PO Box 40100
Olympia, WA 98504-0100
The Government Compliance and Enforcement Division (GCE) includes 30 attorneys and 23 professional staff located on the Capitol Campus in Olympia. GCE provides legal services to nearly 40 state agencies, boards, and commissions, including those that protect citizens by regulating health care providers, insurers, liquor and marijuana establishments, gambling, campaign finance, ethics, financial institutions, and more. GCE’s attorneys litigate in administrative forums, as well as handling some cases in Superior Court and the state’s appellate courts under the judicial review provisions of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA).
Legal Services Provided
GCE is divided into four sections:
The Advice and Compliance Section advises the offices of three elected officials: the Secretary of State, the Insurance Commissioner, and the State Auditor. Other section clients include the Office of Equity, the Office of Minority and Women’s Business Enterprises, the Washington Historical Society, the Human Rights Commission, the Governor’s Subcabinet on Supplier Diversity, the African-American Affairs Commission, the Asian American Affairs Commission, the Hispanic Affairs Commission, the Women’s Commission, and the LGBTQ Commission. Section attorneys provide advice on a comprehensive range of legal issues, including the scope of an agency’s authority, public records, open public meetings, contracts, and rulemaking. The section advises the Gambling Commission in tribal gaming compact negotiations. Two section attorneys are appointed as members of the State Records Committee and Local Records Committee, which are charged with approval of public records retention schedules.
The Health Section litigates on behalf of the Boards and Commissions that regulate health care professions, including the Washington Medical Commission, the Dental Quality Assurance Commission, the Pharmacy Quality Assurance Commission, the Washington State Board of Nursing, and the Chiropractic Quality Assurance Commission. The section’s cases involve a wide variety of allegations including provider impairment; practicing below the standard of care; involvement in drug diversion; overprescribing opioids, or engaging in sexual misconduct.
The Regulatory and Enforcement Section litigates cases on behalf of numerous regulatory agencies. Section clients include: the Criminal Justice Training Commission, which investigates certified peace officers and corrections officers, and has the authority to revoke their certifications; the Public Disclosure Commission, which enforces the state’s laws requiring information to be disclosed to the public as to the financing of political campaigns, lobbyist expenditures, and the financial affairs of public officials and candidates; and the Department of Financial Institutions, which protects consumers and the state’s financial health by regulating consumer loan companies, mortgage brokers, securities issuers, broker dealers, investment advisers, payday lenders, escrow agents, credit unions and banks. Other section clients include the Executive Ethics Board, the Horse Racing Commission, and the Certified Professional Guardian Board.
The Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB)/Washington State Patrol (WSP) Section represents LCB by litigating cases that promote public safety through the enforcement of the state’s liquor, cannabis and tobacco laws and regulations. The Section represents a variety of WSP programs, including Towing and Wrecking, Impound, Asset Forfeiture, Ignition Interlock, Emergency Vehicle, and the State Fire Marshal. GCE also advises WSP concerning the implementation of the Speed Safety Camera law, ESSB 5272 (2023).