Hearth Insight
March 2021
Legislative Update
from our NWHPBA Lobbyist, Carolyn Logue

The work of NWHPBA, as part of a coalition of Washington State business and labor entities concerned about gas bans, reaped a major victory today as the House Appropriations Committee opted to not move SHB 1084, the building decarbonization bill. NWHPBA members across Washington state have been making phone calls, providing testimony and sending emails to stop this bill and it looks like the efforts have worked. No bill is ever truly dead until the end of the Legislative session, but the combined efforts of our coalition proved to be daunting and clearly showed the devastation this bill would have caused.

We are cautiously watching two other bills. SHB 1099, which adds climate change to the state’s Growth Management Act and SSB 5126, a bill implementing a “cap and trade” program in Washington. Both of these bills are less dependent on electrification and focus more on existing greenhouse gas emissions goals regardless of fuel type. However, these will become priorities for NWHPBA because of the potential for bad language to be added.
With sessions underway in all of the states in the NWHPBA territory, your lobbyist is looking longingly at Alaska, Idaho, and Montana. Those states are quiet from a hearth products industry standpoint. Montana has some energy bills that have been introduced but they all impact very large utilities and do not threaten the hearth industry businesses. Idaho is looking at several bills that seem to merge their professional occupational licensing under one agency which may need to be watched, but nothing jumped out as negatively impacting the industry.

All of the states are working on bills to provide assistance to businesses and dealing with their governor’s emergency powers. But most of the bills are not harmful to business (except we do need to watch Alaska that has HB 45 which would create a workers’ compensation presumption for contagious disease during emergencies and SB 16, an Equal Pay/Living Wage Act.

And then there is Washington (which is why your lobbyist is longingly eyeing the other states….).

In Washington State, the 2021 Legislature just passed its second major cut off date – the date all bills must be out of the House fiscal committees and either in Rules or on the House floor to be considered “alive” for the remainder of session. For small businesses, Washington state has passed SBH 1095, which exempts all federal monies received for COVID relief from state taxation. The Governor signed this bill on Friday, February 19th, which is a huge relief in a state that taxes gross receipts of business. In addition, like other states, Washington passed a COVID relief bill to appropriate dollars sent by the federal government for COVID relief – which includes $140 million in small business grants. The Legislature passed and the Governor also signed SSB 5061 – a bill to lower the unemployment tax rate in Washington state this year so watch your mail for your updated unemployment insurance tax statement. NWHPBA supported all of these bills.

Unfortunately, on the labor front, business-opposed bills are still moving that would expand the state’s paid family leave program (HB 1073/SB 5097). The House bill (1073) at least keeps those expansions to the COVID pandemic. The Senate bill makes significant permanent changes, including lowering the number of hours to qualify for the program and expanding the definition of family to effectively include anyone living in your home. These bills are both in rules and are expected to move.

Another bad bill that has moved out of committee and is poised for a floor vote is SHB 1076, the “qui tam” bill. This bill would basically allow any individual to take action against a business on behalf of the state as a “whistleblower.” A similar law in California has resulted in nuisance lawsuits and threats leading to settlements for many businesses. Similar bills have died three times on the House floor – business is hoping for a fourth victory.
The work on budgets should get started soon which means NWHPBA will be working to support a provision in the Governor’s Capital budget in Washington that provides $4 million in changeout program dollars through grants to local air agencies. NWHPBA is working on an amendment to this language that will preserve customer choice to change out to a gas/propane option or wood option.

Washington’s Legislature is slated to end on April 25th.
Alaska’s Legislature is slated to end on May 19th.
Idaho’s Legislature is slated to end on March 31st.
Montana’s Legislature is slated to end on April 30th.
President's Message
Where did January go, and I look and say where did February Go!! It seems like life is traveling at warp speed for the Hearth Industry and does not appear to have a slow down in sight. I for one did not expect that the Covid Shutdown would have had the significant impact on our industry that it has. Though 2020 sales were strong and above average for most and record-breaking for some there were those who had their struggles.

As 2021 is off to a raging start, it appears our Hearth Industry has finally succumbed to the downfalls of the supply chains. We are now seeing lead times that started at two weeks now being extended out to as much as 3months for products to ship from manufacturers. As the entire building trade is booming so is all the products that go into them. Raw products such as steel and aluminum and stainless steel thru ceramic glass and electronic materials are all being seen to be in short supply, and no one knows when it will free up.

With our supply chains being interrupted and delayed we all must get more creative in holding our customers. I prefer letting them upfront the products have long lead times and it is best to pay in advance or at least a 50% deposit told hold their place in the supply stream. Let them know all stores are experiencing the same issues and delaying is just putting them back further in the line. You may also want to add a statement on your invoices that sales are final and only store credit will be issued on canceled orders. This helps when customers wait for two months and start to get antsy with warm weather coming and may feel they no longer need a heating product.

If packed showrooms, long lead times, and extended service appointments are not enough to keep our heads spinning. The State of Washington is currently trying to get HB 1084 passed that would impact our industry like nothing we have seen before. HB 1084 is the groundwork legislation to begin to Electrify the State of Washington by not allowing new Natural Gas Lines to be put into Any New Homes or Subdivisions and some commercial buildings. This Bill is very unfair to the consumer as it takes away Clean Alternative Energy sources for the homes they pay for. We as an industry are fighting this the best we can through our Lobbyist Carolyn Logue in Olympia, having members like Grant Falco in Spokane and other members testify in Zoom hearings spelling out the impact on our industry and the downfalls to customers. It is imperative that we get more Grass Roots efforts than ever before from dealers and especially our customers to contact their local House Representative and tell them to Vote NO on HB 1084. Given the recent storms in the NW and Especially in Texas and other parts of the country, it has never been clearer why alternative clean energy is needed to survive! Please visit the NWHPBA website for more details of this HB 1084. Please get everyone you know involved in the fight against this insane legislation.

2021 Looks to be an exciting year. We will have our struggles and we will have our achievements as we press forward. I ask all of you this year to look to your competitors and reach out with an open hand and mind to find ways to help each other through the struggles of inventory. Share when you have excesses and in turn, it will come back to you. Karma is a powerful thing! Wish everyone well and good things will return to you.         

Thank you,
Scott H. Ongley
President NWHPBA        
HB 1084: What You MUST Know!
Article by:
David L. Benson, Buck B. Endemann, Sandra E. Safro, & Benjamin A. Mayer
Published on The National Law Review

As of this writing, NWHPBA’s work has stopped this bill from moving this legislative session but the bill will remain available for consideration in 2022
Washington State Legislature Considers First of its Kind State-Level Natural Gas Ban

Fossil-based natural gas may be headed for a reckoning, at least in Washington State. Not long ago, natural gas was seen by many as the key “bridge fuel” necessary to transition our society away from oil and coal. Natural gas has its upsides; most significantly, it burns more efficiently and emits fewer pollutants than coal.1 Yet burning natural gas still emits greenhouse gases (GHG), including methane, a potent climate pollutant. According to EPA, methane accounts for approximately 10% of the GHG emissions in the United States.2 That is a problem for states like Washington that have called for zero carbon emissions in the power sector by 2045 and have also enacted laws aimed at reducing GHG emissions throughout other sectors.

Enter the Healthy Homes and Buildings Act, House Bill 1084 (HB 1084).3 If enacted into law, this bill would prohibit natural gas infrastructure for space and water heating in new residential and commercial construction in the state and require the elimination of those natural gas systems when construction is undertaken on existing buildings. While local jurisdictions have passed similar laws or made similar proposals, most notably cities in California, New York, and Massachusetts, HB 1084 is the first bill to prohibit natural gas at the state level. Importantly, HB 1084 includes measures meant to help workers in the fossil fuel economy transition to cleaner energy jobs. It also includes provisions for the increased use of alternative fuels, such as renewable natural gas (RNG). This dovetails with the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission’s (WUTC), the agency responsible for regulating natural gas utilities in the state, recently-issued policy guidance “to support and promote the expansion and adoption of RNG programs” in the state.4

Given that Governor Inslee has routinely made addressing climate change a priority of his administration—indeed, during the 2020 Democratic presidential primary, climate change was Inslee’s key issue—HB 1084 should be taken seriously. If not passed this legislative session, it will likely be proposed again in the years to come.

HB 1084 bans natural gas for space and water heating in new construction under the 2027 state energy code but could move faster and go even further.

Click here to read the full article.
StoveTeam International
By: Jack Goldman

In October, the HPBA Board of Directors approved StoveTeam International as HPBA’s second Charity of Choice, joining Operation BBQ Relief in that category. HPBA will encourage members to find ways to work with StoveTeam.

StoveTeam is an organization that facilitates the distribution of efficient, clean, and inexpensive woodburning cookstoves in Central America. In many homes, cooking is done over an open fire, leading to high emissions, deforestation, and safety concerns for women and children. Their stoves nearly eliminate these hazards. By engaging each family to help build the base for their stove, the owner has a stake in the product with the pride of ownership. The stoves are manufactured in the local communities, also providing jobs and economic opportunity.

We’ve worked with StoveTeam to develop a webpage that outlines how HPBA members can help. I encourage you to check out the webpage to fully familiarize yourself with StoveTeam and the good they are doing, as well as the options for assisting.

Briefly, these options can include a simple cash donation; fundraising in a store; encouraging customers to add the cost of a stove ($75) to their purchase; or any other idea. StoveTeam will work with any interested retailers directly to develop a fundraiser if interested.

Like OBR, this is obviously an optional activity, but we hope to see HPBA retailers take part. It is a small price to pay for big results. I encourage you to check out their website to see how they’ve helped these developing countries.
Please contact me or Emily McGee if you have any questions. 

Click here to learn more about StoveTeam Internationa: www.stoveteam.org
Member Spotlights:
Thank You to All of Our 2021 Renewing/New NWHPBA Members!
Thank you to all of our renewing & new 2021 members!

  • A' Your Town Chimney, Inc
  • Accent Stove & Spa, Inc
  • All American Chimney
  • Aqua Quip
  • Aqua Rec's Fireside Hearth & Home
  • Aqua Spas & Pools
  • Armstrong's Stove & Spa
  • Associated Energy Systems.
  • Axmen
  • B & C Comfort
  • Bellevue Fireplace Shop
  • Burning Stoves & Stuff, Inc.
  • Bush Cooking
  • Capital City Stove & Grill Center
  • Cascade Fire Solutions Inc
  • Central Montana Propane
  • Chimney Techniques, Inc.
  • Coastal
  • Craft Stoves of Western Wa, Inc.
  • Dan's Stove & Spa
  • ESI
  • Everwarm Hearth and Home
  • Falco's, Inc
  • Fireplace Outfitters
  • Fireside Home Solutions
  • Fosseen's Home & Hearth, Inc
  • Four Day Fireplace LLC
  • Gas Products, Inc.
  • Good Earth Works
  • Greater NW Reps
  • Hannig Marketing
  • Hearthworks, LLC
  • Heritage Fireplace Shop, Inc.
  • Innovations
  • Keller Supply
  • Kirkland Fireplace/Fireplace Distributors
  • Lakewood Gas
  • Lisacs Fireplaces & Stoves
  • Lumos Hearth & Home
  • Master Craft Hearth & Home
  • Monroe Fireplace, Inc.
  • Mortons Stoves, Pools & Spas Corp
  • Mountain View Hearth Products, Inc
  • Northwest Hearth & Home
  • Obadiah's Woodstoves
  • Olympic Stove and Spas, Inc
  • Quality Stoves & Pellets Inc.
  • Rich's for the Home
  • S J Perry Company
  • Seattle Fireplace
  • Silver Bow Hearth & Home, LLC
  • Smitty's Fireplace Shop
  • Sundance Energy Services, Inc.
  • Sutter Home & Hearth, Inc.
  • Technical Glass Products
  • The Fireplace Guys
  • The Woodway, Inc.
  • Thompson's Hearth & Home
  • Tri-County Stoves, LLC
  • Wallace's Stove & Fireplace
  • WarmStone Fireplaces & Designs
  • White Heating & Air Conditioning
  • Wing Sales & Marketing
  • Woodstove Warehouse

For those who have not yet renewed, your membership is crucial and allows us to continue to advocate for the health of our industry. While 2020 was full of unprecedented events, we are thankful for our NWHPBA community. With the help of one another, we were able to support each other and share our successes through tough times.

Renewing your membership is easy, and we have many options for your convenience!
  • Renew online and pay via card or check
  • If you select to pay by check, you will be directly invoiced and can mail us a check.
  • Call us directly at NWHPBA and we can renew over the phone with you
  • 253-525-5153 (Due to COVID, if you do not connect with us, please leave a voicemail, and Katie, our Executive Director, will return your call within 24-48 hours)
"This industry can feel really secluded and alone. Maintaining my membership has allowed me to build relationships and really get to know the other members. This has opened doors and encouraged brainstorming to solve industry wide issues as well as internal ones within my business that someone had already been through and knew a great solution for."

-Ryann Blake, Chimney Techniques
Job Opening
Sales Representative

Earth N Sun is looking for a Sales Representative with some sales experience. Earth n Sun is a small mom-and-pop store in Rainier, OR that has been open for 35+ years. Earth N Sun sells hearth products that require keeping track of a lot of information. The Sales Representative we hire needs to have good memory skills, be able to work alone, be able to lift a 40-pound bag of pellets, be able to drive a forklift, and be able to work at least but not limited to working every other Saturday.

To apply for this job email your details to woodstovewarehouse@gmail.com
HPBExpo June 23-26th, 2021:
Louisville, Kentucky
Mark your calendars: HPBExpo 2021 has been moved to June 23-26th, 2021 in Louisville, Kentucky. With the current COVID-19 conditions, the March dates for Expo have been postponed and relocated to Louisville. If you have Expo questions, please email nwhpba@aminc.org .
We want to hear from you!!!
The NWHPBA Communications Committee publishes the Hearth Insight monthly. If you have a story or article you would like to have shared, submit below to be included in our upcoming editions!!!
Northwest HPBA | Website | Email