Washington State Legislative Update

Sent out by the Jefferson County Democrats

Hearings are underway for bills already introduced, comment periods are open, and things are moving very quickly. The legislature’s site for tracking all bills is here:  Bill Information

Lobby days in Olympia focus on causes. Many of the scheduled lobby days are listed here:
Lobby days
A few of the many important lobby days scheduled very soon are:

January 23 – Immigrant and Refugee Rights Rally
February 1 – Housing and Homelessness Advocacy day
What other lobby days should we list? And who is organizing the car pools to attend?

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
When: 1/17   8:00
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:

SB 6086, https://goo.gl/ruyF9s co-sponsored by Senator Kevin Van De Wege, would phase-out the pens as their leases expire. -Support this.

HB 2418, https://goo.gl/Gn2UNY co-sponsored by Representatives Chapman and Tharinger, would delay construction of new nonnative fin fish aquaculture facilities until thorough study, including structural analysis of existing facilities, is complete. – Do not support currently.

HB 2260 https://goo.gl/k4h8Ln would prohibit Atlantic salmon being used in aquaculture in Washington state. – Support this.

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. And supported by a couple of Dems. Why?

HB 2300 – Degrade protection for marbled murrelet.
HB 1026 – Health Security Trust.
SB 5701 – Apple Care Trust.
HB 1800 – Voting Rights Act (re-introduced)
SB 5991 – DISCLOSE Act, Increasing transparency of contributions.
HB 1075 – Capital Budget and HB 1080 – Bonds for Capital Budget. (Tharinger’s bills).
SB 5772 – Property Tax reform.
SB 5464 and HB 2059 – Washington Investment trust (Hasegawa’s bills).

 

 

 

NOSC Accepting applications for Americorps/WA Conservation Corps

The North Olympic Salmon Coalition is currently accepting application for their Americorps/Washington Conservation Corps Individual Placement Position. The job is a 6-month position with the opportunity to be extended into the 2018-2019, 11-month Americorps term.
Here is a link to the job description/application details
Thanks,
Katie McLean
Education and Outreach Associate
North Olympic Salmon Coalition
127 E. First Street, Mezzanine
Port Angeles, WA 98362
(360) 504-5611
 

Dems support handing over land use veto to the military? Really? – State Legislation

As reported lately on the web site of the Coupeville Community Allies, Democrats in Olympia have sponsored an odd set of bills, HB 2431 and Senate bill 6456.

 

  • The bills on their surface seem to simply be adding the base commanders into the process for helping determine appropriate land use around the bases. But the criteria for the distance away from the bases is not defined. Theoretically, this could be *anywhere* in the county, given the scope of airfields and other training facilities. For instance, a proposed wilderness area could theoretically be stopped even if it’s hundreds of miles away based on base needs for overflight.

  • Given the Navy’s long demonstrated lack of real interest in anything other than it’s own needs, as demonstrated in the expansion of Whidbey Naval Base and it’s overflights in the west end of the Olympic Peninsula, it’s training flights that continue until midnight on many nights when training is in session, it’s expansion of undersea training to public beaches at all hours of the day or night as they see fit, with no ability by local officials to effectively limit it, and it’s overflights of unmuffled jets over Port Townsend and the San Juan Islands, the Navy has demonstrated that it cannot be trusted with land use decisions.
  • Base commanders should not have any right to dictate land use – this is up to the local governments and their citizens. Giving up this right to support “present and future” military missions constitutes a seizure of land use rights by the federal government, and is an inverse condemnation of public and private property.  Such actions are prohibited by Article 1, Section 18 of the Washington State Constitution, and by the Fifth Amendment of the US Constitution.

Background

House Bill 2341 and Senate Bill 6546 are identical – they prioritize military land use over civilian land uses, even when properties are not adjacent to military installations.

They are backed by the Washington Military Alliance, a group of Chamber of Commerce members with four executives and a small staff.

The WMA claim that their charter is to “ensure defense industry vitality in an era of reduced defense spending.”  I am unclear of what ‘reduced” defense spending they are talking about, since the last tax bill that was passed granted even more money to defense, as did last years federal budget. We already spent approx 47% of our discretionary budget on defense and an unknown amount in our “black” budget, which the public is not entitled to see.

According to the web site, “The Balance“:

The U.S. military budget is $824.6 billion. That’s the budget for Fiscal Year 2018 which covers the period October 1, 2017 through September 30, 2018. Military spending is the second largest federal government expenditure after Social Security at $1 trillion.  U.S. military spending is larger than the next nine countries combined.

The $824 Billion is approx. $100 Million more than we spent at the height of the war in the last decade!

Full text HB2341: http://lawfilesext.leg.wa.gov/biennium/2017-18/Pdf/Bills/House%20Bills/2341.pdf

Full text SB 6456: http://lawfilesext.leg.wa.gov/biennium/2017-18/Pdf/Bills/Senate%20Bills/6456.pdf

The wording in HB2341/SB 6456 REQUIRES land use planning to incorporate any present or future missions of the military bases anywhere in the state – for any reason deemed appropriate by military base commanders. This means that the military mission trumps the local citizens’ desires. This turns local governing authority upside down. This gives veto power to a base commander over land use theoretically anywhere in the State and for any reason.The language in the bill needs to be substantially clarified, as to what constitutes “adjacent” lands in the eyes of the military.

They amend current legislation by:

  1. Making the prohibition of incompatible developments mandatory

  2. Extending the prohibition to lands that are not adjacent to the military installation

  3. Applying the prohibition to the benefit of any military installation, no matter how small

  4. Allowing the State Department of Commerce to spend up to $25 million every two years to acquire property to eliminate an existing incompatible use, or to increase the availability of housing affordable to enlisted military personnel. The criteria is that any organization receiving funds must show support for the military.

 

Large crowd hears lawmakers discuss Atlantic Salmon ban plans

A packed house greeted State Senator Kevin Van de Wege and State House representative Mike Chapman in Sequim last night as they updated the community on the current bills to ban non-native Atlantic salmon and possibly put strict limits on net pens in our waters.

Senator Van de Wege along with Senator Ranker and others are supporting Senate Bill 6086, which would essentially immediately move to ban Atlantic salmon and implement retraining of displaced workers, thought to number approx 80 statewide. The bill would also look at waste discharges into our waters, with an eye on possibly severely curtailing use of in-water net pens, which are used only currently for Atlantic salmon but are being eyed by NW Tribes, such as the Jamestown S’Klallam for possible black cod and steelhead rearing. Jamestown tribal council member and policy manager for the tribes natural resources department Kurt Grinnell was present but did not speak, however a recent editorial he penned expressed support for the ban on non-native fish. Senator Van de Wege shared an email, signed by essentially every tribal leader in Puget Sound, supporting the ban. The bill has moved out of committee and appears to be the most likely to reach a Senate vote.

Representative Chapman has co-authored a bill (HB2418 http://lawfilesext.leg.wa.gov/biennium/2017-18/Pdf/Bills/House%20Bills/2418.pdf) with widespread support in the House, which calls for more study before an outright ban. This was clearly unpopular with many of the attendees. Representative Chapman stressed that he thought the Senate bill would be the most likely bill to be passed. Both legislators also told the crowd that more negotiation was forthcoming, and neither could say at this point what the final wording might include.

A Republican written house bill, HB 2260, http://lawfilesext.leg.wa.gov/biennium/2017-18/Pdf/Bills/House%20Bills/2260.pdf, is also in play, but has no real support by Democrats. It simply calls for a ban on Atlantic Salmon.

Members of the polite audience that spoke included many supporting the ban, and a few calling for more study. The manager of the Cooke net pen facility in Port Angeles spoke, saying that they had done a great job there, but giving data on salmon farming that to a number of attendees seemed hard to believe. Representative Chapman said that while Cooke’s previous company Icicle Seafoods had seemed trustworthy, since the purchase of Icicle by Cooke he had seen little interest in engagement or communication by their international headquarters.

There was concern expressed by some of the speakers over a lack of more rigorously limiting or outright banning of open water net pens, missing in all the bills. New technology from companies such as Atlantic Sapphire out of Miami, Florida makes it economically feasible to raise farmed fish upland, with little waste water outflow and much less reliance on antibiotics. Current state and federal laws exempt net pens from clean water laws, and there are appear to be no studies done on the ongoing release of antibiotics into our waters by these farms.

Other speakers raised concerns of handing over rewriting rules and studies to the very agencies that have stonewalled critics of net pen aquaculture over the last decade. Jefferson County, which wrote in a ban on net pens to their Shoreline Master Program (SMP) was stopped from implementing the ban by the Department of Ecology, who threatened to rewrite the SMP themselves if the county did not remove the ban. Oddly, DOE did allow one other county to implement a ban, then they publicly apologized for doing so. While County Commissioners and environmental activists brought a plethora of more recent studies, showing negative impacts to the environment, Ecology ignored the science and continued to support old science by NOAA that only looked at the issue of degradation to the bottom within a 200ft circle around the pens. NOAA never apparently has looked into the issue of antibiotic escape into the wider environment.

In 2007, Kurt Beardslee of the Wild Fish Conservancy testified before Ecology that Dr. Whitely of the University of Washington (Professor Emeritus, Zoology), had looked at the issue of total suspended solids as early as 1997, and had determined that four of the twelve salmon netpens in Washington State discharged 93 percent of the “total suspended solids” into Puget Sound as the treatment sewage plant serving the city of Seattle. Ecology ignored the science then. Mr. Beardslee went on to testify that other scientific studies (Goldberg 2001 and Hardy (2001)) equated the waste from a net pen salmon farm of 200,000 fish to the sewage output of 20,000, 25,000, or 65000 humans, depending on the parameter nitrogen, phosphorus or fecal matter, respectively.

Representative Chapman praised the rapid response of newly elected Department of Natural Resources chief Hilary Franz in placing a moratorium on net pens immediately following the failure of the pens in Northern Puget Sound last year. We also support Ms. Franz efforts.

While there is a need to carve out exemptions for some limited net pens by tribes in the area, there are great concerns that the technology of net pens is at odds with the goals of clean water and wild fish. A ban while a deep review of the science that’s been ignored over the last decade is welcome and probably needed to get passage of the current bills. However, we urge the tribes to work as swiftly as possible over the next few years to evaluate and explore upland tank technology, to achieve goals of restoration of native fish populations and marketing of fish to the public.

It seems that nothing ever gets done until a crisis occurs, and now we have had our net pen crisis. Many voices have been warning our government about the risks of putting these non-native fish into the Sound. While the industry tends to downplay the likelihood of Atlantic salmon ever threatening our native stocks, given the lack of real scientific study on the issue of antibiotic use and other chemical releases into the wider Sound, extreme caution is now warranted. Evolution teaches us that genetic changes due to environmental pressures need only a few members of a population to experience rapid adaptation to survive. We cannot be sure that escaped Atlantic salmon may not create just a change. But we don’t need to wait for that to happen. The crisis has happened, the momentum to end this mistake in judgement is large, now let’s get it done. Ban non-native fish immediately and seriously contemplate supporting a move to upland facilities by offering some kind of experimental support funding and fast tracking, as Senator Van de Wege did in the last decade with the building of experimental hog fuel facilities in Port Angeles and elsewhere.

‘Fouling’ creatures are new suspects in great Atlantic salmon escape – KUOW

More fuel for the fire that those 80 jobs that are at stake weren’t doing their job that was required of them to keep the nets clean. This is after 30 years or more of supposedly being monitored by the State. And now the legislature wants to “study” this problem further. Why?

Washington state officials are looking at some new suspects in the collapse of an Atlantic salmon farm: sea creatures clogging the floating structure’s nets.

Nets from the fish farm off Cypress Island were heavy with marine life like mussels, sea anemones and algae, according to eyewitness accounts and underwater videos obtained by KUOW. Such “biofouling” can amplify the force of tidal currents as they push through the mesh of underwater net-pens.

http://kuow.org/post/fouling-creatures-are-new-suspects-great-atlantic-salmon-escape

Industry makes pitch to keep net pens – Spokesman Review

Just as I thought. There appears to be significant backpedaling on wanting to do anything without more “study”. There are only 80 jobs at risk here by banning this outrageously bad industry. One thing they never have studied, is the effect of the antibiotics and other chemicals that they pour into pens and get swept out to sea. NOAA has only looked at the effects to bottom seabeds within 200 ft.

OLYMPIA – Aquaculture companies that raise Atlantic salmon in the Puget Sound made an impassioned plea Thursday to keep their net pens and the jobs they support in Washington waters.

Read the rest of the story at http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2018/jan/18/industry-makes-pitch-to-keep-net-pens/

Legislative deal reached in water dispute that stalled new construction – KOMO, AP and others

The Democrats finally found a way forward on the contentious Hirst Decision after our Senator Kevin Van de Wege and others came to the table with a well thought out alternative . This doesn’t solve the problem of rural counties continuing to  oversubscribe aquifers because of  the pressure of runaway development. But it does get things moving again, allows for the counties to take on monitoring and studying the aquifer carrying capacity and throws money at the problem, which sometimes leads to better governing.

Top state lawmakers have reached a deal on a rural water dispute that has held up approval of more than $4 billion in new school and other construction projects for months, officials said Thursday.

http://komonews.com/news/local/legislative-deal-reach-in-water-dispute-that-stalled-new-construction

Citing ‘Inexcusable’ Treatment, Advisers Quit National Parks Panel – NY Times

More shame heaped on the Trump Administration.

The majority of members of the National Parks System Advisory Board, which advises the federal government on management of the country’s national parks, have jointly resigned to protest Trump administration policies that the board members say have ignored science, squelched efforts to address climate change and undermined environmental protections. The advisory board was established in 1935 to advise the secretary of the interior, who oversees management of the country’s national parks and monuments. Since taking office last year, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has come under criticism from environmental advocates for promoting President Trump’s agenda of opening up the nation’s public lands and waters to fossil-fuel exploration, and for reducing the protection of public monuments. Coral Davenport reports. (NY Times)

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/16/climate/trump-national-parks.html

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