Governor signs Hawkins bill requested by Leavenworth

From left: Councilmember Margaret Neighbors, Mayor Cheri Farivar, City Administrator Joel Walinski, and Councilmember Sharon Waters traveled from Leavenworth to join Sen. Brad Hawkins and Gov. Jay Inslee at today’s signing of Senate Bill 6055.  

OLYMPIA… In a morning meeting this past fall at Leavenworth City Hall, Sen. Brad Hawkins listened as city officials spoke of how a boundary change for Washington’s apple maggot quarantine area had limited their disposal options for brush and yard waste.

In a morning ceremony today at the state Capitol, some of those city officials witnessed Gov. Jay Inslee’s signing of Hawkins’ legislation to give Leavenworth the opportunity to burn brush and yard waste four times a year rather than hauling it away to western Washington for disposal.

Hawkins’ Senate Bill 6055 won unanimous approval from the Senate and House of Representatives during the 2018 legislative session that ended March 8. It will help Leavenworth with an immediate issue but 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. The new law will take effect June 7.

“This is a direct result of the very first meeting on my 12th District listening tour,” said Hawkins. “It’s another great example of how good legislation can begin with a simple conversation, and how governments can cooperate to do good things.”

Leavenworth officials raised the concern to Hawkins during his October listening tour, explaining how recent adjustments to the quarantine area stopped the city from transporting its brush and yard waste toward Wenatchee. Hawkins said chipping the city’s entire accumulation of brush is not realistic, while hauling the waste over 100 miles west for disposal is costly and has other disadvantages.

“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,” Hawkins said.

“I am grateful for the significant amount of hard work, compromise, and bipartisan support that led to today’s signing, and I’m glad the city was represented at the ceremony,” he said.