House passes MacEwen bill to extend Christmas tree grower licensure program

In a unanimous vote Friday morning, the Washington State House of Representatives approved legislation sponsored by Rep. Drew MacEwen to extend the state's Christmas tree grower licensure program.

The program, which was created by legislation signed into law in 2007, requires businesses that grow Christmas trees to obtain a grower license from the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA). The annual fee for a license is $40, plus an acreage assessment of $3 per acre. However, the total annual license fee for a business may not exceed $5,000. Fees are deposited into a dedicated Christmas tree subaccount within WSDA, which are then allocated for a number of ongoing research and preservation efforts.

MacEwen's House Bill 1146 would extend the licensure program by 10 years to July 1, 2030.

“Washington ranks fourth in the nation when it comes to Christmas tree production, and Mason and Thurston counties are two of the state's top suppliers,” said MacEwen, R-Union. “Extending this licensure program will help ensure Christmas trees, and the businesses that sell them across our state, remain vibrant and healthy.”

According to WSDA, there are nearly 400 Christmas tree farms in Washington state. The top counties for cut trees are Lewis, Mason, Clark, Pierce and Thurston.

HB 1146 now advances to the Senate for further consideration. The 2019 legislative session is scheduled to run through April 28, 2019.

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Washington State House Republican Communications
houserepublicans.wa.gov