Proposed Rate Hike for Workers' Comp & Initiative 594

Proposed Rate Hike for Workers' Comp & Initiative 594

Proposed Rate Hike for Workers' Comp & Initiative 594

I'm Lacy Gray with Washington Ag Today.

The state's Department of Labor & Industries recently announced a proposed 1.8 percent increase in workers' compensation insurance rates for 2015. The proposed rate for agriculture is an average 6 percent increase, while rates for food processing and manufacturing range are an average 4 percent increase.

Washington voters are being asked to approve or reject Initiative 594, which calls for expanded background checks on most firearms transfers, including loans and gifts. The Washington Farm Bureau opposes I-594 - they feel the measure is poorly drafted and creates criminals out of innocent citizens, including farmers and ranchers who often use firearms to defend their land and animals from predators. Tom Davis with the Washington Farm Bureau, explains.

DAVIS: If you look at section 3 of the initiative, it deals with the transfer of firearms and it's very restrictive in your ability to transfer a firearm to another party. So as a farmer and rancher, if you need to provide a weapon to one of your farmhands to help - especially if you're a livestock operator - for predators, coyotes, cougars, wolves, bears; you under this initiative, if it passed, would be committing an unlawful act by transferring a weapon that you own to a farmhand.

Davis says that the WFB believes I-594 is an unnecessary measure that will do nothing to stop criminals from acquiring firearms, and because of its broad definitions endangers the flexibility that rural Washington families and livelihoods need.

That's Washington Ag Today.

I'm Lacy Gray on the Ag Information Network.

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