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Fairs across the state could soon see an economic boost

February 8, 2018 | By Washington House Democrats

OLYMPIA—Fairgoers and organizers could soon have new reasons to celebrate thanks to two of Rep. Brian Blake’s bills that would designate fairs as economic drivers for their communities and ensure funding for their operations.

House Bill 2725, which passed the House of Representatives this morning on a unanimous vote, would update laws concerning agricultural fairs, youth shows, and exhibitions.

“These laws haven’t been updated in decades; it’s time for an overhaul that aligns them with current practices,” said Blake, an Aberdeen Democrat, whose legislation would modify the definition and purpose of agricultural fairs to include the promotion of rural economic development.

The measure also addresses fair funding logistics by expanding, to all fairs, the authority to use funds from the Fair Fund for operating expenses.

“Funding from the Fair Fund makes a big difference in the ability of local fairs to operate,” Blake said, adding that there’s a fair at each of the five counties in the 19 th district he represents: Grays Harbor, Pacific, Lewis, Wahkiakum, and Cowlitz. “So fairs are a big deal in our area. Small businesses showcase their wares, local artists offer their works, entertainers perform, and kids learn new skills while having fun, all of these things create jobs, help grow the economy and strengthen communities.”

Blake’s other legislation, House Bill 2765, would ensure the long-term funding of fairs by allowing the Fair Fund to grow for the first time in twenty years.

The current source of revenue for the Fair Fund is a transfer from the general fund. This bill does not create a new tax; instead, it diverts sales tax revenue generated on fairgrounds from the general fund to the Fair Fund, replacing the existing transfer. The more revenue is generated, the higher the Fair Fund increase.

This legislation did not move in the House, but its identical companion, Senate Bill 6386, is alive and sailing through the legislative process, since it did pass out of both the policy and fiscal committees in the Senate before the cutoff.

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Mobile Food Trucks

Washington State Fairs Association

Legislative Day in Olympia – Thursday, February 22, 2018,

Washington State Fairs Association members that were present had discussion on Mobile Food Units. From the discussion there seems to be no coherent understanding (by all) how to obtain Labor & Industries approval for concessions trailer or truck. During our visit in Olympia, we met with Tammy Fellin, Legislative director Government Affairs and Policy division, Department of Labor & Industries. During our meeting with Tammy, she provided us with a clear understanding that Labor & Industries was responding to public safety concerns and how to mitigate impacts of the proposed changes on small business and streamline approval processes as much as possible. She provided me with the 2017 Report to the Legislature from the Food Truck Advisory Committee Recommendations (SHB 2443, Chapter 167, 2016 Laws). After reviewing the information in the 2017 Report to the Legislature, and email from the Advisory Committee, I concur with the Advisory committee that the requirements are appropriate and are needed to maintain public safety. The report summarizes the law that requires all conversion vending units (also known as concession trailers or food trucks and referred in the report as food trucks) to be inspected and approved by Labor & Industries before operating in Washington.The committee is led by James Barrington, Chair, Food Truck Advisory Committee, and Seattle Food Truck Alliance. The committee has done a very commendable job in carrying out their advisory role.

Also, I read the 48 pages of the State of Washington Department of Labor and Industries Factory Assembled Structure. This was forward to by Penny Nelson, Vice Chair, Food Truck Advisory Committee, and Washington State Fairs Association board member.The 48-page document contains clear and practical direction to obtain Labor & Industries approval of your concessions trailer or truck.There are fees in this process and they are outlined in the document. After you pass the final inspection, the inspector will affix the insignia to the outside of the unit to show approval of Labor & Industries.Based on what I have read, I see nothing to suggest the system is broken.

In summary, communication with the parties involved is of utmost importance.With that said, to gain more knowledge and understanding on this subject, the Washington State Fairs Association has asked Labor & Industries to attend the Management Team Meeting on March 30 th, 2018, Enumclaw Expo Center, Enumclaw, WA 98022. If you need more information, please call WSFA Office 360-269-9971.

Terry Atchison, President,

Washington State Fairs Association
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We mourn the loss of Bill McIntire...

The WSFA is saddened to announce the untimely passing of Bill McIntire of the Jefferson County Fair.

He shared his passion with the community, but his heart belonged to his wife Sue McIntire, currently serving as a Director with the Washington State Fair Association.

Bill was well known and a respected member of the WSFA. Bill has represented the Jefferson County Fair in many capacities, currently as President of the Fair Board, but is well known for his ability to maintain, repair and create just about anything the Fair needed. For many WSFA Service Members, Bill was responsible for the entertainment at the Jefferson County Fair and making sure they had everything they needed.

At the annual WSFA Convention and Superschools, Bill was always involved in workshops, often taking lead on topics and always willing to ask the important questions. Bill rarely missed an opportunity speaking with legislators about Fair Funding. He was not shy, but preferred to stay out of the spotlight.

All are welcome to join family and friends as we celebrate the life of Bill McIntire (Husband-Mac-Bill-Billy Mac-Willy-Dad-Papa-Brother-Uncle-Friend). Celebration will take place at the Oscar Erickson building at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds at 2:00 pm, with a reception to follow.
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