Senate panel considers trio of Brown bills focused on regulatory reform

Senator continues multi-year effort to reduce red tape and help create jobs

Today the Senate Trade and Economic Development Committee considered three bills aimed at making it easier for Washington businesses to operate, grow and create jobs.

Sen. Sharon Brown, who chairs the committee and is the lead sponsor of all three measures, said the bills are part of an ongoing effort to reduce the state’s regulatory burdens on employers. “Since arriving in the Senate, I have introduced a number of bills to improve the way state government interacts with private businesses, but there is still more work to be done,” said Brown, R-Kennewick. “Delays in state permitting often result in businesses having higher costs and lower revenue, which ultimately discourages job creation. Time and money spent navigating the regulatory process is money not invested in jobs and growth.

“We must continue efforts to make it easier, more predictable and less costly to do business in Washington.”

The committee discussed two of Brown’s measures that received hearings last week:

  • Senate Bill 6222, which the committee approved, would require the state’s chief information officer to provide the Legislature with a plan for creating a one-stop portal for Washington businesses. The bill also requires the Department of Revenue, Department of Labor and Industries, Secretary of State, Employment Security Department, Department of Commerce, and Office of Regulatory Assistance to help develop the business portal.
  • Senate Bill 6223 would change the name of the state Office of Regulatory Assistance to the Office of Regulatory Innovation and Assistance, and direct the agency to develop a long-term strategy for streamlining regulatory processes that involve multiple agencies.

“Our employers are often forced to file multiple, redundant reports with different agencies, in a process that accomplishes very little else other than wasting their time and money,” said Brown. “There has to be a better way to streamline these duplicative processes.

“These bills will help the state develop a long-term strategy to help small businesses comply with state regulations in an efficient manner and through a single point of access.”

The committee also held a public hearing on Brown’s third job-creation bill, Senate Bill 6221. It would direct the Department of Commerce to develop business assistance materials to provide information about regulatory requirements and efforts to streamline government regulations. Commerce also would be directed to incorporate best practices learned from a 2013 regulatory efficiency pilot program.

“These ideas should be acted upon immediately,” said Brown. “Streamlining government and putting Washingtonians back to work is my top priority. It’s why I came to the Senate.  We need to continue to break down the individual agency silos that lead to redundancy within government. State agencies must work together to increase overall efficiency.

“Giving our state’s employers this assistance will help them spend more time focusing on improving production and creating jobs.”