Dear Friends and Neighbors,
One of our longest, most important legislative debates has concluded. We reached a bipartisan solution on the water-rights issue known as Hirst. With this solution on the table, the 2017-19 capital budget also crossed the finish line. Last week, Gov. Inslee signed both into law. This is good news!
The Hirst solution – what does it do?
The State Supreme Court's Hirst decision sent the permitting process for exempt wells into a tailspin, while impeding economic growth throughout rural Washington. I am pleased to report a solution signed into law last week takes away the uncertainty many property owners, homebuilders, banks and counties faced as a result of the court's decision.
I was proud to vote “yes” on this solution. It took tough negotiations to reach a compromise. The original Hirst decision said “no water.” This solution provides property owners with a minimum of 950 – 3,000 gallons per day, while grandfathering in existing wells. Cutting off access to water was completely unacceptable and I am glad we no longer have that low of a standard placed on our property owners. This was a major area of contention for our rural homeowners fearful the state would either take away our water or require excessive, unnecessary metering. Under this solution, the Walla Walla watershed will not have any further restrictions put in place. Our solution also allows economic development to continue, thrive, and flourish.
While this solution isn't perfect, it is a win for the 16th District, and many other communities across our state.
The 'nuts and bolts' of the 2017-19 capital budget
The capital budget allocates $4.17 billion in total spending, including $2.72 billion in bonds. It leaves $211 million for the 2018 supplemental capital budget. It also allocates $933 million for K-12 school construction through the School Construction Assistance Program (SCAP). This allocation will address a record number of local school bond levies across the state.
The 16th District projects funded in this budget include:
- $8.7 million for the Washington State Patrol program and support building
- $3.9 million for the Isaacs Avenue improvements (phase II)
- $2.9 million for the Sudbury Landfill area construction in Walla Walla
- $1.5 million for the Wooten Wildlife area flood plain improvement
- $1 million for the Pasco Early Learning Center
- $900,000 for the College Place well consolidation and replacement
For a complete list of projects, please click here.
Stay in touch with me!
While I'm in Olympia, I look forward to seeing visitors from my district! You bring a flavor of home with you that I miss while I am away. I encourage you to come and see me. If you can't make it over this direction, please email or call my office. I look forward to hearing from you.
It's an honor to serve you!