In Washington State, the Department of Licensing makes recommendations to the Legislature on business profession credentialing proposals. This is done only at the request of the chairs of legislative committees. The process is called a “sunrise review” and requirements are contained in RCW 18.118.030.
The legislature’s intent is that all individuals should be permitted to enter into a business profession unless there is an overwhelming need for the state to protect the interests of the public by restricting entry. In addition, changes of existing licensed practitioner’s scope of practice should benefit the public. Enhancement of professional status alone is not justification for regulation.
The Sunrise Act (RCW 18.118.01) states that a business profession should be regulated or scope of practice expanded only when:
If the legislature finds that it is necessary to regulate a business profession not previously regulated by law, the least restrictive method of regulation should be implemented, consistent with the public interest.
In fulfilling our role as advisor to the legislature, our recommendations are not limited to whether the applicant group should be credentialed and the level of credentialing. We are free to recommend on other portions of the proposal. Examples are:
The legislature annually notifies us of the proposals to review. We contact the applicant to describe the sunrise process. The actual review process doesn’t begin until the applicant submits the applicant report to us. The conclusion of the process is our final report to the legislature, which is advisory only. No specific legal rights are granted or taken away because of the sunrise process. We are under no obligation to support a given legislative proposal even if our sunrise review supports that state regulation is needed.
The applicant report should be submitted by August 1 in order for us to complete our review in time for the next legislative session. If needed, the applicant may request a meeting with our staff to receive clarification about expectations for the applicant report and specifics of the particular proposal.
A concise, narrative format is encouraged. In order for us to conduct a quality review of the proposal, the applicant report needs to demonstrate that the proposal meets the sunrise standards and provide other information related to both the statutory criteria and issues raised by us in correspondence with the applicant. See the factors the applicant group needs to include in their report.
We’ll endeavor to review each proposal following the timeline detailed in these guidelines. However, any deviation, including those caused by the applicant or us, doesn’t invalidate the process.
We’ll give the applicant follow-up questions and comments within 14 days after receipt of the applicant report. The applicant will be given 14 days to respond to any written questions or concerns raised about the applicant report.
We’ll send out the applicant report and notice of hearing to all interested parties. Interested parties are invited to submit written comments prior to the hearing, after the hearing, and after the report has been drafted.
A public hearing will be held approximately 40 days after the applicant report is received. A public hearing is intended to take testimony from interested parties and gather information for Department recommendations. The applicant makes a presentation of information contained in the applicant report and other information within the scope of the review.
Interested parties may provide verbal or written testimony, which will be included in the final report to the legislature. There will be a 10-day open comment period following the public hearing for interested parties or the applicant to provide additional information in writing.
The Department Report will consist of:
The report will summarize comments submitted during the process. We intend to represent the full range of ideas and opinions available, not to individually represent every statement received. This means an individual’s letter may not necessarily be quoted or reproduced, but it does mean all viewpoints are taken into consideration during the formulation of recommendations.
Participants will have 10 days to respond to the draft report. This allows the opportunity for rebuttals or corrections to the record. Rebuttal statements are to be limited to 250 words and address only our recommendations. The draft is then reviewed, modified, and approved by our Director. The final report is transmitted via the Office of Financial Management to the Legislature and copies are sent to interested parties and the applicant. Unedited versions of rebuttal statements, if any, will be appended to the report.
|Day 1||Applicant report is received.|
|Day 5||Applicant report and hearing notice are distributed to interested parties.|
|Days 5-14||We review applicant report and prepare follow-up questions for applicant.|
|Days 14-28||Applicant prepares responses to supplemental questions.|
|Days 2-40||Our staff conduct necessary independent research on proposal. Interested parties review applicant report and submit written comments.|
|Day 40||Approximate date of public hearing.|
|Days 40-50||Public comment period on hearing information.|
|Day 75||We circulate draft report to interested parties for “rebuttal”|
|Day 85||Rebuttal statements due.|
|Days 85-111||Director of Department of Licensing reviews and approves final draft.|
|Day 111||Department Report submitted to Office of Financial Management.|