PREPROPOSAL STATEMENT OF INQUIRY
Subject of Possible Rule Making: The department will propose rules that: (1) Increase fruit and vegetable inspection program hourly inspection rates (regular and overtime). These hourly rate increases are necessary to recover the department's actual costs of providing inspection services; (2) adopt federal terminal hourly rates established by USDA/AMS/FPB; and (3) establish fees for fresh produce audit verification program for good agricultural practices (GAP) and good handling practices (GHP).
Statutes Authorizing the Agency to Adopt Rules on this Subject: Chapter 15.17 RCW, Standards of grades and packs, specifically RCW 15.17.150 and chapter 34.05 RCW, the Administrative Procedure Act.
Reasons Why Rules on this Subject may be Needed and What They Might Accomplish: RCW 15.17.150 mandates that the Department of Agriculture establish fees to recover the costs of providing inspection and/or certification or other requested services. In compliance with this mandate, the department will propose a fee schedule that provides for the recovery of the hourly inspection costs, both regular and overtime. Currently, hourly inspection rates are below the cost of providing inspection services. Also, the department will propose adopting federal market inspection fees for GAP and GHP audit certifications performed by federal/state licensed auditors for the USDA fresh produce audit verification program. Finally, since there is no department rule for fresh produce audit verification of fruits and vegetables, the department will propose adopting the federal terminal market hourly inspection rate for such services. Adopting the federal terminal market hourly inspection rate would make the state and federal fees equal for this federal/state program.
Other Federal and State Agencies that Regulate this Subject and the Process Coordinating the Rule with These Agencies: United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The WSDA fruit and vegetable inspection program manager will coordinate with his federal counterpart on any issues that may arise with respect to these rules.
Process for Developing New Rule: To the extent possible, the department will distribute a packet of information to those on its mailing list who use the hourly inspection rate schedule outlining the issues and the department's proposals and asking for written comment. Comments can be received via first class mail, e-mail, or fax, using the addresses provided below. In addition, information will be distributed to applicable agricultural organizations. Persons are encouraged to provide input to the department regarding the proposals outlined above.
Interested parties can participate in the decision to adopt the new rule and formulation of the proposed rule before publication by contacting Jim Quigley, Program Manager, WSDA Fruit and Vegetable Inspection Program, P.O. Box 42560, Olympia, WA 98504-2560, phone (360) 902-1833, fax (360) 902-2085, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org; or George Huffman, Rules Coordinator, Department of Agriculture, Administration Regulations Program, P.O. Box 42560, Olympia, WA 98504-2560, phone (360) 902-1802, fax (360) 902-2092, e-mail email@example.com.
May 7, 2003
Robert W. Gore