Wolf, water bills survive legislative cutoff
OLYMPIA -- Several wolf- and water-related bills have survived the first cutoff day of the 2013 session of the Washington State Legislature.
Feb. 22 was the last day for policy committees to act on legislation originating in the Senate and House, respectively.
In the Senate, four bills advanced:
* SB5079, which provides $50,000 from the state general fund to compensate for damage to livestock caused by wolves.
* SB5187, which authorizes livestock owners, their family members or employees to kill wolves attacking the owner's livestock.
* SB5188, which authorizes county legislative bodies to declare an imminent threat to livestock under specific conditions.
* SB5193, which taps the State Wildlife Account for $50,000 in compensation and adds the gray wolf to the list of big game species.
In the House, one bill moves on. HB1501 establishes the framework of an uncapped funding source for implementing provisions of the state's wolf conservation and management plan.
In other action:
* Initiative 522 and its related bills, which would require labeling some foods containing genetically modified ingredients, were heard by both houses' agricultural committees but made it no farther. The issue will now go to the election ballot in November.
* Several water-related bills progressed, including HB1414 and its companion bill, SB5367, which would develop water supply solutions for the Yakima River basin.
* HB1072, creating an agricultural labor skills and safety grant program, cleared the House labor committee and went to the appropriations committee.
* Bills relating to fairs progressed, including SB5078 to modify the property tax exemption for fairs and SB5813 to distribute $2.5 million from the state lottery to the state fair fund.
* Moving to the House Rules Committee was HB1770, which would allow commodity boards to take on nonvoting members with expertise in marketing or operations.
* An amended version of SB5222 adds erosion control to Washington State University's research into beneficial uses of hemp.
-- Steve Brown