Legisletter – Week 6 – February 21, 2020

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We have two action alerts for you this week!

A new bill to ban “high-capacity” magazines – HB 2947
The battle against our gun rights continues. While the original bills failed to pass, this new bill, HB 2947, would ban the manufacture, possession, sale, transfer, etc., of magazines that hold more than fifteen rounds of ammunition. It appropriates funds for the State Patrol to develop a “buy-back” program which is nothing more than propaganda for gun control advocates while failing to promote public safety in any measurable way.
What bill supporters refer to “high capacity” magazines are in fact standard equipment for commonly owned firearms that many Americans legally and effectively use for an entire range of legitimate purposes, such as self-defense or competition. Those who own non-compliant magazines prior to the ban are only allowed to possess them on their own property and in other limited instances such as at licensed shooting ranges or while hunting. Restricted magazines would have to be transported unloaded and locked separately from firearms and stored at home locked, making them unavailable for self-defense.
Action Needed: Please email or call your state representative today and ask them to OPPOSE HB 2947.
Urban legislators attempting to ban chlorpyrifos (Lorsban) – SB 6518
In an attempt to go around existing regulatory process, a bill is working its way through the Legislature that would ban the of the pesticide chlorpyrifos on most crops in Washington. While there are some exemptions to this ban, this bill would greatly impact the tree fruit industry and others that currently have no workable alternative to chlorpyrifos. This bill will be heard in the House Rural Development, Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee on Wednesday, Feb. 26 at 8 am. This is the same day as our WFB Ag Day at the Capital.
Action Needed: Please come to Olympia and sign in opposed to the bill and participate in our Ag Day. While you don’t have to testify, we are looking for people who would be willing to talk about how this bill would impact your farm. Email Tom Davis at tdavis@wsfb.com if you have any questions or are able to come to Olympia for the hearing.
During the last few weeks we have been sharing real-time updates about our highest priority bills. We have tracked hundreds of bills thus far. This past week, we crossed another legislative milestone, the third cut-off day. This means that if a proposed bill has not passed out of it’s house of origin, it is considered dead. It is important to know that no bill is ever truly dead until the final gavel tap of the 2020 session. This week’s updates will include all of the bills we have introduced in the past Legisletters as well as their current status.

Are they alive or dead?

Here are the good bills we’ve reported on: 
  •  HB 1622 allows the Dept. of Ecology to proactively respond to foreseeable drought conditions to reduce future or current hardship (instead of providing relief after the drought has occurred). This bill recently had a hearing and executive action taken in the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Water, Natural Resources & Parks.
  • HB 2498 requires the Department of Natural Resources, for the first time, to compensate a lessee when the department triggers an early termination of the lease. This would allow the lessee to receive compensation for lost revenue and improvements made to the land leased for agricultural or grazing purposes. This bill is scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Water, Natural Resources and Parks on 2/28.
  • HB 2906 directs WDFW to prioritize the use of radio collars on wolves and to strive to have collars on at least two wolves in each pack in the state. This bill passed the House agriculture committee today. This bill is in the Senate Agriculture, Water, Natural Resources & Parks Committee.
  • SB 5947 has been referred to as the carbon farming bill. This bill concerned us when it was first introduced last session. After working with bill supporters over the summer, we were able to rewrite the language and can now support it. This bill provides grant funding to farmers to continue the good work they are already doing, including sequestering carbon, and to implement new practices that make sense on their farm. This program will need its own funding source to make it successful. This bill is in the House agriculture committee awaiting an executive session.
  • SB 6306 creates the Washington Soil Health initiative. This bill intends to provide research, education and technical assistance to implement a soil health stewardship program. This bill also has a budget request of $1.7 million annually to get the program up and running. This bill is scheduled for executive session in the House Committee on Rural Development, Agriculture, & Natural Resources on 2/28.
  • SB 6315 sponsored by Sen. Jeff Holy (R-Spokane), that states the Department of Ecology cannot enforce an agency policy as a rule unless that policy has gone through formal rulemaking. This bill did not make it out of committee.
  • SB 6382 creates a state meat inspection program allowing more access for small to mid-scale farmers to sell their products to consumers. Currently, the goal for this bill would be to work with the department to get the cost of the inspection program down. This bill passed out of the Senate unanimously and has a hearing in the House agriculture committee on 2/25.
  •  SB 6545 opens up the Voluntary Stewardship Program for additional counties to opt in until 2021. VSP is a non-regulatory alternative within the state Growth Management Act that Farm Bureau has championed for many years. This would be a great win for agriculture in the counties that decide to opt in. This bill did not pass out of the Senate. SB 6352 sponsored by Sen. Judy Warnick (R-Moses Lake), supports local review of alternative energy facilities (e.g. solar farms) by making them ineligible for an expedited review process that can subvert local input or decision making. This bill did not make it out of committee.
Here’s an update on the bills we have opposed this session:
  • HB 1110 creates a low carbon fuel standard that would increase per gallon fuel prices in the state by as much as 57 cents. This would impact fuel and production costs of farmers. This bill passed the House and we are waiting to see what direction the Senate will take. In addition, the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency may step in to continue their regional proposal in Snohomish, Kitsap, King and Pierce counties. This bill is scheduled for an executive session this next week in the Senate Environment Energy & Technology Committee. No hearing has ever been held in the Senate on this bill.
  • HB 2311 and SB 6272 seek to establish unrealistic greenhouse gas emission limits beginning in 2030. SB 6272 did not pass out of committee, but HB 2311 is scheduled for executive session in the Senate Environment, Energy & Technology Committee on 2/25.
  • HB 2317/SB 6300 are companion animal cruelty bills that were sold as legislation to protect cats and dogs, but the bill’s broad language opens the door to animal rights organizations to harass livestock producers. Fortunately, many changes were made to this bill, including the removal of the definition of pain. The House version of this bill did not move forward, but the Senate version did with all the agreed upon changes to the bill.
  • HB 2415 would require special purpose districts to go through general elections. This would have severely impacted the funding that special purpose districts have to fund projects. This bill died in committee.
  • HB 2427 adds climate change as a new goal to the Growth Management Act. The committee did make the bill less bad by applying it only to larger counties and dropped the requirements on counties to achieve fewer overall miles driven and a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. We still oppose this bad and unnecessary bill. This bill is scheduled for public hearing in the Senate Local Government Committee on 2/25.
  • HB 2549 establishes salmon recovery as a new goal within the Growth Management Act and requires all projects meet a new net ecological gain standard. One problem – the bill does not define this new regulatory standard, thereby creating a regulatory nightmare. This bill did not make it out of committee.
  • HB 2550 is the Net Ecological Gain bill, a bill that was a recommendation from the Orca Task Force. This bill failed to pass out of the House Appropriations Committee, but will likely become a study funded in the budget. It will likely be back for consideration next session, especially since it was a priority of many environmental groups.
  • HB 2824 was referred to as the “Circus Bill.” Fortunately, this bill was dead on arrival. The initial intention was for circus acts, but the unintended consequences was the impact to rodeo, fairs and livestock shows. This bill never got a hearing and died in committee.
  • SB 5412 creates a Low Carbon Fuel Standard which could raise fuel costs by 57 cents a gallon and provide no additional revenue for road projects. This bill died in committee.
  •  SB 5981 implements a greenhouse gas emissions cap and trade program. There is currently no on-farm fuel tax exemption for farmers. This would be a 16 to 18 cent per gallon increase on your fuel. While this bill died in committee, there are rumors this bill language may show up in another bill this session. Stay tuned.
  • SB 6261 would mandate the rehiring of employees that have filed a complaint against an employer in any capacity. An amendment was passed on the Senate floor that completely removed sections two and three of the bill that included all of the complaint and retaliation language. Although this bill is still moving, it has been amended to a place where WA Farm Bureau can be comfortably neutral. This bill is scheduled for executive session in the House on Labor & Workplace Standards Committee on 2/27.
  • SB 6324 concerns the financial reporting of special election districts. This bill would give a county the right to dissolve any special purpose district if the district has not properly filed a financial report in two or more years. We support the approach used in this bill to address the real problem that a very small number of special purpose districts are facing without negatively impacted the other hundred or so districts. This bill is scheduled for executive session in the House Local Government Committee on 2/28.
  • SB 6335 would require Growth Management Act counties to mitigate for climate change. Note that the main sponsor of this bill is a senator with NO rural or ag land in his district. This bill did not pass out of committee.
  • SB 6518 could ban the use of the pesticide chlorpyrifos on most crops in Washington. While there are some exemptions to this ban, this bill would greatly impact the tree fruit industry that currently has no workable alternative to chlorpyrifos. This bill passed out of the Senate and is now in the House agriculture committee. There will be a hearing on 2/26.
  • SB 6628 gives the Department of Ecology the authority to pass carbon policy via rulemaking. This gives unelected bureaucracy the power to make significant policy changes rather than going through the Legislature. This is certainly one of the worst policy bills to be introduced this session. While this bill did not pass the Senate, this bill is likely to reappear before the end of session. Stay tuned.
High Priority Bills

 

Bill # Abbrev. Title Short Description Status Sponsor Position
E2SHB 1110 (SB 5412) Greenhouse gas/transp. fuels Reducing the greenhouse gas emissions associated with transportation fuels. S Environment, En Fitzgibbon Oppose
E2SHB 2311 (SB 6272) Greenhouse gas emissions Amending state greenhouse gas emission limits for consistency with the most recent assessment of climate change science. S Environment, E Slatter Oppose
SHB 2498 DNR lease termination Providing compensation to department of natural resources lessees whose leases are terminated for reasons other than default. S Ag/Water/Natura Corry Support
HB 2559 (SB 6365) WDFW/payments in lieu of tax Concerning payments in lieu of real property taxes by the department of fish and wildlife. H Approps Springer Support
SHB 2906 Gray wolf radio collars Concerning the use of radio collars on gray wolves by the department of fish and wildlife. S Ag/Water/Natura Kretz Support
HB 2947 Firearms safety measures Establishing firearms-related safety measures. H Finance Valdez Oppose
ESSB 6261 Farm labor contractor system Strengthening the farm labor contractor system by removing an exemption for nonprofits, prohibiting retaliation and the use of farm labor contractors in certain circumstances, and establishing liability for related violations. H Labor & Workpla McCoy Oppose
SSB 6306 Soil health initiative Creating the Washington soil health initiative. H RDev, Ag&NR Liias Support
SSB 6329 (SHB 2696) Meat and poultry misbranding Concerning the misbranding of meat and poultry products. S 2nd Reading Warnick Support
SB 6365 (HB 2559) WDFW/payments in lieu of tax Concerning payments in lieu of real property taxes by the department of fish and wildlife. S 2nd Reading Warnick Support
ESSB 6440 (HB 2689) Workers’ comp medical exam Concerning industrial insurance medical examinations. H Labor & Workpla Stanford Oppose
E2SSB 6518 Pesticide, chlorpyrifos Reducing prenatal exposure and harm to children by limiting environmental exposure to certain pesticides. H RDev, Ag&NR Rolfes Oppose
SSB 6628 Greenhouse gas/fossil fuels Concerning emissions of greenhouse gases. S 2nd Reading Carlyle Oppose

Medium Priority Bills

 

Bill # Abbrev. Title Short Description Status Sponsor Position
SSB 1622 Drought preparedness and response Concerning drought preparedness and response S Ag passed Blake Support
2SHB 1733 (SSB 5543) Productive farmland Retaining productive farmland. S Ag/Water/Natura Gregerson Support
HB 1983 Natural resource management Concerning natural resource management activities. S Ag/Water/Natur Maycumber Support
SHB 2712 Beef country of origin Requiring retailers to indicate the country of origin on beef sold to the public. S Ag/Water/Natura Kretz Support
SHB 2714 (SB 6498) Riparian easement carbon val Valuing the carbon in forest riparian easements. S Ag/Water/Natura Hoff Support
EHB 2819 (SSB 6578) Pumped storage projects Designating pumped storage projects located in a county bordering the Columbia river utilizing statutorily authorized water rights to be projects of statewide significance. S Ag/Water/Natura Mosbrucker Support
HB 2940 Wild Skagit river Restoring a wild Skagit river. H Approps Kretz Support
2SSB 5947 (HB 2095) Sustainable farms and fields Establishing the sustainable farms and fields grant program. H RDev, Ag&NR McCoy Support
SSB 5972 Additive trans funding Concerning additive transportation funding and appropriations. S Transportation Hobbs Oppose
ESSB 6012 Renewable energy incentives Promoting renewable energy through modifying tax incentives. H Finance Hawkins Support
ESSB 6147 Shoreline armoring Concerning the replacement of shoreline armoring. H RDev, Ag&NR Salomon Oppose
SSB 6216 Paid leave/application Concerning the application of the family and medical leave program in Title 50A RCW to specific classes of individuals. S 2nd Reading Keiser Support
SB 6316 Law enf./num. of citations Prohibiting the consideration of the number of citations for traffic infractions issued by a law enforcement officer in the performance review of the officer. H Labor & Workpla Holy Support
ESSB 6324 District financial reporting Concerning special purpose district financial reporting. H Local Govt Takko Support
SB 6350 (HB 2659) Vehicle taxes & fees Limiting state and local taxes, fees, and other charges relating to vehicles. S Transportation Fortunato Support
2SSB 6382 Meat and poultry processing Concerning state-inspected commercial custom meat facilities. S Passed 3rd Ericksen Support
ESB 6421 Farm internship program Extending the farm internship program. H Labor & Workpla Muzzall Support
SSB 6488 Aerial herbicides/forestland Concerning aerial herbicides in forestlands. H RDev, Ag&NR Rolfes Oppose
SSB 6545 Voluntary stewardship prog. Concerning the voluntary stewardship program. S 2nd Reading Zeiger Support
SSB 6578 (EHB 2819) Pumped storage projects Designating pumped storage projects located in a county bordering the Columbia river utilizing statutorily authorized water rights to be projects of statewide significance. S 2nd Reading Honeyford Support
SJM 8015 Pinniped predation/salmon Concerning pinniped predation of salmon and other fish. S Ag/Water/Natur Schoesler Support