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Warnick introduces bill to help cities secure water

by REBECCA PETTINGILL
Staff Writer | January 28, 2023 4:23 PM

OLYMPIA - Washington State Senator Judy Warnick (R-Moses Lake) introduced a new bill to the legislature this week to help cities meet growing water needs while addressing environmental concerns.

The purpose of the bill, SB 5517, is to enact recommendations from the joint legislative task force on water resource mitigation, and comes after one of her other sponsored bills passed committee.

“This bill was introduced because of work that was done by the Water Resource Mitigation Work Group and its been going on for a number of years,” Warnick said. “I would say four years and I’ve got a notebook that is three inches thick with all the notes from that.”

Warnick explained that it stemmed from a lawsuit by the city of Yelm, which was looking into expanding its water capability in response to a growing population.

She said the bill looks at fulfilling cities’ needs for more water while also looking at the ecological impact of the area such as nearby streams or rivers.

Warnick introduced the bill last Monday and it was referred to the Agriculture, Water, Natural Resources and Parks Committee. It has not been scheduled for any further action or review at this time.

Another bill that Warnick prefiled in December, has moved through committee and is being reviewed by the rules committee before being put on the Senate floor calendar. The bill, SB 5113, concerns faculty in dental schools.

The act amends wording that any institution of higher education in Washington state accredited by the commission on dental accreditation, rather than just the University of Washington, can issue a license to practice dentistry to persons who have been licensed or otherwise authorized to practice dentistry in another state or country and who have been accepted for employment by the school of dentistry as faculty members. Warnick said this would ease the process of certification of faculty to be able to teach.

“There are others now who want to do that because of the need for more dentists (and) more healthcare people in general,” Warnick said.

Warnick said this bill primarily affects Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences, a private medical school in Yakima which is looking to expand into dentistry but will ultimately help other schools of higher education that want to expand into dentistry.

“That’s been an issue all over the place this year is workforce,” she said. “Trying to get enough workforce in all areas of healthcare and actually other industries too.”

The bill was a result of a request by the Department of Health, so Warnick said she picked it up and filed it to the legislature.

“It was recognized by the Department of Health as a need,” she said.

The bill passed the Senate Committee on Health and Long Term Care on Jan. 24 and has been passed to the Rules Committee for second reading.

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

Wash. Sen. Judy Warnick

103 Irv Newhouse Building

P.O. Box 40413

Olympia, WA 98501

Judith.Warnick@leg.wa.gov

360.786.7624