Did You Notice the Amendments to Washington’s Contractor Registration Act?

On January 12, 2010 by

Now that 2009 has drawn to a close, we have decided to review some movement in the Washington Legislature last year as it affects the construction industry.   Later this week, we’ll write about two new laws, one about workers compensation insurance enforcement, and the other about the definition of an “independent contractor” on prevailing wage jobs.

Today, however, we’ll focus on some small changes to the Washington Contractor Registration Act.

We previously wrote about the Contractor Registration Act in Washington, highlighting that the failure to comply with statutory requirements can result in severe penalties.  Many may not have taken notice of HB 1555 in the Washington legislature in 2009, but it passed the House and Senate, was signed by the governor and is now already law in the state.

The Reasoning Behind Amendments

All of these amendments were suggested (and passed) at the recommendation of the legislative task force on the underground economy in the construction industry.   This is a group put together in 2007 that has spent the past two years investigating those instances where contractors have worked without a license…and came up with ways to stop it.

The recommendations were made to the Washington legislature at the beginning of the 2009 legislative session, and have evolved into law.

What Has Changed?

This bill made some significant amendments to Washington statutes regulating contractor licensing.  Here are a few examples of important amendments:

  • Contractors must maintain and have available for L&I to inspect a list of all direct subcontractors and a copy of their certificate of registration.  Clearly, this is intended to make enforcement easier for L&I and shift the burden on contractor licensing up the chain.
  • Licensing Agencies are now granted authority to check on a company’s licensing status with another department.   So, for instance, when a contractor seeks a business license from King County, the county can contact L&I and ensure that that the contractor is registered according to law.
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On Jan 12, 2010