Governor signs my two bills that won unanimous approval

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March 26, 2018

SB 6055 mayor presents book

Leavenworth Mayor Cheri Farivar presented Governor Inslee with a copy of "Miracle Town," a popular book about her town's transformation, following this past week's signing of Senate Bill 6055. She was joined by Councilmember Margaret Neighbors, City Administrator Joel Walinski, and Councilmember Sharon Waters. 

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

It has been nearly three weeks since the end of the 2018 legislative session, but things have continued to stay very busy in Olympia. In Washington, our governor traditionally signs most bills approved during a legislative session. This year’s Legislature approved nearly 300 bills, a small number compared to the more than 2,000 bills introduced.

Despite the relatively small percentage of bills that become law, the governor does have a lot of signing to do after bills pass the Legislature. The signing ceremonies allow stakeholders to gather, and serve to mark the end of a bill’s journey through the process.

Two of the three bills that I prime-sponsored this past session were signed by the governor last week. As always, the governor was very gracious with the guests who attended. Seeing the bills signed was a nice way to conclude a busy session.

Leavenworth bill to take effect June 7

The first was Senate Bill 6055, a bill that stems from my October listening tour of our 12th Legislative District. The first meeting of the tour took place at Leavenworth City Hall. That’s when city officials told me how a boundary change for Washington’s apple maggot quarantine area had limited their disposal options for brush and yard waste.

It was fitting that some of those city officials joined me, less than six months later, to see the signing of my bill that gives Leavenworth the opportunity to burn brush and yard waste four times a year rather than hauling it away to western Washington for disposal.

SB 6055, which won unanimous approval from the Senate and House of Representatives, will do more than help Leavenworth with an immediate issue. It also will allow the state Department of Ecology and other agencies to collect data and help decide whether burning is a long-term option in such situations.

Yard waste is not a typical topic of legislation, but this is more than a local concern. Between the apple maggot quarantine, Ecology’s regulatory authority concerning air quality and the fact that three other municipalities are affected by the boundary change, the legislative arena was the place to address this. I am grateful for the significant amount of hard work, compromise, and bipartisan support that led to a successful outcome.

SB 6211

Bill-signing ceremonies are public events, and all ages may take part. My Senate Bill 6211 was among more than 20 bills the governor signed this past Friday morning.

Law supporting ‘Good Neighbor’ pact is already in effect

Although most new laws take effect three months after the legislative session wraps up, there are exceptions when the policy change can’t wait that long. In those cases the bill includes “emergency” language that allows it to go into effect when it’s signed – meaning the signing is necessary, not ceremonial.

My second bill to pass this year, Senate Bill 6211, is an example of legislation that could not wait to become law because it is a time-sensitive step in the collective efforts to improve the management of Washington forests and reduce the risk of wildfire.

The new law creates a special account in the state treasury that allows the state Department of Natural Resources handle revenue and authorize spending under the Good Neighbor Authority agreement signed by DNR and the U.S. Forest Service in 2017. The agreement allows the state to conduct forest management work on federal lands.

With important forest health projects ready to go, we designed SB 6211 to become law upon the governor’s signature. I was thrilled by the strong bipartisan legislative support it received, and so was Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz, who herself has been a champion of forest health.

“I want to thank Senator Hawkins for being such a determined advocate for Washington’s forests,” said Commissioner Franz. “With this account now officially in place, I’m excited to put Department of Natural Resources crews right to work making all of Washington’s forests healthier, more productive and more resilient,” she said.

Like my Leavenworth bill, SB 6211 also won unanimous legislative approval. It’s the second forest health related law created in two years by legislation I introduced, the first being the law created by Senate Bill 5546 in 2017. That stakeholder-driven policy directs DNR to establish a framework for assessing and treating fire-prone lands. It was inspired by the Wenatchee-based Wildfire Project and sets a specific goal of assessing and treating 1 million acres over 16 years, most likely through prescribed fire and mechanical thinning.

It is my great privilege to serve as your state senator. If you have any questions or comments, please contact my office anytime using the information below. If you are planning a trip to Olympia and would like to visit the Capitol Building, my office would be happy to help your group when you are here.

Thank you for allowing me to represent you in Olympia!



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