Serving Franklin County, WA

House passes two Torres' bills

OLYMPIA — The state House of Representatives advanced a pair of agricultural bills today, April 12, sponsored by a Pasco Republican.

By a vote of 97-0, the House approved Senate Bill 5156, sponsored by 15th Legislative District Senator Nikki Torres. The measure expands the state's farm internship program.

In a second unanimous vote, the House also approve Senate Bill 5330, which updates the Washington Pesticide Application Act.

“Our farmers do a lot to feed not only Washingtonians, but Americans everywhere, and people around the world,” Torres said. “Passage of this bill to expand one of the most popular and much needed programs will help guarantee that the next generation of farmers know how to run and operate a farm.

Senate Bill 5156 returns to the Senate for concurrence with House revisions.

Senate Bill 5330 now moves to Gov. Jay Inslee's desk for a possible signature and to become law.

Torres said the farm-internship bill was necessary.

“The new law created by this bill will expand the farm-intern program across the state and make it permanent, helping those would-be farmers who want to participate but have been ineligible because they happen to reside in a particular county,” she said.

Under the bill, the state Department of Labor and Industries would certify farms eligible to host interns and allow aspiring farmers to attend educational programs.

Small farms will be required to give the internship to a migrant worker; a small farm is defined as one with annual sales of less than $265,000.

Senate Bill 5330 is also critical, Torres said.

“This bill is critical to the safety and well-being of both the user and those living in the general vicinity of the widespread use of crop-protection products,” she said. “It is the first step in implementing Washington’s EPA-approved plan to ensure that pesticides are used safely, with minimal negative impacts to health and the environment.”


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