Washington Farm Bureau offers legislative 'hot list'
The Washington Farm Bureau lists six issues of particular interest during this legislative session:
* Keep agriculture whole -- As important as the industry is to the state's economy, lawmakers should avoid increasing taxes, fees or regulations on farmers and ranchers.
* Association health plans -- Farm Bureau and other associations should be able to continue offering health care insurance to their members after the Affordable Care Act is implemented Jan. 1, 2014.
* Yakima Basin water -- Legislation requested by Gov. Jay Inslee creates a 30-year roadmap for creating new storage, increasing existing storage capacity, acquiring land for habitat and enhancing fish passage.
* Wolf management -- Several bills address kill permits, restrictions on where the gray wolf is listed as endangered, and committing funds from the general fund to pay for damage claims.
* Workers' compensation -- Reform bills would simplify the process for calculating benefits and instill fairness into the system, restore original legislative intent and expand settlement agreement options.
* Paid leave programs -- Costs and administrative burdens are too high for expanding the still unfunded paid family leave insurance program the Legislature created in 2007.