Dear fellow members,
As some of you know already the Association has been spending some quality time in Olympia. We gave testimony on house bill #HB 1558. Originally a bill to give some tax relief to beekeepers in the state of Washington. As it ends up, we walked away with a request of “how can we do more for beekeepers” and the home work began. With basically 48 hours to rework, and resubmit we got it done. I know what we submitted, but I am not sure what the final bill looks like.
We took the time to contact as many large, sideliner, and hobby beekeepers as was possible. We know that there is no “silver bullet”. So the end product was trying to make our bees lives easier. Increase forage, cut down on pesticide usage, and change the static on beekeepers from service providers to farmers. We also asked to see if the beekeeping commission could be reinstated in Washington. Our hope is that there is something in the final bill for all, but we made sure that everything in the bill was for the bees. My hope is that even if we only start the conversation on some of these points, we have got the conversation started. The panel all felt that the request to do more for beekeepers was a true offer, and truly heartfelt. I sure hope this plays out.
With the impending board meeting coming up March 9th in Ellensburg, I have called and asked many of the presidents, and secretaries to pole their members on the upcoming convention, and what you as the members would like to see at the convention. I also asked for any ideas that you had as to what we (WSBA) can do to help support your organization? In the upcoming meeting I will share your results and discuss better ways to communicate between local associations and the state. I would also like to see a way where local associations can contact each other. A place to post an upcoming speaker, Queen rearing class, a field day just to name a few.
Also it would be nice to hear how some associations are supporting their “new bees”. Things such as Mentor programs that have worked. Supporting the master beekeeping program is important. Even things like a simple buddy system for those who need a little “hand holding”. How they have helped retain their membership? Would meeting with the boards of associations in the same area help hash out some problems that we probably all had to deal with? Things to think on, and I hope you will all get answers to me, or a board member before March 9 so we have time to look it over, and make changes to better serve you.
Please remember that this is your Association. If you have not yet called your representative and tell them you support house bill #HB1558. Please do so. Thank you for your input.