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Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Pike legislation seeks to reduce teen driver accidents, injuries and fatalities
Car crashes are the leading cause of death and serious injury for Washington teens. In 2013, there were 64 serious injuries and 24 fatalities in Clark County involving drivers between the ages of 16 and 25. I want reduce this and protect our young people, as well as other drivers on our highways.
In May, I sought out interested people with the same goal of reducing teen driver accidents, and created a Teen Driving Safety Task Force (See the news release here). With 24 people of various ages and occupations coming together from throughout Clark County over the past several months, we worked with the Washington Traffic Safety Commission to identify workable solutions that would reduce the trend of teen driving accidents. Many of our solutions also paralleled recent recommendations issued by the commission and the Department of Licensing in its “Young and High-Risk Driver Recommendations” report.
I have introduced several bills related to teen driver safety — and several have been granted public hearings, including one held yesterday in the House Transportation Committee. Here's a list of those bills:
- House Bill 2417 – Would increase requirements for receiving an intermediate driver's license, including a logbook to verify at least 50 hours of driving experience, including 10 hours at night. A public hearing was held yesterday in the House Transportation Committee.
- House Bill 2626 – Would lengthen the required drivers' permit time from 6 months to 12 months to allow new drivers additional supervised time behind the wheel to result in greater proficiency. A public hearing is scheduled on Jan. 28, 3:30 p.m. in the House Transportation Committee.
- House Bill 2627 – Would establish the “Alive at 25 Act” and authorize local governments to use a 3.5 hour young driver safety training program created by the National Safety Council to instruct, educate and inform new drivers about defensive driving and other driver safety techniques. A public hearing is scheduled for Jan. 28, 1:30 p.m. in the House Judiciary Committee.
- House Bill 2628 – Would change the curfew for 16- and 17-year olds with intermediate driver's licenses from operating a motor vehicle to 10 p.m. without a parent or guardian. Currently, the curfew is 1 a.m. A public hearing is scheduled for 3:30 p.m., Jan. 28, in the House Transportation Committee.
I feel it is important for Washington to champion an effort to better prepare new drivers by adding rigor to our driver's training program to reduce fatalities and serious injury accidents.
Other public hearings scheduled on Pike bills
I encourage your input and involvement as these bills move through the hearing process. Call my office if you would like to come and testify on any of these measures.
- House Bill 2416 – Would correct a new rule promulgated by unelected bureaucrats at the Department of Corrections (DOC). After legislators left Olympia, DOC rolled out new rules which would force non-profits and local governments who utilize inmates for work release programs to pay industrial insurance premiums on those inmates. With these added costs in addition to liabilities associated with “employer status,” this proposed new agency rule would certainly be the death of work release programs across the state. Statistics show that work release programs provide important inmate rehabilitation, training, and reduce recidivism. I drafted this bill at the request of a local city and a non-profit historic farm in my district that uses inmates from Larch Correctional Facility to perform seasonal landscape work. A public hearing is scheduled for Jan. 27, 1:30 p.m. in the House Public Safety Committee.
- House Bill 2511 – Again, after legislators left Olympia, agency bureaucrats at the Department of Early Learning went to work to write a new rule that forced licensed day care centers to have one teacher for five-year-olds enrolled in public school and another teacher for five-year-olds not yet attending public school. This agency promulgated rule would double the cost of day care services and hurt our poorest working families who could least afford it. A public hearing is scheduled for Jan. 26, 8 a.m. in the House Early Learning and Human Services Committee.
As you can see, I've been very busy drafting bills in response to many concerns brought to me by constituents over the past year. Listening to citizens, hearing about their challenges, then springing into action to find creative solutions to solve those problems is what I do best! Thank you for entrusting this job to me. It's an honor to serve!
A note on Thursday's court invalidation of Initiative 1366
I am truly disappointed the King County Superior Court has invalidated voter-approved Initiative 1366. I-1366 was the sixth time since 1993 that voters have approved a policy of supermajority votes for tax increases. And yet the measures continue to be overthrown by the courts.
The Legislature still has the ability to act. I am a co-sponsor of House Joint Resolution 4215, which would send a constitutional amendment to the November 2016 ballot that would allow voters to implement the supermajority vote requirement for tax increases. A similar measure may be sent over to the House from the Senate. Ironically, it would take a two-thirds supermajority vote to send the measure to the ballot, and that doesn't seem likely, given the fact that at least two Democratic lawmakers were the plaintiffs on the lawsuit against I-1366. However, we will continue these efforts to uphold the voters' wishes.
Another assault on the rights of law-abiding citizens to keep and bear arms
They're at it again! Just within the past week, numerous gun-control bills have been introduced in the state Legislature — legislation which targets our second amendment rights to keep and bear arms. A public hearing was held yesterday in the House Judiciary Committee on four very destructive bills designed to whittle away the rights of law-abiding gun owners. While they may be well-intentioned, I have serious concerns about these bills. They include:
- House Bill 1747 – Would create the crime of child endangerment due to unsafe storage of a firearm.
- House Bill 2372 – Would allow for the destruction of forfeited firearms.
- House Bill 2460 – Authorizes cities, towns, counties, and other municipalities to restrict the possession of firearms in any designated public park space, recreational facilities, libraries and on any mode of public transportation and transit facilities.
- House Bill 2461 – Would establish extreme risk protection orders to temporarily prevent an individual from possessing, accessing, or purchasing firearms while that individual allegedly poses a significant danger of harm.
Be assured that I will stand shoulder-to-shoulder with citizens throughout the 18th District to protect the constitutional rights of our law-abiding citizens to own firearms.
"Protecting life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness!"
469 John L. O'Brien Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
(360) 786-7812 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000