Honeyford bills will create jobs for teens, reduce clerical burdens

Senator Jim HoneyfordGov. Jay Inslee signed two bills Tuesday that will benefit businesses in Washington and hopefully put more people to work. Senate Bills 5056 and 5770, both sponsored by 15th District Sen. Jim Honeyford of Sunnyside, make it easier for businesses to hire minors and reduce the clerical burdens of small conservation districts.

“Employers shared with us when they came to testify in support of these measures that they have to fill out an entirely new master business-license application just to hire young people,” said Honeyford, the top Republican on the Senate’s rural economic-development committee. “This bill pares the required information to only what is essential, thereby allowing businesses to create more opportunities for young people to find work and develop lifelong employment skills.”

SB 5056 will free up employers to hire more minors by simplifying the paperwork a business must process. State law requires employers to obtain a minor work-permit endorsement by completing all sections of the master business-license application and paying a $15 processing fee. Under the law created by Honeyford’s bill, an employer would only complete specific portions of the application that indicate the number of minors to be hired, the duties of the minors and the estimated number of hours they would work.

SB 5770 authorizes local conservation districts to pay their employees via direct deposit – something conservation districts may do now only if 25 or more employees request the service in writing. Honeyford said it’s rare for conservation districts have more than 25 employees, so the law needed to be altered to fit their circumstances.

“This session has been about jobs, education and the budget, and I believe my bills directly reflect those priorities,” Honeyford added. “Both of these bills passed the House and the Senate unanimously, so I’m very pleased to see them become law.”

Honeyford’s bills take effect July 27.