Dear Friends and Neighbors,
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Second Amendment Update
Hundreds of you have contacted my office regarding Olympia's incessant attack on the Second Amendment. Your calls, e-mails and letters made a difference as several very ugly, very regressive gun bills died in committee. Here's a quick breakdown of the gun bills and where they are in the legislative process:
House Bill 1134 – This is one of the worst gun bills we've seen in a long time. It was introduced at the request of Attorney General Bob Ferguson, who is rumored to be a liberal favorite to run for governor (while current Gov. Jay Inslee is rumored to be positioning himself for a run at the White House in four years). The bill would ban the possession, purchase, sale or transfer of so-called “assault weapons,” including semi-automatic weapons, and any large-capacity magazine (LCM) that holds more than 10 rounds of ammunition.
House Bill 1387 – Again introduced on behalf of Ferguson, this bill would impose a registration-licensing system and enhanced background check for assault weapons and LCMs. An updated license would be required every time there is a change in the possession of the gun or LCM.
While both of these bills died in committee, they have the dubious honor of sharing this month's Bad Bill award! As many of us suspected, these bills were more about certain Seattle liberals with grand political aspirations getting photo ops to appease special interest groups. But we must remain vigilant. We're hearing whisperings of possible initiatives similar to these bills in the very near future. You and I know that these bills will do absolutely NOTHING to reduce crime and are about attacking the fundamental right to protect ourselves, our families and our property.
House Bill 1122 – Creates penalties for those who do not “safely” store firearms. It also requires firearms dealers to offer to sell or give the purchaser a locked box, a lock or device that prevents the firearm from discharging. The bill even increases the penalty for a reckless endangerment charge involving gun storage to a Class C felony. Unfortunately, this bill passed the House Judiciary Committee and is now in the House Rules Committee.
Good Gun Bills
- House Bill 1004 – Protects the right to possess firearms even during state of emergency (died in committee)
- House Bill 1015 – Allows concealed carry in stadiums, public facilities (died in committee)
- House Bill 1181 – Prohibiting a database of pistol sales/transfers (died in committee)
- House Bill 1190 – Prohibiting a database of gun ownership (died in committee)
- House Bill 1380 – Repealing background checks from Initiative 594 (died in committee)
- House Bill 1100 – Requires DOL to send notice to CPL holders of license expiration. Currently CPL is the only license where holders get no notice. (passed committee and now awaits floor action)
- House Bill 1381 – Increasing reciprocity for concealed pistol licenses (died in committee)
- House Bill 1725 – Exempts background checks on the sale or transfer of a firearm when the seller/transferor and the purchaser/transferee both possess a valid concealed pistol license (died in committee)
To watch my video on the Second Amendment and Olympia's continuing assault on our gun rights, click here.
New leadership position
After spending the last several years as assistant floor leader for the House Republican Caucus, my colleagues choose me as their new caucus chair this session.
I'm humbled and grateful for the faith and trust they've placed in me as I take on this new role with the senior leadership team. I will be included in all senior leadership planning meetings and strategy sessions. As caucus chair, I will run caucus meetings and play a significant role in setting our agenda and defining our priorities. I'm excited to bring our 4th District values to this new venture!
The Hirst decision update
We need to find a solution to the state Supreme Court's Hirst decision to ensure domestic, exempt wells can be drilled and property can be developed. This is a huge issue which has impacted many areas of the state that are not currently served by city or county utilities. The decision has ignored decades-long accepted practices and case law and it cannot be allowed to stand without clarity and direction from the Legislature. Despite the Department of Ecology's admittance that the Hirst decision has been “an enormous hardship for families that looks like it could be getting worse the next few years,” they testified against the solutions we've proposed to fix it. We're working hard to solve this issue for landowners and our rural economy. Here are just a few of the bills:
House Bill 1348 — This bill would prioritize our state water code by specifying that instream and base flows are junior to other beneficial uses, regardless of priority date. Our state constitution already makes this water-use prioritization pretty clear. This bill would simply rectify discrepancies between our constitution and pertinent case law that has placed instream flow rights above the constitutionally protected beneficial public uses of water (i.e., irrigation, mining, commercial and industrial purposes).
House Bill 1349 — For 20 years, the state has made millions of dollars of critical investments in protecting fish habitat throughout the state. As a result of these investments, the minor impacts that permit-exempt-well groundwater withdrawals have on instream flows would be diminished.
House Bill 1459 — This bill would require the Department of Ecology to take the full hydrologic cycle into account. Changes in land use, such as tree removal, that may result in groundwater recharge should be considered and accounted for when reviewing applications.
House Bill 1460 — In general, this bill addresses the legality of available water as it relates to the relinquishment process and transfer of water rights.
To watch my video breaking down the Hirst decision in detail and the potential legislative solutions for this onerous court overreach, click here.
House Democrat Education plan: no money, no sideboards, no reforms
House Democrats passed their education funding plan off the House floor this week. I voted no. Their plan will cost $11 billion over the next four years yet they don't identify which taxes they will raise to pay for it! We call that “ghost money” in Olympia. Their plan also does nothing to address the inequality of our local levy system, an integral part of the state Supreme Court McCleary decision.
Without changes to our levy system we'll be right back in court in a few years. We need a solution that has reforms, sideboards and shows the public where the money will come from.
If you'd like to read a quick overview of the Senate Republican education plan, click here. If you'd like to see a side-by-side comparison of the House Democrat education funding plan and the Senate Republican plan, click here. If you'd like to see a list of all the taxes House Democrats have proposed (again, we don't specifically know which taxes they want to attach to their plan), click here.
To watch a compilation of our floor debate as we tried to amend the House Democrat plan to bring more accountability, transparency and reforms to the table, click here. To watch my floor speech on funding education first, before other appropriations are made from the state's general fund, click here.
The Freedom Agenda
The Freedom Agenda continues to be a strong, influential package of bills advocating less government, lower taxes and more freedom. To date, our proposals have had 26 public hearings on issues like water and property rights, strengthening and reaffirming our Second Amendment protections, reducing regulations for small businesses, and easing restrictions on growing industrial hemp. We will work with anyone – Democrat, Independent or Republican – who values freedom and individual liberties. We have successfully worked across the aisle, across the Rotunda and across the state. I'll continue to update you on the specifics of these bills as the session progresses.