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.