Washington State Legislative Update 2/2

Committee hearings are essentially over. If a bill you support didn’t make it out of committee, it’s probably dead for this year.

The legislature’s site for tracking all bills is here:  Bill Information

Some bill trackers for important legislation are sponsored by the Northwest Progressive Institute:
https://www.nwprogressive.org/advocacy/
and the Washington Low-Income Housing Alliance:
http://wliha.org/advocacy/state/

How you can watch and participate in the legislative process from the comfort of your home.
A list of bills being considered by the state legislature was matched up with a Washington State Democratic priorities agenda. It isn’t comprehensive nor does it include all of many important bills being considered but it is a covers a lot (over 80 bills) that are important to Democrats on most issues. The dates and time of bill hearings is generally known a few days in advance only. The schedule is updated weekly and even daily. You can go here
2018 Bill Hearing Schedule
to find next weeks hearing schedules. That document is always being updated you can keep referring to it for updates. What you will see, for example:

SB 6034    would allow county PUDs to provide end user telecommunications – Still Alive.

Comment hereClick on Senate Bill 6034 to learn more about the bill. Click on “Comment here” to leave a comment for the committee in charge of the bill.  “When” is the time the committee has scheduled a hearing on the bill. To watch any hearing on TVW, click on the bill, scroll down to available videos and watch live or later. So bookmark weekly 2018 bill hearings schedule or find it on the website.

Some important bills:

HB 1800 – Voting Rights Act (re-introduced) – Appears to be still alive as of Feb 2
SB 5991 – DISCLOSE Act, Increasing transparency of contributions. – Passed Senate, moving in the House.

HB 2431 and SB 6456. This would hand land use oversight to military commanders in areas near bases. Theoretically it could hand over veto power on land use regs to anywhere in Washington State! Supported by a governor (yes, Inslee) committee that is mainly the Chamber of Commerce in many military counties.  – Did not make out of committee.

HB 2300 – Degrade protection for marbled murrelet. – Uncertain. Still in discussion.
HB 1026 – Health Security Trust. – Died in committee?
SB 5701 – Apple Care Trust. – Died in Commitee?

HB 1075 – Capital Budget and HB 1080 – Bonds for Capital Budget. (Tharinger’s bills). – Appears dead?
SB 5772 – Property Tax reform. – Never had a hearing.
SB 5464 and HB 2059 – Washington Investment trust (Hasegawa’s bills). – Never had a hearing.

SB5747 – Addressing health care financing and development of a publicly sponsored integrated delivery system by creating the access for all trust. – Died in committee.

SB5957 – Establishing the healthy Washington program to provide comprehensive universal single-payer health care coverage for all residents of the state. Public hearing was on 1.18 – Died in committee.

 

 

 

 

Orca protection bill stumbles and dies on state Senate floor – Watching Our Waterways

State legislation that would increase protection for Puget Sound’s killer whales died this week amidst confusing action on the Senate floor. Now, orca advocates are pushing a narrower bill approved by the House to limit remote-controlled aircraft around whales, while they also hope for a $3-million budget appropriation to support other orca protection measures. Whether people should be allowed to fly a drone around the endangered Southern Resident orcas seems to be the issue stirring up the most attention in the Legislature — although it is a small part of the overall effort. Chris Dunagan reports. (Watching Our Water Ways)

 https://pugetsoundblogs.com/waterways/2018/02/17/orca-protection-bill-stumbles-and-dies-on-state-senate-floor/

Cooke Aquaculture inspection finds problems at 2 other Atlantic salmon pens  – Seattle Times

Deficiencies have been found at Cooke Aquaculture’s Atlantic salmon net pens in Puget Sound by an independent inspector, the state Department of Natural Resources reports. Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz ordered inspections of all nine of Cooke’s net pens after a catastrophic collapse of one of its net pens at Cypress Island in the San Juans last August, allowing more than 200,000 Atlantic salmon to escape into the Salish Sea. The latest inspections from the contractor hired by the state, Mott MacDonald of Edmonds, found deficiencies at Cooke’s operations at its Hope Island and Rich Passage facilities, according to the reports released Friday. Problems included poor condition and deterioration of some anchor lines, surface rust and corrosion on parts of the facilities and concern about whether anchors were inside the boundaries of the net-pen leases. Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times)

https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/environment/cooke-aquaculture-inspection-finds-problems-at-2-other-operations/?utm_source=referral&utm_medium=mobile-app&utm_campaign=ios

Mussels on drugs found near Victoria sewage outfalls – CBC

For years, Victorians of all political stripes have been discounting their lack of a sewage system. Every time I’ve put a story up here, a couple of Victorians have, out of the blue, weighed in. I’ve even heard younger Victorians, who claim to be “green” tell me to my face that, “it’s no big deal” that their raw sewage has been pouring into the Strait for decades after every other city on the Strait and Salish Sea seems to have put in tertiary or secondary treatment systems. I rarely ever challenge them when they do that, as it’s pointless to argue with people who refuse to even look at scientific data. Well, the CBC finally looked into it, and the unfortunate joke is on them, as they have likely been poisoning themselves and their children if they have been eating any of the shellfish or bottom feeders from the area around their city.

As stated in the article, the sewage treatment plant *should* remove many of these chemicals. Now it is up to the local environmental departments to get the message out that people should not be dumping their pharmaceuticals and other chemicals down the sink or in the toilet. My hope is that, in some distant time, we will actually stop dumping *all* our wastes into the Straits and Salish Sea. Composting toilets have advanced to a place where we should be able to end the expensive and stupid habit that we have picked up in the last 100 years. While it was an improvement over what came before it, we have paid a price for it. There are no free lunches.

Monitoring by the Capital Regional District has found high concentrations of antidepressants, as well as other pharmaceuticals and personal care products in shellfish near the sewage outfalls around Victoria.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/sewage-victoria-crd-drugs-contamination-mussels-pharmaceuticals-1.4537222?utm_source=Sightline%20Institute&utm_medium=web-email&utm_campaign=Sightline%20News%20Selections

Contrary to agency claims, escaped Atlantic salmon were infected with a highly contagious and harmful virus – Wild Fish Conservency

The stories and assurances  that the net pen industry and their allies have told for years are now proven to be just lies.  I have sat in Marine Resource Committee meetings and had the industry rep blithely tell the group, with no scientific evidence,  that “there are no diseases down here, that’s a Canadian problem. ”  The WDFW, DNR and Ecology have been telling lawmakers there’s no problem, the escaped fish represent no threat because they are healthy and can’t interbreed. One thing that nature teaches us is that it only takes one genetic mutation to change everything in evolution. Let’s get the bill to phase out net pens passed and put this nightmare to an end.

To remedy the harm that may be imparted to our wild fish, and to get to the bottom of the disease’s source, WFC calls on WDFW, Washington Department of Natural Resources, and Washington Department of Ecology to:
1. Stop all restocking of Atlantic salmon net pens until thorough testing has proven the Atlantic salmon hatchery is not planting PRV infected fish.
2. Immediately test all Atlantic salmon net pens in Puget Sound for PRV.
3. Remove all PRV infected Atlantic salmon from Puget Sound net pens.
4. Immediately disinfect facilities showing any trace of PRV.
These actions are essential to ensure that diseased, PRV-infected fish are not being planted into public waters and that Atlantic salmon raised in net pens are not amplifying the virus and spreading it in the public’s waters where it places our native salmon at risk.
“Hopefully the Washington state legislature will successfully pass legislation to phase out Atlantic salmon net pens in Puget Sound, but in the interim, this alone is far from enough to protect our wild salmon from this industry,” said Kurt Beardslee.“
It’s absolutely critical that our state agencies take immediate action to ensure we’re not planting or amplifying viruses into our public waters.”

WFCPressRelease2.15_Page_1WFCPressRelease2.15_Page_2WFCPressRelease2.15_Page_3

Washington state House votes to ban Atlantic salmon farms – KUOW

This has been a wild ride to try and keep up with the various bills in the House and the Senate and whether they are in or out as of this moment as to banning Atlantic salmon farms. Here’s 8PM on Feb 14th’s latest report:

The Washington House of Representatives has voted to phase out farming of non-native fish in state waters, drawing the end of Atlantic salmon farming in Puget Sound one step closer.

http://kuow.org/post/washington-state-house-votes-ban-atlantic-salmon-farms

2/13 – Atlantic Salmon Net Pen Bill

This is now dated information. See newer posts.
This morning we learned some important news on the future of Atlantic salmon net pen legislation that requires an immediate action alert from anyone today with capacity.
Two Big Developments:
1. Rep. Blake has apparently announced that he will not be bringing Sen Ranker’s bill– SB6086– up for a vote.  There is still a public hearing scheduled at this time but it looks like the Senate bill making it to the House floor is highly unlikely.
2. As of today HB2957 is on the floor calendar for the House.  This is Rep. Lytton’s phase-out bill that was amended during committee and turned back into a study bill.  House Democrats have been caucusing this morning on the issue and we suspect that there will be a vote on this bill on the floor later today or tomorrow.   
The hope is that Rep. Lytton and Rep. Chapman will be able to strike the study bill amendment and call for a vote on the original phase-out bill language.
NEXT STEPS:
We’re urging anyone who has capacity to send an action alert today asking constituents to call their House Reps in support of a phase-out.  There will be sample language shared this afternoon but for the sake of time the most important factors are to express urgency that the future of this legislation is at risk and we need calls to Reps in support of a phase-out today.
Audubon and a few others from the coalition are going to be working to put together a phone bank for this afternoon that can be accessed remotely.  If your organization has capacity or interest in supporting this effort please respond to this email.

Supreme Court of WA throws out challenge to Jefferson County SMP

On February 7th the Washington state Supreme Court threw out the challenges to the Jefferson County Shoreline Master Program (SMP), by the Olympic Stewardship Foundation. This long running challenge finally ends the attempts to stop the county and Ecology from setting county standards for setbacks and other uses of the nearshore. It should also serve as a warning to others trying to challenge SMPs that it is extremely difficult to stop them from becoming law, after the fact of enactment. Involvement up front is much more useful. Coming to the table to help debate the issues as they are brought up, rather than sit on the sidelines and threaten legal action if your demands are not met, just seems like a losing strategy in this particular situation.

To all the hard working people who volunteered their time to give input and review, and to the County Commissioners who took the stance that the public favored stricter protection over less strict, thank you.

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