Two bills sponsored by Rep. Matt Boehnke approved by House committees

Two bills sponsored by Rep. Matt Boehnke, R-Kennewick, have been approved by the House committees tasked with reviewing them.

House Bill 2593 would build on existing efforts to improve state agency accountability and performance by extending the following requirements through the year 2028:

  • State agencies that issue permits must track and record performance data regarding permit applications and processing times. In March of even-numbered years, these agencies are required to submit a report to the Office of Regulatory Innovation and Assistance (ORIA) with this data.
  • In September of even-numbered years, the ORIA is required to publish a comprehensive progress report on the performance of agencies in tracking permit timelines and other efforts to improve regulatory permitting.

“Tracking this data, which we've done since 2016, has helped state agencies learn how to create greater efficiencies in the permitting process,” said Boehnke. “Extending these requirements to 2028 would help them provide even better customer service to Washingtonians, which is an important component in ensuring we have a government that effectively serves the people.”

House Bill 2594 would require electric utility and natural gas companies to publish—or provide electronically—all proposed changes to its tariff for at least 30 days. Under the bill, the publication must be provided for any proposed tariff change that would increase recurring or per-occurrence charges or restrict access to services, and also must include the following information:

  • A brief explanation of the reason(s) the utility has requested the rate change, and the portion of the rate change attributable to factors such as increased labor costs, increased fuel costs, and recovery of transmission or distribution infrastructure investment.
  • A brief statement describing: (a) any regulatory or public policy decisions, including federal, state, and local laws, that have imposed obligations that increase costs for the utility, and (b) the portion of the rate change attributable to each identified regulatory or public policy decision.

“House Bill 2594 would increase transparency for ratepayers by providing them with important information about changes to their bill,” added Boehnke. “If rates are rising due to policies we're passing here in the Legislature, our constituents deserve to know that. Creating transparency and accountability, which this bill would do, is one of the best ways we can restore the public's trust. I hope to see it on the governor's desk later this session.”

House Bill 2593 was approved by the House State Government and Tribal Relations Committee, and House Bill 2594 was approved by the House Environment and Energy Committee.

Both bills await further action in the House Rules Committee.

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Washington State House Republican Communications
houserepublicans.wa.gov