WSR 09-14-074

PREPROPOSAL STATEMENT OF INQUIRY

DEPARTMENT OF

SOCIAL AND HEALTH SERVICES
(Economic Services Administration)

[ Filed June 29, 2009, 2:55 p.m. ]

Subject of Possible Rule Making: New sections and/or amendments in chapter 388-14A WAC to implement statutory changes contained in E2SSB 5688 (chapter 521, Laws of 2009) regarding the rights and responsibilities of registered domestic partners. Certain sections of this bill affect the division of child support (DCS) and have an effective date of July 26, 2009. The effective date may be delayed due to a referendum effort.

E2SSB 5688 makes changes to various chapters of the RCW which may affect DCS and/or the establishment, modification and enforcement of child support obligations: Section 65 amends chapter 26.09 RCW; section 66 amends chapter 26.18 RCW; section 67 amends chapter 26.26 RCW; section 179 amends chapter 74.20 RCW; section 180 amends chapter 74.20A RCW; there may be other sections of the bill identified later in the rule-making process.

Statutes Authorizing the Agency to Adopt Rules on this Subject: E2SSB 5688 (chapter 521, Laws of 2009); RCW 34.05.020, 34.05.220, 74.08.090, 74.20.040, 74.20A.055(9), 74.20A.056(11).

Reasons Why Rules on this Subject may be Needed and What They Might Accomplish: DCS must adopt rules to implement this legislation, which provides that for all purposes under state law, state registered domestic partners shall be treated the same as married spouses. The bill provides that with the exception of chapter 26.04 RCW, the terms spouse, marriage, marital, husband, wife, widow, widower, next of kin, and family shall be interpreted as applying equally to state registered domestic partnerships or individuals in state registered domestic partnerships as well as to marital relationships and married persons, and references to dissolution of marriage shall apply equally to state registered domestic partnerships that have been terminated, dissolved, or invalidated, to the extent that such interpretation does not conflict with federal law. Where necessary to implement this act, gender-specific terms such as husband and wife used in any statute, rule, or other law shall be construed to be gender neutral, and applicable to individuals in state registered domestic partnerships.

Section 2 of the bill adds a new section to chapter 34.05 RCW which provides that all state agencies must, to the extent possible, amend their rules to reflect the bill's intent.

Process for Developing New Rule: DCS engages in modified collaborative rule making. Those persons wishing to participate in developing the new rules are encouraged to contact Nancy Koptur at the DSHS/DCS headquarters as soon as possible. DCS will post information regarding this rule development project and others on its web site, which can be found at www.wa.gov/dshs/dcs, or on the DSHS economic services administration's policy review web site, which can be found at http://www1.dshs.wa.gov/esa/extpolicy/. DSHS/DCS encourages the public to take part in developing the rules. After the rules are drafted, DSHS will file a copy with the office of the code reviser with a notice of proposed rule making, and will send a copy to everyone currently on the mailing list and to anyone else who requests a copy.

Interested parties can participate in the decision to adopt the new rule and formulation of the proposed rule before publication by contacting Nancy Koptur, DCS Rules Coordinator, Division of Child Support, P.O. Box 9162, Mailstop 45860, Olympia, WA 98507-9162, phone (360) 664-5065, e-mail nkoptur@dshs.wa.gov, toll-free 1-800-457-6202, fax (360) 664-5055, TTY/TDD (360) 664-5011.

June 29, 2009

Stephanie E. Schiller

Rules Coordinator

Washington State Code Reviser's Office