Rep. Smith introduces bills to aid small business, agriculture
In a continued effort to fast-forward economic recovery in Washington state, Rep. Norma Smith, R-Clinton, introduced three bills aimed at improving our business climate in order to create jobs and help Washington families.
“Any time we can give our local employers and farmers some assistance, it could mean another job retained or created. For some, it could mean the ability to keep open, or continue farming their land. It’s time that we lay a strong foundation for a sustainable recovery, with a keen commitment to kick-starting this economy,” Smith said. “We need to deal in facts, protect our competitive advantages, and address those areas where we are at a competitive disadvantage to other states across the nation. Our regulatory environment is in dire need of fundamental restructuring, and I was pleased to have received bipartisan support on all three of my bills. I will continue to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, and solve problems – regardless of who gets the credit.”
House Bill 1150 would require state agencies to allow seven business days for an employer to correct a violation before any fines or penalties can be imposed, so long as the violation does not endanger the public or staff members. Smith said as she travels the district, she hears from small business owners in the community that simply cannot keep up with the growing volume of rules and regulations. Many of the requirements overlap from agency to agency. This legislation would help those who are in good faith trying to do the right thing.
House Bill 1151 would prevent state agencies from creating any new rules that go beyond their statutory authority. When imposing a new rule or regulation, state agencies would be required to identify which law gives legislative authority to carry out the requirement.
House Bill 1152 applies to lands on which livestock graze or seek feed in pastures, fields or rangeland. Currently the Department of Ecology (DOE) can fine a farmer if they think an action could potentially create a problem. This bill states that DOE must first determine that a water quality problem does in fact exist, and that it exists due to the presence of livestock, taking the burden of proof off farmers. When they have determined a water pollution violation occurred or may occur, the agency must give the citizen a chance to comply before any notice or penalty can be assessed.
Rep. Smith also received her committee assignments for this legislative session. She will serve as the ranking minority member on the House Community Development and Housing Committee which includes economic development issues, tourism and trade, and small business issues. She will also serve on the Capital Budget Committee, and Local Government Committee.
“The Capital Budget isn’t just about spending and projects. It relates to economic growth and job creation and I am pleased to serve on the committee again this year. I am also excited to serve on the Local Government Committee, where we will consider land use issues, as well as Growth Management and Shoreline Management issues vitally important to our agricultural community, and the entire 10th District,” Smith said.
###Washington State House Republican Communications