Basin briefs for Dec. 11, 2019

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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.”

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Othello business damaged by fire

January 18, 2020 at 12:12 pm | Columbia Basin Herald OTHELLO — A fire didn’t injure anybody, but did destroy a shop, at an Othello business Friday afternoon. The fire at Wolfkill Feed and Fertilizer was reported at about 3:30 p.m. Manager Todd Roney...

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Gun rights supporters rally at Capitol

January 17, 2020 at 6:19 pm | Columbia Basin Herald By CAMERON SHEPPARD WNPA News Service OLYMPIA - On what turned out to be a cold and rainy day, nearly 150 people from across Washington gathered Jan. 17 on the state Capitol steps in support of t...

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Program to honor Martin Luther King Jr. set for Monday

January 17, 2020 at 5:00 am | Columbia Basin Herald MOSES LAKE — The life, work and legacy of civil rights pioneer Martin Luther King Jr. will be commemorated with a program at 6 p.m. Monday at the Moses Lake Civic Center auditorium. Admission is fre...

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Ephrata sees higher sewer rates, perhaps a roundabout

January 17, 2020 at 5:00 am | Columbia Basin Herald EPHRATA — Ephrata has a new city administrator. City residents will also pay higher sewer and water rates over the next few years, and may have to cope with yet another roundabout in the city limits...

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