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Bob Larson H-2A Fees Nixed Pt 2
by Bob Larson, click here for bio

Program: Washington State Farm Bureau Report
Date: April 25, 2019

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I’m Bob Larson. Adding more fees for H-2A employers will have to wait. The nearly unanimous approval of the amendment to Senate Bill 5438 removed the fees and will leave funding of the federal program to the feds.

Spokane Democrat Timm Ormsby chairs the House Appropriations Committee and believes the federal government has abdicated its responsibility …

ORMSBY … “And I think this is a good-faith attempt on both sides to, in a full-throated fashion, lobby the federal government to take care of their responsibility in funding of this program. And, this buys us time for them to realize that the responsibility that they have not taken up.”

Republican Bruce Chandler of Granger agrees …

CHANDLER … “It is a federal program, but our Department of Labor and Industries actually does a lot of the inspections and is responsible for kind of running the program in the state.”

Chandler says the bill calls for an advisory group to oversee the program, but not on the state’s dime …

CHANDLER … “We deleted the portion that would take over paying for it. We would appropriate money in our budget for it because it’s really the responsibility of the federal government.”

Chandler says H-2A is of particular importance in Washington state …

CHANDLER … “We are one of the larger and major participants in the program, but we are paid at a dramatically lower rate than any other state. And, we need to work with our Congressional delegation and get the federal government to take on its responsibility and that ended up going out, like I said, with unanimous support.”

SB 5438 now moves on the House Rules Committee. We’ll keep you posted.

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