Rep. Norma Smith’s bill would improve state permitting

State agencies would have to significantly improve their customer service when issuing permits under new legislation filed today by state Rep. Norma Smith, R-Clinton.

Smith said the goal of her legislation is to make state government more customer-friendly for job-creators in Washington.

Smith’s bill includes recommendations from a just-released state auditor’s report on how agencies can help business owners navigate the permitting process more quickly and predictably.  The report, based on an extensive performance audit, says agencies “could shorten the time it takes to submit, review, and make decisions on business permit applications” and “improve permit processing times by providing more information and assistance as businesses are preparing their applications.”

The bill has the following requirements for the 14 agencies that were part of the audit:

  • Track the timeliness of permit processing from start to finish – i.e., from application to decision.
  • Report how long decisions take, whether timeliness is improving and how they will implement process improvements.
  • Post information on their web sites about what permit assistance is available, average permit processing times and examples of model and sample completed applications along with completion checklists.

“It’s all about saving dollars, headaches and the uncertainty that comes with not being able to get an answer,” said Smith.  “If you don’t have an answer, you can’t complete a business plan or make a conclusive business decision.  The costs of waiting indefinite periods of time can completely disrupt efforts that lead to job creation.

“I’m truly grateful for the continued effort of the state auditor to pursue improving our regulatory climate, and I appreciate the leadership and excellent work that has come from his office.”


Washington State House Republican Communications