Dear Friends and Neighbors,
As the 2014 Legislature convened this week, I began my fourth regular legislative session representing the 42nd Legislative District. I continue to work towards less government, lower taxes and more freedom.
New committee assignment
I have been appointed ranking Republican to the House Local Government Committee. The committee considers issues relating to the operations and financing of counties, cities, and special districts. The committee also considers issues relating to the Growth Management Act and land use such as local permitting and shoreline management. I am excited about this appointment. As a former city council member I have a good understanding of the impact state mandates have on citizens and local governments such as land use regulations and the Growth Management Act. We need to make sure we are providing local governments the greatest amount of freedom possible to protect the rights of the citizens they serve.
Concerns of the 2014 legislative session
Gas tax – The latest gas tax proposal, coming from the Senate Majority Coalition Caucus, is a 12.5 cents a gallon tax that would make Washington the highest gas tax in the nation. Reforms are the answer, not raising the gas tax! It is essential we see accountability and responsible use of gas tax dollars in our transportation system to prove that any increase is unnecessary.
Low carbon fuel standards by executive order – Yesterday in Gov. Jay Inslee’s State of the State speech something was missing. He failed to acknowledge he would not impose low-carbon fuel standards by executive order. A report given during the Climate Legislative and Executive Workgroup showed implementing a new low carbon fuel standard in Washington state would increase the price of gasoline by as much as $1.06 per gallon. This would be in addition to any proposed gas tax increase being considered by the Senate. I will vociferously defend against taxation via executive order!
Gun control legislation – There are numerous proposals to increase gun control in Washington state. Know this – I will stand against any further erosion of our right to keep and bear arms, both under the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and Article I, Section 24 of our Washington State Constitution. Not only will I fight further gun control attempts, I will work diligently to expand firearm freedoms.
The Speaker of the House decided to bring House Bill 1817 up for a vote on the first day of session. Referred to as the Dream Act because of its mirroring of President Obama’s Dream Act, the legislation would make some undocumented immigrants eligible for state financial aid for college under the state need grant which is already an underfunded promise to Washington citizens. The bill passed with 55 Democrats and 16 Republicans in support. It is unprecedented to pass a piece of legislation, particularly one with so many legislators opposed, on the first day of session without any public notice, no public debate and no public input.
The abortion mandate bill, House Bill 2148, had a public hearing on the first day of session in the House Health Care and Wellness Committee. The legislation would require health plans to cover abortions. There was a lot of compelling testimony and the president of the Washington Women’s Network may have summed it up best with the quote “This bill is not about access to abortion. This is a bullying bill. It's not about choice. It's about taking away choice.”
Sen. John Braun has indicated he will introduce legislation this session to end pensions for elected officials in Washington state. Click: Pension reform must start at the top with elected officials to learn more. This is the fourth consecutive session I have refused my state pension available as a state legislator.
If the first few days are any indication there should be plenty to talk about during this 60-day session. I hope you find this update informative. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.