The state 2022 Legislative Session wrapped up March 10, with legislators working up until nearly the last minute to pass a supplemental budget that adds $5 billion to the $59 billion budget lawmakers passed last year.
Washington Association of Wheat Growers’ lobbyist, Diana Carlen, assembled a list of agriculture-related spending items included in the final budget.
Farmworker Study and Performance Audit:
- “Sufficient funding” for Joint Legislative Audit and Review Committee to conduct performance audits of state agency programs and services to address the needs of farmworkers including wage and hour laws, health and safety standards, laws relating to harassment, discrimination and retaliation, Employment Security Department’s administration of H-2A program and DOH’s rules related to pesticide safety.
- $62,000 for the Evergreen State College to conduct a comprehensive study helping policy makers determine whether the needs of farmworkers are being met by state administered programs, policies, and statutes.
Governor’s Salmon Recovery Stakeholder Process:
- $300,000 total for the Governor’s Office to invite stakeholders, including agricultural producers, to participate in a facilitated process to develop policy and spending priorities to improve riparian habitat. Preliminary recommendations shall be submitted to the legislature and governor by Oct. 1, 2022, with a final report by Nov. 1, 2022.
- $901,000 for the Department of Ecology to identify the resources needed to maintain the national hydrography dataset’s accuracy to better monitor the health of riparian buffers.
- $1,300,000 for the Washington State Conservation Commission to develop a riparian plant propagation program.
- $10,000,000 for the State Conservation Commission to provide grants for riparian restoration projects with landowners.
- $1,067,000 total for the Department of Fish and Wildlife to assess the status of current riparian ecosystems.
- $3,000,000 for the Department of Natural Resources to improve riparian function, including riparian planting and riparian set-asides on state-owned lands.
- $5,000,000 for the Department of Natural Resources to purchase easements under the forestry riparian easement program.
- $5,000,000 for the Department of Natural Resources to conduct a pilot project to improve salmon habitat across the department’s aquatic, commercial, industrial and agricultural lands. Funding is in part for improving riparian function, including riparian planting and riparian set-asides on state-owned lands.
- $266,000 total for the Department of Fish and Wildlife to put together an overarching report to the Legislature that assesses how to incorporate a net ecological gain standard into state land use, development and environmental laws and rules to achieve a goal of better statewide performance on endangered species recovery and ecological health. The report must be submitted by Dec. 1, 2022.
Voluntary Incentive Programs:
- $226,000 total for the Office of Financial Management to evaluate the voluntary incentive programs for landowners and existing regulatory programs protecting and restoring riparian ecosystems. A preliminary report is due to the Governor and the appropriate committees of the Legislature by Sept. 1, 2022, to inform the development of recommendations to be contained in a final report due by Dec. 1, 2022.
Snake River Dams:
- $375,000 total is provided for the Governor’s Office to complete an analysis on options to replace the benefits of the four lower Snake River dams. Analysis due by July 30, 2022.
- $557,000 is provided to Ecology for coordinating regulatory efforts to address temperature and other water quality issues associated with dams on the Columbia and Snake rivers, and for additional staff to assist with hydropower relicensing and license implementation.
State Board of Community Colleges:
- $2,500,000 is provided for grants to promote workforce development in trucking and trucking-related supply chain industries and the school bus driving industry by expanding and supporting registered apprenticeships, pre-apprenticeships and trucking-related training programs.
- $450,000 to DNR to conduct a targeted analysis of the current and projected impact from drought and opportunities for drought resilience on department owned and managed uplands and agricultural lands.
Alternatives to Organophosphate Pesticides:
- $500,000 is provided for the Washington State Commission on Pesticide Registration to fund research to develop alternatives for growers currently using organophosphate pesticides.