Gov. Jay Inslee signed three new proclamations today in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. Two of the proclamations extend existing ones related to truck driver hours and utility ratepayer assistance. The third waives and suspends laws that impact community associations meetings and late fees.
The three proclamations are as follows:
- Truck Driver Hours Extension: The original proclamation on March 18 waived/suspended the restrictions on truck driver hours through April 17.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has extended the federal restrictions through May 15. After consulting with the state’s Emergency Management Division, an extension of the state’s waiver of these rules continues to be needed. This proclamation extends the state waiver of truck driver hours restrictions through May 15 as well.
- UTC Ratepayer Assistance Extension: The original proclamation on March 18 waived and suspended certain laws relating to the operation of utilities in order to provide relief to utility payers through the state Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC). It was extended to May 4 by the Legislature.
This new proclamation, which is retroactive to March 23, the date that the Stay Home, Stay Healthy was issued, expands upon the prior proclamation to prohibit all energy, landline phone, and water providers in Washington from:
(1) disconnecting any residential customers due to nonpayment (except at the request of the customer);
(2) refusing to reconnect any residential customer who has been disconnected due to nonpayment; and
(3) charging fees for late repayment or reconnection of these services. The proclamation strongly encourages utilities to adopt flexible credit and billing practices and work with customers to set up payment arrangements. The updated proclamation is effective through May 4.
Please note: this proclamation does not relieve utility customers from their obligation to pay utility bills.
- Community Associations Meetings and Late Fees: This proclamation waives and suspends laws that create barriers to holding community association meetings remotely and also waives/suspends statutes that permit the imposition and collection of fees for late payment of community assessments.