Governor signs trio of Warnick bills

In a formal ceremony this past Thursday, Gov. Jay Inslee signed three bills sponsored by Sen. Judy Warnick, R-Moses Lake. The bills touched on a variety of policy issues: water access, pest control and first-responder benefits.

“This legislative session was eventful and busy,” Warnick said. “I worked hard to get these three pieces of legislation to the governor’s desk which can be a challenge in a short legislative session.”

The first bill, Senate Bill 6605, concerns the permitting of solid-waste facilities in eastern Washington. The bill requires the state Department of Agriculture to review permits for new facilities to ensure that invasive species, pests and disease are not introduced from quarantined areas west of the Cascades. Of particular concern is the risk that pests like the apple maggot would have on Washington’s nearly $4 billion apple crop.

“Having the state Department of Agriculture involved in the siting of facilities will make the process even better,” said Warnick. “This legislation promotes responsible waste management that takes into account the interconnectedness of our state’s economy.”

Senate Bill 6263, also signed Thursday, would allow members of the of the Law Enforcement Officers and Fire Fighters (LEOFF 2) pension plan to receive full retirement benefits for injuries that are currently considered non-duty related, such as responding to federally declared emergencies.

The final Warnick bill signed by Inslee, Senate Bill 6513, addresses a stat-wide issue relating to water access. Warnick, who serves as the chair of the Senate Agriculture, Water and Rural Economic Development Committee, made water access and quality issues a primary focus during the 2016 legislative session. The new law directs the state Department of Ecology to act on certain water-rights applications in the state’s water resource inventory areas for the Wenatchee and Elwha-Dungeness River basins.

“Finding consensus on water issues is challenging,” said Warnick. “However, there are communities in our state that need us to act. This bill moves us in the right direction toward allowing already planned water use.”