WSR 12-11-119

PREPROPOSAL STATEMENT OF INQUIRY

DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE


[ Filed May 23, 2012, 8:06 a.m. ]

Subject of Possible Rule Making: The department will propose rules that increase the fruit and vegetable program hourly and overtime inspection, certification and fresh produce audit verification program for good agricultural practices (GAP) and good handling practices (GHP) rates. These hourly rate increases are necessary to recover the department's actual costs of providing inspection services.

Statutes Authorizing the Agency to Adopt Rules on this Subject: 3ESBH [3ESHB] 2127, chapter 7, Laws of 2012 2nd sp. sess. PV; chapter 15.17 RCW, Standards of grades and packs, specifically RCW 15.17.150 Inspections and certifications -- Fees adopted by rule -- Failure to pay; chapter 34.05 RCW, 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 costs of providing 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 United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Fresh Produce Audit Verification Program. Adopting the federal terminal market hourly inspection rate would make the state and federal fees equal for the federal/state program.

Other Federal and State Agencies that Regulate this Subject and the Process Coordinating the Rule with These Agencies: USDA. The Washington state department of agriculture (WSDA) fruit and vegetable inspection program administrator will coordinate with federal counterpart on any issues that may arise with respect to these rules.

Process for Developing New Rule: WSDA staff will develop the rule proposal and will consult with stakeholders.

Interested parties can participate in the decision to adopt the new rule and formulation of the proposed rule before publication by contacting Jim Quigley, Administrator, Fruit and Vegetable Program, 1111 Washington Street, P.O. Box 42560, Olympia, WA 98504-2560, phone (360) 902-1833, fax (360) 902-2085, e-mail jquigley@agr.wa.gov.

May 23, 2012

Brad J. Avy

Assistant Director

Washington State Code Reviser's Office