Legislative Disconnect Pt 1

Legislative Disconnect Pt 1

Bob Larson
Bob Larson
I’m Bob Larson. While Washington state is, by no means, the only state where lawmakers have a credibility problem with the ag industry, they’ve certainly built on that reputation in recent years.

Washington Farm Bureau’s Director of Government Relations, Tom Davis says they just don’t get it …

DAVIS … “Half of the legislators now come from districts that don’t have farms in them, probably more than half, and so that’s part of the problem too. If they’re not driving by farms in their district, they’re not hearing from constituents who are farmers, they’re losing touch with those issues and the need to protect our farmers for our own food security.”

In the recent legislative session, Davis says they could have offered some tax relief which would have helped farmers immensely …

DAVIS … “The other thing that they did not entertain was House Bill 1750 which was like part 2 of the Ag Overtime issue. You know, we dealt with that last year where the exemptions for overtime for agriculture was removed in state law and its being phased in over 3 years.”

Not even, Davis says a seasonality exemption …

DAVIS … “What we were asking for was a window of time during the year, if it’s 10 weeks, 12 weeks, where the workers could work more than 40 hours without having to be paid overtime and looking for maybe a 50-hour level that we could get, especially for harvest, because what we’re hearing from our farmworkers is they’re here to work and the farmers going to have to restrict the work hours because they can’t afford to pay overtime.”

Tune in tomorrow for more on the state’s disconnect with agriculture.

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