Author Archives: bookerstallworth

Senate overwhelmingly approves Honeyford bill to support small schools

Today the Senate overwhelmingly approved a measure sponsored by Sen. Jim Honeyford to help provide school districts serving low-income communities with flexibility in financing their facilities.

“We’ve heard the majority talk a lot about equity this session, but one of the areas lacking equity the most is in funding for our lower-income and small rural schools, many of which are often in poor or failing condition,” said Honeyford, R-Sunnyside. “This measure is critically important to our small, rural, and low-income communities, especially communities of color. It gives these schools the funding options they need to help address the concerns of individual communities, including those facing incredible wealth disparities.

“I’m glad to see the Senate support this effort in such a broad and bipartisan way. I hope that our friends in the House will also see the need to put all the talk about equity this session in action where it actually matters the most – helping our students in small districts, lower property-value districts and districts with few if any financing options. These students are in desperate need for the help this bill would provide.”

Substitute Senate Bill 5181 would allow school districts to create partnerships and limited liability companies, and enter into leases, loans, and other agreements with public and private entities, for the purpose of utilizing certain federal tax credit programs to finance school facilities.

Honeyford points to programs like the federal New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) as examples of revenue sources that should be accessible to property-poor districts that have exhausted all other options; however, state law makes it difficult for these very districts to apply for and receive such funds.

Honeyford’s bill would permit eligible districts to work together to qualify for the NMTC program, the federal Rehabilitation Tax Credit program, or similar federal tax-credit programs. Because these programs do not involve local taxes, they could offer crucial help to lower-income districts needing to finance school construction, in spite of limited state bonds, declining trust revenue, and local bonds that are difficult to pass.

SSB 5181, which received the support of the Washington State School Directors Association, passed the Senate 48-1. It now moves to the House of Representatives for consideration.

Honeyford on daylight saving time: Why is this still a thing?

At 2 a.m. on Sunday, Nov. 1, daylight saving time for 2020 will come to an end, clocks will turn back an hour, and State Sen. Jim Honeyford, R-Sunnyside, will once again lament that this annual ritual is even still a thing Washingtonians must do.

The Republican lawmaker has been working for several years, with numerous states, to develop language to move to permanent daylight saving time. That effort was thwarted during the 2019 session, when the Democrat majority co-opted the issue and passed a measure of its own, which Honeyford said at the time would not resolve the issue. House Bill 1196, a watered-down version of Honeyford’s proposal, made some definitional changes to daylight saving time in Washington, but ultimately punted the issue to Congress.

“The bill that ultimately passed will do nothing until Congress passes legislation to end daylight saving time,” said Honeyford. “My original proposal would have left us on standard time and ended the switching back and forth, which has a negative impact on the health and safety of Washingtonians.

“I’ve worked for several years to get the policy right and build support in other states and even British Columbia to present a unified front in the change to permanent daylight saving time. My counterparts in Oregon, California and British Columbia agree that it is important for the economic, physical and mental well-being of our constituents that the antiquated and destructive practices of springing forward and falling back be ended once and for all.”

Honeyford pointed out that the proposal that was approved won’t let voters have a say, and relies on Washington, D.C., being able to secure a bipartisan, common-sense solution to such problems, without public pressure.

“In other words, good luck,” he said with a smile.

Honeyford’s work on the issue has grabbed national attention and the public’s interest to avoid the twice-yearly time switch. His proposal, Senate Bill 5139, included a referendum clause similar to what other states have done, to give the public a say on the issue. Honeyford’s work was featured by HBO’s Vice News, and the 15th District state senator has fielded calls from legislators around the nation looking to adapt his approach. He has also worked with the office of U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) to help build support for the Sunshine Protection Act, which would make daylight saving time year-round across the country.

“This isn’t just an issue of convenience,” said Honeyford. “Experts who have looked at the issue have testified before legislative committees that there is a great deal of benefits to public health and safety, as well as reductions in crime by making the switch permanent.”

He cited research by University of Washington law professor Steve Calandrillo, who presented key points to legislative committees about the benefit of Honeyford’s proposal.

“When all of the costs and benefits are balanced, it is clear that we should set our clocks forward forever, and never have to switch them again,” Calandrillo said.

State senator who served as police officer ‘disgusted’ by treatment of outgoing Seattle police chief

Sen. Jim Honeyford, R-Sunnyside, today responded to the announcement by Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best that she will retire, effective Sept. 2. Her announcement came just hours after the Seattle City Council voted to cut the Seattle Police Department budget by 14 percent, which will result in the firing of 100 police offers and the elimination of several key public-safety units.

“My Senate Republican colleagues and I thank Chief Best for her 28 years of dedication and service to the City of Seattle, the people of its communities and the men and women in blue who served under her leadership,” said Honeyford, who was an Ellensburg police officer from 1960 to 1966.

“Chief Best worked tirelessly to reform the Seattle PD into a model of innovation, transparency and accountability, and dedicated herself to building trust and healing between members of law enforcement and the communities they serve.”

Honeyford voiced disappointment that Chief Best was undermined in the performance her duties by a city government that he described as caving to political intimidation.

“As a former police officer I am truly saddened, and quite frankly disgusted, by the way the supposedly progressive Seattle City Council treated the city’s first female African-American police chief. At a time when the council professed to want black leaders to stand up and be heard, they silenced and sidelined one of our state’s most prominent black leaders and set out to decimate her department at the whim of political extremists without so much as even consulting with her.

“I have never seen another police chief treated in such a disrespectful and spiteful manner.”

Honeyford also called out the Seattle City Council for its vote to fire nearly 100 law enforcement officers, including 32 patrol officers,  and special team units including those addressing the city’s homeless crisis, school resource officers, SWAT and harbor patrol officers, during a time of increasing violent crime in the city.

“As recently as October, many of these same council members were pledging to increase the number of officers on the street, due to the rising levels of property and violent crime. What has changed in Seattle since then?” asked Honeyford. “Nothing except the political demands of an all-too-often violent, lawless mob.

“These draconian cuts will not make Seattle safer or more just, and Chief Best was right to bravely refuse to be a party to these reckless actions.”

Honeyford says he plans to introduce a resolution to formally honor and thank Chief Best when the Legislature reconvenes in January.

“Chief Best excelled at a difficult job, which was made even more difficult by the interjection of politics and special interests,” he said. “She deserved much better, and hopefully the Legislature can speak for the vast majority of Washingtonians who are proud of Chief Best for her groundbreaking achievements and appreciate her for her tremendous service.”

Honeyford calls on Corrections to develop quarantine plan prior to releasing inmates

Sen. Jim Honeyford is calling on the Department of Corrections to develop a plan to prevent inmates who are released from spreading COVID-19 to other members of the general public. The Sunnyside Republican is responding to the governor’s decision to release up to 950 inmates from the state’s correctional facilities in order to protect them from contracting the virus.

“I recently participated in a conference call during which it was mentioned that the British Columbian government requires Canadians returning to that province to fill out a quarantine plan and list where they are staying,” explained Honeyford. “This looks like a reasonable plan that our state government should follow prior to turning felons out on the street without a home or resources needed during the crisis.”

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made the announcement Tuesday morning that the B.C. provincial requirement would be expanded nationwide, as a “strengthening of the Quarantine Act” of March 25 by putting in place a plan to house those without proper quarantine arrangements.

“If their plan is to go stay in a place where there are many elderly family members, [or they] don’t have a set destination if they’ve been out of the country for many years,” that would constitute a non-credible plan, Trudeau told reporters.

Honeyford voiced concerns that Gov. Jay Inslee’s plan to release hundreds of inmates without having such plans in place is reckless and shortsighted.

“Governor Inslee and DOC made a hasty decision to release these inmates due to a court ruling that forced them to act quickly – perhaps too quickly,” said Honeyford. “State facilities are better equipped to enforce social distancing and address the housing, medical and psychological needs of inmates; yet the current DOC strategy is to put these people out on the street and back into our communities without a plan. Many will have no home to self-isolate at and could pose a risk to the public should they become or are already infected with coronavirus.

“Having a plan in place before they are released is not only a necessity, but basic common sense.”

Honeyford bill to support small schools approved by House

Today the state House of Representatives unanimously approved a measure sponsored by Sen. Jim Honeyford to help the state’s 150 smallest school districts pay for the modernization of their facilities.

“This is great news for our students who are in small districts that struggle to pass bonds and levies and may be in desperate need for this help,” explained Honeyford, R-Sunnyside.

The bill passed the House 97-0, after clearing the Senate 45-1 on Feb. 12. It now goes to the governor for his consideration.

“Many of our small rural school districts don’t have sufficient property value to allow them to access state School Construction Assistance Program financing, sometimes creating an environment with unhealthy conditions for students.

“This bill would create a construction-grant program specifically for our smallest schools and provide them with an avenue to address their needs. It would also provide access to our tribal compact schools, which is important for reducing the educational achievement gap faced by those students.”

Second Substitute Senate Bill 5572 would establish a small school district-modernization grant program for school districts and state/tribal compact schools that have 1000 or fewer enrolled students. Under Honeyford’s measure, the program would require that all projects eligible for modernization grants meet the requirements of the School Construction Assistance Program, except for estimated cost thresholds and local funding assistance percentages.

The bill also establishes prioritization criteria and an evaluation process for the committee to review and rank grant applications.

A similar bill was passed in 2019, but that measure died in the House. Honeyford was able to get a $20 million proviso in the capital budget, which allowed the state to create a temporary, smaller program under which four school districts were able to receive funding.

The grant program created by Honeyford’s bill was the highest priority of the Joint Legislative Task Force on Improving State Funding for School Construction.

It received the support of the Washington State School Directors Association, the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction and the Washington State School Directors’ Small School Advisory Committee.

Floor speech

Senate passes Honeyford bill to codify aviation revitalization loan program

Today, the Senate once again voted to formally create a program that will help smaller, regional airports operate in the black. The measure 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 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,” said Honeyford. “Existing funding sources are often restricted to purely aviation-related projects, but in order to attract new business, smaller airports need to make other 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.

“It’s important that we require the Department of Transportation formally create and then support the Community Aviation Revitalization Board and its mission.”

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.

“The governor had some concerns about the makeup of the board, and vetoed its creation,” Honeyford explained. “This bill addresses those concerns, as well as those of the state treasurer’s office, and I am pleased that we now also have the full support of DOT.”

If Substitute Senate Bill 5011 is adopted, 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.

SSB 5011 now goes to the House of Representatives for its consideration.

Senate overwhelmingly approves Honeyford bill to support small schools

Today the Senate overwhelmingly approved a measure sponsored by Sen. Jim Honeyford to help the state’s smallest school districts pay for the modernization of their facilities.

“Many of our small rural school districts don’t have a way to get the financing needed to modernize their buildings, which are often in poor or failing condition,” said Honeyford, R-Sunnyside. “This bill would create a construction-grant program specifically for our smallest schools and provide them with an avenue to address their needs.

“I’m glad to see the Senate support this effort in such a broad and bipartisan way. I hope that our friends in the House will also see the need to help our students, who are in small districts that struggle to pass bonds and levies, and may be in desperate need for this help.”

Senate Bill 5572 would establish a small school district-modernization grant program for school districts and state/tribal compact schools that have 1000 or fewer enrolled students. Under Honeyford’s measure, the program would require that all projects eligible for modernization grants meet the requirements of the School Construction Assistance Program, except for estimated cost thresholds and local funding assistance percentages.

The bill also establishes prioritization criteria and an evaluation process for the committee to review and rank grant applications.

A similar bill was passed in 2019, but that measure died in the House. Honeyford was able to get a $20 million proviso in the capital budget, which allowed the state to create a temporary, smaller program under which four school districts were able to receive funding.

The grant program created by Honeyford’s bill was the highest priority of the Joint Legislative Task Force on Improving State Funding for School Construction.

SB 5572, which received the support of the Washington State School Directors Association, the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction and the Washington State School Directors’ Small School Advisory Committee, passed the Senate 46-1. It now moves to the House of Representatives for its consideration.

Sen. Jim Honeyford: Water Leadership for Washington

Volume 10 Issue 6 July Washington Edition 2019 » Irrigation Leader

Irrigation Leader’s cover story this month features Washington State Senator Jim Honeyford, who has long championed water management and infrastructure bills that benefit irrigation districts and water users across his state. Senator Honeyford tells us about the legislation he has supported in the past and his priorities for the future and gives his advice to any irrigation district that wants to make its voice heard in the state legislature.

Click here to read the full article.

Honeyford receives award for service to veterans and their families

With veterans looking on Friday, Lourdes (Alfie) Alvarado-Ramos, director of Washington’s Department of Veteran Affairs, presented Sen. Jim Honeyford with the 2018 Outstanding Service to Veterans – Legislator of the Year Award for his service to Washington’s veterans and their families.

“It is really an honor to receive this recognition,” said Honeyford, R-Sunnyside. “I’ve always believed that our veterans deserve so much more than just our thanks; they deserve to know that they are appreciated and valued and that we will demonstrate our appreciation through actions that make their lives better.

“I am happy that the Legislature has stepped up in recent years with a number of proposals to aid our veterans and their families. From educational opportunities to property-tax relief to addressing mental-health needs, we as a state must answer the call of our veterans.”

The Outstanding Service to Veterans awards – co-sponsored each year by the Governor’s Veterans Affairs Advisory Committee (VAAC) and the state Department of Veterans Affairs – recognize individuals who devote time and energy to improving the lives of Washington’s veterans and their families.

Alvarado-Ramos called Honeyford a “champion on veterans’ issues” and thanked him for being a leading voice in the Senate.

“We are honored and happy to recognize Senator Honeyford for all of his efforts when it comes to serving veterans and their families,” said Alvarado-Ramos. “Every year, he conducts a Wreaths Across America event here in the Capitol building to honor those who have fallen. It is so important to say thank you to the veterans and their families who deserve that recognition. …This is important; it’s dignified, and it’s something that he has done for many years. And we value that and appreciate it, as an agency and as a veterans community.

“His heart is with those who serve.”

Washington is home to 598,000 veterans, 60,000 active duty, 19,000 guard and reserves, and 2 million military-family members.

The Veterans Advisory Committee and DVA named Honeyford the award recipient in October.

Duo of Honeyford-sponsored bills signed by governor

Sunnyside Sen. Sen. Jim Honeyford’s work to support Washington’s agricultural community and improve access to water was endorsed by Gov. Jay Inslee today, during two bill-signing ceremonies in Olympia. The two measures, sponsored by Honeyford, each allow state agencies to better serve rural Washington.

“I have always tried to look for solutions to problems that face our agricultural communities, small businesses and families,” said Honeyford, who has represented the 15th Legislative District since 1998.

“I am pleased that both of these common-sense bills found broad bipartisan support in both the House and Senate, and will soon become law.”

Senate Bill 6125 will give the Department of Ecology another six years to enter into voluntary regional agreements related to the appropriation of new water for out-of-stream use developed in the Columbia River Basin. State law prevented Ecology from entering into such agreements after June 30, 2018, although existing agreements are permitted to remain in effect after that date. Honeyford’s bill extends Ecology’s agreement-making authority until June 30, 2024.

“Having the ability to make these regional agreements is a valuable tool for Ecology to use in managing the waters of the Columbia,” Honeyford said. “They will help provide water for new users and manage water availability during emergencies, including droughts. Although it is not used often, this authority should remain in Ecology’s toolbox and its potential explored longer.”

Another Honeyford proposal signed into law by Inslee today was Senate Bill 6319, which will permit the state Department of Agriculture to cooperate in the implementation of the federal Produce Safety Rule. The new law will allow the agency to conduct compliance-verification activities, enforce regulatory compliance, and accept federal funding to help pay for both roles.

“Washington farmers face a host of new federal regulations and inspection regimes,” explains Honeyford. “It can be hard for farmers – especially those with small family farms – to adjust to new and changing regulations. This new law will create a state program focused more on education than punishment. It will allow state inspectors, who know Washington agriculture and crops better than federal bureaucrats, to do the work, with funding provided by the federal Department of Agriculture.”

According to Honeyford, these changes are crucial to making sure Washington’s produce is cleared and shipped to market in a timely fashion that will prevent loss and waste tied to regulatory delays.

Both of Honeyford’s bills, which each passed the Legislature with unanimous support, will go into effect on June 7.