SESSION TO COMMENCE MONDAY

The 2007 Washington State Legislature, scheduled to be a 105-day session, commences Monday, January 8. Again, this year, NWIFC will endeavor to support your efforts to keep informed about the session, and to provide input to the legislative process. Leg-Com News, which has been published weekly during session for the past 11 years, will again be published at the end of each week in the interest of providing a brief overview of general “going’s on” on the “hill” in Olympia. Weekly “Hot Sheets” (priority hearing schedules) and Priority Bill lists and other information will also be distributed. You will also receive a directory of legislators and other information we hope you will find useful. Other communications will take place as needed, including briefings at Commission meetings, Environmental Policy Committee meetings and by conference call (see below). For more information, please contact Steve Robinson at (360) 528-4347 or email srobinson@nwifc.org. Note: This week’s Hot Sheet, and contact information for all legislators and their staff members, are attached.


CONFERENCE CALLS EVERY FRIDAY
NWIFC will host conference calls for tribes every Friday at 3 p.m., commencing January 12 and continuing throughout the session. These calls will normally include officials of the Department of Ecology (at least for part of the call). Discussions will focus on natural resource/environmental issues in the legislature, and provide a regular briefings as well as opportunities to brainstorm on issues. To access the calls, please dial (206) 553—1454.

LEGISLATIVE WEBSITE/HOTLINE
A great amount of information about the legislature can also be acquired at www.leg.wa.gov, ranging from bills and bill digests to schedules and calendars. The toll free hotline, 1-800-562-6000, is also available for general Q and A, and as one means to provide input to the legislative process.

STATE GOVERNMENT AND TRIBAL AFFAIRS COMMITTEE

Tribal affairs has been added to the House State Government Committee this year, raising the visibility of tribes and tribal issues on the hill. The committee will be chaired by Rep. Sam Hunt, D-Olympia, The State Government Committee has historically considered issues relating to the processes of government, including state agency rule-making; state government reorganization; election laws; public disclosure, campaign reform, and ethics laws; various public employee laws; and certain state agencies and the offices of elected state officials that are not under the purview of another committee. Now it will also consider bills of significance to tribes.

THE PUGET SOUND PARTNERSHIP
One of the key issues this session will be the prospective establishment of a new state agency, “The Puget Sound Partnership” to work closely with existing governments, including tribes, and the public to protect and restore the health of Puget Sound and manage the Puget Sound Ecosystem as a whole, foster collaborative problem solving and create mutual and clear accountability. The bill to establish the new agency (temporary number Z-0369.1/07) is being drafted by the Governor’s Office. The draft bill should be available soon. Note: A number of initial work sessions have been scheduled by the new House Select Committee on Puget Sound, including one for Wednesday, Jan. 10, at 1:30 p.m. in House Hearing Room B of the John O’Brien Building in Olympia, to which the committee staff has requested that a tribal representative sit on a panel and provide a general briefing on tribal/NWIFC activities and programs in Puget Sound management.

PBDE’s
HB 1024, a bill to phase out the use of Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers is on the fast track this session. A hearing on the bill has been scheduled by the House Select Committee on Environmental Health for 8 a.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 9 in House Hearing Room E of the John O’Brien Building in Olympia (with executive action scheduled for the 11th), and by the Senate Water, Energy & Telecommunications Committee on Wednesday, Jan. 10 at 3:30 p.m. in Senate Hearing Room 4 of the Cherberg Building (The Senate counterpart is not yet numbered. The temporary number is Z-0236.2). The Department of Health and the Department of Ecology have asked for tribal support of this DOE-request bill.

SHELLFISH AQUACULTURE
Legislation has been drafted by Rep. Patricia Lantz, D-Gig Harbor, which contains limitations on the Department of Health’s certification abilities pertaining to geoduck aquaculture. These limits could seriously impact DOH’s commitments in its Consent Decree with the tribes. Maryann Guichard, Director of the DOH Office of Shellfish has been informed of this, and has advised Rep. Lantz of this problem. Geoduck farmers have also expressed concern that the legislative effort could, in response to increased private landowner complaints about the industry, lead to applicability of several state environmental statutes, e.g., the Shoreline Management Act and the State Hydraulic Code, which have not historically been required. The growers are promoting substitute legislation, which largely focuses on streamlining the regulatory process affecting them. Their rationale for this is that the environmental benefits of geoduck aquaculture, like other shellfish aquaculture, far outweigh any detriments concerns.

PRIORITY BILLS LIST (Based on pre-filed bills—much more to come after the 2007 Session commences on January 8. Also, as the session progresses, “high” priority bills will be identified, categorized and recommended positions provided. Tribal comments on bills is always welcome.)

Bill Description Sponsor
HB 1024 Phasing our PBDE’s Hunter
HB 1025 Public Works Projects Rolfes
HB 1032 Sustainable Energy Trust Morris
HB 1033 Research/Science & Tech Morris
HB 1036 Renewable Energy Morris
HB 1039 DOE Permits/Mod Toxics Act Sullivan, B.
HB 1040 Specialized Forest Products Sullivan, B.
HB 1045 Brd Nat Res Proceeds from DNR Sullivan, B.
SB 5003 State Prks/Rec Comm. Pflug

These, and all bills, can be accessed on the legislative website at www.leg.wa.gov.
Note: TVW Television will again monitor all committee hearings, at least in audio form. For a list of stations, or to listen to hearings, go to www.tvw.org.

House of Reps. Roster

Hot Sheet