Two pro-Mason County bills earn governor’s signature

The governor signed two bills Thursday, both introduced by Sen. Tim Sheldon, which will benefit Mason County residents.

The first measure, Senate Bill 6031, expands protections for property owners who want to conserve forest land around Lake Nahwatzel. The bill clarifies provisions for lake- and beach-management districts and requires that landowners approve a proposed tax assessment before it is levied.

“The original laws for lake- and beach-management districts are confusing; this bill cleans up the language and actually expands the authority of management districts,” said Sheldon, D-Potlatch. “If residents want to work together to support and fund conservation efforts, it was important to me that the authority and protections be in place to help them be successful.”

The second measure, Senate Bill 6330, offers a low-income housing tax break to encourage economic development and job growth in rural counties such as the 35th District, which meets the criteria of having a population between 50,000 and 71,000, borders the Puget Sound, and has only one incorporatedcity. The bill will specifically benefit the urban growth area of Belfair – an unincorporated community that Sheldon said has a need for low-income housing.

“Including Mason County, six counties in Washington have only one incorporatedcity,” said Sheldon. “It’s difficult to provide infrastructure with only one incorporatedcity and with an economy that is slow to recover, we need all of the support possible to encourage growth and development. It’s important that individuals and families are able to live in the same area as where they work and I think new construction and affordable housing will draw people to the area.”

Both new laws go into effect June 12.