Dandelions causing a stir on Washington State Capitol’s campus

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Updated Apr 27, 2017
Photo: Jim Bowen/FlickrPhoto: Jim Bowen/Flickr

During a recent session of the Republican-led Senate budget committee, it was brought to the attention of lawmakers in the state Capitol that the landscaping around the offices was much in need of attention. The main concern: dandelions.

“I’m embarrassed,” Sen. Randi Becker said during a committee meeting in Olympia, according to NBC’s King 5 news.

Rising concerns of the amount of dandelions present on the campus circulated amongst other Republican senators in the meeting. Currently, the state’s Department of Enterprise Services handles the landscaping around the legislative building, but many Republican senators are now backing a bill that will transfer that power to a committee that will be made up of senators and representatives.

“I’ve never seen weeds in the Capitol lawns worse, a lack of mowing, I’ve never seen the bulbs planted less properly, mold growing off of our buildings,” Senate Majority Leader Mark Schoesler told NW News Network. “I’ve never seen this campus look so bad in 25 years.”

The Department of Enterprise Services responded that since its budget was cut a few years back, the agency currently only has 15 people to do grounds work on the 486-acre campus. In 2016, efforts were also made to enact an ecolawn pilot project, which was first tested this time last year. According to the agency, ecolawns require less mowing, fertilizer and pesticides and irrigation than traditional lawns.

Along with these efforts, the agency says it also hand-pulls of some weeds, which reportedly will save time by not having to regularly mow the lawns.

According to NW News Network, the agency said that it will check into the rules and regulations regarding volunteer labor since many senators present, Republican and Democrat alike, expressed interest in handling the issue themselves.

Sen. Jim Honeyford asked if he could bring his backpack sprayer to take care of the dandelions and several others volunteered to bring their mowers from home to spruce up the place.

“If legislators want the dandelions gone, then we need to do something about it,” Sen. Christine Rolfes told NW News Network. “You either pay for that or you get volunteers or we volunteer ourselves.”

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