Friday, January 22, 2021

Dent, Ybarra, Warnick pinpoint legislative plans

by Angelica Relente
| January 13, 2021 1:00 AM

State legislators in District 13 recently shared their goals for this year’s unprecedented legislative session.

Rep. Tom Dent, R-Moses Lake, said he is pushing for a bill regarding the state of emergency proclamations. Dent is a ranking member of the Children, Youth and Families Committee. He is an assistant ranking member of the Rural Development, Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee and a member of the Transportation Committee.

In House Bill 1060, a two-thirds approval vote in both the House and the Senate would be needed if the governor chooses to extend a state of emergency proclamation after 30 days.

“147 legislators at the moment are not part of this process, and we need to be,” Dent said. “We were elected to represent our districts and our constituents, and we need to represent them.”

Another bill Dent is sponsoring, House Bill 1030, would create a loan program for small, local airports. Having a revolving loan program would help provide an airport a self-sustaining resource, according to the bill.

Rep. Alex Ybarra, R-Quincy, said as a ranking member of the Education Committee, one of his goals is to get children back to school. Ybarra is also on the Health Care and Wellness and the Civil Rights and Judiciary committees.

“However best to do that — that’s what I’m going to be going for and working on,” Ybarra said. “We don’t want anybody to get sick or die or anything, obviously.”

Due to the lack of ridership in school buses, the transportation portion of the school district’s budget has gone down, Ybarra said.

“What I’m going to try to do is try to make sure that all the school districts around the state are held harmless and they get the funding that they probably got last year,” Ybarra said.

Ybarra plans to push for better broadband connectivity, he said, especially for Central Washington, because children who are learning virtually are affected the most. He also wants to open businesses as soon as possible.

“I want to go watch a movie in a movie theater, and I want to go eat a steak at a steak house,” Ybarra said. “I want to do those things. I think everybody else does, too.”

Sen. Judy Warnick, R-Moses Lake, said she plans to help the state through the pandemic. Warnick holds a ranking seat on the Agriculture, Water, Natural Resources and Parks Committee. She is also a member of three other committees: Housing Stability and Affordability; Ways and Means; and Behavioral Health Subcommittee.

“We need to be able to work our way through this pandemic as quickly and safely as possible, and bring back our jobs (and) create economic growth again,” Warnick said.

Warnick’s primary bill, Senate Bill 5045, aims to create the state’s own meat and poultry inspection program, which could partner with the United States Department of Agriculture, so the requirements for both inspections are similar, according to the bill.

“A lot of people who want to buy their meat products want to go to local producers,” Warnick said. “Having more inspections, a wider variety of inspections both federal and state will allow that to happen.”

The biggest concern Warnick and her constituents have are the emergency powers of the governor, she said. The power under an emergency declaration should be shared with all of the residents in the state.

“(Gov. Jay Inslee) has not brought us in on most of the decisions that he’s made, and we could help because all our districts are so different,” Warnick said.