Rep. Scott’s bill to help childcare facilities passes House unanimously
'Childcare providers are struggling to comply with a mountain of ever-changing rules and regulations above and beyond local code; it's time for consistency,' says Scott
The Washington State House of Representatives unanimously passed a bill yesterday to help bring certainty to childcare providers and reign in a state agency that many think has gone overboard in trying to enforce perceived code violations.
The bill, House Bill 2191, was sponsored by Rep. Elizabeth Scott, R-Monroe, who serves as the assistant ranking Republican on the House Early Learning and Human Services Committee.
“The number one complaint I heard while traveling around my district was this issue,” said Scott. “Childcare facilities in our area and around the state feel targeted by a state agency that is out of control. Childcare providers are struggling to comply with a mountain of ever-changing rules and regulations above and beyond local code; it's time for consistency. This bill will help bring some sanity and common sense back into the regulations and code enforcement.”
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 the Department of Early Learning could require a code change to a facility. The consultation and potential alteration would only apply to licensed childcare space.
“My bill also says the department can't modify, suspend or revoke a childcare license or business while the department is waiting for the consultation unless there is proven imminent danger to children or staff,” said Scott. “We've seen cases where, as the process drags on, the department has come down hard on the childcare facilities and, in some cases, forced them out of business. This practice of 'delay until dead' must stop.”
A similar bill is moving through the legislative process in the Senate. Senate Bill 6234 passed the Senate Human Services and Corrections Committee as well as the Senate Ways and Means Committee. It currently awaits action by the full Senate.
“I'm hopeful with this issue moving forward in both chambers and receiving bipartisan support, we can help provide some certainty and fairness to the many family-run childcare facilities in our state,” said Scott. “The families in our neighborhoods need to have local, safe, affordable and available childcare options.”
The 60-day 2014 legislative session is scheduled to end March 13.
###Washington State House Republican Communications