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The Legislature adjourned Sine Die as scheduled on the 60th day of the 2024 Legislative Session on March 7, 2024. The legislature passed three of the six initiatives. The three include a measure allowing police pursuit, a prohibition on an income tax and a parent’s bill of rights. That leaves three remaining initiatives to be placed on the ballot in November. Those three include: a repeal of the Climate Commitment Act (aka Cap and Invest), a repeal of the Capital Gains tax, and providing an opt-out provision of the state’s new long-term care program. Additionally, the governor has begun signing bills into law.

Operating & Capital Budget Items of Note:

Ag Fuel Refunds – $30M, Funding is provided for payments to support farm fuel users and transporters who have purchased fuel for agricultural purposes that is exempt from the requirements of the climate commitment act, as described in RCW 70A.65.080(7)(e). (Climate Investment Account-State) (One-Time) Refunds will come through the Department of Licensing and will be in tiers based on the amount of fuel purchased: Under 1,000 gallons, $600; 1,000 to 4,000 gallons, $2,300; 4,000 to 10,000 gallons, $3,400; over 10,000 gallons, $4,500.

Federal Waters of the U.S. – $2M, Funding is provided to process additional state authorizations for projects that would previously have required federal permits.

Snake River Recreation Study – $600k, State matching funds are provided for a federal plan of investments to replace and enhance recreation opportunities associated with the drawdown of reservoirs if the lower Snake River dams are removed.

Riparian Task Force – $824k, Funding is provided to extend the work of the riparian task force to develop implementation proposals based on the recommendations in the report due November 15, 2024.

Fire Suppression – $41.8M, Funding is provided for the cost of emergency wildfire suppression activities that exceeded available appropriations for FY 2024. The DNR responded to more than 1,000 wildfires which burned 102,942 acres of land in the 2023 fire season.

Deer & Elk Crop Damage – $834k, Funding is provided for implementing 2SSB 5784 (Deer & Elk Crop Damage), pertaining to compensation for agricultural crop damage caused by deer and elk.

Skagit Elk Management – $100k, Funding is provided for elk management in the Skagit Valley in cooperation with affected tribes and landowners including fencing, replacement seed and fertilizer, and elk deterrent equipment.

Ag Mental Health – $250k, Funding is provided for a workgroup to provide recommendations on mental health and suicide prevention for agricultural producers, farm workers, and their families, including whether an agricultural mental health hotline should be established.

Local Farm, Workers, and Food – $250k, Funding is provided for grants to local farmers who hand-harvest vegetables with local labor and sell to local markets or schools. The funding is for the cost of up to four weeks of overtime pay, up to $20,000.

Climate Position - $131k, Funding is provided to WSDA for a climate lead position, funding cannot be expended or obligated prior to January 2025.

Odessa pipeline turnouts project - $5.5m, Funding to begin phased construction of the Odessa Ground Water Replacement Program Delivery System and begin design of additional distribution systems.

Water Resources - $206k, Funding is provided solely to initiate the development of a statewide web map tool to integrate the Department of Ecology’s water resources management databases.

Water Mapping - $3.3m, Funding is provided to update surface water maps across the state, develop geospatial integration tools, and support the use, accuracy, and adoption of the state's hydrography dataset (funding lapses if initiative to repeal CCA passes).

Green Fertilizer - $250k, Funding is provided in both budgets for a comprehensive report with recommendations on a grant program to support farmers purchasing green fertilizer, (funding lapses if initiative to repeal CCA passes).

Organic Certification - $400k, Funding is provided to WSDA for grants to farmers to help offset the costs of gaining organic certification and the associated inspection fees.

Carbon Sequestration - $2.5m for grants to improve carbon storage and sequestration on agricultural lands.

Transportation Budget Items of Note:

$100 million for highway preservation for the remainder of this biennium and $80 million in each of the subsequent two biennia.

Updates on legislation of note that passed the legislature:

  • HB 1752  – Modifying the application of the annual consumptive quantity calculation to change applications related to certain water rights held by the United States bureau of reclamation.
  • HB 2454  - Extending an existing hazardous substance tax exemption for certain agricultural crop protection products for two years.
  • SB 5972 - Restricting the use of Neonicotinoids to agricultural purposes where the applicator has a license.
  • SB 5793 - Expands eligibility for paid sick leave.
  • SB 6058 – Governor’s legislation: establishes the linkage of Washington's Carbon Markets with California and Quebec Markets to potentially broaden the market and lower fuel prices.



Tuesday, 12 March 2024