PREPROPOSAL STATEMENT OF INQUIRY
Subject of Possible Rule Making: Most Department of Agriculture programs operate on a "fee for service" basis. During the 2003 legislative session, the Washington state legislature passed legislation, chapter 25, Laws of 2003 (ESSB 5404), which was signed by Governor Locke on June 26, 2003, authorizing the department to sufficiently increase department fees to ensure that department programs will be able to cover the full cost of providing program services. As a result, the department, with the support of the Washington state fruit tree nursery industry, plans to amend chapter 16-401 WAC, Nursery inspection fees, to increase the annual assessment on fruit tree material. The department also plans to amend chapter 16-401 WAC to require that licensed nurseries maintain accurate records of fruit tree sales. Finally, the department will propose amending chapter 16-350 WAC, Registration and certification of fruit tree planting stock, to delete the fruit tree material assessment amount, since it is already specified in chapter 16-401 WAC, and to correct an RCW reference in chapter 16-350 WAC.
Statutes Authorizing the Agency to Adopt Rules on this Subject: Chapters 15.13, 15.14, and 34.05 RCW.
Reasons Why Rules on this Subject may be Needed and What They Might Accomplish: This proposal is in response to the fruit tree nursery industry's recommendation that the current assessment rate be increased from 1% to 2%. Doubling the assessment will generate $200,000 additional program revenue per year, an amount necessary to support the services of the fruit tree certification program. This increased assessment will also allow the program to continue to facilitate the movement of virus-tested fruit trees in both domestic and international markets and to continue to assist in keeping Washington state orchards free of harmful virus diseases.
Other Federal and State Agencies that Regulate this Subject and the Process Coordinating the Rule with These Agencies: None.
Process for Developing New Rule: Department staff will discuss any proposed fee increases, as well as other proposed amendments, with affected stakeholders. Affected stakeholders will also have an opportunity to submit written comments on the proposed rules during the public comment period and will be able to present oral testimony at the public hearing.
Interested parties can participate in the decision to adopt the new rule and formulation of the proposed rule before publication by contacting Mary A. Martin Toohey, Assistant Director, Washington State Department of Agriculture, Plant Protection Division, P.O. Box 42560, Olympia, WA 98504-2560, phone (360) 902-1907, fax (360) 902-2094, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org; and Tom Wessels, Plant Services Program Manager, Washington State Department of Agriculture, Plant Protection Division, P.O. Box 42560, Olympia, WA 98504-2560, phone (360) 902-1984, fax (360) 902-2094, e-mail email@example.com.
July 2, 2003
Mary A. Martin Toohey