Legisletter – April 1, 2019

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Week Eleven
Budget Update
 
We are now at the point of session where all the budgets have been introduced. To help provide you with a quick glimpse of what is in those budgets that impacts agriculture directly, we have prepared the following summary for you.
House Operating Budget – Status – Passed out of House last Friday
Cons:
  • Depends upon passage of $4.2 billion in new taxes, including a new Capital Gains Tax
  • Increases state spending from $44.4 to $53 billion
  • H-2A Federal Farmworker Program – Provides no funding to Employment Security for implementation of this federal program.
Pros:
  • Voluntary Stewardship Program – Provides 8.4 million to the Conservation Commission for the ongoing implementation of VSP.
  • Conservation Commission – Provides $2 million for conservation districts to increase landowner participation in voluntary actions to protect fish habitat.
  • Wolf Management – Provides $954,000 to WDFW to implement HB 2097 that directs the department to begin assessing the population of grey wolves in Washington in order to determine if it is time for the state to remove wolves from its state protected species list.
  • Northeast WA Wolf-Livestock Management Grant Program – Provides $432,000 to WSDA for non-lethal deterrence resources, equipment and tools to reduce the problem of wolves attacking livestock.
  • Skagit Elk Damage – Provides $100,000 to reimburse farmers for losses related to crops, hay and fences caused by elk.
  • Farm-to-Market market funding – Provides $630,000 to Department of Agriculture for its Regional Markets program which includes the farm-to-school and small farm direct marketing programs.
  • Southwest WA Ag Economic Development – Provides $250,000 to WSDA to assist with grant applications, permitting and development of a food hub.
Senate Operating Budget – Status – Hearing today in Senate Ways & Means
Cons:
  • Increases state spending from $44.4 to $52.2 billion
  • Creates new Graduated Real Estate Excise Tax (SB 5991) that will impact the sale of farmland and agri-businesses.
  • Also proposing a Capital Gains Tax (SB 5961) to go after the “8,000 wealthiest Washingtonians.” Bill retains exemption for ag lands owned and managed for more than 10 years prior to sale.
  • Voluntary Stewardship Program – Provides no funding for ongoing implementation of VSP by conservation districts.
Pros:
  • Office of the Chehalis Basin – Provides $1.5 million to help reduce long-term damage from floods and restore aquatic species habitat in the basin.
  • Conservation Commission – Provides $1 million for conservation districts to increase landowner participation in voluntary actions to protect fish habitat.
  • Skagit elk fencing – Provides $400 to Department of Fish & Wildlife to pilot new styles of fencing at two location in Skagit County.
  • Non-lethal wolf deterrents – Provides $870,000 to WDFW to help reduce wolf attacks on livestock.
  • Wolf Management – Provides $512,000 to Department of Agriculture. $432,000 is for cost-share agreements with livestock producers to support non-lethal measures to minimize livestock losses from wolf attacks. $80,000 is for grants to the county sheriff’s offices in Ferry and Stevens county for their program to assist livestock producers experiencing wolf depredation.
  • Farm-to-Market market funding – Provides $500,000 to Department of Agriculture for its Regional Markets program which includes the farm-to-school and small farm direct marketing programs.
  • H-2A Farmworker Program – Provides $4.1 million to Employment Security to implement SB 5438.
H-2A Farmworker Fee Bill Update
 
The H-2A fee bill (SB 5438) was heard in the House Labor and Workplace Standards Committee last week. Testimony on the bill lasted for two hours! We are thankful that Rosella Mosby and April Clayton were available to represent Farm Bureau on a panel with the Auburn Food Bank. You can watch their testimony here.
This bill is scheduled for executive action tomorrow.
Key Hearings Scheduled For This Week
Location & Time
Farm Bureau Position
SB 5153/
Senate Operating budget 2019-2021
Ways & Means
Public
Senate Hearing Rm 4, Cherberg Building
04/01/2019@3:30 pm
Reviewing
SB 5134/
Senate Capital budget 2019-2021
Ways & Means
Executive
Senate Hearing Rm 4,
Cherberg Building
04/01/2019@3:30 pm
Reviewing
E2SSB 5116/
100 percent Clean energy
Finance
Executive
House Hearing Rm A,.
O’Brien Building
04/02/2019@8:00 am
Oppose
ESHB 1622/
Drought preparedness
Agriculture, Water, Natural Resources & Parks
Senate Hearing Rm 3, Cherberg Building
04/02/2019@1:30 pm
Support
2SHB 1579/
Chinook abundance
Agriculture, Water, Natural Resources & Parks
Executive
Senate Hearing Rm 3,
Cherberg Building
04/02/2019@1:30 pm
Concerns without amendments
ESHB 2097/
Statewide wolf recovery
Agriculture, Water, Natural Resources & Parks
Public
Senate Hearing Rm 3, Cherberg Building
04/02/2019@1:30 pm
Support
ESHB 2097/
Statewide wolf recovery
Agriculture, Water, Natural Resources & Parks
Executive
Senate Hearing Rm 3, Cherberg Building
04/02/2019@1:30 pm
Support
SSB 5135/
Toxic pollution
House Hearing Rm B, O’Brien Building
04/02/2019@3:30 pm
Oppose
E2SSB 5438/
H-2A – Ag & seasonal workforce service
Labor & Workplace Standards
Executive
House Hearing Rm E, O’Brien Building
04/02/2019@3:30 pm
Oppose until amended
ESHB 1109/
House Operating budget
Ways & Means
Executive
Senate Hearing Rm 4, Cherberg Building
04/02/2019@3:30 pm
Reviewing
ESSB 5959/
Livestock
identification
Rural Development,
Agriculture, & Natural
Resources
Executive
House Hearing Rm B, O’Brien Building
04/03/2019@8:00 am
Neutral
2SSB 5947/Sustainable farms and fields
Rural Development,
Agriculture, & Natural
Resources
Executive
House Hearing Rm B, O’Brien Building
04/03/2019@8:00 am
Oppose without amendment
E2SSB 5116/
100 Percent Clean energy
Finance
Executive
House Hearing Rm A, O’Brien Building
04/04/2019@8:00 am
Oppose
2SSB 5511/
Broadband service
Capital Budget
Public
House Hearing Rm B, O’Brien Building
04/04/2019@9:00 am
Support
E2SHB1110/
Low Carbon Fuel Standard
Transportation
Public
Senate Hearing Rm 1, Cherberg Building
04/04/2019@1:30 pm
Oppose