Elections for several positions on the WSDF Board of Directors were held last fall. The following dairy farmers were elected to fill positions by the membership.
- Terry Lenssen, District 1, Position 1
- Eric Johnson, District 1, Position 4
- Keith Golob, District 3, Position 7
- Henry Benthem, District 4, Position 10
Tom DeVries has resigned from his seat on the Board (District 3, Position 6). Members in that district have been mailed biography forms for those interested in running for election. Those forms should be submitted to the WSDF office and should be postmarked no later than this Friday, Jan. 20.
Several dairy-related events will be taking place in Olympia in January. These events are the best way to have face-to-face interaction with our senators and representatives from both political parties.
On Monday, Jan. 23, the WSDF Board of Directors will meet at 10 a.m. at the Ramada Inn, 4520 Martin Way E, Olympia, WA.
At 5 p.m. on Jan. 23, WSDF will host a Legislative Reception at Ramblin Jack’s Restaurant, 520 4th Ave E in downtown Olympia (just 1.2 miles from the Capitol Campus).
Tuesday, Jan. 24, is Dairy Day at the Legislature. The event begins at noon, and WSDF and the dairy ambassadors will serve dairy products on the third floor of the Legislative Building.
All producers are invited to attend these three events.
Last Monday, Jan. 9, legislators arrived in Olympia to begin a long, 105-day legislative session. The week began with the usual opening ceremonies, swearing in of legislators, and settling in to new legislative offices.
On Wednesday, Gov. Jay Inslee delivered his State of the State Address, in which he focused on his proposal to raise taxes by $4.4 billion. The tax increases championed by Inslee include a new carbon tax (even though voters defeated one at the ballot box last November), a capital gains tax (which could be a step toward a state income tax), and an increase in B&O taxes on business services.
Control of the House and Senate remains unchanged from last year. Democrats hold a two-seat majority in the House, and the Majority Coalition Caucus of 24 Republicans and one Democrat hold a one-vote majority in the Senate. This division of power helps ensure that any bills to pass the Legislature will be bipartisan in nature, and highly controversial legislation will be filtered out through the regular legislative processes throughout session.
The cutoff date for policy committees to act on proposed legislation falls on February 17. The end of the regular session will be April 23, but given high-profile budget issues such as K-12 educational funding, it is likely that there will be special sessions beyond that date.
Committee activity last week and the first part of this week has focused primarily on work sessions in which legislative and agency staff present requested information updates to legislators. The pace of public hearings on bills will increase soon.