Could Well Water Force Fourth Special Session?

Date: July 21, 2017

This week’s end of the third special session set a record for the number of days in a single year for the Washington State Legislature

NFIB/Washington State Director Patrick Connor reports from Olympia on the small-business agenda as of July 20.

The third special session of the 2017 Washington State Legislature limped to a close Thursday evening, July 20, on the 30th and final day of this latest overtime run. This set a record of 195 days of session in a single year, although few days of the second and third special sessions were actually spent in committee hearings or floor debates.

Ultimately, lawmakers could not agree on a so-called “Hirst fix” to resolve an adverse state Supreme Court decision limiting the drilling and use of exempt water wells. Consequently, the state Senate Majority Coalition Caucus (MCC) refused to approve a capital budget to fund public constructions projects for the next two years.

The House Democrat majority offered a two-year delay in implementing the Hirst decision, but would not agree on a permanent solution. Moreover, they insisted on processes allowing tribes, environmental groups, and others to contest future well permits. This was a non-starter for the MCC. Unfortunately, property owners relying on wells for future household and stock-watering uses are now left with no solution, short-term or long-term.

In a media availability following the legislature’s adjournment, Gov. Jay Inslee suggested negotiations should continue outside of session until an agreement is reached. He offered to convene a fourth special session once a deal is struck.

NFIB/Washington supports a “Hirst fix” that reaffirms landowners’ rights to drill and use exempt wells consistent with western water law and historic practices. While we are sympathetic to state agencies and local governments that sought to have various and sundry public works projects funded, NFIB/Washington does not typically engage on the capital budget, since it does not have direct, statewide policy impact on small business.

With the latest special session now ended, attention turns to the special election for several legislative seats – including the 45th district senate contest, which will determine control of that chamber. Primary election ballots have already been mailed. The NFIB Washington PAC will meet after the primary to consider candidate endorsements.

It should also be noted that the 2018 legislative session is only five months away.

Previous Reports and Related News Releases, Editorials

July 6 Report—Legislature Sets Record for Most Days in a Session

June 30 Report—On Paid Leave: “Make No Mistake, We Remain Opposed.”

June 26 News Release—Small Business Opposes Paid Family Medical Leave

June 23 Report—June 30 Deadline to Avoid State Government Shutdown

June 16 Report—Paid Leave Deal Set, Bill Introduction Expected News Week

June 9 Report—Washington Legislature Heading Into Triple Overtime

June 1 Report—That Second Special Sound—Crickets

May 26 Report—Inslee Declares Capital Gains, Property Tax Proposals Dead

May 19 Report—Another Special Session of the Washington Legislature Expected

May 12 Report—Inslee Signs Small Business Bill of Right Inventory Into Law

May 5 Report—Governor Expected to Sign NFIB-Crafted Bill Into Law

April 28 Report—Bill Simplifying Crowd Funding Signed Into Law

April 21 Report—NFIB Victory: Regulatory Fairness Act Signed Into Law

April 7, 14 Report—NFIB Victory: Ban The Box Bills Dead—For Now

March 31 Report—Labor Threat: Paid Family Leave Legislation or Ballot Initiative

March 24 Report—‘Get NFIB on Board’ Orders Senate Committee Chairman

March 17 Report—Legislators Challenged on Their Ban-The-Box Hypocrisy

March 10 Report—Major Legislative Deadline Passes in Olympia

March 3 Report—NFIB Agenda Bills Passing by Big Margins in Olympia

February 24 Report—Key NFIB Legislative Bills Advancing in Olympia

February 22 Editorial—Good News Can Come Out of Olympia

February 17 Report—NFIB Making Long Strides in Regulatory Reform

February 16 News Release—Small Business Seeking to Toss I-1433

February 16 News Release—New Poll Shines Light on Big Small-Business Headache

February 10 Report—NFIB Only Business Group to Testify for Right to Work

February 3 Report—Competing Employer Mandates Take Center Stage

January 27 Report—Small Business Bill of Rights Inventory Legislation Advances

January 20 Report—Bill Introductions Begin in Earnest in Olympia

January 13 Report—Opening of Legislative Session Sees NFIB Charging Ahead

[Tile photo courtesy of Legislative Support Services]


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