Gov. Jay Inslee signed a bill today that will help local authorities with wildfire education, prevention and response – with a focus on preventing homelessness. Rep. Jacquelin Maycumber sponsored the legislation as a result of concerns brought forward by her local elected officials and constituents.
House Bill 2010 has two components. First, it requires the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), subject to availability of appropriated funds, to provide funding to certain counties for equipment and services used for residential wildfire risk reduction activities to prevent homelessness. While the 2017-19 operating budget still needs to be passed in the ongoing special session, Maycumber believes it will include funding for her bill.
Secondly, the legislation authorizes the DNR to transfer ownership of depreciated firefighting vehicles and related equipment to local fire districts in wildfire-prone areas of the state.
“This bill is about wildfire education, prevention and response. These are key issues to the communities I represent and I have made them priorities since entering office,” said Maycumber, R-Republic. “The goal is to get the appropriate resources to the appropriate communities at the appropriate times. We also want to do all we can to prevent families from becoming homeless as a result of catastrophic wildfires.”
The 7th District lawmaker advocated for her legislation in a public hearing of the House Community Development, Housing & Tribal Affairs Committee on Feb. 16. You can watch Maycumber’s testimony in this video (35:49 mark). She also discussed the bill, and other issues, in a video update on April 13.
House Bill 2010 garnered support from local elected officials, including Stevens County Commissioner Wes McCart. He testified in favor of the legislation, including the importance of helping those left homeless as the result of wildfires. You can watch McCart’s remarks here (38:32 mark).
“I appreciate the support of local elected officials and my colleagues in the Legislature in pushing this bill through. It was a team effort,” said Maycumber, who is the assistant ranking Republican on the House Environment Committee. “We still have more work to do to protect our communities from devastating wildfires. It’s important we make progress every legislative session and this is a step forward.”
House Bill 2010 is the first piece of legislation prime sponsored by Maycumber to be signed into law. The measure contains an emergency clause and takes effect immediately.
The 2017 legislative session ended on April 23. The Legislature is in a 30-day special session to finalize the operating and capital budgets. Republicans, including Maycumber, also continue to push for a solution to the state Supreme Court’s controversial Hirst decision.