The legislature recognizes that COVID-19 has devastated the existing child care industry, making it challenging for providers to stay in business providing care to working families of Washington state. The legislature recognizes that a robust economic recovery is contingent upon access to affordable child care services. The legislature finds that the vast majority of child care providers are small businesses and nonprofit organizations. The legislature further finds that numerous child care providers have closed for business during the pandemic, either temporarily or permanently. The legislature finds that fees to become a child care provider have increased steadily in recent years. The legislature recognizes the pressing need for providers to enter the market and provide needed care services. Therefore, the legislature resolves to strengthen our economic recovery by prohibiting fees for child care licenses to incentivize new and returning providers to enter the market.
The secretary may not charge fees to the licensee for obtaining a child care license.
If specific funding for the purposes of this act, referencing this act by bill or chapter number, is not provided by June 30, 2021, in the omnibus appropriations act, this act is null and void.