Bills approved to assist Northwest Washington Fair, Whatcom County Superior Court

20130412_LegWA_0235abToday the House of Representatives approved two bills I sponsored to assist entities in Whatcom County. One measure would assist the Northwest Washington fair and the other pertains to the Whatcom County judicial system.

Senate Bill 5078 clarifies that property taxes are not applicable to Lynden’s Northwest Washington fair. The bill was needed because of a recent Department of Revenue decision to assess property tax on activities conducted on a non-profit’s fairgrounds that aren’t directly related to the fair. SB 5078 allows the fair to continue to operate without being subject to property tax, as most fairs around the state are. Changes were made to the bill in the House, which means it must return to the Senate for final approval.

In Whatcom County we take great pride in our agricultural heritage. Helping preserve Lynden’s fair is something that’s important to all of us, and the passage of this bill is a positive step.

The second bill, Senate Bill 5052, allows for an additional superior court judge to be authorized for Whatcom County, provided that the county agrees to pay its portion of the expenses associated with the new judge. The county has had only three judges since the 1970s, during which time its population has tripled, making it increasingly difficult for the county to process criminal trials and civil actions. Because the bill was not amended by the House, it will automatically take effect July 28 barring gubernatorial veto.

In passing Senate Bill 5052, the Legislature recognized the fact that Whatcom County has been long overdue for a fourth judge, and that the county is willing to provide the resources necessary to bridge the gap.