House to vote today on Newhouse-sponsored farmworker bill
WASHINGTON D.C. — The House of Representatives is expected to vote Wednesday on H.R. 5038, the Farm Workforce Modernization Act, of which Rep. Dan Newhouse, R-Sunnyside, is the lead Republican sponsor.
The bipartisan bill was negotiated over several months by Republicans and Democrats, farmers and agriculture stakeholders, and labor unions and farmworker organizations. The last agriculture labor reform bill to be passed by the House of Representatives was in 1986, according to a press release.
In a column for the Yakima Herald-Republic, Newhouse defended the bill against criticism it has received from both sides of the aisle.
“Some claim that the bill does more to provide legal status to an existing workforce than to increase the availability of farmworkers for employers; I could not disagree more,” Newhouse wrote. “I went into these negotiations as a farmer with Central Washington’s agriculture industry in my heart and mind.”
Royal City passes a variety of ordinances
ROYAL CITY — The Royal City Council passed more ordinances during a regular city council meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 3, than it has the rest of the year. Seven was the magic number for the council, some of which were routine end-of-the-year ordinances.
The council approved the 2020 budget and an annual two percent increase in utility rates. It also approved an ordinance amending the 2019 budget. The amendment is needed to pay CDSI for their garbage services.
The council also approved updates to the animal code, bringing it up-to-date with Washington state legislation. The language deals with potentially dangerous dogs.
New to the city is an ordinance requiring persons renting out houses or property to have a business license. The property would also have to be inspected every few years, for things such as working smoke detectors, to ensure tenants’ safety.
“It is a similar ordinance to that of Soap Lake,” Christensen said. “We have not had a rental license ordinance in the past. It is new to Royal City, but not to certain cities in Grant County.”