Vancouver Business Journal

Thu04172014

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 Business Growth Award finalists announced

Business Growth Award finalists announced

14 businesses have been named finalists for the Vancouver Business Journal's 201...

Is Food Processing part of Port “Comprehensive Scheme”?

Is Food Processing part of Port “Comprehensive Scheme”?

The leaders of a Clark County food processing company will bring their efforts t...

Developers cautious but developing

Developers cautious but developing

Although the Great Recession is behind us, many businesses and individuals are s...

Exploring Business Case for Tesoro-Savage Oil Terminal

Exploring Business Case for Tesoro-Savage Oil Terminal

In a few weeks, Tesoro-Savage will publish an economic impact study, conducted b...

The Art of the Deal

The Art of the Deal

Local business transaction attorneys agree -- deals are deals. However, they als...

Excursion company bringing riverboat, regional office to Vancouver

Excursion company bringing riverboat, regional office to Vancouver

The American Queen Steamboat Company (AQSC), a Memphis-based excursion/tour comp...

Design & Construction

Commercial development: Building for tomorrow

Commercial development: Building for tomorrow

If commercial developers feel like circus performers walking a tightrope, there is good reason.

Limited financing, escalating regulatory and raw material costs, and still-low property valuations make penciling out a project difficult. And yet, workforce trends and emerging technologies demand designs that look to the future.

Build to the budget

According to Ron Frederiksen, president of RSV Bui...

Real Estate & Development

Developers cautious but developing

Developers cautious but developing

Although the Great Recession is behind us, many businesses and individuals are still feeling the effects. Local developers were some of the hardest-hit, and for a few years now have been consistently saying that they’re still digging their way out. As building season for 2014 gets underway, we checked in with a few local developers to see how business is looking for this year and beyond. Are we fi...

News Briefs

Ten things: How to better connect with your legislators

Seven state legislators gathered at the Heathman Lodge this afternoon to discuss the previous legislative session in Olympia with members of the business community.

Participants in the second annual “Legislative Review Luncheon” included Sen. Don Benton; Sen. Annette Cleveland; Rep. Paul Harris; Rep. Ed Orcutt; Rep. Liz Pike; Sen. Ann Rivers; and Rep. Brandon Vick.

Spotlight

Blind Onion Pizza poised for future growth

Blind Onion Pizza poised for future growth

Gene Schwendiman brought 30 years of restaurant management and operations experience to Blind Onion Pizza in 2001. Over the years, the number of stores expanded and contracted, slicing into new territory until three separate markets developed – Portland, Vancouver and Reno. The ownership group agreed to divide and conquer, each partner retreating into individual entities, with Schwendiman focusing...

Legislature tackles construction’s ‘underground economy’

In 2007, the Washington Legislature created a task force to help formulate state policy addressing the so-called “underground economy” of the construction industry. The Legislature sought to increase oversight of the construction industry to ensure unlicensed contractors are held accountable for failure to comply with state registration requirements.

In 2007, the Washington Legislature created a task force to help formulate state policy addressing the so-called “underground economy” of the construction industry. The Legislature sought to increase oversight of the construction industry to ensure unlicensed contractors are held accountable for failure to comply with state registration requirements.

After just one year in existence, the task force proposed a number of measures to crack down on unregistered contractors – most of which were enacted into law on March 21, 2008.

What’s new

Among the more interesting provisions of the new law is the requirement that the Department of Labor and Industries create an expanded social marketing campaign aimed at warning consumers of the risks and potential consequences of hiring unregistered contractors. This campaign will likely include an increase in public service announcements focused on encouraging the public and properly registered contractors to report suspected fraud.

In addition, the law now requires contractors applying for registration to submit a unified business identifier number. If no UBI number is provided, L&I must deny the application. A related requirement obligates the department to suspend a contractor’s registration if it discovers that a currently registered contractor does not have an active certificate of registration with the Department of Revenue.

Finally, a contractor’s registration will be suspended if it falsifies information on its registration application.

Consequences of noncompliance

Contractors who violate these new provisions – along with requirements delineated under the prior law – can be subjected to some tough penalties. One of the more serious consequences prohibits a contractor from bidding on any public works project in Washington for a year if he or she commits two violations of any of the following within a five-year period: willfully violating contractor registration laws, knowingly misrepresenting payroll or employee hours to L&I, failing to maintain certificate of coverage under industrial insurance requirements, or violating the contractor registration laws.

In addition, any contractor who submits false information in a registration application can be subjected to penalties up to $10,000.

More enforcement on the horizon

When Gov. Chris Gregoire signed the bill into law in March, she also vetoed a number of provisions that would have provided additional funding for enforcement activities. The original bill would have required both L&I and the Employment Security Department to hire more staff for enforcement of these provisions. Additionally, funding would have been dedicated to the Office of the Attorney General for prosecuting contractor compliance cases.

While these funding provisions were removed from the bill, the governor’s comments on the veto include direction to L&I to hire additional investigative staff in its fraud and audit team so that the law may be appropriately implemented.

In addition, the task force will meet until the end of 2008 in order to provide further recommendations to the Legislature in upcoming sessions.

All told, these new laws should be helpful to those contractors who are properly registered. By providing tools to both L&I and ESD to crack down on the “underground economy,” the Legislature assists all of the above-board contractors in securing additional work and reducing the number of unregistered contractors competing for that business.

 

Kelly Walsh is an attorney in the Vancouver office of Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt. She can be reached at 360-905-1432 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Opinion

Focus Column

Building “failures” and how to avoid them

Building “failures” and how to avoid them

The recent collapses of the I-5 Bridge over the Skagit River and the floor of the Vancouver Warehouse and Distribution C...

“THINK”ing about construction

“THINK”ing about construction

A surprising resource in Clark County is the “THINK!” program, which is a collaboration between the Building Industry As...

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