Selected excerpts from WAWG’s post:
Governor’s Riparian Buffer Bill Appears Dead for Now
There has been a lot of drama involving the Governor’s salmon recovery bill, House Bill 1838, also known as the Lorraine Loomis Act. There have been unconfirmed reports that the bill, in its original format, does not have enough votes to pass out of committee and will be pared down. Agricultural groups oppose moving the bill out of committee in any format given the lack of stakeholder process in developing the bill. There has also been no analysis conducted by the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) on impacts to the industry, since they were not consulted about the legislation. Additionally, the sponsor of the bill, Rep. Debra Lekanoff (D-Bow), has reportedly said the bill would not pass in 2022 and that more work needs to be done between the Tribes, farmers and the fishing industry.
While this is positive news, the issue is not going away and could still be revived in another bill or through the budget this session. It is likely that supporters of the bill will try to put a proviso in the supplemental budget to continue these conversations. We could also see increased funding for salmon recovery such as through the Voluntary Stewardship Program or the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program in the supplemental budget.
Second Proposal to Reorganize Conservation District Elections Heard
Last week, the second of two bills addressing conservation district elections was heard in the House State Government and Tribal Relations Committee. House Bill 1910, sponsored by Rep. Mia Gregerson (D-SeaTac), would require conservation district elections move to the general election ballot. The bill diverts from the more flexible approach seen in House Bill 1652, heard earlier this session, that would allow conservation districts to opt onto the general election ballot.
While HB 1652 received support from conservation districts and was modeled on recommendations the Conservation Commission headed, HB 1910 was strongly opposed by conservation districts across the state barring King County. Should conservation districts move to the general election ballot, they would have to help pay for election costs. Conservation districts testifying in opposition to the bill noted that many districts would be unable to bear the cost of moving to the general election ballot, and the funding required would take away from critical conservation work the district provides.
Source: State legislative report 01/31: First legislative deadline approaching | WAWG