Three Smith bills pass Senate, await governor’s signature
Rep. Norma Smith, R-Clinton, has a trio of bills heading to Gov. Jay Inslee for his signature.
House Bill 2192, House Bill 2228 and House Bill 2636 were approved last week by the state Senate and will become law once the governor signs them.
HB 2192 is a priority bill to help job creators in Washington state, and contains key recommendations of the state auditor. It has been developed in coordination with the governor's office and the state's chief information officer. It requires state agencies issuing permits to publically post them and assist customers to find the help needed to complete an application successfully. Additionally, they are required to track how long it takes to issue permits, from application to completion, make their performance public and develop metrics to improve.
This transparency will be the basis for improving performance and customer service, reducing cost, decision time and providing predictability. The bill includes recommendations from a state auditor's report on improving permit timeliness. That report surveyed business owners and found that more prompt, predictable permitting would help them in their planning and operations.
“I'm very grateful to the auditor's office for its leadership on this important issue,” said Smith. “If we want more job opportunities, we've got to improve our business climate which consistently ranks as one of our key competitive disadvantages. Timely permit decisions is an essential component of improvement.”
HB 2228 offers new consumer protections to vocational school students by addressing a loophole in the law which prevented some students from addressing unfair business practices. In current law, only a student who was self-pay could bring a complaint. HB 2228 takes corrective action and allows all students to file a complaint. The bill extends the Workforce Training Board's consumer protection to all students – whether they pay for their schooling themselves, through a contract with an employer or through an agency paying for the re-training of an injured worker.
“We want to protect students who may be in the unfortunate situation of losing their tuition and fees to a vocational school if that school closes,” said Smith. “This legislation offers them relief, no matter how their tuition is paid.”
HB 2636 revises, and in some cases eliminates, reports the state Department of Ecology (DOE) is required to publish. Smith worked with DOE and affected parties, to identify reports that were no longer necessary as well as ones that could be posted online instead of printed. All information relevant to various stakeholders will still be made available online.
Legislative reports marked for elimination include the Aquatic Algae Control biennial report and the Motor Vehicle Emissions Standards annual progress report on the availability of cars that meet state-adopted California motor vehicle emission standards. Reports that can now be provided online only include the report on statewide waste reduction, litter control, and recycling efforts, and the Air Operating Permit program annual report from Ecology and local clean air agencies.
“Every so often it's beneficial to review old laws, getting rid of the obsolete ones and revising ones that need updating,” said Smith. “We were careful when crafting this bill to make sure relevant information is still readily accessible to the public. I was happy to work with DOE on this matter.”
HB 2192 passed the Senate on a 48-0 vote; HB 2228 passed 49-0; HB 2636 passed 49-0.
###Washington State House Republican Communications