Taylor introduces omnibus legislation to save state taxpayer dollars, help create more private-sector jobs

Regulatory Freedom and Accountability Act receives public hearing but is shot down by majority party

An omnibus regulatory reform bill introduced by Rep. David Taylor, R-Moxee, received a public hearing today in the House State Government and Tribal Affairs Committee.

Taylor, who represents the 15th Legislative District, is a rancher, small business owner and former county planner who has seen firsthand the harmful impacts that excessive rulemaking can have on employers and entrepreneurs.

“To me, regulatory reform falls into two distinct and equally important categories,” Taylor said.  “The first is saving taxpayer dollars by streamlining government operations, ending duplicative state services and targeting government waste.  The second is to help create more private sector jobs by reducing red tape, providing more stability and certainty for employers, and changing the culture in which state agencies create, implement and enforce rules and regulations.  And really, those are the two main priorities we have in Olympia right now: balancing the budget by making state government more efficient and streamlined, and implementing policies that help get Washington working again.  My bill helps to accomplish both of those goals.”

Taylor’s bill, House Bill 2276, is dubbed the Regulatory Freedom and Accountability Act.  It contains several proposals that have been introduced as separate bills in the past.

“We’ve been told in the past by the majority party that there hasn’t been enough time to work on government reform in Olympia,” said Taylor.  “This comprehensive approach allowed us push for one public hearing, taking away any excuse that there’s not enough time.  Even if there’s only one portion of this bill that the majority party likes, I’d be willing to amend the bill in committee so that we can change the ‘business as usual’ attitude in state government that has led to continuing budget shortfalls and half-hearted attempts and changing the culture in Olympia.”

House Bill 2276 would:

  • Extend the state agency rule moratorium imposed by the governor until July 1, 2015 with some minor exceptions for emergency rules and ongoing hunting and fishing rulemaking;
  • Require the governor’s signature on all final rules;
  • Require adoption of rules by Dec. 1 each year with full implementation and enforcement coming after the end of the next regular legislative session, allowing the Legislature to weigh-in on the rules;
  • Require agencies to determine whether compliance with a rule will result in an economic impact of $1,000 to an individual or $5,000 to a business.  If so, the agency must provide notice and the rule cannot be enacted or enforced until passed into law by the Legislature;
  • Ban rules from being adopted unless under specific delegated authority from the Legislature; and
  • Require all rules and laws to include specific citation of the express constitutional language that provides the authority for the provision.

“We hear time and time again from our small businesses and our entrepreneurs that the biggest obstacle to growing their businesses and hiring more workers is the uncertainty caused by the ever growing and constantly changing rules that they’re required to know and abide by,” said Taylor.  “Predictable rules create opportunities for business growth and job creation.  But with very little accountability, administrative staff at state agencies have no real motive for keeping rulemaking to a minimum or for any common-sense approach to rule enforcement.  Because of this, our employers grow both weary and wary when it comes to regulatory compliance.”

During committee testimony, Taylor and other committee members heard how today’s small business owner in Washington state is required to know and comply with over 100,000 different rules and regulations.  The paper alone for these rules amounts to about 32 phone book-sized books.  If stacked on top of each other, they would reach over five feet in height.

Taylor’s testimony on the bill included the fact that in 2010, there were 1,438 new, permanent rules adopted in Washington state by state agencies; 2,609 amended rules; 459 emergency rules; and 1,154 rules repealed.

However, despite convincing testimony from Taylor, the National Federation of Independent Business, the Washington Policy Center and others, the majority party killed the bill in a late night executive session.

Taylor said he was extremely disappointed that there was no serious effort to take any regulatory reform suggestions.

“Frankly, it looks to me like the majority party was just throwing us a bone, hoping we’d be quiet about it now and drop the issue,” said Taylor.  “Well, the employers and small businesses in my district don’t need a bone tossed their way – they need certainty.  And there are a lot of folks in my district and across the state that need a job.  The actions by the majority party today are hindrances to both.”

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For more information, contact Brendon Wold, Senior Information Officer: (360) 786-7698

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Washington State House Republican Communications
houserepublicans.wa.gov