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Wolf management options remain alive at Capitol


By STEVE BROWN


Capital Press


OLYMPIA -- Two wolf-related proposals are still getting attention in the Washington State Capitol, their backers say.


Senate Bill 5187, sponsored by Sen. John Smith, R-Colville, would authorize the owner of livestock to kill a gray wolf without a permit or license if it is attacking or threatening livestock or another domestic animal.


SB5193, also a Smith bill, would allow the State Wildlife Account to be used for compensating owners of livestock for damage caused by wolves. It also would create a new account to be used for the mitigation, assessment and payment of claims for livestock losses due to wolf predation, and it would remove the condition that a livestock owner must raise livestock for sale to qualify for wildlife damage compensation.


The first, because it's a policy bill, essentially died in committee, Smith said. "However, because 5193 has a financial element, it can still be brought forward, and its title is broad enough to include 5187," he said. "We're still discussing options in how they can move forward."


"We've heard some support from the governor's office and his natural resource policy folks, and they're having some conversation," Tom Davis, director of government relations for the Washington State Farm Bureau, said. "As wolves continue to recover in the northeastern part of the state, it is critical that additional tools be made available for the landowners most impacted by wolves."


April 17 is the last day to consider bills from the opposite house. Lawmakers will still be able to consider initiatives and alternatives to initiatives, budgets and matters necessary to implement budgets, differences between the houses and matters incident to the interim and closing of the session.


Other legislation still active:


* HB1113, requiring the Department of Ecology to identify beforehand any peer-reviewed science it relied on in preparing a significant agency action, passed both the House and the Senate unanimously.


* HB1209, extending the program establishing Christmas tree grower licensure, passed both the House and the Senate with one dissenting vote.


* HB1770, allowing the appointment of nonvoting advisory members to commodity boards, passed both the House and the Senate unanimously.


* HB1950, designating certain hydroelectric generation from a generation facility located in irrigation pipes, irrigation canals and wastewater pipes as an eligible renewable resource, awaits a vote in the Senate.


* SB5078, modifying the property tax exemption for nonprofit fairs, awaits a vote by the House.


* SB5767, requiring the Department of Agriculture, upon request by a licensed milk producer, to issue an official individual identification tag (green tag) for bull calves and free-martins under 30 days of age, has passed both the Senate and the House with two dissenting votes.



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