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Dear Friends and Neighbors,
It is said “No man's life, liberty or property are safe while the Legislature is in session.” That seems to be true this year as there is an assault on job creators, Second Amendment rights, property rights, and especially your pocketbook. We're now in day 31 of the scheduled 60-day session and 2,095 bills have been introduced in the Legislature (1,019 in the House and 1,076 in the Senate) since Jan. 8 — many of which erode your freedoms, one bad bill at a time.
Really bad bills moving through the process
For the past five years, really bad bills that have moved out of the House have met their doom in the Senate. That's because Republicans and one Democrat who voted with Republicans made up the majority in the Senate. The Majority Coalition Caucus, as it was called, was able to stop bad bills from getting to the governor's desk.
Unfortunately, all that changed this past election when Democrats picked up one seat in a special election. Now, Democrats control the Senate, the House and the governor's office. With that shift in power, we are seeing more extreme, Seattle-centric stinker bills moving through the process. Some examples of the bad bills are below.
Assault against your pocketbook
Senate Bill 6203 – Governor's carbon/energy tax: Gov. Jay Inslee has proposed a $3.3 billion carbon tax. Realistically, it's a tax on energy. If enacted, the governor's policy staff says consumers could expect to pay a 4 to 5 percent increase in electricity, a 9 to 11 percent increase in natural gas and higher gasoline prices by as much as 18 to 20 cents per gallon. Interestingly, little of this tax revenue would be used for carbon reduction or programs to reduce climate change. I oppose this tax for several reasons, but mostly because it would hurt lower- and middle income families the most and do little to nothing to make Washington's air cleaner (even though we have some of the cleanest air in the nation). The measure surprised people when it passed out of the Senate Energy, Environment and Technology Committee. It is awaiting a hearing in the Senate Ways and Means Committee. If it reaches the House, I will be voting NO!
House Bill 2967 – Capital gains tax: This bill would impose a capital gains income tax. Revenues from capital gains taxes are notoriously volatile, varying dramatically from year-to-year. While this bill initially would affect only about 32,000 taxpayers in Washington state, it is a foot in the door to a state income tax. There's nothing to prevent the income threshold from being lowered. Washington voters have repeatedly rejected a state income tax.
House Bill 1975 – Sugary-drink tax: This is a bad idea from Seattle that is being proposed on a statewide level in the Legislature — except that it's WORSE than the Seattle sugar-beverage tax. This bill would tax sugary drinks at a higher rate – 2 cents per fluid ounce, compared to Seattle's 1.75 cents per fluid ounce. It's always a bad idea when government tries to enact social engineering to parent the behavior of citizens. This is a bad bill!
House Bill 2817 – Limiting overtime for correctional officers: My local law enforcement groups have alerted me to this bill, which originally would have prohibited jail correctional officers from working overtime. This could leave our jails understaffed, creating a danger for correctional officers and a public safety issue. The measure has been amended into a study.
Assault against job creators
House Bill 1506 – Lawsuit bill disguised as “equal pay” measure: I am all for equal pay. I believe a woman with the same experience and qualifications as a man should be paid the same for the same type of work. I am not, however, in support of legislation that practically begs for lawsuits to be filed. House Bill 1506 disguises itself as an “equal pay” bill. In reality, the measure would merely make it easier for individuals to sue employers, claiming discrimination. Current law already mandates that employers provide equal pay for equal work. As I noted during my speech on the House floor, when accounting for women's choice to work fewer hours, have a more flexible job, or taking time off work for children, the statistical pay disparity between men and women is not statistically significant. Read The Spokesman Review story.
Senate Bill 6219 – Mandatory abortion insurance coverage: On Jan. 22, I stood proudly with as many as 5,000 other men and women on the steps of the state Capitol at the March for Life rally to give a voice to our unborn children who have no voice when it comes to abortions. Senate Bill 6219 would require every insurance policy that covers the birth of a baby to also cover abortions. It also requires every insurance policy to cover all FDA-approved contraception, including the kind that would cause an abortion. The measure passed the Senate, 26-22. I will not be supporting this legislation in the House.
Assault against private property rights
House Bill 2880 – Annexation without citizen input/vote: This bill would allow property owners from one city or town to petition for annexation into another city or town without the approval of the city/town and its residents being taken over. We don't need hostile annexation takeovers — and certainly the citizens affected should have the right to make the final decision.
Assault against Second Amendment rights
Now that Democrats control both chambers of the Legislature, there's an all-out assault against law-abiding citizens' ability to keep and bear arms. Here are some of the bills proposed that place our Second Amendment rights at risk:
House Bill 1387/Senate Bill 5444 – Would call for enhanced background checks and licenses for anyone buying modern sporting semi-automatic rifle and large-capacity magazine.
House Bill 1122/Senate Bill 5463 – Would require firearms to be kept in “safe storage” facilities in a home.
Senate Bill 5992 – Would ban certain trigger modifications like “bump stocks.” It passed the Senate 29-20 and is headed to the House. But the “trigger modification” provision is very broad. Most competitive shooters, and even hunters, use better, aftermarket triggers. The sponsors of this legislation are using the “bump stock” issue to punish law-abiding firearms owners.
House Bill 2666/Senate Bill 6146 – Would allow local governments to have stricter gun control laws than the state as a whole.
House Bill 2738 – Would be an effective BAN on concealed carry, as it requires permission from all private establishments before entering with a firearm.
How you can get involved
I will be voting against these very bad bills, but there is strength in numbers. I need your help to stop these from moving forward.There are several ways to get involved and make your voice heard. Here are some helpful links:
- Comment on a bill – The Legislature has implemented a system designed to allow the public to send comments about bills to their legislators.
- Bill information – Enter a bill number to get more information, including the bill itself, a bill summary and the history of the legislation.
- Bill tracking – Create an account and track individual bills.
- Committee hearing and floor action information – Daily hearing information is posted on the main Washington Legislature home page. You can also follow floor action from this page.
- Testify on a bill – Go to this page to learn how to testify on a bill. You can come to Olympia or submit written testimony.
- Email your legislators – Go here to find and email legislators in the House of Representatives. You can also email senators from their pages.
- Call the toll-free Legislative hotline: 1-800-562-6000
- Call my office: (360) 786-7812 or email me: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for allowing me the honor of serving and representing you!
"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