House passes bill to eliminate livestock inspection program

The Washington State House of Representatives today passed legislation to eliminate the state Department of Agriculture's (WSDA) livestock branding and inspection program.

The legislation, House Bill 2075, was sponsored by Rep. Bruce Chandler, R-Granger and ranking member on the House Rural Development, Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee.

“This bill provides direction and clarity to the department on how to close down the program if the industry fails to come up with a solution,” said Chandler. “We need to be prepared for the possibility that livestock producers and other stakeholders may be unable to come to an agreement.”

Chandler's bill removes all authority and provisions relating to the creation and administration of the Livestock Inspection Program in state law. This includes:

* repealing the inspection program fees;
* deleting provisions creating and requiring identification certificates for livestock;
* repealing all provisions related to WSDA's certification of feedlots; and
* repealing the inspection and enforcement authority related to the inspection program.

“I'm hopeful we don't need this bill,” said Chandler. “It's odd to be in the position of advocating for a bill you hope is completely unnecessary. But this is a last resort if all else fails. It's not acceptable for the Legislature to allow any program to indefinitely run in the red. If there is no appropriation that can meet the need, this bill provides a path – a plan – to systematically close down the program.”

House Bill 2075 passed the House 89-7 and now moves to the Senate for further consideration.

The 105-day 2019 legislative session is scheduled to end April 28.

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Washington State House Republican Communications
houserepublicans.wa.gov