Your support of the Freedom Agenda is being felt throughout the state Legislature. Your calls, letters and e-mails are helping to show Olympia politicians that this is the people's government – and the people will not quietly sit by while the politicians increase taxes and expand government.
I am proud to stand firmly with liberty-loving legislators, such as Rep. Jason Overstreet, R-Lynden, Rep. David Taylor, R-Moxee, and other conservatives who are fighting on your behalf in the state Legislature to protect your freedoms, such as the freedom to keep and bear arms, the freedom to raise your children as you see fit, and the freedom to keep more of your own hard-earned money and claim your part of the American Dream.
Here are just a few examples of the differences we are making:
- Stopping the assault against the freedom to keep and bear arms – It appears that House Bill 1588 that would require background checks on all gun sales, even private sales, is on hold and, with enough pressure from opponents like yourself, could be allowed to die in the House Rules Committee. This bill is a direct assault against our second amendment rights to keep and bear arms. It is also against the Washington State Constitution, Article 1, Section 24: “The right of the individual citizen to bear arms in defense of himself, or the state, shall not be impaired.” Please keep the pressure up. Call the Legislative Hotline at 1-800-562-6000 and ask Speaker Frank Chopp to put a hold on this bill.
- Preserving your freedom of privacy – We're not going to stand by and let government peer into your windows or backyard using drones with high optic lens. That's why I jointly sponsored House Bill 1771, restricting the use of unmanned drones in Washington. The measure would require approval from the Legislature or local governing body for local law enforcement agencies before public agencies could use drones – and only with a search warrant, in an emergency, or forest fire. This bill sailed out of the House Public Safety Committee and is awaiting action on the House floor.
- Pro-veterans – House Bill 1334 would authorize the use of stabilizing conversion kits on motorcycles. Motorcycle stabilizing conversion kits allow disabled veterans and other riders requiring additional stability the opportunity to enjoy motorcycle riding and the freedom to do so. The measure, which I prime-sponsored, passed the House unanimously on Monday, Feb. 25.
- Less government – House Bill 1090 would clarify the law as to multiple fresh water dock construction within a five-year period. I am the prime sponsor of this measure, which is now awaiting action on the House floor.
I hope this e-mail update can encourage your involvement. Please contact my office if you have questions, comments, or suggestions. My phone number, e-mail address and other contact information is at the bottom of this newsletter.
FIX IT BEFORE YOU FUND IT!
In last week's e-mail update, I told you the Washington State Supreme Court overturned the law requiring that the Legislature to have a two-thirds majority vote to raise taxes. Now that the Democrats have the ability to raise taxes with a simple majority, they're moving forward with a laundry list of transportation tax increases, including a 10-cent-a-gallon increase in the state gas tax (which would make Washington the highest in the nation) and reinstating the hated car tab tax (motor vehicle excise tax/MVET) , which was repealed by voters in 1999. If Democrats have their way, you will be paying hundreds of dollars more each year to license your vehicle.
People cannot afford more taxes, and if the new gas tax is added, we'll be seeing more people in the Spokane area heading to Idaho to fill up. We already have the second highest gas tax in the nation. Maybe that's why a Washington State Patrol car was seen filling up at an Idaho gas station.
There's entirely too much waste in the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) of your tax dollars. For example, we have leaky pontoons for the new 520 floating bridge in Seattle, a new ferry that lists, and WSDOT built a freeway ramp and then tore it down because it was in the wrong place – all at your tax dollar expense!
My House Republican colleagues and I are standing firm against these tax increase proposals. We believe there's plenty of room for reforms. That's why we say, “FIX IT BEFORE YOU FUND IT!”
On Thursday, we released a six-point plan of reforms, including House Bill 1984, which I introduced that would limit WSDOT's tort liability based on the amount of the department's actual fault, instead of allowing plaintiffs to recover the entire judgment from the deeper pockets of the state.
Since 2005, WSDOT has paid out more than $116 million in lawsuit payouts. In 2010 alone, WSDOT paid out $28.6 million.
With reforms come more revenue for important projects like the North-South Freeway. For more than 60 years, the people of Spokane have been promised this project. Our citizens deserve better results!
FREEDOM AGENDA MEASURE PASSES HOUSE – House Bill 1093
This week's featured Freedom Agenda bill is House Bill 1093. State agencies frequently use your taxpayer dollars to lobby the Legislature for more of your taxpayer dollars. That's wrong. So I introduced this bill to stop government's abuse against taxpayers. This measure would impose a penalty of $100 per statement on a state agency director who knowingly fails to file lobbyist disclosure statements. It would also establish penalties against any state agency official, officer, or employee who is responsible for or knowingly spends public funds in violation of lobbyist restrictions. The bill passed the House on Monday, 97-1.
This week's 'Bad Bill'
In each e-mail update throughout the session, I will be featuring a “Bad Bill.” Here is another freedom-killing measure:
HOUSE BILL 1703 – Would levy fees on each retail sale of a firearm and all ammunition in the state. These fees include: $25 for every firearm sold at a retail store, $15 for every firearm sold if a gun safe or gun lock is purchased at the time of sale. A fee of one cent per round of ammunition.
And here's one of the worst parts of the bill: Section 4, Chapter 4 – “The Department of Revenue must incorporate into the department's regular audit cycle a reconciliation of the number of firearms and rounds sold and the amount of revenue collected by businesses selling firearms and ammunition at retail. The Department of Revenue must collect the following information on the business excise tax return from the business selling firearms and ammunition at retail:
- The number of firearms sold;
- The rounds of ammunition sold; and
- The fees levied in this section.”
The bill is in the House Judiciary Committee. And we're working to make sure it stays there and dies.
Just a note on these gun bills. . .
Let me state very clearly. There should be NO compromise. . . NO DEALS when it comes to our second amendment constitutional right to keep and bear arms. I will not compromise away your rights. I will oppose any – and every – attempt to erode them. People-control schemes like universal background checks never work. And as a law-abiding citizen, you should not have to account for and pay additional fees for every round of ammunition you purchase.
It's time to stand firm against those who want to take our freedoms away. You should have the freedom to say whether government should take more of your taxes – or not. And certainly, the government has no business making criminals our of law-abiding gun owners.
This week's quote
This week, I was quoted in the Associated Press after I stood up on the House floor in support of House Bill 1341. The measure would allow people who were wrongfully convicted to seek compensation of up to $50,000 a year from the state for the years they lost behind bars.
I personally know someone who was wrongfully convicted of a crime he did not commit. The conviction horribly affected his life and the lives of his family.
Here's what the Associated Press wrote:
“How much is your life worth?” asked Republican Rep. Matt Shea of Spokane, as he spoke in support of the measure. “How much is the enjoyment of your children, of your wife, of going outdoors, how much is that worth?”
The story has appeared in newspapers throughout the United States, including the San Francisco Chronicle.