Small employers would get relief under Smith’s legislation

After a lot of back and forth with state agencies and stakeholders, House Bill 2603, sponsored by Rep. Norma Smith, passed the Senate and will have only one more hurdle before heading to the governor’s desk.

“Our small employers, that we all frequent in our communities, try to do the right thing and comply with the thousands of state agency rules and regulations, but on occasion they may miss a new rule or regulation or simply misunderstand how to meet the codes outlined by state agencies,” said Smith, R-Clinton. “My bill would allow the employer a two-day grace period to come into compliance without a fine or other sanction so long as the infraction does not put employees or the public in danger. It’s a reasonable regulatory reform measure to help businesses.”

House Bill 2603 is the product of a small-business conference Smith attended last year. The measure would provide companies that are found out of compliance with a state agency rule or regulation two business days to come into compliance without a financial or civil penalty. Sideboards in the bill include ensuring the violation does not endanger employees or the public.

“Good government is something we all want. This bill will encourage the best in state agencies by directing them to focus on customer service rather than assuming an adversarial role,” Smith said. “This is a positive way to assure employers that state agencies are in business to assist them and help them be successful, not just as a repository for fines.”

Smith added that she appreciated the bipartisan support on the critical regulatory reform elements in the legislation.

“This is not a complex bill. It simply tells our small-business owners we stand ready to give them a hand, help them comply with rules and regulations and ensure they know we recognize the contributions they make to our communities and our economy,” Smith said.

The bill passed the House and the Senate, as amended, unanimously. It will now be returned to the House for consideration of the Senate amendment.


Washington State House Republican Communications