ENGROSSED SECOND SUBSTITUTE SENATE BILL 5096
State of Washington 52nd Legislature 1991 Regular Session
By Senate Committee on Ways & Means (originally sponsored by Senators Barr, Hansen, Anderson, Newhouse, Conner, Bailey, Matson, Patterson, Amondson, Sellar, Bauer, McMullen and L. Smith).
Read first time March 6, 1991.
AN ACT Relating to the duties and responsibilities of the department of agriculture; amending RCW 15.04.010; adding new sections to chapter 15.04 RCW; adding a new section to chapter 34.05 RCW; and creating a new section.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF WASHINGTON:
NEW SECTION. Sec. 1. A new section is added to chapter 15.04 RCW to read as follows:
The history, economy, culture, and the future of Washington state largely involves agriculture, which is vital to the economic well-being of the state. The legislature finds that farmers and ranchers are responsible stewards of the land, but are increasingly subjected to complaints and unwarranted restrictions that encourage, and even force, the premature removal of lands from agricultural uses.
The legislature further finds that it is now in the overriding public interest that support for agriculture be clearly expressed and that adequate protection be given to agricultural lands, uses, activities, and operations.
The legislature further finds that the department of agriculture has a duty to promote and protect agriculture and its dependent rural community in Washington state.
It is the purpose of sections 3 through 5 of this act to provide the department with the authority and responsibility to seek the continued viability of agriculture and its dependent rural community in this state. This effort is to promote the public welfare of the state of Washington by assuring the viability of farm operations, preventing the erosion of the tax base in rural areas, and enhancing the financial stability of agriculture and its dependent rural community in this state. To carry out this duty, it is necessary to develop a program to examine the impact of state laws and rules on agriculture. This review procedure shall be implemented to provide a means through which those involved in agriculture may participate in the development of rules, policies, standards, directives, and enforcement practices relating to agricultural activities. The results and recommendations of such an examination shall be considered by all agencies of this state.
Sec. 2. RCW 15.04.010 and 1961 c 11 s 15.04.010 are each amended to read as follows:
As used in this title except where otherwise defined:
(1) "Agriculture" means the commercial production of food and fiber and includes but is not limited to the production of freshwater aquacultural, horticultural, viticultural, floricultural, dairy, poultry, apiary, vegetable, herb, or animal products or of berries, grain, hay, straw, turf, seed, Christmas trees, or livestock.
(2) "Agricultural activity" has the meaning defined in RCW 7.48.310.
(3) "Department" means the department of agriculture.
(4) "Director" means the director of agriculture.
(5) "The farm" means land, freshwater ponds, freshwater culturing and growing facilities, buildings, and machinery devoted primarily to the production of agricultural commodities for commercial purposes.
(6) "Person" includes any individual, firm, corporation, trust, association, cooperative, copartnership, society, any other organization of individuals, and any other business unit, device, or arrangement.
(7) "Dependent rural community" means those businesses that provide goods, materials, and services directly to the agricultural producer such as: Feed, seed, fertilizer, pesticides, pharmaceuticals, machinery, equipment, marketing, processing, conditioning storage, and custom hire operators.
NEW SECTION. Sec. 3. A new section is added to chapter 15.04 RCW to read as follows:
The department shall seek to enhance, protect, and perpetuate the ability of the private sector to produce food and fiber. Additionally, the department shall seek to maintain the economic well-being of the agricultural industry and its dependent rural community in Washington state. In a manner consistent with this goal, the department shall initiate and administer the agricultural impact assessment review program created in sections 4 through 6 of this act.
NEW SECTION. Sec. 4. A new section is added to chapter 15.04 RCW to read as follows:
There is hereby created an agricultural impact assessment. Such review shall consist of a comprehensive and ongoing review of proposed rules, directives, and enforcement practices that adversely impact agriculture, and shall include economic impacts, overlapping agency jurisdiction, and conflicting requirements, cumulative effects of regulation, redress for inappropriate or excessive regulation, and other items deemed advisable. Additional review subjects may be submitted to the department during public hearings held each year in western, central, and eastern Washington locations for such purpose.
If, upon review by the department, existing or proposed rules, directives, policies, standards, and enforcement practices are found to have an adverse impact on agriculture, the department shall request that the appropriate agency or agencies minimize or eliminate the adverse impacts on agriculture. The affected agency or agencies shall consider the recommendations developed by the assessment process in reviewing existing or proposed rules, directives, policies, standards, and enforcement practices. Resulting changes shall then be reviewed by the department and the affected agency.
In conducting the agricultural impact assessment, the department shall:
(1) Consider constitutional rights and guarantees, including regulatory takings issues, and work to ensure that historic prerogatives are integral to the agricultural impact assessment review process such that property owners are protected from arbitrary and discriminatory action that diminishes the right of ownership and use of property.
(2) Review all changes to property access, while ensuring that all persons have the right of protection from unauthorized access to their property.
(3) Encourage the affected agency or agencies to ensure that all rules, directives, policies, standards, and enforcement practices acknowledge the diversity of agricultural land uses, activities, and operations and allow for variations caused by weather, soil type or condition, specific crops or livestock raised, or management practices used.
(4) Encourage the affected agency or agencies to ensure that rules, whether existing or proposed, acknowledge and respect historic agricultural prerogatives and make no unreasonable or injurious demands upon agriculture.
(5) Review all rules, directives, and enforcement practices for any adverse economic impacts that limit the viability of agriculture such as requirements for special labor effort, additional equipment, unique facilities, training, or outside technical or professional support.
(6) Encourage the affected agency or agencies to ensure that all rules, directives, policies, standards, and enforcement practices do not restrict civil rights protections such as presumption of innocence.
NEW SECTION. Sec. 5. A new section is added to chapter 15.04 RCW to read as follows:
The department shall: (1) Submit an annual report to the appropriate committees of the house of representatives and the senate detailing the department's activities in regard to agricultural impact assessment. Such report shall include a compilation of all proposed review items and the disposition of each; and (2) establish a series of workshops to familiarize all affected agencies with the agricultural impact assessment review process in order to facilitate their compliance with such review process.
NEW SECTION. Sec. 6. A new section is added to chapter 34.05 RCW to read as follows:
At least forty-five days before the publication of the notice of hearing under RCW 34.05.320, the agency shall determine whether the rule has a potential for adversely impacting agriculture under the guidelines established in section 4 of this act, and shall submit such rules to the department of agriculture for review under sections 3 and 4 of this act.
NEW SECTION. Sec. 7. If specific funding for the purposes of sections 4, 5, and 6 of this act, referencing this act by bill number, is not provided by June 30, 1991, in the omnibus appropriations act, sections 4, 5, and 6 of this act shall be null and void.