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As you may already be aware, the current legislative session has come to a close, but in a last-minute amendment, your lawmakers have seen fit to inserted language into the proposed state budget that effectively bans the creation of new off-road riding facilities and trails for at least a year.

The proposed state budget (ESHB 2765) -- which covers the period from July 1, 2008 to June 30, 2009 -- is now on Gov. Christine Gregoire's desk awaiting her signature.

This language was inserted by a six-member conference committee charged with hammering out Senate and House differences over the proposed budget before sending the document to the floors of both chambers for final approval. The conference committee members were Sens. Karen Fraser (D-Thurston County), Debbie Regala (D-Tacoma) and Dale Brandland (R-Bellingham); and House members Bill Fromhold (D-Vancouver-Clark County), Shay Schual-Berke
(D-SeaTac) and Joyce McDonald (R-Puyallup).

In the section of the budget that provides funding for the Department of Natural Resources recreation renovations, these lawmakers have inserted the following language:

"The department shall not plan for, or construct, new or expanded facilities or trails for off-road vehicles for recreation on state lands until after June 30, 2009, unless the project is already funded, has been considered as part of a landscape-level plan for recreation that has completed State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) review, which included public participation, and is the best alternative to protect environmental or trust resources and public safety from immediate risk."

What is not affected is the state's ability to continue to collect these funds (gas tax and ORV registration fees), nor the ability of the non-motorized community to apply for these same monies unencumbered by this same language. No compelling information has surfaced to indicate any reason for such action by the conference committee, and it is simply unacceptable that this was allowed to happen with no opportunity for public participation or hearings. We are requesting the Governor use her line item veto power to strike this section, and would like for every Washington State AMA member to tell the governor that this last minute attack on this user funded program is unacceptable.

Please contact Governor Gregoire Governor Chris Gregoire | Contact Governor Gregoire
immediately!

You can visit her website immediately by clicking this link:
Governor Chris Gregoire | Contact Governor Gregoire

Sample text that you can copy and paste into the EMAIL link ON THAT SITE is provided below, or write your own. It is vital that you make your voice heard on this important issue!

For more information:
…on this legislation,
HB 2765 - 2007-08
 
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