"It is good news for Washingtonians that the Legislature passed the long-overdue construction budget. This allows us to restart hundreds of stalled projects at schools and mental health facilities and build more affordable housing -- as well as put thousands of Washingtonians to work.
"The Legislature also approved a Hirst fix. I appreciate that the complexity of this issue required several months of negotiations by many legislators. While far from perfect, this bill helps protect water resources while providing water for families in rural Washington. It includes significant funding for habitat protection and restoration and other improvements that will be guided by local stakeholders and tribes according to the needs of each basin. Despite this positive step, pressures on stream flows and salmon will continue to mount in the face of climate change and growing demand for water. We must build upon this effort to meet those challenges far into the future and continue to work collaboratively to protect this valuable resource.
"It is, however, extremely unfortunate and, frankly, irresponsible, that for nearly a year Republicans stalled those projects and refused to vote on the $4.2 billion capital budget by linking it to passage of an unrelated effort to address the Supreme Court’s Hirst ruling on water rights. Their delay in passing the capital budget comes with many costs, monetary and otherwise.
"After our review of the capital budget, I will sign both of these important pieces of legislation in short order."