SENATE BILL NO. 6862



                                                                            C 142 L 90



State of Washington                               51st Legislature                              1990 Regular Session


By Senators McMullen, Metcalf, Amondson and Sutherland



Read first time 1/31/90 and referred to Committee on  Environment & Natural Resources.



AN ACT Relating to the development of hardwood forests and hardwood products within the Washington forest industry; adding a new chapter to Title 15 RCW; and declaring an emergency.




          NEW SECTION.  Sec. 1.     The legislature recognizes that the economic base of the state of Washington is directly tied to the development and management of forest industries and that efforts to enhance and promote the recognition and expansion of the hardwoods industry should be coordinated between state and federal agencies, the forest products industry, commissions, institutions of higher education, and other entities.  The legislature further recognizes that the development of hardwood forests and hardwood products will require multispecie, sustained-yield management plans for industrial and nonindustrial timber tracts, the development of products and markets for all grades of hardwoods, a stable and predictable tax program for new and existing firms and financial assistance for the attraction and expansion of new and existing hardwood processing facilities.  The legislature also recognizes that the welfare of the citizens of the state of Washington require, as a public purpose, a continuing effort toward the full utilization of hardwood forests and the hardwood products industry.


          NEW SECTION.  Sec. 2.     In recognition of the findings and purposes in section 1 of this act, there is created the Washington hardwoods commission, which is created solely for the purposes set forth in this chapter.  The commission shall be comprised of seven members.  All members shall be members of the hardwood industry.  All members shall initially be appointed by the governor and shall be appointed to staggered terms.  Three members shall be appointed for a two-year term, two members to a three-year term, and two members to a four-year term.  The hardwoods commission shall, by January 1, 1991, develop a method of electing board members to replace the appointed members.  Each board member shall serve until the election of his or her successor.  Five voting members of the commission constitute a quorum for the transaction of any business of the commission.  Each member of the commission shall be a resident of the state and over the age of twenty-one.


          NEW SECTION.  Sec. 3.     The commission shall have the power, duty, and responsibility to assist in the retention, expansion, and attraction of hardwood-related industries by creating a climate for development and support of the industry.  The commission shall coordinate efforts to enhance and promote the expansion of the forest industry among state and federal agencies, industry organizations, and institutions of higher education.  The commission shall have the power and duty to develop products and markets for various species and grades of hardwoods, and to study and recommend a tax program that will attract new firms and promote stability for existing firms.  The commission shall also have as its duty the development of an enhancement and protection program that will reduce waste and respect environmental sensitivity.  The commission will develop financial assistance programs from public and private moneys for attraction and expansion of new and existing primary, secondary, and tertiary processing facilities.  It is also appropriate that the commission utilize recognized experts in educational institutions, public and private foundations, and agencies of the state, to facilitate research into economic development, hardwood silviculture, woodland management, and the development of new products.  The commission will also work cooperatively with the department of natural resources in the development of best management practices for hardwood resources.


          NEW SECTION.  Sec. 4.     The commission shall have the power to elect a chair and such officers as the commission deems necessary and advisable.  The commission shall elect a treasurer who shall be responsible for all receipts and disbursements by the commission.  The treasurer's faithful discharge of duties shall be guaranteed by a bond at the sole expense of the commission.  The commission shall adopt rules for its governance, which shall provide for the holding of an annual meeting for the election of officers and the transaction of other business and for such other meetings as the commission may direct.  The commission shall do all things reasonably necessary to effect the purposes of this chapter.  The commission shall have no legislative power.  The commission may employ and discharge managers, secretaries, agents, attorneys, and other employees or staff, and may engage the services of independent contractors, prescribe their duties, and fix their compensation.


          NEW SECTION.  Sec. 5.     The commission shall maintain an account with one or more public depositaries, and may deposit moneys in the depositary and expend moneys for purposes authorized by this chapter in the form of drafts made by the commission.  The commission shall keep accurate records of all receipts, disbursements, and other financial transactions in accordance with generally accepted principles of accounting, available for audit by the state auditor.


          NEW SECTION.  Sec. 6.     Obligations incurred by the commission and liabilities or claims against the commission shall be enforced only against the assets of the commission in the same manner as if it were a corporation and no liability for the debts or actions of the commission shall exist against either the state of Washington or any subdivision or instrumentality thereof or against any member, officer, employee, or agent of the commission in his or her individual capacity.  The members of the commission, including employees of the commission, shall not be held responsible in any way whatsoever to any person for errors in judgment, mistakes, or other acts, either of commission or omission, as principle, agent, person, or employees, except for their own individual acts of dishonesty or crime.  No such person or employee shall be held responsible individually for any act or omission of any other members of the commission.


          NEW SECTION.  Sec. 7.     To provide for permanent funding of the Washington hardwoods commission, agricultural commodity assessments shall be levied by the commission on processors of hardwoods.  The commission shall determine by December 31, 1990, a method and rate of assessment on processors as well as a work plan for the commission.  The commission shall report to the natural resource and revenues committees of each house of the legislature at that time.


          NEW SECTION.  Sec. 8.     Sections 1 through 7 of this act shall constitute a new chapter in Title 15 RCW.


          NEW SECTION.  Sec. 9.     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. 10.    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 shall take effect immediately.

                                                                                                                        Passed the Senate February 9, 1990.


                                                                                                                                       President of the Senate.


                                                                                                                           Passed the House March 1, 1990.


                                                                                                                                         Speaker of the House.