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Senate bill would keep fairs funded | News

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Senate bill would keep fairs funded
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A Washington Senate Bill that would help ease the budget fears of those involved in state and county fairs will be the subject of a public hearing in the Senate Ways & Means Committee tomorrow afternoon. Senate Bill 5813 would place a permanent amount of $2.5 million into Washington State's budget earmarked specifically for fairs, which the bill's author - 16th District Senator Mike Hewitt (R-Walla Walla) - says would be handed out in grants that the fairs would have to apply for.

Hewitt says money has been placed into the state budgets for fairs, but this measure would assure that the funding is only used for the events. In the past two years, fair boards - including the Asotin County Fair Board - have faced the real fear of losing state funding because the money has been funneled to other areas of the budget to make up for shortfalls. With SB 5813, the money would not be fair game for lawmakers who want to move the money to other areas of the budget, and fair boards can move away from having to fight for the funding every year.

Hewitt told Big Country News Connection that he really believes in this bill.

"I've been around fairs all of my life. I grew up on a farm," he said. Most importantly, this is for the kids. In many ways, Hewitt says, fairs are the first taste of entrepreneurship for kids, "it's teaching kids early on how to make a living in life."

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