Ghost Net Bill Meets X File

A bill addressing ghost nets in Puget Sound and the Straits has been X-filed.

That means, unfortunately, it ain’t going anywhere in the Washington Legislature any time soon.

SB 5661 would have required commercial fishermen to report lost gear within 48 hours. Currently, they’re only encouraged to call it in. According to one of the bill’s main proponents, Bear Holmes, secretary for Puget Sound Anglers, all of two nets have been reported since 2003.

The bill was sponsored by Senators Sharon Nelson, Craig Pridemore, Dan Swecker, Scott White, Bob Morton and Joe Fain, three Democrats and three Republicans, and had a hearing before the Senate Natural Resources and Marine Waters Committee.

It was passed out of there on a 7-0 vote and was put on the floor of the Senate for a second reading but then X-filed.

So what in THE heck does it mean to be X-filed?

Explains a legislative Rules Shorthand Guide:

After certain cut-off dates, as a house-keeping measure the Senate Rules Committee sometimes places bills no longer eligible for consideration in the “X-File”.  This removes them from calendars, and the daily status sheet, keeping those lists from becoming too long and unwieldy.  They usually remain in the X-File until the end of the biennium.

“Yes, 5661 is DOA, I’m afraid,” says Holmes. “We made it through the Senate Natural Resources Committee and through Rules and we even had support from WDFW, but it didn’t get to the floor for a vote before the gavel dropped.”

He indicates there may be other ways to get the winch rolling on the issue.

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