Licensed childcare providers around the state will have more certainty and Department of Early Learning (DEL) childcare inspections will be less arbitrary and capricious under legislation signed by Gov. Jay Inslee today in Olympia. Rep. Elizabeth Scott, R-Monroe and assistant ranking Republican on the House Early Learning and Human Services Committee, prime-sponsored House Bill 2191 which passed unanimously in both the House and Senate.
“One of my main goals in the Legislature is to look at ways to reduce the regulatory burden on employers and find common-sense solutions that will help create new jobs or maintain the ones we have,” said Scott. “More and more childcare providers have grown increasingly frustrated at the Department of Early Learning’s facility inspections. They feel DEL is trying to put them out of business rather than work with them to correct legitimate concerns. My bill helps bring certainty to childcare providers and helps put some definable parameters around inspection protocol.”
House Bill 2191 would require a consultation with city or county enforcement officials, as well as a written verification that an alteration is required, before DEL could require a code change to a facility. The consultation and potential alteration would only apply to licensed childcare space. The bill also says that DEL may not modify, suspend or revoke a childcare license or business activities while the department is waiting for appropriate agency consultation, unless there is imminent danger for children and staff.
“Unless we’re talking about an emergency situation, state agencies like DEL need to work with employers and have a more customer-oriented approach to problems, rather than choosing to be an obstacle for job retention and growth,” said Scott. “Regulatory enforcement is obviously an important issue, but we really need to see a change in attitude and actions all along state government’s regulatory interactions with the private sector.
“I’m very pleased with the bipartisan support my proposal received from both chambers,” continued Scott. “I’m confident this legislation will help our childcare providers as well as those seeking local, safe and affordable care for their children. It’s a win-win for both the providers and their clientele.”
Scott’s bill will go into effect 90 days after the end of the 2014 regular session, that ended on March 13.