Dear Friends and Neighbors,
I had the distinct privilege of hosting a Legislative Page this week from Cascade Middle School. As a Page, Sarah Hull delivered important documents and messages to legislators and staff to their offices, committee meetings and in the House chamber during floor sessions. She also had the unique opportunity to sponsor and debate a mock bill with fellow pages concerning the reporting of livestock deaths as a result of wolf attacks. It was great to meet Sarah. She did a fantastic job representing her school! Thank you, Sarah! To read my press release on Sarah, click here. To learn more about the House Page program, click here.
The governor's TAX INCREASES and the “War on small businesses”
Last week, Governor Inslee unveiled his plan to increase taxes by $414 million. While less than the $1.2 billion in tax increases he proposed last year, he targets some of the same people and industries. To learn about how Governor Inslee wants to spend this new money, click here.
I find it discouraging that at least four times as a candidate and three times after being elected, Governor Inslee said he was against tax increases. You can find these broken promises here. Our economy remains fragile. It's never a good time to raise taxes, but especially during a recovery.
I'm also discouraged by what I see being pushed by some in Olympia this session in what I can only call, “The war on small businesses.” Minimum wage increases, mandatory paid sick leave, mandatory paid vacation leave, Obamacare, no workers' comp reform and increasing bureaucratic regulations and red tape. I often wonder if some folks in Olympia don't understand that small businesses are the backbone of our state and nation's economy. I will continue to fight against these types of barriers to job creation in our state while supporting efforts to free up the private sector and our entrepreneurs so that they can continue to lead our state out of the economic recession.
Last week, two initiatives to the Legislature dealing with firearms received public hearings in the House Judiciary Committee. Since neither one is likely to pass the Legislature, they both are expected to be on the ballot this fall. YOU – the voters – will decide on these two issues:
As expected, the public hearing brought out the arguments and passions for both initiatives. While it was extremely crowded that day (The picture you see on the left is the line to testify – it stretched outside the building and down the sidewalk!), it was great to see so many people engaged in the legislative session. If these issues do come up for a vote in the Legislature, I can assure you that I will stand to protect our 2nd Amendment rights. You can watch the full public hearing here.
My bill (House Bill 2191) to reign in the outlandish inspections of child care facilities by the Department of Early Learning (DEL) passed out of the House Early Learning and Human Services Committee! It is now in the House Rules Committee and is eligible to be pulled to the House floor for deliberation and a vote of the full House.
However, House Bill 2133, my student privacy legislation, continues to stall in the House Education Committee. I'll continue to keep you updated on these bills as the session progresses.
I'm very sad to report that the majority party in the House passed House Bill 2148 today, the “Abortion Mandate” bill. This bill says to individuals, employers and health insurers that health plans in our state must include abortion coverage – regardless of their beliefs on abortion. It is anti-choice. It is an attack on religious liberty, freedom and conscience-protections in the U.S. and state constitutions. It would end choice for individuals because it does not allow them to choose a health plan without abortion coverage. This bill says you get one option and no choice whatsoever.
This legislation is also in direct conflict with Section 507 of the federal Hyde/Weldon Amendment (see below). Because of this conflict, the bill could result in our state losing federal funding for not only health care, but education and labor:
Section 507 of the federal Hyde/Weldon Amendment: (d) (1) None of the funds made available in this Act may be made available to a Federal agency or program, or to a State or local government, if such agency, program, or government subjects any institutional or individual health care entity to discriminate on the basis that the health care entity does not provide, pay for, provide coverage of, or refer for abortions. (2) In this subsection, the term 'health care entity' includes an individual physician or other health care professional, a hospital, a provider-sponsored organization, a health maintenance organization, a health insurance plan, or any other kind of health care facility, organization, or plan.
I am very hopeful that this bill will die in the Senate.
Join Rep. Kristiansen and me for a telephone town hall meeting!
On Thursday, Feb. 6, at 6:30 p.m. my seatmate Rep. Dan Kristiansen and I will be holding a telephone town hall meeting for all 39th District citizens. Please dial toll-free 1-800-759-5313 to participate. These forums act like a radio call-in show and serve as an excellent way for us to communicate with folks back home while we're in session. You can take part in answering our survey, ask questions over the phone, or just listen in from the comfort of your own home. These events have proven very successful in the past. I hope you can join us.
I want to thank those of you who have contacted my office thus far this session. I appreciate hearing your thoughts and concerns on state government issues. It is an honor and privilege to serve you in Olympia.
436 John L. O'Brien Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
360-786-7816 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000