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02-01-2011, 08:47 PM #1
Washington Inspectors: Public Hearing Tomorrow on HB 1371
Washington state licensed inspectors,
There will be a public hearing tomorrow morning at the State Capitol ref. HB 1371 - 2011-12 - a bill to eliminate boards and commissions. The hearing is to be held in the House Committee on State Government & Tribal Affairs at 8:00 AM.
Due to the current economic crisis in the state of Washington, the Governor has proposed to eliminate many boards and commissions. One of these is the Washington State Home Inspectors Advisory Licensing Board. Under this bill, the state's board will cease to exist after 2013 and all decisions pertaining to rules governing home inspectors would then be vested solely in the Director Department of Licensing.
Washington licensed inspectors that can't attend the hearing but wish to voice their approval or disapproval of the governor's decision should contact Kelly A. Wicker, Executive Policy Advisor & Special Assistant for External Affairs, Office of Governor Gregoire.
Ms. Wicker can be reached at 360.902.0574/360.584.5467(Cell)/360.586.8380 (Fax) or via email to Kelly.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Your Inspector LLC.
Wa. Lic. Home Inspector #202
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02-03-2011, 08:04 AM #2
Re: Washington Inspectors: Public Hearing Tomorrow on HB 1371
Virginia Association of Real Estate Inspectors . We have members from all across the state. The function of the group is to provide a legislative watchdog service on our General Assembly. We hire a professional lobbyist who notifies the board of directors when anything comes up in the legislature that could affect home inspectors. Sometimes it's a non-issue. Sometimes, like this year it was monitoring bills that had to do with licensing energy audit providers and providing some rewording of the bills to make sure home inspectors wouldn't get dumped on.
It is important to have a group to resist unfavorable legislation. The lone voice seldom carries any weight. Having a well known respected professional interface with the legislators can be extremely helpful. You want to get into the act during the subcommittee stage. Modify it or kill in the subcommittees before it can become media fodder.
The above statements are expressed solely as my opinion and in all probability will conflict with someone else's.
Stu, Fredericksburg VA
02-03-2011, 09:30 AM #3
Re: Washington Inspectors: Public Hearing Tomorrow on HB 1371
Sage advice. Actually, I'm pretty familiar with the process.We have the Washington Home Inspector's Legislative Advisary Group (WHILAG) here. It's a coalition of inspectors with representatives from all associations plus independents. It was formed in 2006 when a senator here first proposed licensing.
WHILAG got the senator's proposed legislation killed in committee two years in a row. When it became clear that support for the idea of licensing was gaining favor in Olympia, and that 2008 was going to be her year, WHILAG managed to convince the local ASHI chapter to help and that chapter directed its lobbyist to follow WHILAG's lead and threw it's support behind WHILAG; because the alternative - a board made up of non-inspectors who would write the rules under which we labor - was not something any of us wanted.
WHILAG then fielded members day after day who went to Olympia along with other inspector volunteers; and, with the help of the lobbyist, made the rounds of the capitol to press pols to resist licensing unless the board makeup was inspectors and not civilians and to make the case for why inspectors and not civilians should write rules for the profession instead of a non-inspectors staff under the Director.
As soon as the senator introduced her bill in the 2008 session, WHILAG got friends in the legislature to submit a companion bill that stymied her. She'd been pretty much giving WHILAG lip service for two years to that point but that got her attention. She contacted WHILAG and asked for a sit down. She got her sit down and a compromise was ironed out wherein her board of realtors, professional educators, engineers and non-inspectors was dumped in favor of a board consisting of 100% inspectors and she agreed to other changes WHILAG wanted. She amended her bill, the companion bill was withdrawn and her bill passed and was signed into law in June of 2008.
The board has worked diligently here for nearly the past three years to develop the SOP and COE and rules for inspectors. It has done a lot to protect inspectors here from special interests who would like to see us laboring under more onerous rules dreamed up by non-inspectors and it's been instrumental in stymying a group of inspectors here that was intent on dumping the education and testing requirements of the law so that they could be grandfathered without proving that they could do what they claim to be able to do - inspect homes. Since the windows for grandfathering have expired and the program has been fully implemented, the system has been working very well and none of the dire predictions made by those who'd opposed WHILAG's efforts has come true.
By law, the whole licensing program must be revenue neutral. When it turned out that the actual number of inspectors in the state was about half of what the DOL had estimated when it had done its sunrise study years before, DOL had to cut way back on staff committment and hours for the program in order to meet the revenue neutral mandate. That didn't hurt inspectors because the board's work continued unabated and unaffected by any budget. The board really isn't costing taxpayers a dime and is paid for by those who benefit the most from the board's work - home inspectors - so eliminating the board and vesting the future of every inspector in the state in the hands of a non-inspector that is likely to change with each subsequent governor is not something any of us want.
WHILAG continues to monitor what's going on in Olympia with the help of the lobbyist and inspectors here can still support WHILAG's efforts. In the meantime, the board will continue to do its work on behalf of inspectors. As it stands right now, the board members know that the board is to be eliminated in 2013 so the board will be busy for the next year or so trying to work out any wrinkles in the systems so that, if/when the board is eliminated, the program can pretty much run itself.
ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!