PREPROPOSAL STATEMENT OF INQUIRY
Subject of Possible Rule Making: The following sections in chapter 16-303 WAC will either be amended or repealed: WAC 16-303-200 Seed program testing fees, 16-303-210 Fees for special seed tests, 16-303-220 Inventory testing for seed germination, 16-303-230 Official seed sampling or similar service, 16-303-240 Fees for blending seed, 16-303-250 Miscellaneous charges for seed services, 16-303-300 Phyto-sanitary certification of seed -- Fees, 16-303-310 Organization for economic cooperation and development scheme for varietal certification (O.E.C.D.) fees, 16-303-315 Service fee for sod quality seed tags and tagging, 16-303-317 Annual and rough bluegrass quarantine fees, 16-303-320 Certification fees for seed certified by the department except grasses, and 16-303-330 Certification fees for grass seed.
Statutes Authorizing the Agency to Adopt Rules on this Subject: RCW 15.49.301, 15.49.370(3), chapter 308, Laws of 2003 (HB 1126), and chapter 34.05 RCW.
Reasons Why Rules on this Subject may be Needed and What They Might Accomplish: Proposed rule amendments will restructure the seed program's fee schedule and increase fees charged for services to a sufficient level to recover current operating costs, finance two additional seed analysts and enhance the program's ability to address future testing requirements of new technology and crops being raised in Washington state. Seed certification fees, laboratory analysis fees and miscellaneous fees for alfalfa, grasses, vegetables and other minor seed crops would be increased in excess of the Office of Financial Management fiscal growth rate factor as authorized in HB 1126 (Relating to seed testing and certification fees), which was passed by the 2003 legislature and signed by the governor on May 14, 2003. Specifically, the proposed rule amendments will:
• Increase the fees in WAC 16-303-200, 16-303-210, 16-303-230, 16-303-250, 16-303-300, 16-303-310, 16-303-315, 16-303-317, and 16-303-320 beyond the OFM fiscal growth rate factor as authorized by chapter 308, Laws of 2003 (HB 1126).
• Condense the fee schedule in WAC 16-303-200 so it is easier to use.
• Amend the fee schedule in WAC 16-303-210 to:
&sqbul; Combine some fees; and
&sqbul; Repeal other fees related to services no longer requested by industry or for services the seed program is no longer able to provide.
• Repeal WAC 16-303-220 in its entirety.
• Repeal WAC 16-303-230(2) because its content is either addressed in WAC 16-303-250 or will be incorporated into that section.
• Amend WAC 16-303-240 to:
&sqbul; Add blending fees for "Grass Option A" and "Grass Option B"; and
&sqbul; Delete the reference to "plus cost of a purity and germination test which is required on the official sample of each blend" because the seed program no longer does official sampling on any blend.
• Amend WAC 16-303-250 to:
&sqbul; Add a "high priority sample" fee;
&sqbul; Incorporate the "standby" fee currently located in WAC 16-303-230(2);
&sqbul; Delete the "phone report only" under "preliminary report on germination" because it is redundant; and
&sqbul; Delete subsection (2) by incorporating its content into the section's fee schedule.
• Amend WAC 16-303-300 to:
&sqbul; Delete the "sampling" fees because they are covered in WAC 16-303-230; and
&sqbul; Delete the references to "serology test" and "laboratory analysis of plant material to verify disease" because the seed program does not establish these fees. The seed program may be required, by rule, to have these tests conducted but fees for these tests are established by the WSDA Plant Protection Division.
• Amend WAC 16-303-310 by adding language that clearly identifies the O.E.C.D. assessment charges;
• Amend WAC 16-303-320 to:
&sqbul; Include a schedule of certification fees for grass seed with related footnotes; and
&sqbul; Delete "except grasses" from the section title because the section will now include grasses.
• Repeal WAC 16-303-330 in its entirety because the fees in this section will be incorporated into WAC 16-303-320.
• Where necessary, clarify the language in the rule sections listed on the CR-101 form under "Subject of possible rule making."
Other Federal and State Agencies that Regulate this Subject and the Process Coordinating the Rule with These Agencies: None.
Process for Developing New Rule: The proposed rule amendments increasing seed program fees, restructuring program fee schedules and rewriting the listed rule sections as needed will be developed by the WSDA seed program manager with input from the seed industry through the Seed Program Advisory Committee. Interested parties can submit comments to the seed program during the public comment period and can participate in the public hearing process.
Interested parties can participate in the decision to adopt the new rule and formulation of the proposed rule before publication by contacting Graydon Robinson, Program Manager, Washington State Department of Agriculture, Seed Program, 21 North 1st Avenue, Suite 203, Yakima, WA 98902, phone (509) 225-2630, fax (509) 454-4395, e-mail email@example.com.
Robert W. Gore