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Priority legislation approved by Legislature, governor


Priority legislation approved by Legislature, governor

Gov. Jay Inslee recently signed two pieces of legislation allowing Guard members to stay overnight in Armories and mandating all state agencies develop continuity of operation plans, both of which were top priorities of Major General Bret D. Daugherty, The Adjutant General in charge of the Washington Military Department.

The state also approved a Senate Joint Memorial asking President Barack Obama and Pentagon officials to transition the Washington National Guard's 81st Armored Brigade Combat Team to a Stryker Brigade Combat Team.

On April 21, Gov. Inslee signed the Armory bill into law, which takes effect on July 24. There are about 8,200 Washington Air and Army National Guard Soldiers and Airmen, most of which serve part time and participate in one drill weekend per month and two weeks of annual training. The law had allowed a Soldier or Airman to stay overnight in an Armory or Readiness Center during an emergency. But the law dating back to 1895 didn't allow wiggle room if a Guardsman living in Western Washington is required to travel to Eastern Washington to stay overnight. The change allows The Adjutant General to allow Guardsmen to stay overnight for training purposes, typically through the use of a sleeping bag on the floor.

The legislation approved was House Bill 1277. More on the legislation in this previous blog post.

On April 23, Gov. Inslee signed into law requiring state agencies to meet continuity of operations planning requirements. The new law takes effect July 24. Under the new law, each state agency must develop a Continuity of Operations Plan that is updated and exercised annually. It's all part of an internal effort of an organization to assure that the capability exists to continue essential functions and services in response to a comprehensive array of potential emergencies or disasters. More on the legislation in this previous blog post.

The legislation was House Bill 1047.

The state Senate and state House unanimously approved legislation asking federal officials to transition the Washington National Guard's 81st Armored Brigade Combat Team to a Stryker Brigade Combat Team. The non-binding resolution follows up on several other requests made by Washington National Guard officials in recent years to convert the 81st Armored Brigade Combat Team.

The request was sent to the Washington Secretary of State's Office on April 23 to be distributed from there. Because the measure is a joint memorial, it doesn't need to be signed by the governor. However, last summer, Gov. Inslee joined the governors and The Adjutant Generals of Washington, Oregon, and California in a letter to the Pentagon requesting the Stryker brigade be assigned to the Washington National Guard.

“It is the TAG’s No. 1 strategic priority in this state,” Brigadier General Wallace Turner told the Senate Government and Operations and Security Committee earlier this year. “It’s going to enhance our readiness. It’s a resource saver … and you may or may not be aware that there are seven combat brigades across the nation and there is one Stryker brigade combat team located in the state of Pennsylvania.”

Senate Joint Memorial 8008 can be found here. Previous blog posts on the issue are here and here.