and will be fully implemented by January 2028. Changes include updates to the job duties tests, along with the salary threshold, to determine if an employee can be exempt from overtime. On July 1, 2020, the state minimum salary threshold will increase to $675 a week. The salary threshold will increase incrementally until the year 2028.
Even with these new federal and state rules, there are still some conflicts in salary threshold amounts. Businesses must follow the rules that are most favorable to their employees.
- Starting January 1, 2020 – Washington employers should follow the new federal overtime rule for the year 2020.
- Starting January 1, 2021 – Washington employers should then follow our new state overtime rules.
The Washington State new salary threshold implementation schedule can be viewed here: https://www.lni.wa.gov/forms-publications/F700-207-000.pdf.
For more guidance on the Washington State Overtime Rule changes, visit Changes to Overtime Rules and the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries Overtime Rules Fact Sheet.
For more guidance on the federal rule, visit the U.S. Department of Labor’s Highlights of the Final Overtime Rule.