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Posted on May 13, 2017

Warnick’s agriculture bills become state law

On May 5, Gov. Jay Inslee signed Sen. Judy Warnick’s legislation that requires air quality rules to treat cattle feedlots the same as other agricultural operations. Senate Bill 5196 extends the exemption to feedlots while establishing a process and guidelines for addressing activities that may be detrimental to the environment.
“Other agricultural activities are exempt from these kinds of regulations, so this adjustment to state law makes sense,” said Warnick, R-Moses Lake, who chairs the Senate Agriculture, Water, Trade and Economic Development Committee, in a press release.
Also on May 5, Inslee signed a bill sponsored by Warnick to limit liability for agricultural businesses that open their operations to the public for agritourism activities. Senate Bill 5808 received near-unanimous approval in the Legislature.
“The new law gives needed clarity to our ag-producers when they open their operations to the public,” Warnick said in a press release. “Farms can now be better protected when they share the valuable work they do with their neighbors in a fun and safe environment.”
Kittitas County, in Warnick’s district, is home to at least 15 such agritourism operations. Twenty other states have similar laws aimed at clarifying and limiting liability for agritourism, which provides millions of dollars to the local economies in Washington, according to the press release.
The new laws go into effect July 22.

By Post-Register staff 

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