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. 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.
The hearing scheduled on HB 1838 was extended from January 19th to their 8:00 AM meeting on Friday, January 21st in the House Rural Development, Agriculture & Natural Resources Committee. More than 3,500 already registered to comment on the bill, however you can still add your thoughts.
Browse to https://app.leg.wa.gov/csi/House and select “HB 1838 Salmon habitat” to submit your comments. However, WACD believes it will be more effective for our members to reach out directly to members of the House Rural Development, Agriculture, & Natural Resources Committee. Find the committee members at https://leg.wa.gov/House/Committees/RDAN/Pages/MembersStaff.aspx
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. It is scheduled to be heard Thursday, January 27th at 10:00 AM in the House Committee on State Government & Tribal Relations. WACD will be testifying on the bill and we strongly encourage other districts to write, speak, or state their own position on the bill.
Prime sponsored by Representative Gregerson, HB 1910 requires that all conservation district elections follow RCW 29A general election law and hold their election via the November ballot. No primary will be held and all five supervisor positions will be elected. 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 is OPPOSED to HB 1910. We continue to support HB 1652 as the preferred alternative for conservation district election reform.
SB 5882 (Clarifying the existence of riparian stock watering rights)
Senate Bill 5882 is scheduled for a public hearing on January 27 in the Senate Committee on Ag, Water, Natural Resources, and Parks. SB 5882 attempts to clarify the confusion around livestock riparian water rights.
There are four legislative proposals under consideration next week to modify the structure of several natural resource agencies: Department of Fish and Wildlife, State Parks and Recreation Commission, and Department of Natural Resources.
- Tuesday, January 25th at 1:30 in the Senate Committee on Ag, Water, Natural Resources & Parks:
- SB 5721 (Consolidating natural resource management under the commissioner of public lands) would subsume WDFW and State Parks into the Department of Natural Resources and have the Commissioner of Public Lands appoint directors to those respective agencies.
- SB 5661 (Concerning the appointment of fish and wildlife commission members) would allow the legislature to make Fish and Wildlife Commission appointments if the Governor waits more than 60 days to fill a vacant position.
- SB 5656 (Concerning fish and wildlife commission members) would remove Fish and Wildlife Commissioners if not confirmed by the Senate.
- Wednesday, January 26th at 10:00 in the House Committee on Rural Development, Ag. & Natural Resources:
- SB 2027 (Concerning the governance structure of the department of fish and wildlife) would authorize a legislative study to consider changes to the structure of WDFW.