Legislators report on session
April 29, 2021
The budget passed by the state legislature last week contains funding important to Wahkiakum County, District 19 legislators (Senator Jim Wilson and Representatives Jim Walsh and Joel McEntire) told the board of commissioners Tuesday.
The budget includes continued funding for the county ferry, the Oscar B, they said. This includes the funding for the state's 80 percent funding of ferry operations and backfill money to cover the state share of expenses beyond normal operations.
County commissioners have requested increased support, even state acquisition of the ferry, whose expenses, they say take money away from other county road needs.
The representatives said they would continue to support those efforts.
Sen. Wilson reported that just before final action, legislators "from a county north of Wahkiakum" modified provisions for a gillnet license buyback program that had been developed over two years, lowering the money amounts and adding reductions in catch.
Efforts to reduce the governor's powers to mandate actions in emergencies failed, leaving many upset with the extent of gubernatorial authority to order restrictions in business activity and group gatherings during the covid-19 pandemic.
"The rumor is that he'll order all counties back into Phase 2," said Rep. Walsh. "If that happens, you'll see widespread civil disobedience. Nobody will do it. "That's definitely the rumor; we'll see if it comes true."