The Freedom Report
First and foremost, I want to thank you and all residents of the 4th Legislative District for the privilege of serving as your state Representative once again. There is nothing quite so humbling as watching the returns come in on election night with my family. The honor and responsibility of fighting for liberty and freedom on your behalf weighs heavy on my heart; it's a duty I take very seriously.
2017 Legislative Session
With the beginning of session only a few weeks away, I want to remind you once again how you can keep in touch with me while I'm in Olympia and how you can stay involved in YOUR state government:
- Capitol Buzz – A daily electronic clip service of House Republicans. Click here to subscribe.
- Capitol Report – My weekly three-minute radio program, or podcast, on important issues I'm working on in Olympia. Click hereto listen to current and previous podcasts. You can also listen via iTunes and Google Play.
- Check out my Website – www.representativemattshea.com. From this link, you can get more information about me, the bills I've sponsored and view my news releases as well as current and past issue of my Freedom Report.
- Photos – Access my photo gallery here.
- TVW – The state's own version of C-Span, TVW broadcasts floor and committee action live. You can also watch on your computer, smartphone or tablet: www.tvw.org
- Legislature's Website – You can get bill reports, track legislation, view committee agendas and information about upcoming activities in the Legislature at: www.leg.wa.gov
- Contact my Olympia office: My new Legislative Assistant, Whitney Marshall, will be in Olympia on Monday, Jan. 9. You can contact her at (360) 786-7984. I'm always happy to hear from constituents. If you're planning a trip to Olympia during session, please call ahead so she can find time in my schedule for us to visit.
The Freedom Agenda
You can see the bills I'm sponsoring this year by clicking here. Throughout session I'll update you on bills that are part of The Freedom Agenda and keep you informed as they move through the legislative process. Here are just a few of the bills I'm already working on:
House Bill 1008 – If a state agency attempts to take over more land, thus taking it off the property tax rolls of local government and in most cases severely limiting its use, they must first identify and sell land it already owns of equal value. The state currently can't manage the land it already owns. Requiring state agencies to swap equal valued land for potential new land acquisitions will require agencies to prioritize and hold them accountable for managing what the state already owns.
House Bill 1010 – This bill would require the Department of Ecology to issue an annual report dealing with interagency agreements. Much of ecology's efforts deal with other agencies, governments and municipalities. My bill bring more transparency to an agency that is, in many cases, cloaked in secrecy with the public really having no understanding of the agency's actions or impacts on their daily lives.
House Bill 1014 – This establishes a peer review process to ensure robust economic impact analysis of ecology's administrative rules. As I mentioned before, it can be difficult to quantify and measure this particular state agency's impacts on the general public. We need peer-reviewed analysis, not just the latest talking points from the environmental community, to guide policy.
House Joint Memorial 4000 – This bill would create the new state of Liberty in Eastern Washington. It's the one issue I hear about the most when traveling around the 4th District. As I said in a statement I released to the press:
“In the past, those who want Eastern Washington to toe the line tell us we'd instantly be one of the poorest states in the union without their Boeings, Microsofts and Amazons. I look around at our beautiful and abundant forests, farms, wheat fields, cattle ranches, orchards, mines and rivers and think perhaps we're ready to wallow in our 'poverty.' If we are such a burden to the west side of the state, why not forgive us and let us go?”
To read the full statement, click here.
The first “Bad Bill” of the 2017 legislative session undoubtedly goes to Gov. Jay Inslee for his massive money grab found in his pre-session budget proposal which seeks to raise taxes by $4.4 billion!
He proposes an increase to the B&O tax; a capital gains tax (basically an income tax); a tax on bottled water; a carbon tax; and a tax on non-resident sales. We've seen all his proposals before. They've either been rejected by voters in the very recent past or failed to gain support from members of his own party in the state House of Representatives.
While there is much work to be done with our state budget and with addressing the McCleary decision, coming out of the gate with a $4.4 billion tax increase is a horrible start. It sends a message that he's given up; he can't come up with solutions that don't drastically impact our state economy, our small business owners and our wallets. I think we can do better and am thankful for the legislative process that will result in a final solution that looks very little like the governor's cash grab.
Legislative Page Program
It is my honor to sponsor a few Legislative Pages each year. Students must get permission from their parents, be between the ages of 14-16 years old, and also get permission from school. Pages deliver interoffice mail, attend page school, and even take part in the flag ceremony to open each legislative session.
If you or someone you know would like to be a Page for the 2017 legislative session, please contact my office or click here for more information.
I truly hope you each have a Merry Christmas and that the peace, grace, mercy, and protection of our Lord is with you throughout the New Year. We are truly blessed to live in a country that values personal liberty and religious freedom. Blessings to you and yours!