The state House voted out a bill this afternoon with bipartisan support that would formally establish the Soil Health Initiative.
Senate Bill 6306 is a joint collaboration between WSU, the state Department of Agriculture, and the state Conservation Coalition and establishes guiding objectives for the initiative. It also establishes reporting requirements for WSU, WSDA, and the Commission to provide progress reports every other year to the Legislature and the Governor on the state of the soil, beginning October 1, 2020. The bill previously cleared the Senate with a unanimous vote and now advances to the governor’s desk.
Most notably, the bill also funds new research and extension capacity at WSU and will not take effect unless funded. The bill was fully funded in the Senate budget but was not funded in the House spending plan. Legislative leaders are expected to craft a compromise plan to send to the governor before their March 12 scheduled adjournment.