34.05.325  <<  34.05.328 >>   34.05.330

Significant legislative rules, other selected rules.

(1) Before adopting a rule described in subsection (5) of this section, an agency must:
(a) Clearly state in detail the general goals and specific objectives of the statute that the rule implements;
(b) Determine that the rule is needed to achieve the general goals and specific objectives stated under (a) of this subsection, and analyze alternatives to rule making and the consequences of not adopting the rule;
(c) Provide notification in the notice of proposed rule making under RCW 34.05.320 that a preliminary cost-benefit analysis is available. The preliminary cost-benefit analysis must fulfill the requirements of the cost-benefit analysis under (d) of this subsection. If the agency files a supplemental notice under RCW 34.05.340, the supplemental notice must include notification that a revised preliminary cost-benefit analysis is available. A final cost-benefit analysis must be available when the rule is adopted under RCW 34.05.360;
(d) Determine that the probable benefits of the rule are greater than its probable costs, taking into account both the qualitative and quantitative benefits and costs and the specific directives of the statute being implemented;
(e) Determine, after considering alternative versions of the rule and the analysis required under (b), (c), and (d) of this subsection, that the rule being adopted is the least burdensome alternative for those required to comply with it that will achieve the general goals and specific objectives stated under (a) of this subsection;
(f) Determine that the rule does not require those to whom it applies to take an action that violates requirements of another federal or state law;
(g) Determine that the rule does not impose more stringent performance requirements on private entities than on public entities unless required to do so by federal or state law;
(h) Determine if the rule differs from any federal regulation or statute applicable to the same activity or subject matter and, if so, determine that the difference is justified by the following:
(i) A state statute that explicitly allows the agency to differ from federal standards; or
(ii) Substantial evidence that the difference is necessary to achieve the general goals and specific objectives stated under (a) of this subsection; and
(i) Coordinate the rule, to the maximum extent practicable, with other federal, state, and local laws applicable to the same activity or subject matter.
(2) In making its determinations pursuant to subsection (1)(b) through (h) of this section, the agency must place in the rule-making file documentation of sufficient quantity and quality so as to persuade a reasonable person that the determinations are justified.
(3) Before adopting rules described in subsection (5) of this section, an agency must place in the rule-making file a rule implementation plan for rules filed under each adopting order. The plan must describe how the agency intends to:
(a) Implement and enforce the rule, including a description of the resources the agency intends to use;
(b) Inform and educate affected persons about the rule;
(c) Promote and assist voluntary compliance; and
(d) Evaluate whether the rule achieves the purpose for which it was adopted, including, to the maximum extent practicable, the use of interim milestones to assess progress and the use of objectively measurable outcomes.
(4) After adopting a rule described in subsection (5) of this section regulating the same activity or subject matter as another provision of federal or state law, an agency must do all of the following:
(a) Coordinate implementation and enforcement of the rule with the other federal and state entities regulating the same activity or subject matter by making every effort to do one or more of the following:
(i) Deferring to the other entity;
(ii) Designating a lead agency; or
(iii) Entering into an agreement with the other entities specifying how the agency and entities will coordinate implementation and enforcement.
If the agency is unable to comply with this subsection (4)(a), the agency must report to the legislature pursuant to (b) of this subsection;
(b) Report to the joint administrative rules review committee:
(i) The existence of any overlap or duplication of other federal or state laws, any differences from federal law, and any known overlap, duplication, or conflict with local laws; and
(ii) Make recommendations for any legislation that may be necessary to eliminate or mitigate any adverse effects of such overlap, duplication, or difference.
(5)(a) Except as provided in (b) of this subsection, this section applies to:
(i) Significant legislative rules of the departments of ecology, labor and industries, health, revenue, social and health services, and natural resources, the employment security department, the forest practices board, the office of the insurance commissioner, the state building code council, and to the legislative rules of the department of fish and wildlife implementing chapter 77.55 RCW; and
(ii) Any rule of any agency, if this section is voluntarily made applicable to the rule by the agency, or is made applicable to the rule by a majority vote of the joint administrative rules review committee within forty-five days of receiving the notice of proposed rule making under RCW 34.05.320.
(b) This section does not apply to:
(i) Emergency rules adopted under RCW 34.05.350;
(ii) Rules relating only to internal governmental operations that are not subject to violation by a nongovernment party;
(iii) Rules adopting or incorporating by reference without material change federal statutes or regulations, Washington state statutes, rules of other Washington state agencies, shoreline master programs other than those programs governing shorelines of statewide significance, or, as referenced by Washington state law, national consensus codes that generally establish industry standards, if the material adopted or incorporated regulates the same subject matter and conduct as the adopting or incorporating rule;
(iv) Rules that only correct typographical errors, make address or name changes, or clarify language of a rule without changing its effect;
(v) Rules the content of which is explicitly and specifically dictated by statute, including any rules of the department of revenue adopted under the authority of RCW 82.32.762(3);
(vi) Rules that set or adjust fees under the authority of RCW 19.02.075 or that set or adjust fees or rates pursuant to legislative standards, including fees set or adjusted under the authority of RCW 19.80.045;
(vii) Rules of the department of social and health services relating only to client medical or financial eligibility and rules concerning liability for care of dependents; or
(viii) Rules of the department of revenue that adopt a uniform expiration date for reseller permits as authorized in RCW 82.32.780 and 82.32.783.
(c) For purposes of this subsection:
(i) A "procedural rule" is a rule that adopts, amends, or repeals (A) any procedure, practice, or requirement relating to any agency hearings; (B) any filing or related process requirement for making application to an agency for a license or permit; or (C) any policy statement pertaining to the consistent internal operations of an agency.
(ii) An "interpretive rule" is a rule, the violation of which does not subject a person to a penalty or sanction, that sets forth the agency's interpretation of statutory provisions it administers.
(iii) A "significant legislative rule" is a rule other than a procedural or interpretive rule that (A) adopts substantive provisions of law pursuant to delegated legislative authority, the violation of which subjects a violator of such rule to a penalty or sanction; (B) establishes, alters, or revokes any qualification or standard for the issuance, suspension, or revocation of a license or permit; or (C) adopts a new, or makes significant amendments to, a policy or regulatory program.
(d) In the notice of proposed rule making under RCW 34.05.320, an agency must state whether this section applies to the proposed rule pursuant to (a)(i) of this subsection, or if the agency will apply this section voluntarily.
(6) By January 31, 1996, and by January 31st of each even-numbered year thereafter, the office of regulatory assistance, after consulting with state agencies, counties, and cities, and business, labor, and environmental organizations, must report to the governor and the legislature regarding the effects of this section on the regulatory system in this state. The report must document:
(a) The rules proposed to which this section applied and to the extent possible, how compliance with this section affected the substance of the rule, if any, that the agency ultimately adopted;
(b) The costs incurred by state agencies in complying with this section;
(c) Any legal action maintained based upon the alleged failure of any agency to comply with this section, the costs to the state of such action, and the result;
(d) The extent to which this section has adversely affected the capacity of agencies to fulfill their legislatively prescribed mission;
(e) The extent to which this section has improved the acceptability of state rules to those regulated; and
(f) Any other information considered by the office of financial management to be useful in evaluating the effect of this section.


Effective date2019 c 8 ss 101, 104, 106, 201, 402-405, and 501: See note following RCW 82.02.250.
Existing rights and liabilityRetroactive application2019 c 8: See notes following RCW 82.02.250.
Effective date2018 c 207 ss 1-8: See note following RCW 19.27.070.
PurposeIntentAgency transferContractingEffective date2011 c 298: See notes following RCW 19.02.020.
Effective date2011 c 149: See note following RCW 43.42.010.
Effective date2010 c 112 ss 2, 3, 11, 12, and 15: See note following RCW 82.32.780.
Retroactive application2010 c 112: See note following RCW 82.32.780.
FindingsShort titleIntent1995 c 403: "(1) The legislature finds that:
(a) One of its fundamental responsibilities, to the benefit of all the citizens of the state, is the protection of public health and safety, including health and safety in the workplace, and the preservation of the extraordinary natural environment with which Washington is endowed;
(b) Essential to this mission is the delegation of authority to state agencies to implement the policies established by the legislature; and that the adoption of administrative rules by these agencies helps assure that these policies are clearly understood, fairly applied, and uniformly enforced;
(c) Despite its importance, Washington's regulatory system must not impose excessive, unreasonable, or unnecessary obligations; to do so serves only to discredit government, makes enforcement of essential regulations more difficult, and detrimentally affects the economy of the state and the well-being of our citizens.
(2) The legislature therefore enacts chapter 403, Laws of 1995, to be known as the regulatory reform act of 1995, to ensure that the citizens and environment of this state receive the highest level of protection, in an effective and efficient manner, without stifling legitimate activities and responsible economic growth. To that end, it is the intent of the legislature, in the adoption of chapter 403, Laws of 1995, that:
(a) Unless otherwise authorized, substantial policy decisions affecting the public be made by those directly accountable to the public, namely the legislature, and that state agencies not use their administrative authority to create or amend regulatory programs;
(b) When an agency is authorized to adopt rules imposing obligations on the public, that it do so responsibly: The rules it adopts should be justified and reasonable, with the agency having determined, based on common sense criteria established by the legislature, that the obligations imposed are truly in the public interest;
(c) Governments at all levels better coordinate their regulatory efforts to avoid confusing and frustrating the public with overlapping or contradictory requirements;
(d) The public respect the process whereby administrative rules are adopted, whether or not they agree with the result: Members of the public affected by administrative rules must have the opportunity for a meaningful role in their development; the bases for agency action must be legitimate and clearly articulated;
(e) Members of the public have adequate opportunity to challenge administrative rules with which they have legitimate concerns through meaningful review of the rule by the executive, the legislature, and the judiciary. While it is the intent of the legislature that upon judicial review of a rule, a court should not substitute its judgment for that of an administrative agency, the court should determine whether the agency decision making was rigorous and deliberative; whether the agency reached its result through a process of reason; and whether the agency took a hard look at the rule before its adoption;
(f) In order to achieve greater compliance with administrative rules at less cost, that a cooperative partnership exist between agencies and regulated parties that emphasizes education and assistance before the imposition of penalties; and
(g) Workplace safety and health in this state not be diminished, whether provided by constitution, by statute, or by rule." [ 1995 c 403 s 1.]
Application1995 c 403 ss 201, 301-305, 401-405, and 801: "Sections 201, 301 through 305, 401 through 405, and 801 of this act shall apply to all rule making for which a statement of proposed rule making under RCW 34.05.320 is filed after July 23, 1995." [ 1995 c 403 s 1102.]
Expedited adoption: RCW 34.05.353.
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