Today, the governor signed the Small Business Bill of Rights, legislation that resulted from a partnership between Sen. Lynda Wilson, R-Vancouver, and Rep. Andrew Barkis, R-Olympia. Both sponsored and helped pass identical versions of the bill in the Senate and the House with the House companion bill receiving the final signature.
Making Washington better for small businesses was one of Wilson’s priorities for the 2017 legislative session.
“As a small business owner, I know the feeling of apprehension you get when the government shows up at your door unannounced. Why are they here? What are they looking for? Who do I contact to find that out?” said Wilson. “This bill makes it very clear what rights you have as a small business owner and what rules the government has to follow.”
The Small Business Bill of Rights will require the Attorney General to work with several state agencies to review their laws, rules, and internal policies to identify the rights a small business owner has when a state agent shows up at their door to conduct an audit or inspection. The agencies required to review small business rights and protections include the Departments of Labor and Industries, Ecology, Revenue, Employment Security, Agriculture and the State Fire Marshal.
The Attorney General will then report to the Legislature how to improve the process of notifying small-business owners of their rights in the event of audit, inspection or enforcement actions.
“There should be no surprises or ‘gotchas’ when it comes to the state’s rules for small businesses,” said Wilson. “Making Washington open for small businesses to start, grow and invest is crucial to a strong and growing economy. That starts by making the rules of the road crystal clear. This bill gets that job done.”
The National Federation of Independent Business supported this measure. State reports show that 96 percent of businesses in Washington have fewer than 50 employees. U.S. Small Business Administration figures show that small businesses employ 1.3 million people in Washington.