Local students testify in Olympia in support of Rep. Schmick’s bill to make Palouse Falls the official state waterfall

Local students testify in Olympia in support of Rep. Schmick's bill to make Palouse Falls the official state waterfall


Last fall, Rep. Joe Schmick, R-Colfax, was invited to speak to students at Washtucna Elementary School.  Giving public presentations about legislation and speaking to students around his district is par for the course with Schmick as his 9th Legislative District is one of the largest in the state.

During his visit with the students, Schmick talked about how a bill becomes a law and described the many steps it takes for an idea to make it through the legislative process and finally land on the governor's desk for his or her signature.  Schmick said he wasn't expecting what happened next.

“When I finished my presentation, the students asked me if I would sponsor a bill to designate the Palouse Falls as the state's official waterfall,” said Schmick, noting Washington state already has a state song, state flower and state tree among other such designations.  “Not only had the students done their research and knew the state didn't have an official waterfall, they already had the bill drafted!  I took their bill draft and submitted it to the Code Reviser and got the process started.”

This week, five students in grades three through six from the school testified in the House Government Operations Committee in support of their bill, House Bill 2119.  The students who came over were among several who submitted written essays explaining why they thought the Palouse Falls deserved such distinction. The essays were then judged by the high school students and the winners were awarded a trip to Olympia. There was even a live video feed of the committee hearing being shown at the school in Washtucna.

After the students testified, the committee rules were suspended and executive action was taken and the bill passed unanimously.  It now goes to the House Rules Committee where it is eligible to be sent to the House floor for a full vote.

“I'm very pleased the bill passed the committee and that the students got to participate in their state government in such a personal way,” said Schmick.  “The parents, students and teachers involved should be commended.  They did a great job representing their school and our region.  It was fun experience that may plant the seeds of government service for some down the road.  Who knows, a future Senator, county commissioner, governor or President may have been in that group.”

Video of the student's testimony can be found on TVW at this web site address: http://www.tvw.org/index.php?option=com_tvwplayer&eventID=2014010155



Washington State House Republican Communications