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WA: Single piece of wolf legislation survives

Capital Press

OLYMPIA — Legislators have winnowed out several bills — including two on managing wolves — as they push toward the end of this year’s session, scheduled for March 8.

The Senate Rules Committee sent Senate Bill 6139, concerning wolf management, to the so-called “X file,” which means the committee declined to consider it, which means it’s likely dead.

However, the companion bill, House Bill 2365, is still under consideration. It adds the gray wolf to the list of big game species and allows the State Wildlife Account to be used for compensating livestock owners for damage caused by predators. The bill passed the House unanimously in early February.

Another bill, SB6137, which would allow the killing of a gray wolf when there is physical evidence it is attacking livestock, was sent to Senate Rules’ X file on Feb. 22. There is no companion bill.

HB2456, on livestock information traceability, will be voted on by the full Senate. This bill also passed the House unanimously in early February.

Agricultural fairgrounds would benefit from HB2356, which passed both chambers unanimously. It authorizes the Washington State Department of Agriculture to provide funding to local governments and nonprofit organizations to support capital projects that make health or safety improvements to fairgrounds or fair facilities. Its companion, SB6221, is in the X file.

Other bills in the X file include SB6026 (concerning wetlands converted to ag use) and SB6431 (harmonizing state and federal laws on discharge of dredge and fill material).

Bills that are still viable include:
* HB2238, which pairs environmental mitigation projects with programs that enhance riparian resources.
* HB2329, which replaces encumbered state forest lands for the benefit of multiple participating counties.
* HB2349, which allows for beavers considered a nuisance to be live-trapped and relocated.
* HB2367, which changes composition and districts of the Dairy Products Commission.
* HB2395, would define drayage drivers who are currently independent contractors as statutory employees if they haul loads that pass through the Port of Seattle.
* SB5343, which modifies the Clean Air Act concerning anaerobic digesters.
* SB5575, which exempts certain anaerobic digesters from the state Clean Air Act.
* SB5981, which increases the fee for a seed dealer’s license.
* SB6082, which adds farming-related questions to state environmental checklists.
* SB6392, which extends the state farm internship program through 2017 and expands it to 15 counties.
* SB6423, which specifies that commercial driver’s license is not required when transporting ag products between farms.