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Dear Friends,

FreedomAgenda

Which do you choose? Rep. Matt Shea

1.) Lower taxes, less government, more freedom; or 2.) Higher taxes, more government, less freedom.

If you picked Choice #1, consider yourself among those of us who support the concept of The Freedom Agenda, which seeks to restrict government and restore power to the people government is supposed to serve.

The Freedom Agenda is the most successful slate of Republican bills in a decade. With your support, we introduced 40 Freedom Agenda bills during this legislative session; 14 received public hearings, seven were voted out of committee, and five were voted out of the House. Our Freedom Agenda bills were the subject of four national news stories, and it was with your help and support that we brought these issues to the forefront.

Together, we brought more attention to the issue of drones, and states such as Idaho passed a pared down version of our Constitutional-use of drones bill.

Together, we said NO to taxpayer-funded lobbying and made agency heads personally responsible for failing to properly report to the Public Disclosure Commission, instead of you, the taxpayer, paying the fines.

Together, we extended freedom to our disabled veterans by legalizing stabilizing conversion kits so they could ride their motorcycles again.

Together, we stopped the use of foreign law and religious law like Sharia in our specialty courts.

Together, we eliminated onerous penalties on those who are delinquent in their property taxes, allowing them to make partial payments and keeping them in their homes.

Together, we are saying NO to the $1.3 billion dollars in tax increases proposed by the Democrats, while saying YES to reinvigorating our economy by introducing legislation to legalize industrial hemp and provide tax incentives for gun, ammunition and firearm accessory manufacturers to locate in Washington. Both are potentially billion dollar industries.

And last, but not least, we stopped a universal background checks gun control bill and stood firm against an assault on our Second Amendment rights.

It's been a very successful legislative session, thanks to you and your support of The Freedom Agenda. Although the regular session is coming to an end on April 28 (and we don't know yet whether the Democrats will force the Legislature into a special session), I encourage you to stay in contact with me. You will see my contact information at the bottom of this e-mail. Please DO NOT hit “Reply” to this e-mail, as it will not get to me.

Freedom Agenda success – No funding for traffic light cameras

Here's another success of The Freedom Agenda – Rep. Jason Overstreet, R-Lynden, introduced and I supported an amendment to the House transportation budget that effectively removes funding for red light traffic cameras. This provides a savings of $740,000, which can be used to put more officers on the road.

Click here to read the amendment.

This week's 'Bad Bill' – House Democrat operating budget

On Friday, House Democrats brought out their proposed $34.5 billion operating budget to the floor for a vote. They don't get any worse than this one. It's full of taxes to fund liberal agendas, such as abortions through Planned Parenthood, and it's a budget that cant say “no” to the special interests. For all the reasons I listed below, this one tops them all as the 2013 legislative session's Bad Bill!bad-bill

I voted “NO!” Here's why:

  • It would spend more money than the state plans to take in and raise taxes to meet that amount.
  • The tax increases proposed by House Democrats and the governor would hurt our state's fragile economy and further stifle job growth – sending more jobs in the 4th District across the border to Idaho.
  • We will have $2 billion more in revenue for the 2013-15 budget cycle than we have for the current budget cycle. We don't need tax increases. We need to rein in the growth of state government!

Here are some examples of the taxes Democrats would like to raise:

  • $29 million on resellers of prescription drugs. This would create higher prices for prescription drugs and especially impact senior citizens.
  • $51.5 million by extending the sales tax on bottled water. This tax was repealed by voters in 2010.
  • $46.1 million on insurance agents, further driving up the cost of insurance.
  • $63.7 million by eliminating the sales tax exemption for non-residents. This would especially hurt our border counties, especially along the Oregon/Washington border.
  • $36.2 million by extending the sales tax on janitorial services.
  • $58.7 million by extending the beer tax to all brewers – even microbreweries.

For a complete list of the House Democrat tax increases, go here.

The budget measure now must go before a conference committee, which will attempt to find a compromise solution that would gain a majority of votes in the House and Senate. It is my hope that the final proposal would exclude the tax increases, strip funding from Planned Parenthood, and prioritize spending for education, public safety and the state's most vulnerable citizens – and that we could finish the legislative session on time.DeBoltShea


House Republican Leader Rep. Richard DeBolt steps down

Please join me and my wife, Viktoriya, in praying for Rep. Richard DeBolt, who today stepped down as leader of the House Republicans due to health concerns. Rep. DeBolt, R-Chehalis, was first elected in 1996 and has served in different leadership roles – including deputy leader and House floor leader. He will continue as state representative for the 20th Legislative District, but said he must now concentrate on his health. The House Republican leader was hospitalized April 10 and has since been under the care of doctors. House Republican Deputy Leader Rep. Joel Kretz, R-Wauconda, will serve as acting leader until a formal caucus reorganization takes place.


As I predicted. . . state sues florist for refusing services to same-sex wedding

Last year as hundreds of people gathered at the state Capitol for public hearings on same-sex marriage legislation, I issued a press release dated Jan. 23, 2012,  warning if the bill became law in Washington, it could open businesses to lawsuits if they refuse services for same-sex weddings.

I said: “Very clearly, private businesses would be subjected to massive new lawsuits if they decide to exercise their conscience and refuse to participate in a same-sex marriage ceremony. The House and Senate bills provide no protection against these kinds of lawsuits.”

I offered amendments to the same-sex marriage bill that would have protected such businesses on the grounds of religious freedom. But the Democrats rejected them, saying I was exaggerating – that lawsuits would never happen. As we know, the same-sex marriage legislation became law in Washington.

ArlenesFlowersJust a few days ago, Washington's new attorney general Bob Ferguson filed a consumer protection lawsuit against a florist in Richland who refused to provide wedding flowers to a same-sex couple. The florist told the customer she could not do it – in her words — “because of my relationship with Jesus Christ.” So now, the lawsuit is seeking $2-thousand dollars in fines for each count – and an injunction that would force her to provide the services.

This lawsuit is wrong and goes against Article 1, Second 11 of the Washington State Constitution, which reads: “Absolute freedom of conscience in all matters of religious sentiment, belief and worship, shall be guaranteed to every individual,” and against Article 26: “The following ordinance shall be irrevocable without the consent of the United States and the people of this state: First. That perfect toleration of religious sentiment shall be secured.”

Just last year, a federal court here in Washington ruled there is a longstanding right of conscientious objection — the right not to participate in an activity based on sincerely held religious beliefs.

I stood on solid ground when I said in the press release, “I'm very concerned that under this legislation, less than one percent of the state's population could stifle the religious liberty of the remaining 99 percent and expose countless businesses that object by conscience to expensive and endless lawsuits.”

The critics were wrong. The lawsuits are now being filed. This is why we need to fight harder than ever to stop this liberal agenda and replace it with The Freedom Agenda.


ACTION ITEM – Creating new jobs through legalization of industrial hemp
Take action now!

For the remainder of the legislative session, my weekly e-newsletter will contain an “action item.” This is your opportunity to speak up and take action!Hemp

This week's action item is:

Legalizing industrial hemp – House Bill 1888 – Would authorize the Department of Agriculture to issue licenses for the growing of industrial hemp and direct Washington State University to undertake research regarding industrial hemp production in Washington.

Impact:  This legislation 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.)

Status: A public hearing was held in the House Appropriations Subcommittee on General Government. However, the chair of the committee did not allow a vote on the bill.

Action needed:

  • Call the toll-free legislative hotline: 1-800-562-6000 and leave a message for House Speaker Frank Chopp or call Rep. Chopp's office directly at: (360) 786-7920. Ask Speaker Chopp to pull House Bill 1888 directly to the House floor for a vote!
  • E-mail Speaker Chopp at: frank.chopp@leg.wa.gov
  • Call my office for more information: (360) 786-7984

Please take action now!

Sincerely,


Matt Shea

State Representative Matt Shea, 4th Legislative District
RepresentativeMattShea.com
427A Legislative Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
matt.shea@leg.wa.gov
360-786-7984 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000