Hatfield pushes for new bill impacting rural communities
Sen. Brian Hatfield, of Raymond, voted last week to help boost economic development in rural communities through improved access to state grants and loans.
Hatfield said that House Bill 1260 updates the Community Economic Revitalization Board, giving it the flexibility it needs to make decisions on creating family-wage jobs in rural Washington.
“This bill gives rural communities a lifeline to financing for projects that make a substantial economic impact,” said Hatfield, a member of the board. “This bill is about identifying opportunities to create good-paying jobs in rural counties.”
Hatfield worked on both the Senate and House versions of the bill as chair of the Senate Agriculture & Rural Economic Development Committee.
The legislation updates the board’s statutes to include items like broadband transmission, which was not considered when the original statutes were written. It also provides flexibility by modifying wage criteria for employers looking to invest in rural communities.
The 19th Legislative District has received significant grants and loans from the board in recent years, including $500,000 to the Port of Willapa Harbor for redevelopment.
The board is responsible for generating more than 34,000 permanent jobs for Washingtonians since it was created in 1982.
The bill was passed by the House but amended in the Senate, so it now must go back to the House.