HOUSE BILL 2339
State of Washington 57th Legislature 2002 Regular Session
By Representatives Linville and Schoesler
Read first time 01/15/2002. Referred to Committee on Agriculture & Ecology.
AN ACT Relating to conservation districts; amending RCW 29.13.020, 29.21.015, 89.08.020, 89.08.080, 89.08.150, 89.08.160, 89.08.180, 89.08.190, 89.08.200, and 89.08.350; adding a new section to chapter 29.04 RCW; adding a new section to chapter 89.08 RCW; adding a new chapter to Title 29 RCW; creating a new section; and declaring an emergency.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF WASHINGTON:
NEW SECTION. Sec. 1. A new section is added to chapter 29.04 RCW to read as follows:
Conservation district elections shall be conducted according to chapter 89.08 RCW unless a conservation district has chosen to conduct elections of its elected supervisors according to this title. Elections of elected supervisors of a conservation district choosing to conduct elections according to this title shall be conducted according to sections 3 through 5 of this act.
Sec. 2. RCW 29.13.020 and 1994 c 142 s 2 are each amended to read as follows:
(1) All city, town, and district general elections shall be held throughout the state of Washington on the first Tuesday following the first Monday in November in the odd-numbered years.
This section shall not apply to:
(a) Elections for the recall of any elective public officer;
(b) Public utility districts or district elections at which the ownership of property within those districts is a prerequisite to voting, all of which elections shall be held at the times prescribed in the laws specifically applicable thereto;
(c) Consolidation proposals as provided for in RCW 28A.315.280 and nonhigh capital fund aid proposals as provided for in chapter 28A.540 RCW; and
(d) Conservation district elections of elected supervisors conducted according to the process specified in chapter 89.08 RCW. This provision shall not apply to conservation district elections of elected supervisors when a conservation district has chosen to conduct these elections according to the process specified in sections 3 through 5 of this act.
(2) The county auditor, as ex officio supervisor of elections, upon request in the form of a resolution of the governing body of a city, town, or district, presented to the auditor at least forty-five days prior to the proposed election date, may, if the county auditor deems an emergency to exist, call a special election in such city, town, or district, and for the purpose of such special election he or she may combine, unite, or divide precincts. Except as provided in subsection (3) of this section, such a special election shall be held on one of the following dates as decided by the governing body:
(a) The first Tuesday after the first Monday in February;
(b) The second Tuesday in March;
(c) The fourth Tuesday in April;
(d) The third Tuesday in May;
(e) The day of the primary election as specified by RCW 29.13.070; or
(f) The first Tuesday after the first Monday in November.
(3) In a presidential election year, if a presidential preference primary is conducted in February, March, April, or May under chapter 29.19 RCW, the date on which a special election may be called under subsection (2) of this section during the month of that primary is the date of the presidential primary.
(4) In addition to subsection (2)(a) through (f) of this section, a special election to validate an excess levy or bond issue may be called at any time to meet the needs resulting from fire, flood, earthquake, or other act of God, except that no special election may be held between the first day for candidates to file for public office and the last day to certify the returns of the general election other than as provided in subsection (2)(e) and (f) of this section. Such special election shall be conducted and notice thereof given in the manner provided by law.
(5) This section shall supersede the provisions of any and all other statutes, whether general or special in nature, having different dates for such city, town, and district elections, the purpose of this section being to establish mandatory dates for holding elections.
NEW SECTION. Sec. 3. (1) This chapter applies to all conservation district elections of elected supervisors for those conservation districts choosing to conduct these elections according to this title. All provisions of this title that do not conflict with this chapter shall apply to conservation district elections of elected supervisors to the extent necessary to conduct such elections.
(2) All provisions of chapter 89.08 RCW, other than those provisions specifically governing conservation district elections of elected supervisors, shall apply to conservation districts choosing to conduct elections of elected supervisors according to this title.
(3) The definitions specified in RCW 89.08.020 apply to this chapter.
NEW SECTION. Sec. 4. A conservation district choosing to conduct elections of elected supervisors according to this title shall make the choice and provide notice to any affected county auditors no later than May 1st in the year in which the elections are to be conducted. The conservation district shall produce proof of an existing special assessment authorized according to RCW 89.08.400 to provide funding for conducting these elections according to this title. A conservation district choosing to conduct elections of elected supervisors according to this title is solely responsible for the costs of holding these elections under this title.
NEW SECTION. Sec. 5. (1) If a conservation district chooses to conduct elections of elected supervisors according to this title, the elections shall be conducted to elect the three elected supervisors. RCW 89.08.160 shall apply to all conservation districts choosing to conduct elections of elected supervisors according to this title.
(2) The provisions of RCW 89.08.200 shall apply to all conservation districts choosing to conduct elections of elected supervisors according to this title.
Sec. 6. RCW 29.21.015 and 1998 c 19 s 1 are each amended to read as follows:
(1) No primary may be held for any single position in any city, town, district, or district court, as required by RCW 29.21.010, if, after the last day allowed for candidates to withdraw, there are no more than two candidates filed for the position. The county auditor shall, as soon as possible, notify all the candidates so affected that the office for which they filed will not appear on the primary ballot.
(2) No primary may be held for the office of commissioner of a park and recreation district, for the office of supervisor of a conservation district, or for the office of cemetery district commissioner.
(3) Names of candidates for offices that do not appear on the primary ballot shall be printed upon the general election ballot in the manner specified by RCW 29.30.025.
Sec. 7. RCW 89.08.020 and 1999 c 305 s 1 are each amended to read as follows:
Unless the context clearly indicates otherwise, as used in this chapter:
"Commission" and "state conservation commission" means the
agency created hereunder. All former references to "state soil and water
conservation committee", "state committee" or
"committee" shall be deemed to be references to the "state
"District", or "conservation district" means a governmental
subdivision of this state and a public body corporate and politic, organized in
accordance with the provisions of chapter 184, Laws of 1973 1st ex. sess., for
the purposes, with the powers, and subject to the restrictions set forth in
this chapter. All districts created under chapter 184, Laws of 1973 1st ex.
sess. shall be known as conservation districts and shall have all the powers
and duties set out in chapter 184, Laws of 1973 1st ex. sess. All references
in chapter 184, Laws of 1973 1st ex. sess. to "districts", or
"soil and water conservation districts" shall be deemed to be
reference to "conservation districts"((
"Board" and "supervisors" mean the board of supervisors of
a conservation district((
occupier" or "occupier of land" includes any person, firm,
political subdivision, government agency, municipality, public or private
corporation, copartnership, association, or any other entity whatsoever which
holds title to, or is in possession of, any lands lying within a district
organized under the provisions of chapter 184, Laws of 1973 1st ex. sess.,
whether as owner, lessee, renter, tenant, or otherwise((
"District elector" or "voter" means a registered voter in
the county where the district is located who resides within the district
boundary or in the area affected by a petition((
notice" means a notice published at least twice, with at least six days
between publications, in a publication of general circulation within the
affected area, or if there is no such publication, by posting at a reasonable
number of public places within the area, where it is customary to post notices
concerning county and municipal affairs. Any hearing held pursuant to due
notice may be postponed from time to time without a new notice((
"Renewable natural resources", "natural resources" or
"resources" includes land, air, water, vegetation, fish, wildlife,
wild rivers, wilderness, natural beauty, scenery and open space((
(8) "Conservation" includes conservation, development, improvement, maintenance, preservation, protection and use, and alleviation of floodwater and sediment damages, and the disposal of excess surface waters.
and agricultural land" means ((
either)) (a) land in any contiguous
ownership of twenty or more acres devoted primarily to agricultural uses; (b)
any parcel of land five acres or more but less than twenty acres devoted
primarily to agricultural uses, which has produced a gross income from
agricultural uses equivalent to one hundred dollars or more per acre per year
for three of the five calendar years preceding the date of application for
classification under this chapter; or (c) any parcel of land of less than five
acres devoted primarily to agricultural uses which has produced a gross income
of one thousand dollars or more per year for three of the five calendar years
preceding the date of application for classification under this chapter.
Agricultural lands shall also include farm woodlots of less than twenty and
more than five acres and the land on which appurtenances necessary to
production, preparation or sale of the agricultural products exist in
conjunction with the lands producing such products. Agricultural lands shall
also include any parcel of land of one to five acres, which is not contiguous,
but which otherwise constitutes an integral part of farming operations being
conducted on land qualifying under this section as "farm and agricultural
(10) "Elected supervisor" means a member of the board of supervisors who is not appointed by the conservation commission and who is elected according to the process specified in either chapter 29.-- RCW (sections 3 through 5 of this act) or this chapter.
Sec. 8. RCW 89.08.080 and 1999 c 305 s 2 are each amended to read as follows:
To form a conservation
district, twenty percent of the ((
voters)) district electors
within the area to be affected may file a petition with the commission asking
that the area be organized into a district.
The petition shall give the name of the proposed district, state that it is needed in the interest of the public health, safety, and welfare, give a general description of the area proposed to be organized and request that the commission determine that it be created, and that it define the boundaries thereof and call an election on the question of creating the district.
If more than one petition is filed covering parts of the same area, the commission may consolidate all or any of them.
Sec. 9. RCW 89.08.150 and 1999 c 305 s 5 are each amended to read as follows:
If a majority of the votes cast at the election are against the creation of the district, the commission shall deny the petition. If a majority favor the district, the commission shall determine the practicability of the project.
In making such
determination, the commission shall consider the attitude of the ((
district electors of the district; the number of eligible (( voters))
district electors who voted at the election; the size of the majority
vote; the wealth and income of the land occupiers; the probable expense of
carrying out the project; and any other economic factors relevant thereto.
If the commission finds that the project is impracticable it shall enter an order to that effect and deny the petition. When the petition has been denied, no new petition covering the same or substantially the same area may be filed within six months therefrom.
Sec. 10. RCW 89.08.160 and 1973 1st ex.s. c 184 s 17 are each amended to read as follows:
(1) If the commission finds the project practicable, it shall appoint two supervisors, one of whom shall be a landowner or operator of a farm, who shall be qualified by training and experience to perform the specialized skilled services required of them. They, with the three elected supervisors, two of whom shall be landowners or operators of a farm, shall constitute the governing board of the district.
(2) In all subsequent appointments, at least one appointed supervisor shall be a landowner or operator of a farm. In all subsequent elections, at least two elected supervisors shall be landowners or operators of farms.
(3) The two appointed supervisors shall file with the secretary of state a sworn application, reciting that a petition was filed with the commission for the creation of the district; that all required proceedings were had thereon; that they were appointed by the commission as such supervisors; and that the application is being filed to complete the organization of the district. It shall contain the names and residences of the applicants, a certified copy of their appointments, the name of the district, the location of the office of the supervisors and the term of office of each applicant.
(4) The application shall be accompanied by a statement of the commission, reciting that a petition was filed, notice issued, and hearing held thereon as required; that it determined the need for the district and defined the boundaries thereof; that notice was given and an election held on the question of creating the district; that a majority vote favored the district, and that the commission had determined the district practicable; and shall set forth the boundaries of the district.
(5) This section applies to supervisors elected according to the process specified in either chapter 29.-- RCW (sections 3 through 5 of this act) or this chapter.
Sec. 11. RCW 89.08.180 and 1999 c 305 s 6 are each amended to read as follows:
Territory may be added
to an existing district upon filing a petition as in the case of formation with
the commission by twenty percent of the ((
voters)) district electors
of the affected area to be included. The same procedure shall be followed as
for the creation of the district.
As an alternate
procedure, the commission may upon the petition of a majority of the ((
district electors in any one or more districts or in unorganized
territory adjoining a conservation district change the boundaries of a
district, or districts, if such action will promote the practical and feasible
administration of such district or districts.
Upon petition of the
boards of supervisors of two or more districts, the commission may approve the
combining of all or parts of such districts and name the district, or
districts, with the approval of the name by the secretary of state. A public
hearing and/or a referendum may be held if deemed necessary or desirable by the
commission in order to determine the wishes of the ((
electors of the affected districts.
When districts are combined, the joint boards of supervisors will first select a chairman, secretary and other necessary officers and select a regular date for meetings. All elected supervisors will continue to serve as members of the board until the expiration of their current term of office, and/or until the election date nearest their expiration date. All appointed supervisors will continue to serve until the expiration of their current term of office, at which time the commission will make the necessary appointments. In the event that more than two districts are combined, a similar procedure will be set up and administered by the commission.
When districts are combined or territory is moved from one district to another, the property, records and accounts of the districts involved shall be distributed to the remaining district or districts as approved by the commission. A new certificate of organization, naming and describing the new district or districts, shall be issued by the secretary of state.
Sec. 12. RCW 89.08.190 and 1973 1st ex.s. c 184 s 20 are each amended to read as follows:
Conservation districts choosing to conduct elections of elected supervisors according to this chapter shall comply with the process specified in this section.
thirty days after the issuance of the certificate of organization, unless the
time is extended by the commission, petitions shall be filed with the
commission to nominate candidates for the three elected supervisors. The
petition shall be signed by not ((
less)) fewer than twenty-five district
electors, and a district elector may sign petitions nominating more than one
(2) In the case
of a new district, the commission shall give due notice to elect the three
supervisors. All provisions pertaining to elections on the creation of a
district shall govern this election so far as applicable. The names of all
nominees shall appear on the ballot in alphabetical order, together with
instructions to vote for three. The three candidates receiving the most votes
shall be declared elected supervisors, the one receiving the most being elected
for a ((
three-year)) four-year term, the one receiving the
next largest for (( two)) three years, and the (( last))
one receiving the third largest for (( one)) two years.
(3) An alternate method of dividing the district into three zones may be used when requested by the board of supervisors and approved by the commission. In such case, instructions will be to vote for one in each zone. The candidate receiving the most votes in a zone shall be declared elected.
(4) Each year after the creation of the first board of supervisors, the board shall by resolution and by giving due notice, set a date during the first quarter of each calendar year at which time it shall conduct an election. In all subsequent elections:
(a) Names of
candidates nominated by petition shall appear in alphabetical order on the
, together with an extra line wherein may be written in the name of
any other candidate)); and
(b) Write-in candidates shall be governed according to section 13 of this act.
(5) The commission shall establish procedures for elections, canvass the returns and announce the official results thereof. Election results may be announced by polling officials at the close of the election subject to official canvass of ballots by the commission.
(6) Supervisors elected according to the process specified in this chapter shall take office at the first board meeting following the election.
NEW SECTION. Sec. 13. A new section is added to chapter 89.08 RCW to read as follows:
(1) Any person who desires to be a write-in candidate for an elected supervisor position and have such votes counted at an election may file a declaration of candidacy with the commission or the district, whichever is conducting the election, not later than the day before the election. Declarations of candidacy for write-in candidates must be accompanied by any information required of write-in candidates specified in procedures established by the commission, including proof of land owner or farm operator status if the elected supervisor position for which the write-in candidate is filing is one reserved for a land owner or farm operator as specified in RCW 89.08.160(2).
(2) Votes cast for write-in candidates who have filed such declarations of candidacy need only specify the name of the candidate in the appropriate location on the ballot in order to be counted. Any district elector may write in on the ballot the name of any person for an elected supervisor position who has filed as a write-in candidate for the position in the manner specified in this section, and such vote shall be counted the same as if the name had been printed on the ballot and marked by the district elector. No write-in vote made for any person who has not filed a declaration of candidacy according to this section is valid.
(3) The commission or district, whichever is conducting the election, shall ensure that those persons charged with counting the ballots for an election are notified of all valid write-in candidates before the tabulation of those ballots.
(4) The number of write-in votes cast for each office must be recorded and reported with the canvass for the election. Write-in votes cast for an individual candidate need not be tallied if the total number of write-in votes cast for the position is not greater than the number of votes cast for the candidate apparently nominated or elected, and the write-in votes could not have altered the outcome of the election.
Sec. 14. RCW 89.08.200 and 1973 1st ex.s. c 184 s 21 are each amended to read as follows:
(1)(a) The term
of office of each supervisor shall be ((
three)) four years and
until his or her successor is appointed or elected and qualified, except
that the supervisors first appointed shall serve for (( one)) two
and (( two)) four years respectively from the date of their
appointments, as designated in their appointments.
(b) In the case
of elected supervisors, the term of office of each supervisor shall be ((
four years and until his or her successor is elected and
qualified, except that for the first election, the one receiving the largest
number of votes shall be elected for (( three)) four years; the
next largest (( two)), three years; and the third largest (( one)),
two years. Successors shall be elected for (( three-year)) four-year
(c) Vacancies in the office of appointed supervisors shall be filled by the state conservation commission. Vacancies in the office of elected supervisors shall be filled by appointment made by the remaining supervisors for the unexpired term.
(2) A majority of the supervisors shall constitute a quorum and the concurrence of a majority is required for any official action or determination.
(3) Supervisors shall serve without compensation, but they shall be entitled to expenses, including traveling expenses, necessarily incurred in discharge of their duties.
(4) A supervisor may be removed by the state conservation commission upon notice and hearing, for neglect of duty or malfeasance in office, but for no other reason.
(5) The governing board shall designate a chairman from time to time.
Sec. 15. RCW 89.08.350 and 1999 c 305 s 9 are each amended to read as follows:
At any time after five
years from the organization of a district, twenty percent of the ((
the)) district electors may file with the commission a petition,
praying that the district be dissolved. The commission may hold public
hearings thereon, and within sixty days from receipt of the petition, shall
give due notice of an election on the question of dissolution. It shall
provide appropriate ballots, conduct the election, canvass the returns, and
declare the results in the same manner as for elections to create a district.
All district electors may vote at the election. No informality relating to the election shall invalidate it if notice is substantially given and the election is fairly conducted.
NEW SECTION. Sec. 16. Any elected supervisor currently serving on a district board of supervisors on the effective date of this act who would no longer be eligible to file for election as a result of the provisions of this act shall continue to serve as a member of the board of supervisors until the expiration of his or her current term of office, and/or until the election date nearest the expiration date of his or her term of office.
NEW SECTION. Sec. 17. Sections 3 through 5 of this act constitute a new chapter in Title 29 RCW.
NEW SECTION. Sec. 18. If any provision of this act or its application to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the remainder of the act or the application of the provision to other persons or circumstances is not affected.
NEW SECTION. Sec. 19. This act is necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, or safety, or support of the state government and its existing public institutions, and takes effect immediately.
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