Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Warnick busy in second week of session

Staff Writer | January 20, 2023 2:13 PM

OLYMPIA — Sen. Judy Warnick (R-Moses Lake) has introduced several new bills in the last week and has two of the bills she proposed earlier are progressing in committee.

“I had a hearing on both of those (bills) and so they are on their way,” Warnick said. “Hopefully they'll get out of committee.”

Warnick introduced two bills the first week of the legislative session, SB 5013 and SB 5113. SB 5013 provides a tax exemption for the first 20,000 gallons of wine sold by a winery in Washington and SB 5113 concerns faculty in dental schools. Both have already been assigned to committees and have had public hearings.

Warnick said hearing from her constituents on those bills and other issues is important and asked her constituency to be patient with her time in responding. She said she reads and listens to all messages from constituents and likes to be able to respond to them herself, but due to her busy schedule, it is not always as quick as she would prefer.

The bills Warnick introduced last week are SB 5438, SB 5439, SB 5449, SB 5450 and SB 5460.

Of those five, Warnick said the bill that would most relate to the Moses Lake area is SB 5460. SB 5460 concerns the collection of assessments for irrigation and rehabilitation districts.

“The legislature finds that the Moses Lake Irrigation and Rehabilitation District is the only district of its kind in Washington state,” the first and new section of the bill states. “The district was recently involved in litigation in which the way it collected assessments was actually a tax. The legislature finds that it is necessary to align assessment authority with other local special improvement districts in order to provide local funding for improvements to local water quality.” The bill is only sponsored by one other senator, Kevin Van De Wege (D-Sequim). Warnick introduced the bill Thursday and it was referred to the Agriculture, Water, Natural Resources and Parks Committee.

“We needed to come up to speed, legal speed, (to) be able to assess for the work that (Moses Lake Irrigation and Rehabilitation District) do on the lake and in the community,” said Warnick.

She went on to say that the first couple of weeks tend to revolve around ceremonial events, introducing the bills and networking with other legislators. She said that moving into the third week of the legislative session, senators will start to get into the first floor votes on bills.

Warnick said the first bill they expect to vote on is one she is actually a secondary sponsor on. The bill is SB 5156 to expand the farm internship program. The bill was introduced by Sen. Nikki Torres (R-Pasco) and was passed by the Senate Labor and Commerce Committee unanimously.

“I think it's a great program to try to get young people involved (in agriculture),” Warnick said about SB 5156.

Warnick said she is happy that this legislative session has been able to be held in person and that it is important for legislators to be able to network and get sponsors for their bills.

“That's the benefit of being back in person,” said Warnick. “Because when we were stuck in our home office or our district office, we couldn't have a conversation in the hallway about, you know, ‘this is a really good bill, do you want to co sponsor?’ You had to take time to call somebody (or) send somebody an email, and it just wasn't quite as effective.”

Rebecca Pettingill may be reached at rpettingill@columbiabasinherald.com.

Wash. Sen. Judy Warnick

103 Irv Newhouse Building

P.O. Box 40413

Olympia, WA 98501



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