Small Forest Landowners Bill
Moses Lake Republican Tom Dent says current laws make it too troublesome and expensive for many owners to do ...
TOM DENT ... "House Bill 1924 concerning small landowners, and this is an interesting thing, small forest landowners is, if they want to clean up their forest and maybe they have 20 acres or 40 acres and they want to make it 'fire wise' then they're able to do that. But, if they hire people, more than two people, the way it is now, if they hire anyone to help them they have to be farm labor contractors and this will eliminate that part. A farm labor contractor's license is very expensive so it will allow them to hire more people and do it affordably. So, they're trying to remove the fuel from the forest and help everybody. So, I think that will be good."
Dent says while it's made it through the House, the battle is only half over ...
TOM DENT ... "Well, now it starts over, the process basically starts over. You know, we have to have a committee hearing in the Senate and have people come and testify and then hopefully we can votes out of committee to get it into rules and then get them out of rules and on to the floor of the Senate. And if we can get it passed in the Senate, then we can get it to the Governor's desk. So, basically, this is just the first step."
House Bill 1924 would also modify how the Department of Natural Resources authorizes burning permits. Under the bill, DNR would be able to issue multi-year burning permits.
The bill passed in the House, 98-to-0.