Author Archives: bookerstallworth

Senate passes Honeyford cannabis-shop protection bill

Measure would address violent robberies at Washington’s cannabis retailers

On Thursday, the Washington State Senate unanimously passed a measure that would protect the state’s more-than-1,000 cannabis retailers, which have been the targets of violent robberies and other crimes.

Senate Bill 5927, sponsored by Sen. Jim Honeyford, would add a year to the prison sentence of someone convicted of first- or second-degree robbery of a cannabis retail outlet. It’s the same extended sentence that goes with the robbery of a pharmacy and would be applied to robberies of cannabis retailers when the crime is planned and carried out by two or more people.

“When people would ask the infamous bank robber Willie Sutton why he robbed banks, Sutton simply replied, ‘Because that’s where the money is.’ Well, that’s why people rob marijuana retailers,” explained Honeyford, R-Sunnyside. “Due to federal banking rules, these businesses are almost entirely cash-only operations, making them a target for robberies and a magnet for criminals.

“The number of robberies of cannabis stores is on the rise, and this bill would make improvements for not just the benefit of the retailers themselves, but for the public safety of the community as a whole.”

Speaking to news media, Tom Bout, founder of the Cannabis Professionals Network, counted more than 30 cannabis-shop robberies in Washington just since November 2021. He noted that several of them have been armed robberies.

SB 5927 now moves to the House of Representatives for its consideration.

Senate unanimously approves Honeyford bill to help address fentanyl crisis

According to the state Department of Health, opioid overdose deaths in Washington rose from 2013 through 2020, driven by heroin deaths, and more recently, fentanyl deaths. Deaths involving fentanyl and other synthetic opioids are now more common than those involving heroin, with the highest death rates and largest increases being seen in rural counties, such as Yakima and Klickitat.

Today, the Senate unanimously approved the first in a series of measures sponsored by Sen. Jim Honeyford to help address the crisis. Senate Bill 5509 would exclude fentanyl-testing equipment from the definition of drug paraphernalia, helping identify the deadly substance.

“This is about saving lives,” said Honeyford, R-Sunnyside. “Fentanyl is responsible for the growing number of drug deaths in the rural communities I represent. Making sure fentanyl test strips are legal and easily accessible would allow users to check for the potency, amount, or presence of fentanyl in the drugs that users might be taking.

“Some may question allowing addicts to have this tool, but you can’t change a young person’s behavior or help them break their addiction, if they can’t even survive a single, unknown lethal dose of fentanyl-laced drugs. Again, this legislation will save lives.”

Under the Uniform Controlled Substances Act, drug paraphernalia means all equipment, products, and materials of any kind that are used to produce, analyze or consume a controlled substance. Anyone caught with drug paraphernalia could be charged with a class I civil infraction. SB 5509 would exclude fentanyl-testing strips from the list of items banned under the law.

“This is a crisis that we must address,” Honeyford explained. “People need to understand the risks of taking drugs, as the first step to improving their lives and becoming productive citizens. I’m glad the Senate spoke so clearly, and with one voice, to say that rescuing our children, friends and neighbors from this crisis is more important than any politics or grandstanding.

“This bill is not the total answer, but it is an important part of the answer, and I encourage our colleagues in the House to move the bill quickly.”

Honeyford is also the sponsor of Senate Bill 5524, which would impose a life sentence for those convicted of committing a controlled substances homicide involving fentanyl-laced drugs, and Senate Bill 5743, designating kratom as a controlled substance. Kratom is an herbal extract that on its own can cause brain swelling and heart attacks but could also be laced with fentanyl. Neither bill advanced prior to the deadline for Senate bills to clear Senate policy committees.

SB 5509 now moves to the House of Representatives for its consideration.

15th District priorities reflected in approved capital budget

The negotiated version of the next two-year state capital budget was approved by the Legislature today. Lawmakers representing the 15th Legislative District applauded the budget, which includes $19.4 million in critical funding for water, school construction, community projects and other infrastructure needs in the district.

“This is a strong budget for priorities we all have as Washingtonians, and for needs that were made even more important by the pandemic,” said Sen. Jim Honeyford, R-Sunnyside, who serves as the ranking Senate Republican for the capital budget. “I’m very pleased that we were able to get significant investments in broadband, behavioral health and housing, rural school construction, and funding for critical water projects statewide.”

The capital budget appropriates a total of $6.3 billion for the 2021-23 fiscal biennium. Of this amount, $3.9 billion is financed with general-obligation bonds. The remaining $2.4 billion consists of $589 million in federal stimulus funds, $275 million in Model Toxic Control Accounts, $255 million in alternative financing authorizations, and $1.2 billion in other funds.

Approximately $82 million in bond capacity is reserved for a supplemental capital budget.

“This capital spending plan protects our investments in the state’s infrastructure and provides maintenance and repair where it is needed most,” said Rep. Bruce Chandler, R-Granger. “It is very balanced as it benefits communities across the 15th District as well as all corners of Washington.”

The lawmakers secured just over $19 million for projects in the 15th District, including:

  • $4.2 million for Sunnyside Valley Irrigation District;
  • $3 million for Boise Cascade Mill Site cleanup (Yakima);
  • $1.65 million for Astria Toppenish Hospital;
  • $1.5 million for Perry Tech (Yakima);
  • $1 million for Crusher Canyon Sewer Line (Selah);
  • $856,000 for the Selah-Robert Lince ELC and Kindergarten;
  • $300,000 for the Granger Historical Society Museum (Granger)
  • $642,000 for Yakima’s Miller Park (Yakima);
  • $508,000 for Sundome reflectors (Yakima);
  • $300,000 for the Selah-Moxee Irrigation District;
  • $21,000 for the Toppenish Junior Livestock Facility Planning; and
  • $235,000 for the Yakima Valley Fair (Grandview).

“The Boise Cascade Mill Site is the biggest economic development opportunity to hit the City of Yakima in a generation. We are glad to play a role in the cleanup,” said Rep. Jeremie Dufault, R-Selah. “We are also happy to do something positive for the residents of east Yakima by funding the restoration of Miller Park.”

In addition to broadband, the capital budget prioritizes school construction and projects that focus on mitigating the damage of environmental disasters and preserving and developing existing properties – all while leaving capacity in the budget to address unforeseen future needs.

Honeyford added that he is particularly happy that the state Department of Agriculture is provided $8 million in the budget to award competitive grants to state agricultural fairs for access and safety improvement projects.

“Agricultural fairs are critical to our ag communities and local economies,” said Honeyford. “This budget will provide the resources necessary to make sure fairs will be able to recommence in a safe and responsible manner.”

The capital budget, which was approved 49-0 in the Senate and 98-0 in the House, now goes to the governor for his consideration.

Historic support for broadband in final capital budget

Schools, behavioral-health services and housing affordability are also big winners in compromise budget; funds 11 hatchery projects

Today the Legislature rolled out its final, agreed-to capital budget for 2021-23. The $6.3 billion bipartisan spending plan would invest a record $413 million toward the expansion of broadband, including $50 million in bonds for Sen. Jim Honeyford’s new program dedicated to seeking potential federal match opportunities (SB 5357).

“This budget is designed to meet many of the pressing needs that have perhaps always existed, but have been highlighted by the pandemic,” said Honeyford, R-Sunnyside. “What we were able to accomplish in the area of broadband is nothing short of historic.”

The capital budget’s funding for broadband includes:

  • $326 million for the State Broadband Office;
  • $60 million to the Public Works Board specifically for broadband;
  • $25 million to the Community Economic Revitalization Board (CERB); and,
  • $2 million for the Department of Natural Resources for broadband-related projects.

“Everything from e-commerce and education to telemedicine and precision farming has come to rely on equitable access to broadband,” said Honeyford. “Addressing the broadband needs of our communities has been one of my top priorities this session, so I’m happy to say that this budget provides the funds to face this problem head-on.”

The funding for broadband supports the goals of  Substitute Senate Bill 5357, Honeyford’s legislation to create a competitive-grant program in the Statewide Broadband Office. Grants made through the program would match funds required to participate in federal broadband-infrastructure programs, with priority given to projects in unserved areas.

The compromise capital budget (Substitute House Bill 1080, as amended) appropriates a total of $6.3 billion for the 2021-23 fiscal biennium. Of this amount, $3.9 billion is financed with general-obligation bonds. The remaining $2.4 billion consists of $589 million in federal stimulus funds, $275 million in Model Toxic Control Accounts, $255 million in alternative financing authorizations, and $1.2 billion in other funds.

Approximately $82 million in bond capacity is reserved for a supplemental capital budget.

Honeyford, who as Senate Republican capital budget lead is one of the chief architects of the plan, said the heavy investment in broadband, along with more than $428 million toward behavioral-health services and nearly $350 million for affordable housing, directly address three areas identified as priorities in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In addition to broadband, the capital budget prioritizes school construction and projects that focus on mitigating the damage of environmental disasters and preserving and developing existing properties – all while leaving capacity in the budget to address unforeseen future needs.

Honeyford noted that he was particularly happy that the state Department of Agriculture is provided $8 million to award competitive grants to state agricultural fairs for access and safety improvement projects.

“Agricultural fairs are critical to our ag communities and local economies,” said Honeyford. “This budget will provide the resources necessary to make sure fairs will be able to recommence in a safe and responsible manner.”

The capital budget would provide $930 million for K-12 school construction and modernization. It also includes $1.25 billion in total appropriations and alternative financing authority for higher education facilities, including $512.3 million for the community and technical college system and $732.6 million for four-year institutions.

“This budget continues the Legislature’s commitment to building new schools and new classrooms around the state in both urban and rural areas,” said Honeyford. “At the same time, it adds critical investments to our four-year universities and in our community and technical college system. This is a student-oriented budget that attempts to address students’ needs for safe, healthy school buildings, access to critical broadband, and facilities needed to address any behavioral concerns.”

Affordable-housing loans and grants is another area of emphasis. The budget includes:

  • $20 million to preserve aging affordable-housing units to continue to serve low-income residents;
  • $100.8 million for the purchase of homeless or emergency shelters, permanent supportive housing, or affordable housing for low-income people;
  • $42 million for grants to local governments and public utility districts to assist in the cost of utility improvements or connections to new affordable-housing projects; and
  • $5 million for housing for individuals with developmental disabilities.

Other highlights of the Senate capital-budget agreement include:

  • $243 million for local and community projects;
  • $36 million for 11 hatchery projects;
  • $7.6 million for the Washington State School for the Blind;
  • $49.4 million for Center for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Youth;
  • $81.3 million for clean-energy technology, energy efficiency grants, weatherization, and housing rehabilitation;
  • $121 million for developmental-disability services;
  • $491.3 million for water quality and supply programs, including:
    • $315 million for the Water Pollution Control Revolving Fund Program;
    • $40 million for the Centennial Clean Water Program;
    • $70 million for the Chehalis Basin Strategy;
    • $45 million for the Columbia River Water Supply Development Program;
    • $42 million for the Yakima River Basin Water Supply Program;
    • $4.3 million for projects related to the Sunnyside Valley Irrigation District projects; and
    • $5 million for a water banking pilot program to implement strategies to meet local water needs;
  • $253.9 million for toxics cleanup and prevention;
  • $76.2 million for state parks;
  • $120.9 million for flood-risk reduction and floodplain habitat restoration projects;
  • $386.2 million for recreation, conservation, and salmon recovery; and
  • $26 million for wildfire suppression and forest health.

The Senate is expected to consider the capital-budget agreement on Friday, with the House expected to follow shortly after.

House votes unanimously to approve Honeyford aviation revitalization loan bill

Today, the House of Representatives voted unanimously to formally create a program that will help smaller, regional airports operate in the black. Senate Bill 5031, offered by Sunnyside Sen. Jim Honeyford, would establish the Community Aviation Revitalization Board to provide loans to small airports – many of which need better access to financing in order to invest in critical infrastructure projects.

“This bill has made it out of the Senate with broad support several times before,” said Honeyford. “I’m so glad to see it clear that hurdle in the House and look forward to seeing it cross the finish line and become law this year.

“This loan program gives some of our smaller airports the ability to make the updates they need to attract new business and increase their financial integrity, which will be more important than ever in a post-pandemic recovery.”

Honeyford points out that existing funding sources are often restricted to purely aviation-related projects, but to attract new business, smaller airports need to make other non-aviation-related improvements.

“This loan program provides a source of financing that must be paid back, but will fill the gap and enable these airports to modernize and operate in a profitable manner,” Honeyford added.

In 2018, the Senate passed a similar bill, which failed to move in the House. Language in the 2018 capital budget, however, created the new aviation-loan program and provided a $5 million appropriation to be deposited into a new revolving-loan account.

SHB 1656, which would have permanently codified the community aviation revitalization loan program, was passed later in the 2018 legislative session, but was vetoed by Governor Inslee. The 2020 capital budget extended the program through June 2021. Honeyford took another run at getting the program codified during the 2020 session with Senate Bill 5011. The House failed to advance the measure in the last days of that session.

“It’s been a long journey getting here, but the unanimous vote in both the House and Senate this year is a testament to the value of this program,” said Honeyford. “Hopefully, Governor Inslee will see that value as well.”

Under SB 5031, the Community Aviation Revitalization Board would supplement the DOT program and make direct loans to certain airports for improvements that primarily support general-aviation activities. Eligible airports must be available for public use and have less than 75,000 annual commercial air service passenger enplanements as published by the Federal Aviation Administration.

The bill now goes to the governor for his consideration.

Murder hornets beware!

Honeyford bill to extend the life of the Invasive Species Council clears House in unanimous vote

If they had boots, murder hornets, apple maggots and African clawed frogs would be shaking in them at today’s news from the state Legislature. In a unanimous vote, the House of Representatives approved Sen. Jim Honeyford’s bill to extend the life of the Washington State Invasive Species Council and its mission to protect the state’s environment and economy from harmful nonnative plants, insects and animals.

“In addition to being one of the most ‘2020’ of all 2020 stories, the arrival of murder hornets in Whatcom County is a prime example of why the Invasive Species Council is so critical to our state,” said Honeyford, R-Sunnyside. “This measure will extend the critical efforts of the council for another decade.

“I’m glad to see the House support the council and its important mission in such an overwhelmingly bipartisan manner.”

Invasive species represent one of the greatest threats to Washington’s plants, animals, insects and businesses. The Legislature established the Invasive Species Council in 2006 to provide policy-level direction, planning, and coordination on how to address the problem. The goals of the council include minimizing the effects of harmful invasive species, serving as a forum for identifying and understanding relevant issues, facilitating joint planning and cooperation, educating the public, and providing policy advice to lawmakers.

The Legislature initially intended for the council to disband at the end of 2011. Two extensions moved the end date to June 30, 2022. Under Senate Bill 5063, the expiration date of the Washington State Invasive Species Council and Invasive Species Council Account would be extended to June 30, 2032.

SB 5063 is executive-request legislation by the state’s Recreation and Conservation Office. The measure, which has the support of the Washington State Water Resources Association, the Kalispel Tribe, and Chelan County PUD, also passed the Senate unanimously on March 2. It now goes to Gov. Jay Inslee for his consideration.

Honeyford resolution recognizes Washington’s strong relationship with Taiwan

Today the Washington State Senate recognized the strong relationship between the people of the state of Washington and the people of Taiwan by adopting Senate Resolution 8612, sponsored by Sen. Jim Honeyford.

“It’s really an honor to sponsor this resolution for our friends in the Republic of China,” Honeyford said. “Our friends in Taiwan are major trading partners. We export 1.8 billion dollars’ worth of products to Taiwan and they are the fourth largest of our markets in Asia. They rank in the top three in beef, wheat and apples. When I arrived in Taipei in 2006, one of the first things I saw was a big display of Washington apples for sale. That made a big impression on me.”

While speaking in support of his resolution, Honeyford also talked about the enduring friendship between the people of Taiwan and the people of Washington.

“In addition to trade, the people of Taiwan have been good neighbors and good friends to Washingtonians,” said Honeyford, R-Sunnyside. “They share our values, invest in our state’s businesses and are there for us in our time of need.”

Honeyford pointed out that the people of Taiwan generously donated more than 2,000,000 medical face masks to the people of the United States in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, including 100,000 masks for use by medical personnel, first responders, and election-staff workers in Washington. The masks were delivered to the state on behalf of the Taiwanese people and received by Washington Secretary of State Kim Wyman on May 8, 2020.

As Honeyford’s resolution states, “the people of the State of Washington and the people of Taiwan are bonded by their shared commitment to democracy, human rights, the rule of law, and a free market economy.”

Daniel Kuo-ching Chen, who is Director General of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO) in Seattle, has been instrumental in building the relationship between Washington and Taiwan. TECRO was established pursuant to the Taiwan Relations Act, for the purpose of promoting and strengthening economic, cultural, educational and other bilateral ties between the United States and the Republic of China (Taiwan).

“We are very fortunate to have Director General Chen in Seattle,” Honeyford told his colleagues. “He is well-educated, experienced and represents the Republic of China well.”

Senate capital budget would provide unprecedented support for broadband

Schools, behavioral-health services and housing affordability are also big winners in Senate plan

Today the Senate released a bipartisan capital budget plan that would dedicate an unprecedented $490 million toward expansion of broadband, especially in rural areas, along with $406 million toward behavioral-health services and $315 million for affordable housing – three areas identified as priorities in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Proposed Substitute Senate Bill (PSSB) 5083 would increase projected bond capacity for the 2021-23 biennium to $3.968 billion and would make total appropriations of $6.234 billion. It would not raid the rainy-day fund and would retain $50.8 million in bond capacity for a 2022 supplemental capital budget.

Sen. Jim Honeyford, the Republican capital budget lead, is one of the chief architects of the proposal, which includes funding capital assets like school-building construction and mental-health facilities.

“This budget proposal is designed to meet many of the pressing needs that have perhaps always existed, but have been highlighted by the pandemic,” said Honeyford, R-Sunnyside. “One of my top priorities this year has been addressing the broadband needs of our communities – especially those in rural areas. Everything from e-commerce and education to telemedicine and precision farming has come to rely on equitable access to broadband. This budget takes extraordinary steps to make funds available to address this problem head-on.”

The funding for broadband builds on Substitute Senate Bill 5357, Honeyford’s legislation to create a competitive-grant program called the Broadband Investment Acceleration Program in the Statewide Broadband Office. Grants made through the program would match funds required to participate in federal broadband-infrastructure programs, with priority given to projects in unserved, rural areas.

“The Broadband Investment Acceleration Program, combined with the funding provided in the Senate capital budget proposal, would go a long way toward addressing a fundamental issue of equity,” Honeyford explained. “Children in poor and rural areas have the same right to access school and library services as children in urban areas. Small businesses in rural communities need to be able to engage in e-commerce – especially during a shutdown of in-person businesses – just as much as those large companies located in big cities. Sick and elderly patients and those dealing with the depression and anxiety of isolation during a pandemic need to be able to access telemedicine and tele-counseling, no matter where in the state they may live.

“This budget will help address these equity issues and help bring our unserved, rural communities the resources they so desperately need.”

In addition to broadband, the capital budget prioritizes school construction and projects that focus on helping meet the state’s mental-health needs, increasing affordable housing, mitigating the damage of environmental disasters and preserving and developing existing properties – all while leaving capacity in the budget to address unforeseen future needs.

Honeyford noted that he was particularly happy about the inclusion of $8 million for fair health and safety grants, and the exclusion of any funds for permanent fencing around the Capitol building.

“We want to increase access to the legislative process, not put up some permanent fort around the people’s house,” said Honeyford.

The 2021-23 capital budget also would provide $907.4 million in bond proceeds and $40.2 million in other funds for K-12 school construction and modernization. Major investments include:

  • $837.3 million for the School Construction Assistance Program (SCAP), with $781.7 million dedicated to fund 36 construction and renovation projects in 29 school districts;
  • $47.2 million for modernization grants to small school districts;
  • $14.2 million for skills centers;
  • $10.7 million to the distressed schools grants program for classroom additions at two schools in Seattle, a school-based health center at Spanaway Middle School, and the Healthy Schools pilot program to reduce exposure to air pollution and improve air quality in schools;
  • $10.0 million to the school district health and safety grants program to address health and safety issues, equal access and emergency repairs; and,
  • $51.6 million for construction of new education facilities for those with disabilities.

The 2021-23 capital budget includes $1.51 billion in total appropriations and alternative financing authority for higher education facilities, including $1.06 billion of state bond proceeds. Of the total spending authority, $963 million is provided for the four-year institutions and $551 million for the community and technical college system.

“This budget continues the Legislature’s commitment to building new schools and new classrooms around the state in both urban and rural areas,” said Honeyford. “At the same time, it adds critical investments to our four-year universities and in our community and technical college system. This is a student-oriented budget that attempts to address students’ needs for safe, healthy school buildings, access to critical broadband, and facilities needed to address any behavioral concerns.”

Affordable housing loans and grants is another area of emphasis. The budget would provide $315 million for affordable housing projects, including $205 million for grants and loans through the Housing Trust Fund, $5 million for landlord mitigation, and $5 million for rural rehabilitation loans.

Other highlights of the Senate capital budget proposal include:

  • $209 million for local and community projects;
  • $65 million for clean energy, energy retrofits, and weatherization;
  • $121 million for developmental disability services;
  • $15 million to retrofit a HVAC system to effectively cool the skilled nursing facility building at the Washington Veterans Home in Port Orchard;
  • $537 for water quality and supply programs, including:
    • $70 million for the Chehalis Basin Strategy
    • $45 million for the Columbia River Water Supply Development Program
    • $42 million for the Yakima River Basin Water Supply
    • $40 million for the Streamflow Restoration Program;
  • $192 million for toxics cleanup and prevention and stormwater;
  • $86 million for state parks;
  • $389 million for recreation, conservation, and salmon recovery; and
  • $26 million for wildfire and forest health.

The Senate Ways and Means Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing on the proposal later today.

Senate approves Honeyford bill to provide rural communities with greater access to broadband

In a year when a pandemic has forced more workers to telecommute, more children to attend school remotely, and more patients to turn to telemedicine, the Senate on Friday overwhelmingly approved a measure sponsored by Sen. Jim Honeyford to help provide more broadband access to low-income, rural and other underserved areas of the state. The measure passed the Senate by a vote of 48-1.

“There has never been a time when access to broadband is more critical,” said Honeyford, R-Sunnyside. “As we heard in committee and have seen during this pandemic, there are significant difficulties delivering education to our young people and the reliable access to high quality, fast internet needed by many of our seniors to better use telemedicine.

“This bill will allow the Statewide Broadband Office to be more competitive in accessing federal funds to increase broadband where it is needed most.”

Under Substitute Senate Bill 5357, a competitive-grant program called the Broadband Investment Acceleration Program would be created by the Statewide Broadband Office. Grants made through the program would match funds required to participate in federal broadband-infrastructure programs, with priority given to projects that serve distressed and rural areas.

“This is fundamentally an equity issue,” Honeyford explained. “Children in poor and rural areas have the same right to access school and library services as children in urban areas. Small businesses in rural communities need to be able to engage in e-commerce – especially during a shutdown of in-person businesses – just as much as those large companies located in big cities. Sick and elderly patients and those dealing with the depression and anxiety of isolation during a pandemic need to be able to access telemedicine and online counseling, no matter where in the state they may live.

“This bill will help address these equity issues and help bring our distressed and rural communities the resources they so desperately need.”

SSB 5357, which received the support of the Washington Independent Telecommunications Association, Washington Library Association, Broadband Communications Association of Washington, and several school districts and public utility districts, now moves to the House of Representatives for consideration.

Honeyford bill to extend Invasive Species Council into 2032 wins unanimous Senate approval

Today the Senate unanimously approved a measure sponsored by Sen. Jim Honeyford to change the expiration date of the Washington State Invasive Species Council from June 30, 2022, to June 30, 2032.

“In addition to being one of the most 2020 of all 2020 stories, the arrival of murder hornets into Whatcom County is a prime example of why the Invasive Species Council is so critical to our state,” said Honeyford, R-Sunnyside.

“Invasive species, like the Asian giant ‘murder’ hornet, represent one of the greatest threats to Washington’s plants, animals, insects and businesses. The council evaluated more than 700 invasive species in and around Washington to analyze which pose the greatest threat to the state’s environment, economy, and human health, and selected 50 priority species for action. This critical work is far from complete and the reopening of the economy and travel will mean that the need to complete this work will be even more critical in the coming years.

“This measure will simply extend the important work of the council for another decade. I’m glad to see the Senate support this work in such an overwhelmingly bipartisan manner.”

The Legislature first established the Invasive Species Council in 2006 to provide policy-level direction, planning, and coordination on invasive-species issues in Washington. The goals of the council include minimizing the effects of harmful invasive species, serving as a forum for identifying and understanding relevant issues, facilitating joint planning and cooperation, educating the public, and providing policy advice to the Legislature.

Senate Bill 5063 is executive-request legislation by the state’s Recreation and Conservation Office. The measure, which has the support of the Washington State Water Resources Association, the Kalispel Tribe, and Chelan County PUD, now moves to the House of Representatives for that chamber’s consideration.