Friday, July 22, 2011
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.
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
This Friday, July 22, is an important date for homeowners who are at risk of foreclosure. It is the deadline to qualify for the Emergency Homeowners’ Loan Program, which provides bridge loans to help with mortgage payments. But it is also the day the Foreclosure Fairness Act of 2011 goes into effect, so as one program ends, another one launches to give struggling homeowners a helping hand.
The Foreclosure Fairness Act of 2011, sponsored by state Rep. Tina Orwall this past session, created the Foreclosure Mediation Program to give homeowners facing foreclosure the chance to request a neutral, third-party mediator to come to a resolution with the lender.
The Des Moines Democrat said that she’s heard from homeowners who are basically given the runaround by the banks for years, and that this new program will offer them hope with the help of housing counselors and a mediation session with the lender to reach a solution that both parties can live with.
A community forum on the Foreclosure Fairness Act will be held on Thursday, July 21 for anyone interested in learning more about how the mediation program will work.
Attend the forum:
Foreclosure Fairness Act of 2011 public forum
Thursday, July 21 from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m.
Kent Lutheran Church
336 2nd Ave S, Kent, WA 98032
Visit the Foreclosure Mediation program’s website or call the Washington State's foreclosure prevention hotline: 1-877-894-HOME (1-877-894-4663) to find a housing counselor.
Read Rep. Orwall’s press release on the Foreclosure Mediation Program here.
For more information on the bridge loan program, visit the website or call 855-FIND-EHLP.
To read this blog post in Spanish, go here.
In the latest Capitol Ideas podcast, Laurie sits down with us to look back at that first busy year and looks ahead to 2012.