White Elephant On Capitol Hill
The white elephant on capitol hill remains to be the state budget. With the Legislature’s regular 2012 session being past the halfway mark now, and still no progress made on closing the massive gap in the state’s budget, it’s a sure bet that there will be at least one if not two special sessions. Due to the budget woes, agriculture in the state is a huge target for new or higher taxes and fees, as well as the threat of added regulatory burden. Senate Bill 6397 and its companion House Bill 2413 are two such regulatory bills regarding the application of pesticides with half mile buffer zones. To date SB 6397 has stalled, while HB 2413 was passed, with the buffer size reduced to a quarter mile. Senator Jim Honeyford strongly opposes the bill.
HONEYFORD: It’s unworkable and unnecessary, and one of the issues that I don’t think they anticipated in the bill, you don’t know when you’re going to spray depending on the weather. How can you give notice when you don’t really have a set day and time you’re going to spray?
Other bills that impact agriculture are: SB 6298, which pertains to labeling of foods containing genetically engineered material. SB 6026 would align state wetland rules with federal rules, and hopefully allay confusion for farmers who now have to comply with conflicting federal and state law. SB 6152 has to do with streamlining water right permitting and appeals, and would allow any holder of a water right permit with a development schedule date before end year 2016 to have a five year extension.
I’m Lacy Gray and that’s Washington Ag Today on the Northwest Ag Information Network.