Dear Friends and Neighbors,
The session is now underway and my committee assignments have changed slightly since we last spoke. This term I will be the assistant ranking Republican on the Transportation Committee. This position will allow me to be more involved in the committee and be one of the lead voices for our caucus on transportation issues.
I'll also be serving on the House Environment Committee. This committee considers issues relating to air quality, renewable energy standards, climate issues, energy availability, production and conservation.
Protecting the property rights of Whatcom County and Washington state property owners, farmers and businesses is not only important, it is a constitutional mandate!
Whatcom County has been blessed with an abundance of natural resources...and there's no better way to protect those resources than through the respect and protection of private property ownership. This committee will be a great opportunity to do just that.
I will also be serving on the Early Learning and Human Services Committee.
The first week of the legislative session after a major election cycle contains many ceremonial events...elected officials taking their oaths to uphold and defend both the U.S. and Washington State Constitutions as well as speeches by both the outgoing and incoming governors and an address by the State Supreme Court.
There is also the choosing of a House Speaker, which is the purview of the majority party, and adoption of the rules by the legislative bodies, which, to-date, hasn't happened.
When we finally adopt permanent House rules for the next two years, House Republicans will offer four amendments to those rules. Amendments that would benefit taxpayers, honor the state constitution, and give citizens more of a voice during the public hearing process here in Olympia.
First, we want to place the super majority vote provisions of Initiative-1185 into the House rules for the next two years. We want to do this because there is a chance that I-1185, approved by 64% of the state's voters, will get thrown out by the State Supreme Court.
I also want to point out that I-1185 passed in every county in the state...and 44 out of 49 legislative districts--including the 42nd. It passed with over 60% of the vote in our district.
Second, we want to prioritize citizen testimony in committees. Folks who take the time and make the drive to Olympia to share their views should be given priority over the Olympia insiders and lobbyists. Period. We need to hear from you, the citizens...the taxpayers, on how proposed laws will impact you.
Third, we want to respect Article 9 of the state constitution. It's time we fund education first. Shockingly, the Democrat majority in the House voted no on this same amendment in 2011. Article 9 should not be held hostage so the majority party can propose and push tax increases--especially in light of budget growth of over $2 billion dollars!
Finally, we want to see each legislator get a public hearing on at least one of their bills. Each legislator represents a district of approximately 137,000 people. This would show bi-partisanship and a willingness to represent and listen to concerns from all districts across the state.
Protecting taxpayers, respecting Article 9 of the state constitution and placing the citizens first in Olympia are common sense ideas we can all agree on. I will keep you updated on our proposed rule changes, and if they are accepted by the majority, and many other issues as we move forward this session. I also look forward to discussing with you more my efforts in working towards less government, lower taxes and more freedom.
Please feel free to contact me anytime with questions or comments. I appreciate hearing from you.
God bless you, your family and the great state of Washington!