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Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Only one week remains in this regular 60-day session, scheduled to end March 8. We've been working long hours and late nights — even until 1 a.m. Wednesday morning — trying to amend bad bills and make them less distasteful, and working behind the scenes to stop others in their tracks. This week, I want to share with you a few top issues that have come up in the House of Representatives.
House majority votes to legalize the purchase and sales of human babies
U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Damon J. Keith coined the phrase “democracy dies in the dark.” I would say “human decency” died in the dark Wednesday, Feb. 28, around 1 a.m. at your Washington State Capitol. House Democrats voted to legalize the purchase and sale of human babies with Senate Bill 6037, “The Uniform Parentage Act.” In the six years I've served in our state House of Representatives, I have never been more disgusted by such a sinister piece of legislation.
Currently in Washington, any woman can offer to be a surrogate mother for couples who want a baby. Today, it is done out of altruistic giving, love, compassion and caring on the part of the surrogate mother. With the passage of SB 6037, Democrats turned this beautiful altruistic act into a financial transaction.
For House Republicans, this bill was a matter of conscience. We all voted “no” to protect the womb from being monetized and commercialized. This bill sets virtually no limits on the sale or purchase of human babies. I'm disgusted that such a bill would ever be considered, let alone pass. What have we become as a state, selling human babies to the highest bidder? Is this who we are? I asked these questions on the House floor during the final debate. Click here to listen to my floor speech.
In the form of which it passed from the House, SB 6037 even permits convicted felons to purchase human babies.
There was a host of amendments offered by my esteemed colleagues that would have put needed protections in the bill, but of course, Democrats systematically rejected them all — one by one.
As I left the Capitol at 1:30 a.m., I noticed the dark shroud over the people's House. With eight days to go until the end of session, it is hard to imagine what's next that may be worse, now that liberal Democrats control both the House, the Senate and the governor's office.
Protecting our children from school violence
We protect things most important to us. Security officers are at the doors of both chambers in the House and Senate. The Washington State Patrol accompanies Gov. Inslee to places around the state as he travels. You'll find security guards at retail stores, office buildings and sports arenas. Many of our college campuses have their own campus police to protect college students. So why is there so little protection in our public schools that are the daily venue for our most precious resource — our children?
I was disappointed House Democrats rejected an amendment to the supplemental operating budget last Friday that would have provided $30 million to ensure every school has a trained resource officer. Only one Democrat, Rep. John Lovick, a former Snohomish County sheriff, voted for the measure. This would have been a significant first step toward safer schools.
I've been very concerned about this issue, especially following the story of 17 shot to death two weeks ago at a Florida school. So this week, I introduced House Bill 3008, the Safer Schools Act of 2018.
The goal of this local control bill is to protect our school children by allowing school boards to decide whether or not to adopt a policy that allows certain school administrators and limited personnel to go through a training program provided by our state's Criminal Justice Training Commission (CJTC). Under this measure, a $25,000 appropriation would go to the CJTC to write a safety curriculum. The CJTC successfully trains all of our state's law enforcement men and women including our state troopers, city police officers and county deputy sheriffs.
Under the measure, after a school board approves the policy, select and approved personnel would, at their own expense, apply for a conceal carry permit, purchase an approved firearm and attend the CJTC school safety academy. Upon completion, these highly trained personnel would provide the first line of defense to protect our precious children.
Last week, the House debated and passed a bill to not just ban bump stocks but also allow the confiscation of any firearms affixed with the stocks. I spoke out against this measure because in of itself, this measure will do nothing to protect our children. You can listen to my floor speech here.
The bill also permits schools to remove “Gun-Free Zone” signs from our school campuses. This measure is something we can do today to protect our children now.
Supplemental operating budget takes more of your tax dollars to fund out-of-control spending
The House of Representatives started the week out with a bang on Monday by passing a supplemental operating budget that books revenue from a new 7 percent capital gains income tax proposal that would eventually impact our middle-class families. To be fair, the Democrats' budget plan included a temporary property tax reduction to offset the capital gains income tax, but the reduction wouldn't kick in until 2021. I've been here long enough to know the property tax reduction will not last long. Plus, the capital gains income tax would likely be increased later on to 10 or 20 percent, and the thresholds on the gains would lower so that the state could take more of your hard-earned money. I am concerned this proposal is a foot in the door to a state income tax. Washington voters have rejected an income tax 10 times, the latest in 2010.
A capital gains income tax would penalize financial responsible citizens who live below their means, make wise investments, and save money for their retirement years. It is also one of the most unpredictable and volatile tax schemes.
Of course, I voted against this unsustainable budget. It raises spending and guts the Budget Stabilization Account (BSA), also referred to as our “rainy day fund.” Our most recent revenue forecast indicates the state will receive an additional $1.3 billion in new revenue over the next four years. Our state's economy is booming. During these times of great prosperity, the Legislature should be adding a few bucks to our BSA so when the economy experiences an eventual downturn, we won't have to raise taxes again on our working families. One of my colleagues coined the phrase “Olympia is a calculator free zone.” I agree with him.
Please stay in touch!
I will keep fighting for our families by supporting common sense policies and rejecting new taxes and more regulations on our job creators. It's an honor to represent you in our state Capitol. In these final days of the session, it is important I hear from you. Please contact me if you have questions or concerns. I'm here to serve you. My contact information is below.
"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