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Olympia considering regulatory updates

by REBECCA PETTINGILL
Staff Writer | March 23, 2023 4:05 PM

OLYMPIA - Only a small handful of bills in the legislature this session relate to fishing, while not all will survive, it is important to know what is being considered and how that will affect fishermen if the bills are passed into law.

SB 5297

Senate Bill 5297, which was requested by the Office of the Governor, looks to phase out non-tribal drift gill nets/drift nets in commercial fishing through a license buyback program.

It was sponsored by Senators Kevin Van De Wege (D-Lake Sutherland), Jesse Salomon (D-Shoreline), Ann Rivers (R-La Center), Lynda Wilson (R-Vancouver), Marko Liias (D-Everett) and T'wina Nobles (D-Fircrest).

The bill was introduced on Jan. 11 and referred to the Agriculture, Water, Natural Resources and Parks Committee. It had a public hearing on Feb. 2 and an executive session on Feb. 16. No action was taken and it did not make the house of origin cutoff on March 8.

HB 1235

House Bill 1235 modifies some miscellaneous provisions to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife license requirements. One change is ‘youth’ means a person under 16 years old for both fishing and hunting licenses. Previously the ages were 15 for fishing and 16 for hunting. Another change adds that the commission is authorized to adopt rules to offer a one-time discount of up to $20 on a hunting license purchase to first-time resident hunters who have completed the Washington hunter education training program.

The bill was sponsored by Representatives Mike Chapman (D-Port Angeles), Joel Kretz (R-Wauconda), Steve Tharinger (D-Port Townsend) and Debra Lekanoff (D-Bow).

The bill was introduced on Jan. 11 before being referred to the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee. A public hearing was held before an executive session passed the bill out of committee on Jan. 27. It passed the floor unanimously and moved on to the Senate for consideration.

HB 1226

House Bill 1226, by request of the Department of Fish and Wildlife, removes the language that a recreational fishing or shellfish license is not required for carp, freshwater smelt and crawfish.

Sponsors of the bill were Representatives Mike Chapman (D-Port Angeles) and Joe Fitzgibbon (D-Seattle).

HB 1226 was introduced on Jan. 11 and referred to the Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee. After a public hearing on Jan. 20, it passed committee on Jan. 27. It was placed on second reading by the Rules Committee on Feb. 3. Then on March 13, it returned to the Rules Committee for second reading.

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