Dear Friends and Neighbors,
It's great to be back home after a 60-day session and another 20-day special session. It's an honor to fight on your behalf for common-sense solutions in the marbled halls of Olympia where sometimes it seems common sense is lacking.
The special session was needed this year to once again bridge the gap between some who wanted to raise taxes to give raises to state employees (no joke), and those who wanted to slow state government's growth. As this is a supplemental budget year only small tweaks are needed. Although the final budget looked better than what House Democrats originally introduced (read my op-ed to the Daily Sun News on their effort to raise taxes in the budget and our efforts to offer amendments to make things better here), I voted no because it relies too much on budget transfers from dedicated accounts and leaves us with nothing left in our reserves at the end of the four-year outlook.
This year we were able to fight back significant tax increases, further infringements on our 2nd Amendment rights, and new brutal regulations that would devastate small businesses. We arrived at a bipartisan solution to save our voter-approved charter schools, passed the Washington Cybercrime Act, passed legislation banning certain dangerous toxic flame retardants, and created a pilot project for prescribed burning to help prevent catastrophic wildfires.
For our “dead/alive” list of bills, click here. These are not necessarily bills I support, just a list of legislation that garnered media attention or were popular for one reason or another across the state.
For a list of the bills I've sponsored or cosponsored the last two years, including my efforts to get federal land back in control of the state, my bill to require a warrant before law enforcement can use a cell site simulator device, and my bill to regulate the government's use of drones, click here.
To read my op-ed to the Daily Sun News on electronic privacy and your individual liberties, click here.
Working for lower taxes, less government and more freedom
As many of you have heard me say before, I'm in Olympia to work for more freedom! A small group of like-minded legislators have joined me in promoting and working for what we call the “Freedom Agenda,” which has become one of the most successful lists of conservative bills in Washington in more than 20 years. These are just a few of the Freedom Agenda bills that passed the Legislature and were signed into law during the 2015 and 2016 legislative sessions:
- Accountability for criminals under home detention: House Bill 1943 enacts strict new accountability on the state's electronic home monitoring program for convicted criminals.
- ATV/ORV usage – House Bill 1817 provides liability immunity for local jurisdictions when wheeled all-terrain vehicles are operated on public roadways.
- Ballot measure campaign promotion – House Bill 1858 bans county auditors and the secretary of state from putting their names on taxpayer-funded ballot envelopes when running for re-election.
- Child care facilities – House Bill 2511 removes a Department of Early Learning cost-prohibitive regulation on day care centers that was forcing them to separate five-and six-year-olds who attend school from those of the same age not yet enrolled in school.
- Woodstove Protection Act – House Bill 2785 allows the use and installation of uncertified woodstoves during an emergency.
- Short-barreled rifles – Senate Bill 6165 allows a person to manufacture, own, buy, sell, loan, furnish, transport, assemble or repair short-barreled rifles.
- Legalizing industrial hemp – Senate Bill 6206 creates a limited opening of growing industrial hemp in Washington.
One of the ways we get legislation passed is through working on relationships with members on the other side of the aisle. While we may not agree on 95 percent of things, we try to focus on that 5 percent and see where we can make progress.
Another way is use strategy via legislative rule and parliamentary procedures, which are contained in The Little Red Book. I have this little gem with me all through session and have studied it relentlessly. Believe me, nothing makes the other side more nervous – and makes staffers pop their heads out their offices/cubicles quicker – than when one or two representatives huddle around an open red book. It's a bit comical, but very effective.
As this is an election year, this will be my last e-newsletter until the fall. However, I can respond to individual requests, questions or concerns so please feel free to contact me. I'm also available to speak at your community, civic or church event in an effort to keep you apprised of YOUR state government.
Thank you for the privilege of serving you in the state House of Representatives.