HB 1856 Adding counties to the voluntary stewardship program
HB 1856 would re-open enrollment for the Voluntary Stewardship Program to the counties that opted not to join in 2011. WACD is watching this bill. A public hearing is scheduled for 8:00 am on January 21, 2022 in the House Rural Development, Agriculture & Natural Resources Committee (link).
HB 1838 Protecting, restoring, and maintaining habitat for salmon recovery
House Bill 1838 is the companion bill to Senate Bill 5727 and is similar to SB 5665 (mentioned last week). WACD has concerns with SB 5727 / HB 1838 for a variety of reasons. One significant issue is that by mandating riparian management zones (RMZs), CREP and EQIP cannot be used for RMZ projects. This legislation undercuts our voluntary, incentive-based conservation approach and penalizes landowners for not being in compliance.
There is a hearing scheduled on HB 1838 on January 19, 2022 at 10:00 in the House Rural Development, Agriculture & Natural Resources Committee (link).
Those who are following this legislation closely recognize that HB 1838 and SB 5665 have the same title. SB 5665 was prime sponsored by Senator Rolfes at the request of the Office of Financial Management. Senator Rolfes later sponsored SB 5727 at the request of the Office of the Governor. The two bills (5665 and 5727) appear to be essentially identical.
HB 1910 Concerning conservation district elections
HB 1910 was filed this week with the same title as HB 1652 but that is about the only thing they have in common. Prime sponsored by Representative Gregerson, HB 1910 requires that all conservation district elections follow RCW 29A general election law. No primary will be held. Financial disclosure is not required. Supervisor terms of office remain three years. A conservation district may request a waiver from the Secretary of State; such waiver may be granted “only if the district demonstrates that the costs and burdens of conducting its elections under Title 29A RCW are disproportionate to the anticipated benefits from increased voter turnout and engagement.”
WACD has concerns about HB 1910. We continue to support HB 1652 as the preferred alternative for conservation district election reform.
HB 1631 Supporting Washington’s food production system by providing technical assistance in support of improved voluntary environmental stewardship
HB 1631 received strong support in the public hearing held this week. It is scheduled for Executive Session (translation: a vote of the Committee) at 10:00 am on January 18, 2022 in the House Committee on Rural Development, Agriculture & Natural Resources (link). WACD supports HB 1631.
HB 1652 Concerning conservation district elections
HB 1652 received very strong support in the public hearing held this week. Nine people testified with eight in support and one against. Forty-eight people signed in and all were in support. WACD supports HB 1652.