Friday, July 22, 2011

Bills to boost business and jobs go into effect

It's that time of year when the new laws of 2011 start going into effect.

Of the 2091 bills introduced last session, 427 were passed and signed by the governor. Many are technical or minor fixes to current law, but there were also many notable new policies approved. Here's a short round-up of some of the bills passed to bolster support for Washington's businesses and help create jobs. You can see more about our efforts here.

Giving small businesses more time to correct violations without a penalty (HB 1150) Small businesses now have seven calendar days—up from just two days—to fix most regulatory violations before agencies impose fines or sanctions. (With common-sense exceptions).

Giving contractors more time to appeal state agency rulings (HB 1055)
Contractors now have 30 days, instead of 20 days, to file regulatory appeals.

Strengthening the Regulatory Fairness Act for small businesses (SB 5500)
Beginning today, state rule-makers must consider small-business input and possible ways to reduce paperwork and regulatory compliance costs before imposing new rules on businesses.

Fair state contracting for small businesses (SB 1770)
This contracting reform requires all state purchasing agencies to adopt strategies and provide technical assistance to increase the number of state contracts awarded to small businesses.

Improving state help for local economic development (HB 1916)
New guidelines require the Department of Commerce and Associate Development Organizations (ADOs) to reach out to all businesses—including small businesses—throughout their services areas. It also improves ADO training in business services such as export assistance.

Promoting Washington wines and microbrews at Farmers Markets (HB 1172)
An innovative pilot project will allow beer and wine tastings of Washington products at up to 10 farmers markets—with safeguards to prevent problems such as minors taking tastes.