Orcutt says extension of rule-making moratorium a step in the right direction, but more needs to be done

Governor Christine Gregoire announced this week a one-year extension on a state agency rule-making moratorium that was set to expire at the end of the year.  The original executive order was enacted in November of last year after the urging of Rep. Ed Orcutt, R-Kalama.

Orcutt, who serves as the chair of the state’s Economic and Revenue Forecast Council and the assistant ranking member for the House Ways and Means Committee, applauded the governor’s actions but cautioned that much more needs to be done in order for employers to begin hiring workers again.

“This is a step in the right direction, but more needs to be done,” Orcutt said.  “Employers around the state and at every level of the economic spectrum face too much uncertainty.  As Legislators and elected leaders, we need to be thinking about what we can do at the state level to help jump start a stagnant economy.  We need to think both short- and long-term, and I think placing a longer moratorium on state agency rule-making efforts should be a part of this process.”

Orcutt said he recently sent a letter to the governor asking for “more teeth” to the rule-making moratorium.

“Frankly, the moratorium needs to be longer than just one more year,” Orcutt continued.  “In order to provide some regulatory certainty for employer – certainty that might help encourage them to hire more workers or expand operations – the moratorium should be extended until we see a significant drop in our state’s unemployment numbers.

“We also need to tighten up the standards of the order to reduce opportunities for agency exploitation of loopholes,” Orcutt said.  “And, we need to require significant cuts in the number of employees making these rules.  Failure to address each of these areas leaves the employer community with doubts about the effectiveness or commitment of the executive branch to bring real, meaningful regulatory relief to our employers.”

Orcutt introduced House Bill 1156 during the last legislative session which would have suspended state agency rule-making until July 1, 2014, or until the state saw three consecutive quarterly revenue collections above the official forecast.  His bill also provided clearly defined – but limited – exemptions to the moratorium.

“Technically, my bill is still alive,” Orcutt said.  “We’re all going to be working hard during the upcoming special session to address the state’s projected budget shortfall, but we can’t forget about jobs – about getting people back to work.  This bill is designed to get workers off the unemployment line and onto the assembly line.

“If the governor wants to extend her support to my bill so that we can provide more certainty for employers and help get Washington working again, I would welcome her support and assistance.”

For more information, contact Brendon Wold, Senior Information Officer at (360) 786-7698.

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Washington State House Republican Communications
houserepublicans.wa.gov