Only 19 days remain of the scheduled 105-day legislative session, which means the next three weeks will likely be the most important time for you to pay close attention and be involved in the process. This week, the bulk of our work will shift to the House floor where we will be voting on bills – good and bad – that will affect you and your family.
Your involvement, phone calls, e-mails, letters, personal visits and rallies at the Capitol helped to stop an all-out assault on our Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. However, now is the time when liberal Democrats will be pushing hard to reach their hands deep into your wallets so they can grow government. House Democrats want to raise the gas tax by 10 cents a gallon and make you pay expensive licensing fees and taxes on the vehicle you drive. Gov. Jay Inslee recently broke his promise against new taxes by proposing tax hikes of more than $1.2 billion. That's puzzling when state government is taking in an additional $2 billion over the previous budget cycle. We don't need tax increases. It's a matter of priorities.
I ask that you join me in the final days of the 2013 legislative session to send a message loud and clear – NO TAX INCREASES!
Please read on to learn more about our efforts to advance freedom in Washington. 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.
Freedom Agenda – SUCCESS!
Here is the latest on our Freedom Agenda bills. For a complete list of all the bills I sponsored and co-sponsored during the 2013 session, go here.. Click on the bill numbers to see the status of each.
- Legalizing industrial hemp – House Bill 1888 – could create an entirely new industry in the state of Washington and have a tremendous positive impact on our state's economy. Industrial hemp is used in many methods, from hemp milk to hempcrete, which is a mold- and fire-resistant building material (Read more about this substance here.) A public hearing was held Thursday in the House Appropriations Subcommittee on General Government. We are now awaiting a committee vote.
- Conversion kits on motorcycles – House Bill 1334 – would allow disabled veterans and other riders requiring additional stability the opportunity to place stabilizing conversion kits on motorcycles, giving them the freedom to enjoy motorcycle riding. The kits have been in production for at least 15 years. The measure passed the House unanimously on Monday, Feb. 25. It passed from the Senate Transportation Committee and is now awaiting a Senate floor vote.
- Fresh water docks – House Bill 1090 – would clarify the law as to multiple fresh water dock construction within a five-year period. The measure passed the House on March 9. It passed the Senate Natural Resources and Parks Committee and is now awaiting a Senate floor vote.
- Restricting taxpayer-funded lobbyists – House Bill 1093 – would impose a personal 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. This measure passed the House and the Senate Governmental Operations Committee. The bill is now awaiting a Senate floor vote.
- Incentivizing gun, ammunition and firearm accessory manufacturers to locate in Washington state – House Bill 2020 – would expand economic development and create jobs by increasing the availability of ammunition and firearm parts and accessories in Washington state by lowering taxes for these manufacturers. The economic impact could be in the billions of dollars. The measure has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee.
- “Save Our Homes” – In January, I introduced House Bill 1430 to help those facing property tax foreclosure. The measure would require the county treasurer to accept partial payments on property taxes and for delinquent taxes, including interest, if the payment is made electronically. It also eliminated penalties. The measure was referred to the House Finance Committee, but the chair would not allow a hearing. So when a Democrat-sponsored property tax payment measure (House Bill 1004 ) came to the floor, I introduced Amendment 249, which placed the language of House Bill 1430 into that legislation. The amendment was adopted, and this component of our Freedom Agenda passed the House unanimously. House Bill 1004 passed the Senate Governmental Operations Committee and is now awaiting a Senate floor vote.
ACTION ITEM – SULLIVAN ROAD BRIDGE
Take action now!
For the remainder of the legislative session, my weekly e-newsletter will contain an “action item.” This is your opportunity to help turn the tide and stop bad bills in Olympia.
This week's action item is:
House Bill 1864 – Transportation Appropriations – This measure is the proposed House transportation budget – and it does NOT appropriate funding for the North Sullivan Road – West bridge project.
Impact: The west bridge of North Sullivan Road in the Spokane Valley is in need of replacement. While the bridge is not currently at risk of failure, it is showing signs of continued deterioration. A 2010 inspection rated the span as “structurally deficient.” This bridge is a vital link between commercial and industrial businesses in the city of Spokane Valley and Interstate 90. It carries nearly 21,000 vehicles a day with a high truck volume of nearly 25 percent. Weight restrictions have been in effect in the past before temporary reinforcements were added. If weight restrictions return, it would force heavy trucks to detour around the bridge and drive long distances. The cost of replacement is estimated at $19,750,000. If the bridge is closed, the cost to commerce and traffic could be significantly higher.
Status: During consideration of House Bill 1864 in the House Transportation Committee yesterday, I offered an amendment that would have provided funding for the bridge. The amendment failed by only one vote, with Democrats voting against it. The bill then passed out of the committee without money for the Sullivan Road bridge project.
- Call the toll-free legislative hotline: 1-800-562-6000 and leave a message for Rep. Judy Clibborn, chair of the House Transportation Committee. Tell her to amend the bill to add funding for the Spokane Valley North Sullivan Road bridge project.
- E-mail Rep. Clibborn at: email@example.com.
- Call my office for more information: (360) 786-7984
Please take action now!
This week's 'Bad Bill' – The Inslee tax increases
Remember when candidate Jay Inslee said this during the gubernatorial debates last October?
“I would veto anything that heads the wrong direction and the wrong direction is new taxes in the state of Washington,” Inslee said.
Unfortunately, the governor has broken his promise against new taxes. He recently released a budget outline that contains more than $1.2 billion in tax INCREASES. Here's a look at his tax increase proposal, which I place on the BAD BILL LIST:
- Extending 0.3 percent B&O tax surcharge: $534.0 million
- Extending 50 cent beer tax, including small brewers: $127.6 million
- Limiting trade-in exemption to first $10,000 value: $94.8 million
- Repealing sales tax exemption for local residential telephone service (HB 1971): $83.2 million
- Extending sales tax to custom computer software: $78.5 million
- Trimming preferential B&O tax rates for most industries by 25 percent: $66.2 million
- Repealing sales tax exemption for non-residents: $63.7 million
- Repealing sales tax exemption on bottled water: $51.5 million
- Repealing use tax exemption for extracted fuel, except hog fuel: $40.8 million
- Eliminating preferential tax rate for resellers of prescription drugs: $29.0 million
- Repealing B&O tax exemption for long-term rental of commercial real estate: $27.8 million
- Narrowing tax exemption for import commerce: $24.1 million
- Repealing sales tax exemption for farm action purchases: $5.6 million
Correction: In last week's e-newsletter, I wrote: “Magpul, a manufacturer of guns and ammunition in Colorado, has more than 1,200 employees.” Magpul is a manufacturer of firearms accessories, not guns and ammunition. Thank you to the retired detective from the Pierce County Sheriff's office for pointing this out to me.