House approves Dent’s small forest landowner legislation

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OLYMPIA — House Bill 1924, sponsored by Rep. Tom Dent to assist small forest landowners in reducing wildfire risk on their property has passed the state House of Representatives.

The bill would exempt small forest landowners from some of the provisions in the Farm Labor Contractor Act.

“The current system is not user friendly. This legislation would eliminate some of the bureaucracy and allow the landowners to clean up their property more efficiently and make it more ‘firewise,’” said Dent, R-Moses Lake.

“The rules and regulations in place are burdensome for our small forest property owners, so fuel cleanup was being ignored or the entire fuel cleanup business was being pushed underground.”

The exemption put in place would allow small forest landowners to hire someone without being subject to the farm labor contract statute, which can cost several hundred dollars and could require posting a bond and getting additional insurance.

The bill would also modify how the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) authorizes burning permits to small forest landowners. Under the bill, DNR would be able to issue multiple-year burning permits to small forest landowners.

The bill passed by a vote of 98-0 and was sent to the Senate for consideration.

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