Rep. Norma Smith’s 2010 legislative agenda to focus on agriculture, jobs and the economy
Rep. Norma Smith, R-Clinton, began the 2010 legislative session Jan. 11 by introducing three bills with bipartisan support to help struggling farmers and employers in the 10th Legislative District and statewide.
“This year we will face challenges in the budget and other areas, but I will continue to focus on the needs of our communities, families and the employers that serve them,” said Smith, who serves as the lead Republican on the House Community and Economic Development and Trade Committee. “A healthy private sector in Washington state will generate the revenue we need to pay for essential government services, such as education, public safety and protecting the most vulnerable in our communities.”
House Bill 2603 would allow state agencies to issue employers that are in violation of a state rule or regulation a corrective notice and give businesses 48 hours to comply with the rule or regulation without any financial or civil penalty, so long as the violation does not endanger employees or the public in the workplace.
“Employers want to be good community stewards,” Smith said. “House Bill 2603 would take a good-faith step and give our employers time to comply with rules and regulations in a way that doesn't hurt their ability to keep their doors open. With so many overlapping and confusing regulations, we need to give our employers the benefit of the doubt on violations that are not putting people at risk.”
House Bill 2604 would allow a small withdrawal of fresh water from larger rivers prior to the water entering marine salt water. It would also designate the Skagit river watershed as a pilot project area to implement and evaluate this new approach. This would provide critical water to the agriculture community.
“Agriculture is an important part of our Tenth District economy and a vital piece of our rich history in Washington state. I am fully committed to any policy that will assist our farmers in Island, Skagit and Snohomish counties in keeping their doors open and providing opportunities for future generations of farmers,” Smith said. “This legislation would help those who farm the Skagit Valley, and I was happy to introduce it in the House.”
Smith also introduced House Bill 2460, which would provide the Washington State Department of Agriculture a better way to support on-going organics certifications in the state. This bill will be the subject of a public hearing Jan. 14 at 8 a.m. in the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee.
“As the demand for certified organic products grows in Washington, it is imperative we do our part to ensure the process aligns our state and federal standards, and gives farmers the tools to make a successful transition to certified organic production, should they choose to do so,” Smith said.
“These bills have strong bipartisan support because they are common-sense solutions that aim to ensure a vibrant agricultural job sector, protect the environment and aid in retaining much-needed jobs,” Smith said.
As part of the House Republican Caucus, Smith will be supporting a pro-jobs agenda outlined in the “Made in Washington” bill package.
###Washington State House Republican Communications