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Washington Senate Bill 5581 - June 1, 2009

Subject: Senate Bill 5581

Senate Bill 5581, relating to sunscreening devices, has passed the Washington Legislature and was signed by the Governor on April 20, 2009.

This legislation is an extremely important initiative for the industry and consumers within the state as the previous statutory provisions resulted in confusion by law enforcement, installers, and customers. The new law, which will go into effect on July 26, 2009, will clarify the statutory provisions and define in a very clear and concise manner the legal limits in Washington. 

The law is a net law (total sunscreening or coloring material applied to the window that includes both the material applied by the manu- facturer and any after-market film). The new standards allow for 35%, or less, total reflectance and 24% or more visible light trans- mittance. The law also prohibits more than one sheet of sun- screening material from being applied to any window. The front windshield allows the AS-I portion to be tinted but may not exceed 6 inches from the top.

Exceptions are clearly defined and include hearses, collector vehicles, limousines, and passenger buses used to transport persons for compensation. The legislation also includes exemptions for ambulances, rescue squad vehicles, and other emergency medical vehicles licensed under state law. Provisions are clarified for vehicles defined by the manufacturer as a truck, motor home, or multipurpose vehicle based on the definition contained in 49 CFR Section 571.3 which allows sunscreening to the rear of the driver that is less than twenty-four percent light transmittance. 

This legislation was the result of initiatives by the State Highway Patrol who recognized the need to clarify the statutory provisions. They worked with industry representatives in a very proactive manner as well as bringing in all stakeholders to develop one of the most effective state laws in the nation. The Highway Patrol should be commended for their leadership and support of establishing a reasonable film law that can be easily enforced and clearly understood by the business and consumer communities. Senators Delvin, Marr, and Shin as well as Representatives Driscoll, Shea, Johnson, and Ormsby also should be commended for their leader- ship and support of this legislation for the State Patrol. 

The new provisions will be provided in an updated State Law Chart after the law becomes effective. 

It is now critical for all members to support the new law and comply fully with all aspects of the sunscreening provisions. The process used in Washington should be emulated nationally as a model for bringing all stakeholders together and developing laws that are clear and concise and that protect our enforcement com- munity as well as provide the many benefits of sunscreening to our customers.


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