The definitions in this section apply throughout this chapter unless the context clearly requires otherwise.
(1) "Adjudicative proceeding" means a proceeding before an agency in which an opportunity for hearing before that agency is required by statute or constitutional right before or after the entry of an order by the agency. Adjudicative proceedings also include all cases of licensing and rate making in which an application for a license or rate change is denied except as limited by RCW 66.08.150, or a license is revoked, suspended, or modified, or in which the granting of an application is contested by a person having standing to contest under the law.
(2) "Agency" means any state board, commission, department, institution of higher education, or officer, authorized by law to make rules or to conduct adjudicative proceedings, except those in the legislative or judicial branches, the governor, or the attorney general except to the extent otherwise required by law and any local governmental entity that may request the appointment of an administrative law judge under chapter 42.41 RCW.
(3) "Agency action" means licensing, the implementation or enforcement of a statute, the adoption or application of an agency rule or order, the imposition of sanctions, or the granting or withholding of benefits.
Agency action does not include an agency decision regarding (a) contracting or procurement of goods, services, public works, and the purchase, lease, or acquisition by any other means, including eminent domain, of real estate, as well as all activities necessarily related to those functions, or (b) determinations as to the sufficiency of a showing of interest filed in support of a representation petition, or mediation or conciliation of labor disputes or arbitration of labor disputes under a collective bargaining law or similar statute, or (c) any sale, lease, contract, or other proprietary decision in the management of public lands or real property interests, or (d) the granting of a license, franchise, or permission for the use of trademarks, symbols, and similar property owned or controlled by the agency.
(4) "Agency head" means the individual or body of individuals in whom the ultimate legal authority of the agency is vested by any provision of law. If the agency head is a body of individuals, a majority of those individuals constitutes the agency head.
(5) "Entry" of an order means the signing of the order by all persons who are to sign the order, as an official act indicating that the order is to be effective.
(6) "Filing" of a document that is required to be filed with an agency means delivery of the document to a place designated by the agency by rule for receipt of official documents, or in the absence of such designation, at the office of the agency head.
(7) "Institutions of higher education" are the University of Washington, Washington State University, Central Washington University, Eastern Washington University, Western Washington University, The Evergreen State College, the various community colleges, and the governing boards of each of the above, and the various colleges, divisions, departments, or offices authorized by the governing board of the institution involved to act for the institution, all of which are sometimes referred to in this chapter as "institutions."
(8) "Interpretive statement" means a written expression of the opinion of an agency, entitled an interpretive statement by the agency head or its designee, as to the meaning of a statute or other provision of law, of a court decision, or of an agency order.
(9)(a) "License" means a franchise, permit, certification, approval, registration, charter, or similar form of authorization required by law, but does not include (i) a license required solely for revenue purposes, or (ii) a certification of an exclusive bargaining representative, or similar status, under a collective bargaining law or similar statute, or (iii) a license, franchise, or permission for use of trademarks, symbols, and similar property owned or controlled by the agency.
(b) "Licensing" includes the agency process respecting the issuance, denial, revocation, suspension, or modification of a license.
(10) "Mail" or "send," for purposes of any notice relating to rule making or policy or interpretive statements, means regular mail or electronic distribution, as provided in RCW 34.05.260. "Electronic distribution" or "electronically" means distribution by electronic mail or facsimile mail.
(11)(a) "Order," without further qualification, means a written statement of particular applicability that finally determines the legal rights, duties, privileges, immunities, or other legal interests of a specific person or persons.
(b) "Order of adoption" means the official written statement by which an agency adopts, amends, or repeals a rule.
(12) "Party to agency proceedings," or "party" in a context so indicating, means:
(a) A person to whom the agency action is specifically directed; or
(b) A person named as a party to the agency proceeding or allowed to intervene or participate as a party in the agency proceeding.
(13) "Party to judicial review or civil enforcement proceedings," or "party" in a context so indicating, means:
(a) A person who files a petition for a judicial review or civil enforcement proceeding; or
(b) A person named as a party in a judicial review or civil enforcement proceeding, or allowed to participate as a party in a judicial review or civil enforcement proceeding.
(14) "Person" means any individual, partnership, corporation, association, governmental subdivision or unit thereof, or public or private organization or entity of any character, and includes another agency.
(15) "Policy statement" means a written description of the current approach of an agency, entitled a policy statement by the agency head or its designee, to implementation of a statute or other provision of law, of a court decision, or of an agency order, including where appropriate the agency's current practice, procedure, or method of action based upon that approach.
(16) "Rule" means any agency order, directive, or regulation of general applicability (a) the violation of which subjects a person to a penalty or administrative sanction; (b) which establishes, alters, or revokes any procedure, practice, or requirement relating to agency hearings; (c) which establishes, alters, or revokes any qualification or requirement relating to the enjoyment of benefits or privileges conferred by law; (d) which establishes, alters, or revokes any qualifications or standards for the issuance, suspension, or revocation of licenses to pursue any commercial activity, trade, or profession; or (e) which establishes, alters, or revokes any mandatory standards for any product or material which must be met before distribution or sale. The term includes the amendment or repeal of a prior rule, but does not include (i) statements concerning only the internal management of an agency and not affecting private rights or procedures available to the public, (ii) declaratory rulings issued pursuant to RCW 34.05.240, (iii) traffic restrictions for motor vehicles, bicyclists, and pedestrians established by the secretary of transportation or his or her designee where notice of such restrictions is given by official traffic control devices, (iv) rules of institutions of higher education involving standards of admission, academic advancement, academic credit, graduation and the granting of degrees, employment relationships, or fiscal processes, or (v) the determination and publication of updated nexus thresholds by the department of revenue in accordance with RCW 82.04.067.
(17) "Rules review committee" or "committee" means the joint administrative rules review committee created pursuant to RCW 34.05.610 for the purpose of selectively reviewing existing and proposed rules of state agencies.
(18) "Rule making" means the process for formulation and adoption of a rule.
(19) "Service," except as otherwise provided in this chapter, means posting in the United States mail, properly addressed, postage prepaid, or personal or electronic service. Service by mail is complete upon deposit in the United States mail. Agencies may, by rule, authorize service by electronic transmission, or by commercial parcel delivery company.
[2014 c 97 § 101; 2013 c 110 § 3; 2011 c 336 § 762; 1997 c 126 § 2; 1992 c 44 § 10; 1989 c 175 § 1; 1988 c 288 § 101; 1982 c 10 § 5. Prior: 1981 c 324 § 2; 1981 c 183 § 1; 1967 c 237 § 1; 1959 c 234 § 1. Formerly RCW 34.04.010.]
| Effective dates -- Severability -- 1992 c 44: See RCW 42.41.901 and 42.41.902.|
Effective dates -- 1989 c 175: "Sections 1 through 35 and 37 through 185 of this act are necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, or safety, or the support of the state government and its existing public institutions, and shall take effect on July 1, 1989. Section 36 of this act shall take effect on July 1, 1990." [1989 c 175 § 186.]
Severability -- 1982 c 10: See note following RCW 6.13.080.
Legislative affirmation -- 1981 c 324: "The legislature affirms that all rule-making authority of state agencies and institutions of higher education is a function delegated by the legislature, and as such, shall be exercised pursuant to the conditions and restrictions contained in this act." [1981 c 324 § 1.]
Severability -- 1981 c 324: "If any provision of this act or its application to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the remainder of the act or the application of the provision to other persons or circumstances is not affected." [1981 c 324 § 18.]