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Rep. Pike shares regulatory reform wish list at 'Business Kitchen Cabinet'

October 31, 2013 J

Lawmaker meets with local business owners, leaders

CAMAS — State Rep. Liz Pike on Wednesday shared a wish list with Clark County business leaders of the regulatory reforms she hopes to pass during future legislative sessions.

The Camas Republican’s list includes: a six-month training wage for workers 21 and younger that would be lower than minimum wage; a cap on the amount a business must pay if its worker is injured on the job while under the influence of drugs or alcohol; pension cuts for seasonal employees working nine or fewer months each year for a small city; and prevailing wage exemptions for city projects that cost less than $5 million. Prevailing wage is the rate a business must pay its construction workers when they build a public project, such as a highway.

Another bill would create a new oversight process when a state agency, such as the Department of Ecology or the Department of Revenue, creates a rule. If that new rule meets enough resistance from legislators, industry groups or voters, or if costs a business at least $10 million, then that rule would be reviewed by state lawmakers.

“The agencies are run by nonelected bureaucrats,” Pike told eight Clark County business owners and industry representatives gathered at her district office Wednesday morning.

Already anticipating a backlash from labor groups, Pike said she plans to tinker with her ideas to make them more palatable to her colleagues across the aisle. “All of these bills are heavy lifts,” she added.

Tracy Doriot, owner of Vancouver’s Doriot Construction, told Pike that he liked her idea about reviewing the rules state agencies pass. “It might scare some of those guys straight,” he said. “Maybe they’d be a little more judicious about the rules that they do write.”

Pike dubbed her meeting on Wednesday a “business kitchen cabinet,” designed to foster a better business climate in Washington state and improve the economy. “Entrepreneurs are looking elsewhere in the country to locate their businesses due to Washington’s burdensome regulatory and tax climate,” Pike said recently in a news release announcing the event. She hosted a similar roundtable discussion on Sept. 4.

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