Tag Archives: Growth Management Act

Honeyford named 2013 Legislator of the Year by Washington State Farm Bureau

Amid a chorus of applause Wednesday, Sen. Jim Honeyford accepted the Washington State Farm Bureau’s Legislator of the Year award for an unprecedented third time. The Sunnyside Republican received the award previously in 2003 and again in 2007.

“It’s always an honor to receive an award, but I’m particularly humbled by this one,” said Honeyford. “Working on our states’ farm, ranch and agricultural issues is one of my highest priorities and it’s truly rewarding to be named legislator of the year by the Washington State Farm Bureau.” Continue reading

My bill to lower port and irrigation district costs will become law

On Tuesday members of the Washington State House of Representatives unanimously approved Senate Bill 5292, my bill to help clarify exemptions regarding natural versus manmade drainage areas within port and irrigation districts. The bill – which I introduced in the 2011 session – would change state law so that the drainage side of irrigation districts are not considered “natural” streams and therefore should not be designated as “critical areas” under the Growth Management Act.

I’m pleased to see this bill supported by my colleagues in both the Senate and the House. If an artificial drainage district is deemed a critical area, it creates numerous administrative difficulties and increased costs for the district. Some districts have spent thousands of dollars just to establish that a creek is manmade rather than natural. Continue reading

Ag-related bills in the Legislature

Senate Bill 6392 – Expanded farm internship program. In 2010, the Senate agriculture committee heard testimony that Washington is facing a crisis of aging farmers. The average age is 56, and 70 percent of farmland is expected to change hands in the next 20 years. To help bring young people into farming as a career, the Legislature established a farm internship pilot program for San Juan and Skagit counties in 2011. This on-the-job training opportunity is exempt from minimum wage requirements and unemployment insurance. L&I was directed to create a special industrial insurance risk class for farm interns. SB 6392 expands the farm internship pilot program to Whatcom, Kitsap, Pierce, Jefferson, Spokane, Yakima, Chelan, Grant, Kittitas, Lincoln, and Thurston counties. (Passed the House Labor and Workforce Development Committee on February 21).

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