Padden bill requested by Girl Scout to help pollinators signed by Inslee

What began as a Mount Spokane High School student working to earn a major Girl Scout award is now a new state law, signed today by Gov. Jay Inslee, that will help bees and other pollinators.

Senate Bill 5934 is a bipartisan measure introduced by 4th District Sen. Mike Padden that aims to promote the use of pollinator-friendly shrubs or bushes in landscaping.

“Pollinators, including bees and butterflies, play a very important role in the pollination of crops, contributing to the production of fruits, vegetables and nuts,” said Padden, noting that 75% of the world’s food supply depends on pollinators. “They play a vital role in sustaining agriculture.  Taking steps to protect and enhance pollinators is very important to both agriculture and the environment.”

Padden credits Mount Spokane High School senior and Girl Scout Julia Costello for asking him to sponsor the pollinator bill. Costello was in attendance when Inslee signed SB 5934 during a bill-signing ceremony in Kent.

“Julia is trying to finish requirements to earn the Gold Award, which is equivalent to earning the Eagle Scout award as a Boy Scout,” said Padden, R-Spokane Valley. “One of Julia’s Gold Award requirements is working with a legislator on sponsoring a bill, which is why she reached to me last fall about this bill. Julia made a strong case why improving pollinators’ habitat is important and beneficial. It has been an honor working with her on this bill. I’m pleased the governor has signed her bill.”

Costello’s testimony in favor of the bill during its public hearing before the House Local Government Committee last month can be viewed here.

Spokane Conservation District Director Vicki Carter sent a letter to Padden in January in support of the proposal. Part of Carter’s letter reads: Pollinators, including bees, butterflies, and other insects, play a fundamental role in the pollination of crops, contributing to the production of fruits, vegetables, and nuts. Their vital role in sustaining agriculture cannot be overstated, as approximately 75% of the world’s food crops depend on pollinators for successful reproduction. Therefore, taking steps to protect and enhance pollinator populations is essential for ensuring food security and promoting sustainable agricultural practices.”

Under the proposal, a local government may encourage but need not require applicants for project or commercial-building permits to include pollinator-friendly plants in any landscaped area.

(CAPTION: Gov. Inslee shakes hands with Julia Costello after signing Senate Bill 5934, a measure that Costello asked Sen. Mike Padden to sponsor.)