Brown business-friendly bills head to House of Representatives

Senate Floor DebateThe Washington State Senate today passed two comprehensive economic-development reform bills that would help businesses in Washington to not only survive but also create jobs. Senate Bill 5679 and Senate Bill 5680, sponsored by Sen. Sharon Brown, R-Kennewick, are considered priority bills for the Senate’s bipartisan Majority Coalition Caucus.

“My legislative priorities and the Majority Coalition’s priorities are one and the same, especially when it comes to stimulating the economy and helping to create jobs,” Brown said. “In order to do that, we need to create a more business-friendly atmosphere in Washington and my bills are designed to do just that.”

SB 5679 would help improve the state’s business climate and stimulate job creation by requiring certain state agencies to establish a process for formally reviewing their rules. Brown said the bill originated from the state auditor’s 2012 findings that three agencies’ rules were not consistent with the review process set forth in Executive Order 06-02. Her legislation would require the Department of Ecology, the Department of Labor and Industries and the Department of Health to annually perform a formal review of their rules and establish a process for effectively retiring rules when applicable.

SB 5680 would promote economic development by reforming the  Business Licensing Service that is the state’s primary business-licensing portal. BLS registers businesses, renews licenses and provides related services for approximately 40,000 businesses monthly, and has more than 115 state licenses available through its website. Brown’s bill, also inspired by the state auditor’s 2012 report, would remove two agencies and add 16 to the list required to provide all their licenses online through the BLS website. Each agency would also provide an annual report to the state Department of Revenue.

Last week the Senate also passed Senate Bill 5718. That measure – also sponsored by Brown – would require the Legislature to monitor the progress of an action plan for creating a single online location through which businesses could conduct all their interactions with state government.

“In 2012 the state Office of the Chief Information Officer unveiled an action plan to create the online portal for businesses in Washington,” Brown said. “My bill would simply give the OCIO until November to provide the Legislature with steps toward establishing performance benchmarks and for measuring the results of implementing the one-stop business portal.”

All three of Brown’s bills will now be considered by the House of Representatives.