January 15, 2018
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Agreement on Hirst fix appears; full floor vote reportedly could come



Last Thursday, the Senate Agriculture, Water, Natural Resources and Parks Committee unanimously passed Senate Bill 6091, the “Hirst fix” bill introduced by Sen. Kevin Van De Wege, D-Sequim. The bill to reopen rural Washington to new wells is "an unprecedented but tenuous bipartisan response to the Hirst court decision," Capital Press reports, giving details on the content of the bill.

A Senate floor vote could be coming soon on a bill that has compromise changes requested by both Republicans and Democrats.

A competing bill, Senate Bill 6316, sponsored by Sen. John McCoy, D-Tulalip, was set for a public hearing this morning. His bill would require metering of new wells and would limit withdrawals to 350 gallons a day.

AWB has pushed strongly for a Hirst fix since the Supreme Court's 2016 ruling that put a major new set of burdens on rural development and well water availability. The Hirst issue was a major part of discussions at both of AWB's Rural Jobs Summits last year.

The Spokesman-Review and The Herald also wrote about the issue last week.

The Wenatchee World's editorial board called for the Legislature to pass a Hirst fix, saying it's crucial for rural Washington. Hirst "created an unfunded mandate for counties and a double layer of bureaucracy. Counties and rural landowners deserve clarity," the editorial board wrote last week.

The bill now goes to the Senate Ways and Means Committee for consideration.

Contact Mike Ennis, AWB government affairs director for rural issues, to learn more.



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Fix Hirst, Support Manufacturers

Support rural Washington

By The Wenatchee World Editorial Board

The Puget Sound region's economy is booming. But across the state, the post-recession economic recovery has been uneven. Much of rural Washington is still struggling, with higher rates of unemployment and comparatively modest economic gains.

Fixing Hirst and delivering tax relief to manufacturers will help expand our state's prosperity to rural counties.

Read the full editorial in The Wenatchee World
Costly and Unnecessary


No sense in carbon tax

By The (Longview) Daily News Editorial Board

Gov. Inslee is urging legislators to pass a $20 per ton carbon tax during the current legislative session. We urge you to call your local legislators and tell them to vote "no" on carbon tax legislation.

If passed, money raised from a carbon tax reportedly would fund schools; provide incentives for renewable energy, such as solar energy; be applied to research for new clean technologies; manage storm water runoff; help prevent forest fires; and more.

While all of these issues are worthwhile, the effects of a carbon tax on citizens and businesses far outweighs the benefits, which is why we don't support the tax.

The governor's staff indicated a carbon tax likely will increase power rates 4 percent to 5 percent for electricity, 9 percent to 11 percent for natural gas and 6 percent to 9 percent for gasoline.

If a carbon tax law is passed, utilities such as the Cowlitz PUD, will be negatively impacted and we believe the power rate increases would be pushed much higher than the governor's staff estimates. Citizens and businesses can't afford those types of increases...

Read the full editorial in The Daily News
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