WASHINGTON FARM BUREAU NEWSWATCH
May 3, 2005 No. 31
WASHINGTON FARM BUREAU TODAY ASKED THE WASHINGTON SUPREME COURT to
protect the voters' right to file a referendum on legislative actions,
which is guaranteed by the state constitution. Joining Farm Bureau in
filing the lawsuit were the Washington State Grange, National Federation of
Independent Business, Building Industry Association of Washington and
the Evergreen Freedom Foundation.
BACKGROUND: The Legislature this spring passed a bill that overturned a
voter-approved initiative, I-601, that limited government spending and
required a two-thirds vote in both houses to raise taxes. Farm Bureau
filed for a referendum to give voters an opportunity in the next general
election to accept or overturn what lawmakers did. However, the
Secretary of State's Office last week refused to accept the referendum because
the Legislature attached an "emergency clause" to the bill, which
allowed it to take effect immediately after being signed by the governor,
instead of the usual 90-day wait, and blocks the voters from pursuing a
LAWSUIT: Technically a writ of mandamus against Secretary of State Sam
Reed, the lawsuit argues that appending an emergency clause to the bill
was "a clear attempt (by the Legislature) to deprive people of the
right to vote on this significant change to a law initiated by the people."
It asks the Supreme Court to declare the emergency clause invalid, and
to order Reed to allow Farm Bureau's referendum to go forward.
THE WASHINGTON STATE FRUIT COMMISSION SAID MONDAY IT EXPECTS THE
state's cherry crop to again exceed 11 million boxes. (Yakima
Herald-Republic, May 3) In 2003, growers produced 11.3 million boxes of cherries; in
2004 the harvest was 11.1 million.
HEALTH OFFICIALS HAVE LINKED SEVERAL RECENT CASES OF SALMONELLA IN
Washington, Oregon and Idaho to baby chicks from the Phinney Hatchery in
Walla Walla. The hatchery said it is working with health officials to
reduce the risk of salmonella infections. The hatchery ships about one
million chicks a year throughout from Alaska to Idaho. Health officials
also cautioned against allowing children to nuzzle or kiss baby chicks,
and to make sure they wash their hands with soap and water after
THE DEPARTMENT OF ECOLOGY HAS FINED B&G FARMS IN GRANT COUNTY $69,000
for allegedly dumping hazardous waste at a decommissioned missile site
northwest of Royal City. (Tri-City Herald, May 3) The fine is the
largest ever levies by the state agency. The agency said this is the third
time Brown has been ordered to clean up materials dumped at the former
THE U.S. SUPREME COURT HAS DECLINED TO HEAR AN APPEAL OF A 9TH U.S.
Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that burning bluegrass fields after
harvest is part of the production process and not subject to federal
solid-waste disposal laws. (AP/Seattle Times, May 3) A Spokane-based clean-air
group, Safe Air for Everyone, appealed to the Supreme Court after the
circuit court ruling last year. Bluegrass farmers in Idaho said they
hope the Supreme Court's refusal to hear the case signals the end of years
of litigation over field burning. About 100 growers in Northern Idaho
produce $125 million worth of bluegrass seed annually.
* 2005 Washington Farm Bureau. Washington Farm Bureau NewsWatch is a
periodic update on news of interest to agriculture. Contact Dean Boyer,
director of public relations, 1-800-331-3276 or, send e-mail to
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