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Dear Friends and Neighbors,

After more than a year of tough negotiations, we were finally able to provide a bipartisan solution to Hirst.  Senate Bill 6091 will allow for permanent, legal, reliable water to rural property owners who have been left in limbo since the Hirst decision.

Earlier this week, some in the Legislature thought a Hirst deal was near but in our view, the solution on the table was not one we could support.  Negotiators came back to the table and hammered out the final details midweek and we voted on it last night.

The most important thing to know about the Hirst solution is this: if you own land with a well and have been waiting to build –  you can!  You can go down tomorrow, apply for a permit, and build.  This previous uncertainty was causing property values to decline and let many feeling hopeless as they potentially watched lifesavings evaporate.

Under the new law, all existing wells are grandfathered in.  There are some new water usage limits of 950 – 3,000 gallons per day of indoor use for new wells, depending on the Water Resource Inventory Area (WRIA).  Stock watering is allowed and so is water for wildfire buffers.

In the 9th District, we're pretty much whole – 5,000 gallons per day.

For more information, you can listen to a very informative interview with one of the key negotiators, Rep. David Taylor, here.

We also passed a $4.17 billion state capital budget last night, with $2.72 billion in bonds.  It's important to remember that if minority Republicans didn't exercise the leverage we had (60 percent vote required to pass bonds), we wouldn't be talking about a Hirst solution today.  Without the capital budget, there was no desire by the other side to help rural Washington by finding a Hirst fix.

You can read more about the capital budget here.

Thank you for reading my email update.  As always, feel free to contact me with questions or concerns.



Joe Schmick

State Representative Joe Schmick, 9th Legislative District
426B Legislative Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
360-786-7844 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000