Governor Gary Locke’s Remarks
Sine Die Press Conference - Legislative Session Adjournment
April 22, 2001
During my "State of the State" address at the outset of this session, I pledged to work with the Legislature on several bedrock issues:
Creating an education system that enriches every child;
Establishing a clean and sustainable energy policy;
Reforming our outdated and burdensome water laws;
And undertaking major transportation improvements that move people, freight, and goods.
As the regular session adjourns Sine Die, I want to thank the members of the Legislature for their labor. This was an exhausting session for lawmakers, with a House divided by Party and a government uprooted by Mother Nature. Let me again thank our state workers for their Herculean efforts in the aftermath of the earthquake.
Thankfully, despite being struck by an energy crisis, a drought, and an earthquake, we haven't swayed from our primary, long-range focus.
The Legislature did act on two of our priority issues: energy and water.
During the "State of the State," I pledged to enact an energy package that would include tax breaks so utilities could convert part-time polluting generators into full-time clean generators, tax breaks for companies that want to produce their own permanent power, initiatives to diversify energy sources, and energy assistance for low-income citizens.
That's why I'm pleased by the passage of virtually all of what I proposed to help Washington be a place with stable, affordable energy supplies that will help our state become more energy-independent in the years ahead.
At the "State of the State," I pledged to reform our antiquated water laws -- laws written in an era when William McKinley sat in the White House and giant evergreens skidded down Yesler Way. I said then, "We're not going to leave until we've reformed our water permitting process so people aren't waiting years for a simple non-controversial permit!"
It was a promise kept.
HB 1832 was proposed by my administration so farmers won't have to wait years for a simple well permit. HB 1832 adjusts the "use-it-or-lose-it" policy that offered little incentive for conservation.
It facilitates the transfer of water rights from family farms to other uses such as residential and municipal, and empowers local conservancy boards to make decisions on transfer changes. Most importantly, the bill sets up two lines for water permits, so that simple transfers can be processed efficiently.
Now, reforming century-old water laws -- a complex and disconnected web of regulations -- is something like unscrambling an egg.
Unfortunately, funding for water reform remains unresolved.
My team and I look forward to working with the Legislature to reach a financing agreement so that these landmark reforms can begin making a meaningful difference right away.
In other areas
SB 5017, a measure we submitted in January to stem the epidemic of meth abuse and manufacturing and sponsored by Senator Rosa Franklin was passed.
Governor's request bill SB 6109, the campaign disclosure law sponsored by Senator Julia Patterson was passed. This measure enhances the peoples' ability to keep track of campaign finance expenditures.
The Legislature has pieced together a skeleton, with a hull and a centerboard, but no mast. We have work to finish, and promises to keep. The House remains gridlocked on the budget, and that's disappointing.
The people demand we tackle problems such as transportation, our operating and capital budgets, reforming our blanket primary, and ensuring accountability in education. I am pleased that legislation was passed on my proposal to provide business people with teaching credentials to become certified teachers without going back to college for a four-year degree.
Today, I am calling for a special session of the state Legislature, to be convened at noon on Wednesday.
There is no reason that we can't be done within two weeks.
Let's go to it.