Committees pause while work moves to Senate floor

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February 6, 2018

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Today is the halfway point of the 2018 legislative session and also when the Senate fiscal committees will wrap up their work on bills introduced here in the Senate (the policy committees reached the same deadline this past Friday). Starting tomorrow the committees will take a break while we will move to the floor of the Senate chamber, debating and voting on legislation that came forward from the committees. The floor voting will continue through Feb. 14.

All three of the bills I am prime-sponsoring this year received the necessary support from the policy and fiscal committees well before the deadlines in our session calendar; one has also been approved by the full Senate already. Here’s an update:

  • Senate Bill 6211 – On January 24 the Senate unanimously approved my proposal to support funding for the “good neighbor” agreements that enable state and federal agencies to partner on forest management and other land-related work. The bill’s next stop is the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee, where it will receive a public hearing at 8 a.m. this Friday.

    SB 6211 would create a special state-treasury account to allow processing of revenues collected under the Good Neighbor Authority agreement entered into last year between the Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Forest Service. I have been partnering on this bill with our Commissioner of Public Lands, Hilary Franz. Commissioner Franz said, “DNR has projects ready to go, and the bipartisan effort led by Senator Hawkins will let us get to work building healthier, more resilient forests across all of Washington.” Click here for a new KOHO Radio report about how forests will benefit from this legislation.

Sen. Carlyle

Sen. Reuven Carlyle, from Seattle, is the chair of the Senate Energy, Environment and Technology Committee, on which I also serve. He is a co-sponsor of my SB 6055, to address an issue facing the City of Leavenworth, and he worked with me on updates to the bill that won our committee’s unanimous support this past week.

  • Senate Bill 6055 My bill to help Leavenworth with an issue stemming from  Washington’s apple maggot quarantine line was approved on January 31 by one of my committees – the Senate Energy, Environment and Technology Committee. The problem, brought to my attention during my 12th District listening tour in October, has to do with disposing of brush and yard waste. Recent adjustments made to the quarantine-area boundary established the line directly through a portion of Leavenworth. That prohibits the city from transporting its brush and yard waste toward Wenatchee. Hauling the waste 102 miles west for disposal is too costly and the truck transport is not ideal either.

    Officials from Leavenworth and Chelan County offered strong testimony in support of the original bill, which would have created a pilot project allowing Leavenworth (and three other affected municipalities) to burn brush and yard waste in a highly-coordinated fashion, twice a year. Our committee unanimously approved an updated version that attempts to address some of Ecology’s air-quality concerns. The updated bill also includes a clarification sought by Chelan County. My hope now is that the Senate Rules Committee will advance SB 6055 to the Senate’s voting calendar.

  • Senate Bill 5994 – Since 1891 the Legislature has started its session on the second Monday in January. SB 5994 would move the session start to the first Monday in February. On January 31 the Senate State Government, Tribal Relations and Elections Committee endorsed my bill unanimously, without any changes. Nothing in my bill would change when legislators take their oaths of office or start their terms. Only the start date of the session would change, and moving it back makes a lot of sense. Stakeholders and constituents would have all of January to connect with their legislators – especially new legislators, who would have time to make a smoother transition. Some of the bad travel weather, especially for us east of the Cascades, would also be behind us by early February. SB 5994 is also now before the Rules Committee for consideration.

Gwen McQuaig

Wenatchee High School student Gwen McQuaig serves as Senate page

It’s a joy to sponsor area students who come and work at the Capitol for a week through the Senate page program. My first page for the 2018 session was Gwen McQuaig, a junior at Wenatchee High School, whom I met during my listening tour last fall when she asked for this opportunity.

Gwen is 16 and the daughter of John and Melanie McQuaig of Wenatchee. She enjoys music, skiing, cross-country and participating in the Apple Leaf student newspaper and the Knowledge Bowl.  

I really appreciated getting to know Gwen and seeing her experience the legislative process firsthand. Her maturity and professionalism were impressive, and I enjoyed introducing her to many of my colleagues as she assisted us here at the Capitol. Wenatchee High School and our community should be very proud of Gwen. She represented us very well.

Students interested in the Page Program are encouraged to click here for more information.

Legislative offices exist to serve and represent citizens back home, so please contact my office if you have any concerns or questions. Thank you again for the opportunity to serve as your 12th District state senator!



Brad Hawkins

State Senator Brad Hawkins
12th Legislative District


107 Newhouse Building - P.O. Box 40412 | Olympia, WA 98504-0412
(360) 786-7622 or Toll-free: (800) 562-6000