House passes Rep. Chandler’s agriculture skills and safety program bill


The Washington State House of Representatives passed legislation today that will help ensure agriculture workers have the necessary skills to keep the state's agriculture industry thriving in the years to come.

Rep. Bruce Chandler speaks on the House floorRep. Bruce Chandler, R-Granger, and member of the House Agriculture and Natural Resource Committee, sponsored the bill, saying it was a way to help move workers from a “job to a career.”

“The Washington agriculture industry is large and diverse, employing over 160,000 workers throughout the state,” said Chandler.  “In the future, there will be fewer workers but those working in the industry in the next generation will need new skills.  The agriculture industry is one of the most technical industries we have and that technology continues to evolve.  We need to ensure our workers have the skills necessary to meet the technological demands of the next generation of farming, growing and producing.”

Chandler's bill, House Bill 1127, creates the Agricultural Labor Skills and Safety Grant Program to be administered by the Department of Commerce.  The program will work with agricultural employees and employer organizations to:

  • design and implement an agricultural skills program and provide health and safety training;
  • develop a plan to increase the number of skilled agricultural workers through outreach;
  • evaluate trainings and service delivery strategies for agricultural workers and employers;
  • partner with an agricultural employee and an agricultural employer organization that has focused on agricultural labor and employment issues and services for at least 10 years and has experience in providing training to agricultural employees; and
  • use a training delivery system that is sensitive to the needs of agricultural employees and employers.

“The program will focus on workers who are already working in agriculture,” said Chandler.  “It will help them be more productive and more safe.  It will help them transition from a job to a career while at the same time helping our agricultural industry – which is comprised mostly of smaller entities – take advantage of new technologies and new skills.”

Chandler's bill passed the House 90-8 and now moves to the Senate for further consideration.

The 105-day 2015 legislative session is scheduled to end April 26.


Washington State House Republican Communications