Bill of Rights winning huge, bipartisan support
OLYMPIA, Wash., Jan. 19, 2017—Almost half of the Washington State Senate and more than a third of the House of Representatives have endorsed the effort to conduct a Small Business Bill of Rights inventory for Washington’s Main Street, mom-and-pop entrepreneurs.
“In a session that is not shaping up to be small-business friendly, such strong support for these bills is heartening to see,” said Patrick Connor, Washington state director for the National Federation of Independent Business, the nation’s largest and leading small-business association. “I can’t think of a time in recent legislative sessions when a greater bipartisan group of legislators rallied so quickly to co-sponsor a small-business bill.”
The Small Business Bill of Rights inventory is contained in two legislative measures, Senate Bill 5230 and House Bill 1352. As of today, SB 5230 has 22 sponsors and HB 1352 has 37 sponsors, Republicans and Democrats.
The goal of the bills is to identify what rights or protections, if any, a small-business owner has when selected for an audit, inspection, or other agency enforcement action, and how those rights or protections are communicated to the business owner prior to, or at the time of, the agency visit.
NFIB developed the concept and wrote the document on which the bills are based.
The bills ask the attorney general to review the state’s administrative procedures act, and selected state agencies to review their enabling statutes and related rules, to identify small business rights and protections existing under current law. Based on that information, the attorney general will report to selected legislative committees on how the state can improve the process of notifying small-business owners of their rights, either in advance of or at the time of an audit, inspection, or other enforcement action.
“This will help Washington small business owners understand their rights, and make it a little easier to deal with regulatory agencies,” said lead House co-sponsor Rep. Mike Chapman. “We want to signal that we support small business owners and all the jobs they create.”
Senators supporting SB 5230 include Jan Angel, Barbara Bailey, Mike Baumgartner, Randi Becker, John Braun, Sharon Brown, Maralyn Chase, Bob Hasegawa, Brad Hawkins, Steve Hobbs, Karen Keiser, Curtis King, Mark Miloscia, Mark Mullet, Steve O’Ban, Mike Padden, Guy Palumbo, Tim Sheldon, Dean Takko, Maureen Walsh, Judy Warnick, and Lynda Wilson.
Representatives backing HB 1352 include Andrew Barkis, Brian Blake, Michelle Caldier, Mike Chapman, Eileen Cody, Cary Condotta, Larry Haler, Mark Harmsworth, Paul Harris, Dave Hayes, Jeff Holy, Laurie Jinkins, Christine Kilduff, Steve Kirby, John Koster, Joel Kretz, Kristine Lytton, Drew MacEwen, Matt Manweller, Gina McCabe, Dick Muri, Terry Nealey, Ed Orcutt, Liz Pike, Joe Schmick, Matt Shea, Shelly Short, Norma Smith, Larry Springer, Mike Steele, Drew Stokesbary, Gael Tarleton, David Taylor, Steve Tharinger, Brandon Vick, James Walsh, and J.T. Wilcox.
The Senate bill will be heard on January 26 in the Senate Commerce, Labor & Sports Committee, where six of nine committee members, including the chairman and ranking member, are co-sponsors.
For more than 70 years, the National Federation of Independent Business has been the Voice of Small Business, taking the message from Main Street to the halls of Congress and all 50 state legislatures. NFIB annually surveys its members on state and federal issues vital to their survival as America’s economic engine and biggest creator of jobs. NFIB’s educational mission is to remind policymakers that small businesses are not smaller versions of bigger businesses; they have very different challenges and priorities.
National Federation of Independent Business/Washington
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Olympia, WA 98501