Senate passes bills to boost jobs in Olympic Peninsula and across state

Two bipartisan bills passed Feb. 12 by the Washington State Senate could spur job growth on the Olympic Peninsula and in rural and coastal areas across the state by boosting the timber industry, Sen. Kevin Van De Wege, D-Sequim, said.

Senate Bill 6140, co-sponsored by Van De Wege, could create jobs in rural communities by directing the Department of Natural Resources to evaluate state land, forestland, revenue streams and related management methods to make it easier to transact common-sense land swaps and help spur mill activity.

“In past years, the state and our timber businesses have lost revenue on trees that were supposed to be harvested and were not,” said Van De Wege, who voted for both bills. “That’s not only a waste of valuable resources, it squanders opportunities to create family-wage jobs our Olympic Peninsula communities desperately need.”

SB 6140 passed the senate 43-4 (two excused) and moves on to the House of Representatives for consideration.

SB 5450 would add cross-laminated timber to the state building code, making it easier for businesses to incorporate timber dependent technology in residential and commercial construction.

In addition to creating a stronger market for wood, the cross-laminated timber provides an environmental benefit by sequestering carbon.

Mass timber products include cross-laminated timber, nail-laminated timber, glue-laminated timber, laminated strand timber, dowel-laminated timber, laminated veneer lumber, structural composite lumber, and wood concrete composites.

SB 5450 passed the House 45-2 and is likewise in the House for consideration.

“Both of these bills take advantage of lost opportunities to create good jobs in the communities that need them most,” said Sen. Marko Liias, D-Lynnwood and the sponsor of SB 5450. “It’s important that we put people first as we work to grow rural and coastal economies across our state.”

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