WSR 12-12-067

PREPROPOSAL STATEMENT OF INQUIRY

DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE


[ Filed June 5, 2012, 1:07 p.m. ]

Subject of Possible Rule Making: Chapter 16-623 WAC, Commission Merchant Act -- Licensing fees, proof of payment, cargo manifests and registration of acreage commitments. The department is considering increasing the fees for licenses issued under chapter 20.01 RCW, which authorizes the agricultural investigations program. In addition, the department may amend the existing language to increase its clarity and readability and update the language to conform to current industry and regulatory standards.

Statutes Authorizing the Agency to Adopt Rules on this Subject: RCW 20.01.020 and 20.01.040; chapter 34.05 RCW; and chapter 7, Laws of 2012.

Reasons Why Rules on this Subject may be Needed and What They Might Accomplish: During the 2012 legislative session, the Washington state legislature authorized (as required by Initiative 960) the Washington state department of agriculture to increase the commission merchant licensing fees as necessary to meet the actual costs of conducting business (see chapter 7, Laws of 2012).

The agricultural investigations program enforces the Commission Merchants Act; licenses commission merchants, dealers, brokers, agents, and cash buyers; and investigates complaints. The program's revenue is largely derived from license fees. An increase in licensing fees is necessary to cover the costs of operating the program.

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 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, Plant Protection Division, Washington State Department of Agriculture, P.O. Box 42560, Olympia, WA 98504-2560, phone (360) 902-1907, fax (360) 902-2094, e-mail mtoohey@agr.wa.gov; or Jerry Buendel, Program Manager, Plant Protection Division, Washington State Department of Agriculture, P.O. Box 42560, Olympia, WA 98504-2560, phone (360) 902-1856, fax (360) 902-2094, e-mail jbuendel@agr.wa.gov.

June 5, 2012

Mary A. Martin Toohey

Assistant Director

Washington State Code Reviser's Office