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Thursday, March 1, 2012

Rep Cindy Ryu's Rescue and Evacuation Bill Passed - Headed for Governor's Desk

Rep Cindy Ryu (D-32)

OLYMPIA—The Senate today agreed unanimously with state Rep. Cindy Ryu that air rescue and evacuation services deserve a regulatory safe harbor that will help them to continue operating in Washington state.

“Relieving businesses of unnecessary regulatory burdens is good for them, their workers and our economy,” said Ryu (D-Shoreline). “We worked closely with consumers and the Office of the Insurance Commissioner to ensure that consumers will continue to be well-protected without adding a costly layer of government mandates.”

Travelers subscribe to air rescue and evacuation services such as Global Rescue LLC to ensure they will be rescued from potential disaster in case of serious injuries, earthquakes, political instability or other threats to life and limb.

Travel-rescue contracts have traditionally been regulated as subscription services in Washington.  But a review of these contracts by the Office of the Insurance Commissioner concluded that technically the law requires them to be regulated as insurers.  Ryu’s reform prevents air and rescue services from being reclassified as insurers and subjected to extensive—and expensive—new regulatory costs.

Industry spokesman Mel Sorenson told lawmakers in January that it was “exceedingly likely” that the industry could not continue serving Washington residents and businesses without the regulatory safe harbor provided by Ryu’s legislation, House Bill 2188.

“Air rescue and evacuation services can make the difference between life and death for some travelers, while providing peace of mind to others,” said Ryu.  “Keeping these services available to our citizens is important, and the unanimous House and Senate support we received shows that we achieved this goal while maintaining high standards of consumer protection.”

The measure now needs only Gov. Chris Gregoire’s signature to become law.

Cindy Ryu was elected in 2010 to the State Legislature, representing the 32nd Leg District. She posed for a photo with other "Freshman Legislators" there yesterday. The Freshman Democrats are tackling budget problems, by proposing different solutions.

Finally, the chance to talk about real revenue reform
 with my freshman colleagues
Andy BilligConnie LadenburgDerek Stanford,
Luís Saul MoscosoKris LyttonCindy RyuJoe Fitzgibbon,
Gerry PolletChris ReykdalSharon Wylie and Steve Tharinger

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