March 4 Legislative Flavor

With the House and Senate spending their week voting, it seemed appropriate to focus this week’s “Legislative Flavor” on some of the bills still waiting in line. March 9th is known as “House of Origin” cut-off, where bills must be adopted by their respective chamber by 5 PM and transmitted across the Capitol Rotunda (House bills to the Senate and vice versa). With each passing day, the ticking clock grows louder and louder because there never seems to be enough time for every bill on the list.

SB 5220 is one bill we are working on getting over the hump. This is the bill to prevent the Department of Revenue from taxing salmon recovery grants. This exemption was established and customary practice for decades until the Department of Revenue informed grant recipients in 2019 that taxes were to be levied. This bill is the response to that change in practice. We want to see this bill sail through because WACD believes that the public dollars entrusted to conservation districts should be focused on delivering conservation projects and not be diluted with taxes that may not support conservation.

Some of the other legislation we are observing on behalf of the membership as cut-off approaches includes:

  • HB 1280 (Concerning greenhouse gas emissions reductions in the design of public facilities) for those member-districts thinking of constructing their own office building.
  • SB 5172 (Concerning the retroactivity of overtime claims in exceptional cases) for how important this issue is to production agriculture.
  • SB 5362 (Ensuring the funding of agricultural fairs) because of the outreach opportunities available to CDs at local fairs.
  • SB 5159 (Concerning payments in lieu of real property taxes by the department of the fish and wildlife) for member-districts with a large percentage of state-owned land.