[Filed December 4, 2019, 6:56 a.m., effective January 4, 2020]
Effective Date of Rule: Thirty-one days after filing.
Purpose: The Washington apple commission is add[ing] public records disclosure procedures to its rules as required by RCW 42.56.040
. In addition, the commission is amending WAC 24-12-010 to bring the apple container types and their corresponding net shipping weights in line with Washington state department of agriculture for the purpose of computing the mandatory assessments; amending WAC 24-12-011 to update the procedures for referendum voting eligibility addressed in the revised RCW 15.24.090
; and amending WAC 24-12-012 to update the procedure for collecting any potential past due assessments.
Citation of Rules Affected by this Order: New WAC 24-20-010, 24-20-020, 24-20-030, 24-20-040, 24-20-050, 24-20-060, 24-20-070, 24-20-080 and 24-20-090; and amending WAC 24-12-010, 24-12-011, and 24-12-012.
Other Authority: Chapter 34.05
Adopted under notice filed as WSR 19-20-107 on October 2, 2019.
Number of Sections Adopted in Order to Comply with Federal Statute: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; Federal Rules or Standards: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; or Recently Enacted State Statutes: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.
Number of Sections Adopted at the Request of a Nongovernmental Entity: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.
Number of Sections Adopted on the Agency's own Initiative: New 9, Amended 3, Repealed 0.
Number of Sections Adopted in Order to Clarify, Streamline, or Reform Agency Procedures: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.
Number of Sections Adopted using Negotiated Rule Making: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; Pilot Rule Making: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; or Other Alternative Rule Making: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.
Date Adopted: December 4, 2019.
Todd M. Fryhover
AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 09-19-074, filed 9/16/09, effective 10/17/09)
WAC 24-12-010Amount of assessments.
(1) There is hereby levied upon all fresh apples grown annually in this state, and upon all apples packed as Washington apples, including fresh sliced, an assessment of eight and seventy-five one-hundredths cents per one hundred pounds of apples, based on net shipping weight or reasonable equivalent net product assessment measurement as determined by the commission.
(2) Assessments shall be payable as provided in WAC 24-12-012, whether in bulk or loose in boxes or any other container, or packed in any style package. The net shipping weights for the following containers shall apply for the purpose of computing the assessments:
DESCRIPTION OF CONTAINER
NET SHIPPING WEIGHT RANGE
1 Layer Carton AKA Euro Carton
2 Layer Carton AKA Euro Carton
3 Layer Carton AKA Euro Carton
Euro Carton 1-3 Layers
Master Carton (Bags in Box/Clamshell)
Master Bin (Bags in Bin/Clamshell)
Loose Carton (Jumble/Bulk)
Carton (2/3 Bushel)
1/3 Bushel Carton
RPC Tray Carton
RPC Master Carton
AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 09-19-074, filed 9/16/09, effective 10/17/09)
WAC 24-12-011Referendum mail ballot voting eligibility.
(1) In the conduct of a referendum mail ballot pursuant to the provisions of RCW 15.24.090
the commission shall require that each returned ballot be accompanied by a completed apple grower eligibility certificate in substantially the following form:
WASHINGTON APPLE COMMISSION
APPLE GROWER ELIGIBILITY CERTIFICATE
All appropriate spaces on this certificate must be completed to properly qualify your vote.)
i hereby certify that:
My name and address are as follows (please print):
Name: . . . .
Mailing Address: . . . .
Orchard Address: . . . .
City: . . . .
State: . . . .
I am qualified to vote for one of the following reasons (please check the appropriate space):
a . . . . .
I am an individual owner-operator or an individual lessee-operator of commercially producing apple orchard/orchards.
b . . . . .
I am a member of and have been designated to cast the single ballot for (please fill in name), a partnership, joint venture or corporation owning/leasing and operating commercially producing apple orchard/orchards.
((The orchard/orchards for which I am casting a vote represents . . . . . . acres of commercially producing apple trees situated in the county/counties of . . . . . . within the state of Washington. (Please combine the total commercially producing apple acreage for which you are voting in the space above.)))I take my fresh apple crop to the following dealer organizations to pack/ship my fruit. (Please list all that apply to this orchard.)
By signing this certificate, I grant the commission permission to contact dealer(s) listed above to verify total net lbs. fresh apples shipped in the two prior crop years.
. . . .
Signature of Voter
Name (print). . . .
Date . . . .
A completed apple grower eligibility certificate must accompany each ballot.
(2) The commission shall contact each dealer listed on the apple grower eligibility certificate to verify total net lbs. fresh apples shipped in the last two crop years by voting grower.
(3) The commission and the director of the department of agriculture may, in counting and validating ballots, rely on and accept the representations of eligibility to vote and the representations of ((acreage as set forth in the certificate))total net lbs. fresh apples shipped by grower as certified by dealer.
Apple growers entitled to vote in a referendum mail ballot pursuant to the provisions of RCW 15.24.090
are defined to be each grower who operates a commercial producing apple orchard, whether an individual proprietor, partnership, joint venture, or corporation, being entitled to one vote. As to bona fide leased or rented orchards, only the lessee-operator, if otherwise qualified, shall be entitled to vote. Individual commercial orchard operator, if otherwise qualified, shall be entitled to vote as such, even though he is also a member of a partnership or corporation that votes for other apple acreage.
A commercial producing apple orchard means an apple orchard currently producing or growing apples in sufficient quantity so that the apples are or will be marketed through prevailing commercial channels and are or will be subject to assessment pursuant to the provisions of chapter 15.24
AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 09-19-074, filed 9/16/09, effective 10/17/09)
WAC 24-12-012Collection of accounts.
(1) The commission shall obtain from the department of agriculture a record of all shipments of fresh apples, including fresh apples designated for slices, and shall from this record periodically invoice all apple dealers and handlers shown thereon for assessments on apples levied pursuant to WAC 24-12-010. The date of the invoice shall be known as the billing date.
(2) ((For fresh apples designated for slices:
(a) The department of agriculture does not require a certificate of compliance for fresh apples designated for slicing that are moved and produced internally by a shipper.
(b) All shippers (first handlers) with internal fresh apple slicing operations will be required to remit and report quarterly the net weight in pounds of all fresh apples packed or unpacked designated for slicing. The reporting period dates and forms will be determined and created by the commission.
(c) All payments and reports are due thirty-five days from the end of the reporting period established by the commission.
(3))) If the assessments are not paid within thirty-five days from the billing date, a notice of delinquency shall be sent to the dealer or handler involved, ((with a copy to the district))requesting them to bring their account current within ten days from the date of the letter. At forty-five days from the billing date, a second notice of delinquency shall be sent to the dealer with a copy to the regional inspection office of the department of agriculture. The notice shall state that if the delinquent assessments are not paid within ((forty-five))sixty days from the billing date, the department of agriculture will notify the dealer or handler involved ((will thereafter be put on a cash basis until the delinquent assessments are paid, and that the Compliance Certificate Book will be removed by the department of agriculture))that the department of agriculture will deny service if the account is not paid in full within the next thirty days. The notice shall also advise that if the delinquent assessments are not paid within ((sixty))ninety days from the billing date, the inspection service may be withdrawn.
((If at any time an account thereafter is again unpaid in the same crop year shipping season for more than thirty-five days from the billing date, the commission may place the dealer or handler on a cash basis for the remainder of the crop year shipping season, or such shorter period as the commission may at its option specify, and the Compliance Certificate Book may be removed by the department of agriculture. If the subsequent delinquency shall continue more than sixty days from the billing date, inspection service may be withdrawn.))
Once withdrawn, inspection service will be reinstated only upon mutual agreement of the department of agriculture and the commission and after all delinquent assessments have been paid.
(((4) Delinquent))(3) If assessments are not paid within ((thirty-five))forty-five days of the billing date ((shall bear)), the commission reserves the right to charge interest at the maximum legal rate, not to exceed ((1-1/2%))one and one-half percent per month, and in case of suit to collect the delinquent assessments, the prevailing party shall, in addition to any other relief granted, be allowed an attorneys fee in such amount as the court in its discretion deems reasonable, together with costs of suit.
Chapter 24-20 WAC
WASHINGTON APPLE COMMISSION PUBLIC RECORDS
The purpose of this chapter is to ensure compliance by the Washington apple commission with the provisions of the Public Records Act, chapter 42.56
RCW. These rules provide information to persons requesting access to the commission's public records and establish procedures for both requestors and commission staff.
WAC 24-20-020Public record.
A public record includes any writing containing information relating to the conduct of government or the performance of any governmental or proprietary function prepared, owned, used, or retained by the commission regardless of physical form or characteristics.
WAC 24-20-030Public records officer.
(1) The commission's public records shall be in the charge of the public records officer designated by the commission.
(2) The name of the commission's current public records officer is on file with the office of the code reviser in accordance with RCW 42.56.580
and is published in the Washington State Register
(3) The commission or its president may appoint a temporary public records officer to serve during the absence of the designated records officer. The public records officer shall be responsible for implementing the commission's rules regarding disclosure of public records, coordination of staff regarding disclosure of public records, and generally ensuring compliance by staff with public records disclosure requirements.
WAC 24-20-040Requests for public records.
(1) All requests for disclosure of public records must be submitted in writing directly to the commission's public records officer by mail at:
Washington Apple Commission
2900 Euclid Avenue
Wenatchee, WA 98801
The written request should include:
(a) The name of the person requesting the record and their contact information;
(b) The calendar date on which the request is made; and
(c) Sufficient information to readily identify the records being requested.
(2) Any person wishing to inspect the commission's public records may make an appointment with the public records officer to inspect the records at the commission office during regular business hours. In order to adequately protect the commission's public records, the following will apply:
(a) Public records made available for inspection may not be removed from the area the commission makes available for inspection.
(b) Inspection of any public record will be conducted in the presence of the public records officer or designee.
(c) Public records may not be marked or altered in any manner during inspection.
(d) The commission has the discretion to designate the means and the location for the inspection of records. The viewing of those records that require specialized equipment shall be limited to the availability of that equipment located at the commission office and the availability of authorized staff to operate that equipment.
WAC 24-20-050Response to public records request.
(1) The public records officer shall respond to public records requests within five business days by:
(a) Providing the record;
(b) Providing a link or address for a record available on the internet under RCW 42.56.520
(c) Acknowledging receipt of the request and providing a reasonable estimate of the time the commission will require to respond to the request; or
(d) Denying the public records request. Responses refusing in whole or in part the inspection of a public record shall include a statement of the specific exemption authorizing the withholding of the record (or any part) and a brief explanation of how the exemption applies to the record(s) withheld or to any redactions in records produced.
(2) Additional time to respond to the request may be based upon the need to:
(a) Clarify the intent of the request;
(b) Locate and assemble the information requested;
(c) Notify third persons or agencies affected by the request; or
(d) Determine whether any of the information requested is exempt and that a denial should be made as to all or part of the request.
(3) In acknowledging receipt of a public records request that is unclear, the public records officer may ask the requestor to clarify what records the requestor is seeking. The public records officer is not obligated to provide further response if the requestor fails to clarify the request.
WAC 24-20-060Costs of disclosure.
(1) No fee shall be charged for the inspection of public records.
(2) Pursuant to RCW 42.56.120
(2), the commission declares for the following reasons that it would be unduly burdensome for it to calculate the actual costs it charges for providing copies of public records: Funds were not allocated for performing a study to calculate such actual costs and the agency lacks the necessary funds to perform a study and calculations; staff resources are insufficient to perform a study and to calculate such actual costs; and a study would interfere with and disrupt other essential agency functions.
(3) The commission may charge fees for production of copies of public records consistent with the fee schedule established in RCW 42.56.120
(4) The public records officer may waive the fee when the expenses of processing payment exceeds the costs of providing copies.
The commission's public records are available for disclosure except as otherwise provided under chapter 42.56
RCW or any other law. Requestors should be aware of the following exemptions to public disclosure specific to commission records. This list is not exhaustive and other exemptions may apply:
(1) Production or sales records required to determine assessment levels and actual assessment payments the commission under chapter 15.24
RCW (reference RCW 42.56.380
(2) Financial and commercial information and records supplied by persons:
(a) To the commission for the purpose of conducting a referendum for the establishment of the commission; or
(b) To the commission under chapter 15.24
RCW, with respect to domestic or export marketing activities or individual producer's production information (reference RCW 42.56.380
(3) Lists of individuals requested for commercial purposes (reference RCW 42.56.070
(4) Records which are relevant to a controversy to which the commission is a party but which records would not be available to another party under the rules of pretrial discovery for causes pending in the superior courts, including records involving attorney-client communications between the commission and the office of the attorney general privileged under RCW 5.60.060
(5) Personal information in any files maintained for employees, appointees, or elected officials of any public agency to the extent that disclosure would violate their right to privacy (reference RCW 42.56.230
(6) Residential addresses, residential telephone numbers, personal wireless telephone numbers, personal electronic mail addresses, dates of birth, Social Security numbers and emergency contact information of employees, dependents of employees, or volunteers of a public agency that are held by any agency in personnel records, public employment related records, or volunteer rosters, or are included in any mailing list of employees or volunteers of any public agency (reference RCW 42.56.250
WAC 24-20-080Review of denials of public records requests.
(1) Any person who objects to the denial of a request to copy or inspect public records may petition the commission for review of such decision by submitting a written request to the commission. The request shall specifically refer to the statement which constituted or accompanied the denial.
(2) The commission's president or designee shall immediately consider the matter and either affirm or reverse such denial. In any case, the request shall be returned with a final decision, within ten business days following receipt of the written request for review of the original denial.
(3) Under RCW 42.56.530
, if the commission denies a requestor access to public records because it claims the record is exempt in whole or in part from disclosure, the requestor may request the attorney general's office to review the matter.
(4) Any person may obtain court review of a denial of a public records request under RCW 42.56.550
WAC 24-20-090Records index.
The commission shall establish a records index, which shall be made available for public review. The records index may be accessed on the commission's web site at www.bestapples.com.
The index includes the following records:
(1) Washington apple commission statute, chapter 15.24
(2) Washington apple commission rules, Title 24 WAC.
(3) Commission policy and procedure manuals.