The legislature finds that the COVID-19 pandemic is an anomaly in world history. The strategies employed in an effort to protect Washington residents and businesses were informed by much information and disinformation. Therefore, it is the legislature's intent to declare a general amnesty for all civil penalties imposed on Washington residents and businesses for the violation of any activity, business activity, or conditions of operation for businesses, regulated under the emergency proclamations issued in direct response to the novel coronavirus COVID-19.
This section adds a new section to an existing chapter 43.06. Here is the modified chapter for context.
An agency may not impose a civil penalty for a violation of an activity, business activity, or condition of operation, regulated under an emergency proclamation issued pursuant to this chapter in direct response to the novel coronavirus COVID-19.
Any civil penalty, including interests, imposed on Washington residents or businesses for a violation of an activity, business activity, or condition of operation, regulated under an emergency proclamation issued pursuant to this chapter in direct response to the novel coronavirus COVID-19 is rescinded. Any agency that has issued a civil penalty for such violation shall: (a) Notify the recipient of the penalty that the civil penalty imposed is rescinded; and (b) return any funds collected as payment for the civil penalties to its original owner.
For purposes of this section:
"Agency" means all state agencies and all local agencies. "State agency" includes every state office, department, division, bureau, board, commission, or other state agency. "Local agency" includes every county, city, town, municipal corporation, quasi-municipal corporation, or special purpose district, or any office, department, division, bureau, board, commission, or agency thereof, or other local public agency.
"Civil penalty" means a monetary penalty administratively issued by a regulatory agency for noncompliance with state law or rules and includes interest or late fees owed on any existing obligation. The term does not include any criminal penalty, damage assessments, or taxes owed.
This section applies to all violations regardless of when such violation occurred. To this extent, this section applies retroactively, but in all other respects, it applies prospectively.