Gov. Christine Gregoire signed Senate Bill 6044 into law this afternoon, allowing investors to construct water-pump storage facilities along the Columbia River to generate electricity and help balance out the power generated by area wind farms. I’m pleased by the support his bill had throughout the process.
At no point during this legislative session did my bill encounter any resistance, which is always a good sign. Both the Senate and the House of Representatives passed it unanimously and the governor had no reason to veto any part of it.
Another story you may have heard about is the governor’s threat to veto bills unless the Legislature reaches a budget compromise. While the goal may be worthwhile, I believe she is unnecessarily hurting the people of Washington. There are dozens of bills to help people waiting to become law that hang in limbo because of her threats. Some of those include bills to crack down on human trafficking, one of the most disturbing practices we’ve seen to date. Others include bills to aid the developmentally disabled community. Why would the governor want to hold these bills hostage?
In a related note, because the special session mandates that all bills be returned to their house of origin, essentially that means that any bill that did not pass during the regular session goes back to square one and can find new life if the majority party resurrects it. That means all the bills that would hurt the state’s ag community could potentially be considered again. While I sincerely hope that does not happen – as the Legislature’s primary goal at this point should be to negotiate and pass a supplemental operating budget and nothing more – it wouldn’t be the first time Democrats have taken advantage of an opportunity to revive the bad ideas they couldn’t get through during the first session.
Also, I wanted to invite you to sign up for the Ag Alert! newsletter that I’ll be publishing periodically. The redesigned format will make it easier for you to find the ag-related information that you’re looking for, and keep you up to date on what agriculture bills are moving through the Washington State Legislature. All you have to do is click here or click this button to be taken to the subscription page. You can always unsubscribe yourself at any time.
This week I had the honor of visiting with Ofinio and Eliticia Sanchez who live in the 15th District. They were in Olympia to receive the Gift of Life Award from Governor Gregoire and Life Center Northwest. The Sanchez’s lost one of their young children and chose to donate that child’s organs to those who may be in need. As a result, 22 people’s lives were saved. I hope we all would have the strength and courage to make the same decision as the Sanchez family should we suffer a similar tragedy. Continue reading
Today Governor Gregoire signed into law a bill that allows Civil Air Patrol members to work with their employers when emergency situations arise, so they can get time off to serve the state on various Air Force missions. Substitute Senate bill 6647 would also prohibit an employer from discharging or disciplining Civil Air Patrol members for leave related to vital emergency service operations.
The volunteers of the Civil Air Patrol conduct critical search and rescue, disaster relief, aerial surveys, and counterdrug missions. Their service to our state is valued at nearly $3 million per year. This law will honor their service and help guarantee that they receive the support that they deserve.
The language in SSB 6647 is similar to the protections that volunteer firefighters currently have when responding to an emergency. The law goes into effect on June 10.