Monthly Archives: March 2016

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    Hasegawa bill boosts economic development with industrial hemp

Hasegawa bill boosts economic development with industrial hemp

March 9th, 2016|

OLYMPIA – Under a bill introduced by Sen. Bob Hasegawa, Washington will become a leader in allowing the commercial growing of industrial hemp. The well-worked bill passed both chambers of the Legislature unanimously and will become law.

“This is an exciting economic development bill,” Hasegawa. “Industrial hemp is used in more than 25,000 products and in a variety of categories – from food to biofuel to clothing and furniture. With the passage of this bill, Washington will be a leader in the nation in allowing the growing of this important and versatile crop, which is grown throughout the world but not widely in the U.S.”

Senate Bill 6206 grants authority to the Washington State Department of Agriculture to establish an industrial hemp licensing program, research program and seed importation and certification program – making Washington one of only a handful of states in the U.S. to grow hemp in compliance with the recently passed federal Farm Act.

Under the bill, industrial hemp is of the family defined as the plant Cannabis sativa, which is otherwise considered a Schedule 1 controlled substance. Hemp grown in Washington must have a THC level at or below 0.3 percent by weight.

The bill also provides that Washington State University (WSU) must conduct research on the feasibility of industrial hemp growing in this state. WSU must report its findings to the Legislature by Jan. 14, 2017.

To watch the bill vote, please click here (and scroll to 2:16:45).

Hasegawa offers resolution to honor Cyndie Shepard

March 9th, 2016|

The director of Western Washington University’s Compass 2 Campus program, Cyndie Shepard, was honored by the Legislature for her contribution to the Western community and the people of Washington.

Senate Resolution 8704 was sponsored by Senator Bob Hasegawa, D—Beacon Hill, and adopted in the Senate on March 7th, 2016.

“As first lady of Western Washington University, Cyndie has done a wonderful job fostering relationships between the college and the community, and has given students in our state a resource for success. She is a true advocate of education,” said Hasegawa.

The Compass 2 Campus program connects students from Western with local school districts, and establishes a mentoring relationship that helps encourage K-12 students to graduate from high school and attend college. Hasegawa visits the Western campus every October with 5th graders from Whatcom County.

The program has proven successful since its inception in 2009, and is now being implemented at Central Washington University.

“Compass 2 Campus has been a wonderful program for many students in Washington, and will lead many more students to successful college careers,” said Hasegawa.

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    Small change to human trafficking law has significant impact

Small change to human trafficking law has significant impact

March 9th, 2016|

OLYMPIA – Protections for victims of human trafficking will be strengthened under a bill introduced by Sen. Bob Hasegawa, D-Seattle. The bill passed both chambers of the Legislature unanimously and was recently signed into law by Gov. Jay Inslee.

“This is a simple bill that has very important ramifications,” Hasegawa said. “When we hear about human trafficking, we often think that only means sex trafficking – but our state and nation have a terrible problem with labor trafficking as well. This bill expands the definition of human trafficking to include ‘human labor trafficking,’ which will allow us to help people who have been trafficked, who have had their rights and freedom stripped away, and been forced to work in inhumane conditions for little or no pay. They are essentially modern day slaves in America.”

Under Senate Bill 5342, five new definitions under the state human trafficking chapter will be added, including “forced labor” and “work or service.”

An international non-governmental organization estimates that there are 20.9 million victims of human trafficking globally, including 68 percent who are trapped in forced labor. Roughly 26 percent of the nearly 21 million are children and 55 percent are women and girls.

Due in part to our international border with Canada, dependency on agricultural workers and as a major port of entry to the U.S. from foreign countries, Washington state has a significant human trafficking problem, but is also one of the leaders in tackling the problem through legislation like this bill.

To watch the bill vote, please click here (and scroll to 19:25).

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    ‘Noodle bill’ to expand cultural competency in food regulation becomes law

‘Noodle bill’ to expand cultural competency in food regulation becomes law

March 9th, 2016|

OLYMPIA – A bill that sets science-based standards for storing certain cultural rice-based products, sponsored by Sen. Bob Hasegawa, D-Seattle, passed the Legislature nearly unanimously and became law.

“This is a good little bill, lovingly called the ‘noodle bill’ that will help bring cultural competency to food inspection programs,” Hasegawa said.

Senate Bill 6398 recognizes that certain products like rice-based noodles and Korean rice cakes, spoil at different rates and temperatures than wheat-based foods containing animal by-products. It asks that the State Board of Health take into account scientific data when determining time-temperature safety standards for these products.

The idea for this bill was brought forward by the owner of a fortune cookie factory in South Seattle which also makes rice noodles. The business incurred fines because the safety standards applied to them were based on broad rules rather than scientific data, which proved no additional health risks.

“By applying food safety standards based on scientific data, this cultural food manufacturer and other small businesses like it will continue to support economic growth in our state, and provide products that enrich our culture,” said Hasegawa.

To watch the bill vote, please click here (and scroll to 2:27:15)